Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard The weekend after the Australian Grand Prix the MotoGP paddock action restarts in Malaysia at the Sepang circuit for the penultimate round of the World ...
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard
The weekend after the Australian Grand Prix the MotoGP paddock action restarts in Malaysia at the Sepang circuit for the penultimate round of the World Championship.
The Malaysian Grand Prix has been run as the penultimate round for the last two years, but in both instances the World Championship title had already been decided prior. This time however the fight for the crown is still going.
Sepang has the longest lap of any MotoGP circuit at 5.548km and is characterised by two long straights preceded by slow corners. Good grip on corner exit is crucial from these to maximise speed along each straight.
The temperature is generally the highest of any race on the calendar which brings its own challenges for riders and tyres alike. As the track temperature often reaches 50 degrees Celsius or higher, focus, concentration and rubber are all tested to the limit.
The circuit features five left- and ten right-handers and the loads and stresses are focused upon the front tyre rather than the rear. There are many areas of heavy braking from high speed which also load the front tyres, so harder compounds have been selected to cope with the pressure.
Bridgestone has a good record at Sepang in recent years. Loris Capirossi took victory in 2005 followed by Casey Stoner in 2007, both for the Ducati Team, and Valentino Rossi triumphed last year with Fiat Yamaha. The circuit is also one of the few on the calendar that also hosts Formula One grands prix, so Bridgestone has plenty of winning experience to call upon.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"It was at the Malaysian Grand Prix last year that the announcement was made that Bridgestone would be the Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP, and I am proud of what we have achieved since then. To come back to Malaysia as we near the end of our first year of sole supply and see the championship title still not decided is a good thing and I think shows how close the competition has been at the front this season."
Tohru Ubukata - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
"Sepang is a good challenge for our tyres because it is the longest circuit on the calendar and it is often the hottest with track temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius not uncommon. The two long straights really test engine power, but they also demand good shoulder grip from the rear tyres on the exit of the last two corners to maximise straight-line speed, and good braking performance at the end of each as riders decelerate from over 300 km/h to around just 80km/h.
"We can afford to choose softer compound rear tyres here to maximise shoulder gripbecause the loads throughout the lap are focused on the front tyre, which consequently needs to be harder. Normally when bikes are upright along straights, the lateral loads on the tyres are minimal and air-flow is maximised so there is a greater cooling effect, but at Sepang the track temperature itself and the heavy braking at the end of those straights when the bikes are still upright can actually generate significant temperature in the centre of the tyre, so durability of this centre section is a key consideration here."