Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Malaysia
Round fifteen of the 2013 MotoGP season takes place at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, a real test of man and machine with its high ambient temperatures and technical layout.
Measuring approximately 5.5 kilometers in length, Sepang is characterized by two long straights that end in extreme braking zones which demand high levels of stability from the front tyre. The rest of the circuit is a mix of high and low speed corners that combine to generate significant loads, with this circuit being one of the more demanding for tyres.
Although Sepang is hard on tyres, the stresses placed on the left and right shoulders of the tyre are similar hence two of the three rear tyre specifications offered at this circuit, the soft and medium rear slicks are symmetric. Only the hard compound rear slick which is offered just to the works riders is asymmetric in construction, with the right shoulder featuring harder rubber than the left shoulder.
Owing to its hard braking zones and high ambient temperatures, the front tyre allocation for Sepang includes the two hardest front slick tyres in Bridgestone’s range, the medium and hard compound front slicks. As the need for warm-up performance is not a major factor in the hot Malaysian climate, the main wet tyre at Sepang will be the hard compound wet tyre. Each rider will also be able to select up to two front and rear wet tyres in the alternative soft compound.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“I am looking forward to this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang as MotoGP is becoming more and more popular in this part of the world and I expect another large and vocal crowd will be present. Although it is an excellent venue, the heat and humidity at Sepang takes its toll on the riders and the layout of the circuit is quite demanding on tyres so overall, this is one of the more challenging events on the calendar. Marc is in a commanding position at the moment and as we head into the final few races of the season, we are all eagerly waiting to see how Jorge will rise to the challenge as he strives to defend his championship crown. Also, starting on the Monday after the race the selection event for next year’s inaugural Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup will take place at Sepang and Bridgestone will be providing tyres for this event. I look forward to seeing the talented crop of young Asian riders contend for a place in what will be an exciting feeder series for the world championship.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Sepang is one of the most impressive circuits on the MotoGP calendar and is distinctive because of its two long straights which help make it one of the longest circuits we visit. Wild weather is often encountered here with track temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius and heavy rain, like we experienced last year, all possible over a race weekend. Sepang features a mix of high speed corners and tight hairpins with heavy braking, which makes good front tyre stability a priority here. Overall this circuit is quite tough on tyres as tyre temperatures can be quite extreme due to the nature of the circuit and the hot ambient conditions which give little chance for the tyres to cool.”