Press releases previewing the first ever visit of the World Superbike series to the Sepang International Circuit:
World Superbike ready for Sepang debut
Barcelona (Spain), Tuesday 3 June 2014 – The eni FIM Superbike World Championship heads to previously unexplored territories as the series will race for the first time at the Sepang International Circuit this weekend. The Malaysian venue, located 50km south of the Capital City Kuala Lumpur, will host the sixth round of the 2014 season. The state of the art circuit has a 5.548km sweeping cornered layout, with two back to back straights characterising the final part of the lap.
New Championship leader after Donington Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) has never raced at Sepang before but has always done well at new circuits on the calendar in the past two years: the Brit won the opening race at Moscow Raceway and was second in Race 2 in 2012, while last year at Istanbul he was third and second in the two encounters after starting from pole. The 28 year old from Huddersfield did a test with Kawasaki at Sepang back in 2011 in preparation for the season debut of the new partnership between the Japanese manufacturer and Provec Racing (the current Kawasaki Racing Team).
Sykes aims to continue the good form shown at Donington, after the stunning double taken two Sundays ago at his home track. The reigning Champion had one of the best races in his career in race one, as he made his way up through the field after a poor opening lap to take a remarkable victory over teammate Loris Baz.
After missing out on the podium in the last outing, Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike) is looking forward to competing at Sepang. The Ulsterman knows the track already despite not having raced there before, as he did a test for HRC back in late 2010. Rea currently sits second in the standings and he is tied in points with Frenchman Baz.
The Aprilia Racing Team paring of Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri have vast experience of the Sepang International Circuit, having taken part in many events in the past at the venue. The two long straights of the Malaysian track may well suit the RSV4 factory machines and the two riders are hoping for strong results for different reasons: Guintoli is still well positioned in the title race as he lies fourth just 37 points from the top, while Melandri desperately needs a good performance after another difficult round of the season at Donington. Melandri stood on the podium at Sepang in 2007, as he crossed the line in second place in the MotoGP race behind winner Casey Stoner.
Despite being a new circuit for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, many other riders have knowledge of the Sepang track: Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike), Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Toni Elias (Red Devils Aprilia), Claudio Corti (MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport) and Imre Toth (BMW Team Toth).
Aussie Bryan Staring, who is set to make his season debut at Sepang this weekend with Team Iron Brain Grillini Kawasaki, is the only entrant of the EVO class to have contested a race in Malaysia before. The battle for best in the new category is going to be as open as ever, with David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team), Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati), Leon Camier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike) and the rest of the EVO field ready to resume their battle for the top honours.
Standings (Round 5 of 13): 1. Sykes 185; 2. Rea 159; 3. Baz 159; 4. Guintoli 148; 5. Davies 109; 6. Melandri 97; 7. Giugliano 82; 8. Haslam 75; 9. Lowes 73; 10. Laverty 65; 11. Elias 65; 12. Salom 46; 13. Canepa 38; 14. Camier 20; 15. Scassa 16; 16. Foret 14; 17. Guarnoni 12; 18. Corti 10; 19. Morais 10; 20. Allerton 6; 21. Bos 5; 22. Andreozzi 4; 23. Fabrizio 2. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 193; 2. Aprilia 162; 3. Honda 159; 4. Ducati 137; 5. Suzuki 115; 6. BMW 26; 7. MV Agusta 10.
The Supersport World Championship is gearing up for the first ever race of the series at Sepang. Of the top 10 riders in the title race, six of them have already raced at Sepang in the past, with the most successful on the Malaysian track being Roberto Rolfo (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki). The experienced Italian rider, currently ninth in the standings, was third in the 250cc Grand Prix race in both 2001 and 2002, while in 2010 he stood atop the Moto2 podium.
Unlike his teammate Lorenzo Zanetti, the current points leader Michael van der Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) will have to learn the track during the racing weekend, likewise his closest rival in the standings Florian Marino (Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki) and fourth-placed man Kev Coghlan (DMC-Panavto Yamaha).
Van der Mark has to look out for the likes of Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC – Yakhnich Motorsport) and Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki), both eager to do well on a track they have knowledge of from the past. The Frenchman’s points situation is much more encouraging than the Turk’s as Cluzel lies at the moment in third place, 28 points shy of the leader, while Sofuoglu sits in seventh with a significant 52 point gap from the top.
Two more Italian riders are not new at the Sepang International Circuit, Raffaele De Rosa (CIA Insurance Honda) and Roberto Tamburini (San Carlo Puccetti Racing Kawasaki).
Standings (Round 5 of 12): 1. vd Mark 90; 2. Marino 76; 3. Cluzel 62; 4. Coghlan 60; 5. Zanetti 49; 6. De Rosa 45; 7. Sofuoglu 38; 8. Tamburini 37; 9. Rolfo 36; 10. Jacobsen 32; 11. Wahr 23; 12. Bussolotti 21; 13. Russo 21; 14. Menghi 19; 15. Kennedy 19; 16. Gamarino 16; 17. Leonov 13; 18. Wilairot 13; 19. Gowland 9; 20. Nocco 8; 21. Coveña 6; 22. Schmitter 3; 23. Calero 3; 24. Rogers 1. Manufacturers: 1. Honda 111; 2. Kawasaki 87; 3. Yamaha 70; 4. MV Agusta 70; 5. Triumph 9.
A new destination, Malaysia, for the Ducati Superbike Team this weekend
Borgo Panigale (Italy), Monday 2 June 2014 - The Ducati Superbike Team prepares for a new track in the shape of the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia that will play host to round 6 of the 2014 Superbike World Championship this coming weekend.
This is the first time that the World Superbikes will race at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, and is therefore a new experience for the Ducati Superbike Team. The Sepang track, located only about 50 km from the centre of Kuala Lumpur, was officially opened in 1999 and has often played host to the MotoGP and Formula 1 championships.
Chaz Davies has solid experience of the racetrack, having raced there several times while participating in the 250cc and 125cc World Championships, while Davide Giugliano is yet to race at the Malaysian track.
At the latest round, which took place at Donington Park in the UK just over one week ago, Chaz Davies earned some important points, closing both of the day’s races at his home track in fifth position while Giugliano finished race 2 in fourth place, having crashed out of race 1 while fighting for the win.
Five rounds in to the 2014 championship, Davies is lying fifth in the general standings, Giugliano seventh. Ducati is positioned fourth in the manufacturer’s classification.
Comments ahead of the event:
Chaz Davies – Ducati Superbike Team #7
“I’ve raced at Sepang before, five times I think, most recently in 2007. I remember it being hot and the track not having a lot of grip in the heat. I have good circuit knowledge, but it all changes when you got there on a new bike, new tyres, so there's a lot more learning involved than perhaps people might think. The temperature will play a big part. It’s a horsepower based track where the excessive heat saps some of the horsepower available. So it won’t be easy for us. Having said that, there are also a few flowing sections where the Panigale could come into its own.”
Davide Giugliano – Ducati Superbike Team #34
“I’ve only seen the track on the Playstation, that’s about all I know of it but it looks great on the screen! The fact that very few riders have recent experience of the Sepang track means that we are all more or less starting from scratch, with no real data. It will be a new challenge for both me and my team and we will need to work hard to get the bike set-up for the track. I expect the weekend to be difficult in terms of the weather conditions and I’ll need to try and adapt to that but we’re ready to work hard – it will be an exciting new experience.”
Sepang debut beckons for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
The eni FIM Superbike World Championship travels east for its debut appearance at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this week and Voltcom Crescent Suzuki racers Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes are eager to experience the Grand Prix track for themselves.
Having competed at the Sepang circuit during his 250 Grand Prix days, Laverty is looking forward to renewing his knowledge on-board his Suzuki GSX-R1000. Refreshed by his recent visit to the Suzuki factory in Hamamatsu, Japan, and the opportunity to ride its development MotoGP™ machine; the Irishman heads to Malaysia determined to realign his turbulent season.
Lowes is enthusiastic about his first trip to Southeast Asia, fresh from his home podium result at Donington Park, and is looking to capitalise on his development aboard the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R so far. With two podiums, in both the wet and dry, now under his rookie belt, the British racer is pleased with the way he is gelling with his World Championship machine and is hoping the second phase of the season will continue to prove fruitful.
Built in 1999 the 5,548 meter long Herman Tilke designed track, positioned 60kms to the south of Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, comprises 15 corners and two long straights, providing a technical and challenging layout for both riders and technicians alike. The weather conditions here play as much a part of the weekend’s set-up as the circuit’s design, with asphalt temperatures hitting 60°C, humidity levels between 50 and 90% and rainfall deluges widely expected.
Due to the introduction of the circuit to the World Championship’s 2014 calendar, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will have an extended first free practice session on Friday 6th June, with 75 minutes on track commencing at 10:30hrs local time (03:30BST). The schedule returns to normal with the second free practice at 15:30hrs local time (08:30BST) and Superpole retains its 15:00hrs local time slot on Saturday. Sunday 8th June sees a further revision, with race one starting at 13:30 (06:30BST) and race two getting underway three hours later at 16:30 (09:30BST).
"Last time out was a big disappointment as my crew deserved better. Again, like in Assen, I crashed early in the races and so I need to settle into a better rhythm from the start. I raced at Sepang on-board a 250cc machine back in 2007 but I'm more or less treating it like a new circuit. We have an extra half hour of track time on Friday which should allow us to get the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki up to speed that bit quicker. It's been too long since our sole podium finish of the season in Phillip Island so we'll keep on fighting and try to get back up there as soon as we can."
“I'm looking forward to Sepang this weekend, it's a great track and one I can't wait to ride. I have a lot to learn over there as I've never seen the track before but I'm hoping to work hard and achieve some good results. I feel a lot better on the Suzuki GSX-R after my podium at Donington so I'm very excited to get to Sepang and see what the team can do.”
Pata Honda heads east to new SBK circuit
The Pata Honda team is preparing for this weekend’s (6-8 June) two sixth-round World Superbike championship races at the Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
The weekend marks the first visit of the World Superbike championship to Sepang, situated just 60km to the south of the centre of the Malaysian capital, as the production-based series spreads to an increasingly wider global audience.
It will be the first time that the Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP has been raced at the fast and flowing 5.548km Sepang circuit, which is characterised by two back-to-back straights at the end of the lap. However, the team’s two British riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam have both visited in the past.
Northern Irishman Rea, 27, tested Honda’s RC212V MotoGP machine at Sepang at the end of 2011, while 31-year-old Haslam from Derbyshire last raced there during a season on a 250cc Honda in Grands Prix in 2002.
Sepang International Circuit, World Superbike schedule (local times GMT+8hrs):
Friday 6 June
10.30-11.45 Free Practice 1
15.30-16.15 Free Practice 2
(timed for Superpole)
Saturday 7 June
09.45-10.30 Free Practice 3
(timed for Superpole)
12.30-13.00 Free Practice 4
15.00-15.15 Superpole 1
15.25-15.40 Superpole 2
Sunday 8 June
13.30 Race 1 (16 laps, 88.768km)
16.30 Race 2 (16 laps, 88.768km)
I’m really excited about going to Malaysia because it’s a new race on the SBK calendar. I really like the circuit layout and I visited a few years ago when I did some testing for HRC’s MotoGP team in the last season of the 800s. Donington was a tough round for us and we turned our attention to this next round immediately after the races there. I hope we can achieve better results than at Donington and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of taking the CBR on a new circuit. The humidity will be quite intense in Sepang and we’re expecting high temperatures but I’m in good physical conditions to tackle the two races. The most important thing is that we are able to extract the full potential of the bike which we didn’t do at the last round.
I’ve been to Sepang before - it was about 12 years ago, but I remember which way it goes so I don’t see it being too much of a problem. A few of the other riders have ridden there, too, including Johnny, so I’m not sure anyone will have too much of an advantage in that respect. It’s quite a fast and flowing track and the CBR should be quite strong in those areas. The heat will be an issue, of course, and the conditions can make a big difference in lap times from the morning to the afternoon. We’ll hope for some consistent weather that will help us with setting up the bike for Sunday’s races.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Donington was a disappointment for the whole team, especially after the highs of Assen and Imola. However, we have studied a lot in the time since and we have some plans for this next event at Sepang, where we will be bringing some things that we learned on the dyno. Jonathan is motivated and ready to go again, so I hope he can renew his challenge at the top of the table. Leon has been very close to the breakthrough to consistent top five finishes that we’ve all been looking for, and we will be working hard again to make it happen for him this weekend.
Challenging new circuit for championship leader van der Mark
Pata Honda rider Michael van der Mark will visit a new circuit this weekend (6-8 June) at Sepang in Malaysia for round six of the 2014 World Supersport championship.
The Dutch ace is leading the series after winning last time out at Donington Park in the UK and, after crashing out of the opening round in Australia, the 21-year-old from Rotterdam has finished the last four races in either first or second place.
Although the 5.548km Sepang International Circuit 60km to the south of Kuala Lumpur is an unfamiliar layout for van der Mark, it’s a new challenge that he’s looking forward to meeting on his Honda CBR600RR.
His Pata Honda team-mate Lorenzo Zanetti was unfortunate to score no points at Donington Park after a technical problem just five laps from the end halted a promising race in which he was fighting once more for a podium position.
The 26-year-old currently lies in fifth place in the championship standings with a win at Imola in Italy to his credit and he is hoping that, along with his CBR, GP experience from five years ago at Sepang will stand him in good stead this weekend.
Michael van der Mark
This will be my first visit to Sepang but I enjoy the challenge of learning a new circuit and it went OK at Suzuka last year. I’ve done a lot of laps on the PlayStation and watched a few more on YouTube and it looks really beautiful. It seems like the layout will suit the CBR quite well, so I’m excited to start on Friday. I expect the weather conditions will be difficult, too, but I have been training with many layers of clothing at the same time of day as our sessions, so I’m feeling prepared and really looking forward to the weekend when I hope to continue the recent good results.
I stopped in Thailand for five days on my way to Malaysia so I have had time to relax and adjust to the conditions. I raced here in 125 GP in 2009, so I know the track and I think it will be good for the bike which has been working really well at other races. It was a shame to finish the way I did at Donington but I had a very good feeling with the bike there, like Imola before, so I am confident that we can get this feeling again quickly at Sepang. We need to find a good setting so the bike is not too difficult to ride in the conditions, but I’m really looking forward to riding again.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinator
Lorenzo has some experience of this new circuit on the calendar and he’s looking forward to getting back there. He and his team will be working hard to make up for the disappointment he suffered at Donington. Although Michael has not been to this track, the CBR has a very good base setting now and I don’t think he will take long to learn the layout. He is in good form at the moment and we’ll be looking to continue that this weekend.
WORLD SUPERBIKE DÉBUTS IN MALAYSIA
THE APRILIA RACING TEAM TAKES ON THE SEPANG CIRCUIT FOR THE FIRST TIME
MELANDRI: "INCREDIBLE TRACK, ALL THE RSV4'S HORSES ARE PUT TO USE"
GUINTOLI: "THE TROPICAL CONDITIONS WON'T BE A PROBLEM"
Sepang (Malaysia), 4 June 2014 - World Superbike is headed for its début on the Malaysian Sepang circuit, a new stop on the 2014 calendar. The setting for many world championships, the circuit just a few kilometres from the capital Kuala Lumpur is a rather recent one, opened in 1999. Quite long, more than 5.5 km, the Malaysian track should make for a good show thanks to the combination of long straight stretches, violent braking sections and fast turns.
The Aprilia team riders are very familiar with the tricky new track, having already ridden on it during their respective careers. Both of them see it as a favourable circuit for the characteristics of the Aprilia RSV4, the reigning Manufacturer World Champion bike. Sylvain Guintoli prepared for this round, characterised by a rather extreme climate, with a week of intense training in Borneo.
Race conditions therefore do not concern the French rider: "Finally a track where we will be able to use the raw power of the RSV4. Sepang is a great track, wide, fast and I know it very well from my GP days. I have just completed 7 days of training in Borneo with similar heat and humidity so the very hot and tropical conditions won't be a problem. Can't wait".
Marco Melandri, who has also been working hard to be in top condition for this round, also expressed his appreciation of the Malaysian track. The rider from Ravenna and the Aprilia racing division are focusing on finding continuity and finally aiming for an important result.
Marco Melandri: "It's nice to be back at Sepang, an incredible track where all the horses of a powerful SBK like the RSV4 are put to use. The races will be very hard given the temperatures and high humidity, but I've been working hard and I want to get back in the thick of things to battle for the positions that count. I'm confident in Aprilia's enormous commitment to put me at ease".