TEAM SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI HEAD INTO THE HEAT OF THE BATTLE AT SEPANG Team San Carlo Honda Gresini travel to the penultimate round of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship this weekend, as the Malaysian Grand Prix takes place at the Sepang ...
TEAM SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI HEAD INTO THE HEAT OF THE BATTLE AT SEPANG
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini travel to the penultimate round of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship this weekend, as the Malaysian Grand Prix takes place at the Sepang International Circuit. The cool winds of Phillip Island, where Fausto Gresini's team celebrated a creditable top-five finish for Shinya Nakano, could hardly be followed by a bigger climatic contrast than the heat and humidity of Kuala Lumpur.
Alex De Angelis and Shinya Nakano return to the scene of intense winter testing, with the San Marino rookie looking forward to the rare chance of starting a weekend with prior set-up data to fall back on. The experienced Japanese rider, meanwhile, will have work to do on the 2009 satellite version Honda RC212V having only started racing it at the Czech Republic Grand Prix on the 17th August.
#15 ALEX DE ANGELIS
"Sepang represents another difficult challenge for us because it has two long straights where horsepower plays a crucial role. On top of that, during the winter tests there we struggled with chatter problems but over the course of the season we have done a lot of work on the set-up of the bike and with the Bridgestone tyres so I'm sure the situation will be much improved compared to the last time we rode there. I always went well in Malaysia in the 250cc class and I've finished on the podium there several times, so I think I can also do a good job in MotoGP. There are some flowing, technical sections where we have the potential to be strong. I'd love to pick up some good results over these final two races and finish my rookie season in a positive way. Unfortunately we've paid the price this year for not qualifying well but I'm still pleased with the pace we've found in practice at every round because we have been consistently fast."
#56 SHINYA NAKANO
"We all know Sepang really well because we do so much testing there during the winter. The technical package I have is different to what we tested with so we'll need a bit of time to find the right setting but, as I say, we know the place well so I'm sure we'll quickly find a good balance. Sepang features a lot of technical sections -- you need to be very concentrated under braking and good traction is another very important factor. Track temperatures are usually very high so tyre choice for the race is always fundamental. After finishing fifth at Phillip Island it would be nice to be in the top six again. If we can start practice out on the right foot then that kind of result is definitely within our reach."
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"Shinya comes here on the back of an excellent race -- possibly his best of the season, regardless of the result. At Phillip Island he fought hard to the end and finished close to the lead riders. In Malaysia he'll be racing for the penultimate time with our team but despite that he remains highly motivated and I'm sure that once again he will show his great professionalism and work hard for another good result. I also think Sepang is well suited to his riding style. Alex hasn't enjoyed the best of times recently but we remain hopeful. He has already ridden the MotoGP bike at Sepang in the winter tests, so this is an important opportunity for him to improve his performance and gather experience for next season, which is now our main objective."
The Sepang International Circuit, located 50km to the south of Malaysia's capital city of Kuala Lumpur, has played host to the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix since 1999, making this the tenth consecutive season that MotoGP has visited the track, which neighbours the airport. Previously the race had been held at Shah Alam (from 1991 to 1997) and Johor (1998). With Suzuka having been replaced by Motegi and Assen significantly shortened, at 5.548km Sepang is now the longest circuit on the championship calendar. Another unique characteristic is the track width, which stretches to 25 metres at some points. Gresini Racing celebrated victory at Sepang with Daijiro Kato, winner of the 250cc race in 2001, and came close to matching that achievement in MotoGP in 2003 and 2007, when Sete Gibernau and Marco Melandri both finished second.