Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone previewing this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang:
After a disappointing race in Australia the Repsol Honda Team head to Malaysia
World Champion Marc Marquez and teammate Dani Pedrosa are headed to Malaysia for the penultimate round of 2014 where last year Dani led home a Repsol Honda 1-2. Before arriving in Malaysia, both riders visited Jakarta as guests of Honda Indonesia, who carry the strapline ‘One Heart / Satu Hati’ which is emblazoned on the Spanish duo’s race machines and leathers. Both riders rode their RC213V machines at the Sentul circuit – the first time the Indonesian fans have witnessed a MotoGP bike on home soil.
Sepang is a circuit that all the MotoGP riders know very well, as pre-season testing takes place there each February. The 2,300 acre Sepang International Circuit is one of the World’s best motorsport facilities, holding its first Grand Prix in April 1999 and setting the standard for race circuits Worldwide. With four slow corners following two long straights and ten medium to high-speed corners, the wide track is particularly favourable to overtaking manoeuvres and plenty of open throttle. One of the longest laps in MotoGP is made all the more gruelling for riders by intense heat and humidity. Sepang is located around 50km south of Kuala Lumpur city.
Marc has already clinched the 2014 Championship in Japan, but after his unfortunate crash in Australia he will be looking for redemption. He took second place here in 2013 (MotoGP) and won in 2010 (125cc), but has also scored two DNF’s (2012 and 2009). Teammate Dani will also be looking to get back on top in Sepang to fight for second place in the Championship. He’s enjoyed great success at the Malaysian circuit achieving nine podiums including four victories – 2013, 2012 (MotoGP), 2004 (250cc), 2003 (125cc).
2014 MotoGP World Champion
"It was a shame what happened in Australia, but anyway I was trying a different tactic and I’m lucky to be able to do this with the Championship already won. On the way to Malaysia we visited Jakarta for an event with Honda, riding a MotoGP machine there for the first time which was a nice experience. Sepang is a circuit I like and the Honda performed well there last year with Dani first and myself second. Finding the best setup is very important here, especially in the braking so we will have to work hard on Friday and Saturday to prepare for the race."
Championship Standing: 4th - 230 points
"I’m happy to put Phillip Island behind us and focus on the race this weekend in Malaysia. This is a track we all know very well and it’s going to be physically demanding as always - due to the weather. The layout has a little of everything, fast and slow corners, hard braking and long straights. Let’s hope we can get a good setup and give ourselves the best chance for the race on Sunday to be back in the fight for second position in the Championship."
Ducati Team prepare to face the tropical heat of Sepang in the Shell Advance Malaysian GP
Coming off the back of two races in two successive weekends, the Ducati Team have arrived in Malaysia for the third and final appointment in this gruelling series of three overseas flyaway events at the end of the season, which will mean that the MotoGP teams have notched up around 35,000 kilometres of air travel in less than a month.
The seventeenth and penultimate round of the season will be held at the Sepang International Circuit, a track that most of the riders enjoy, and which can boast a series of features that make it ideal to unleash the power of modern-day MotoGP bikes: long straights, a wide track surface and plenty of opportunities for overtaking. All the teams came to Malaysia for two IRTA winter test sessions in February, but the conditions were very different to those forecast for this weekend.
The Ducati Team have won three times at Sepang, thanks to Loris Capirossi and Casey Stoner. In the premier class Andrea Dovizioso has stepped onto the podium twice in Malaysia in his five races there, the last time in 2010, while Cal Crutchlow has not gone any higher than a sixth place last year in his two races at Sepang.
After his fourth place finish at Phillip Island on Sunday, Dovizioso has a firm grip on fifth in the overall standings with 166 points (a lead of 49 over Aleix Espargaro), while Crutchlow, who came close to the runner-up slot in the Australian GP, is now in thirteenth place with 63 points.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04)
“We go to Malaysia very happy with the fourth place from Phillip Island and confident of getting another good result. Obviously the Sepang circuit is completely different to Phillip Island and even though we were able to lap the track on two occasions during the winter tests, the times set in February do not have much bearing at this point of the season. Sepang is a circuit that I enjoy a lot and I think it will be more suitable for our Desmosedici.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35)
“Sepang is a completely different track to the last one, and obviously there’s more chance of us having heat issues with the tyres and not cold issues! After the Phillip Island race, when I made a mistake on the last lap while heading for second, I was obviously very disappointed, but now I want to try and get a good result in Malaysia. I have good confidence now with the GP14 and hopefully we can push a lot harder in these last two races.”
The Sepang Circuit
The Sepang International Circuit, which is situated about 50 km south of Kuala Lumpur, is one of the best and most spectacular tracks in the world. It was constructed at the heart of a 2,300 acre complex which also houses a hotel, a shopping centre, a golf course and other sports facilities. It was built in just 14 months at a cost of £50m and sets the standards for racetracks worldwide. With four slow corners following two long straights and ten medium to high-speed curves, the wide track provides plenty of room for overtaking and full throttle. Intense heat and humidity provide extra problems when racing at this circuit, which with a lap distance of over five kilometres, is one of the longest on the calendar.
Yamaha Prepares to Wrap Up Triple-Header in Sepang
Sepang International Circuit (Sepang, Malaysia), 22nd October 2014
After a superb race at Phillip Island where Yamaha filled the podium, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP heads to Malaysia for another heated battle at the Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Strengthened by his victory from last Sunday, Valentino Rossi has extra motivation to fight for second place in the championship. The Doctor is a fan of the Malaysian track, where he stood on the podium nine times in his career. He has won at the Sepang circuit in the 500cc class in 2001 and claimed premier class victories in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
During the race at Phillip Island teammate Jorge Lorenzo successfully fended off his rivals for second place despite suffering tyre problems. This weekend the Spaniard hopes to be able to ride a problem free race at Sepang. Though he likes the track, he has yet to claim a premier class MotoGP victory here. In previous years he climbed the Malaysian premier class podium on three occasions, claiming second place in 2012 and third place in 2010 and 2013.
The fast and wide Sepang International Circuit held its first Grand Prix in 1999 and is known to host some of the most exciting races thanks to its combination of four slow corners, two long straights and ten medium to high-speed corners. The circuit’s diverse sections not only provide challenges when it comes to the set up of the bike, but its 5.5 km length and extremely hot and humid conditions make it one of the most testing tracks for the riders. Only those in peak physical condition can endure a full race length.
46 Valentino Rossi
"Apart from the temperature being a bit too high for MotoGP racing, I really like the Malaysian track. I have always had good races here. We are doing a good job this season and I want to get a good result here. We are working well with the team and I feel very well. The last victory in Australia was great, we are very happy but mostly it was another beautiful confirmation of the good work we're doing. This weekend we have to work well from Friday and fix every little detail to get to the race with a good set-up. The bike has improved a lot and this showed with three Yamaha riders on the Australian podium. The race in Malaysia will be the last of three in a row. I will do my best to win again. I got my second win of the season and now I want to fight for second place in the championship. It will be a great fight with Dani and Jorge in the next two races!”
99 Jorge Lorenzo
“At Phillip Island it was a really difficult race, but despite all of the problems that we’ve suffered during the race we still managed to get another podium. I look forward to racing at Sepang, it's a nice track. Maybe it’s not the best place for our bike but we know this circuit really well because we usually do some testing here during the pre-season. It's always tricky to race in Malaysia because of the weather conditions, but even if it's rainy the grip at the circuit is not so bad. I would like to be competitive again, especially because I want to fight for the second place in the championship. Personally, I’m feeling well and I’m in a good physical shape so we can be optimistic for this weekend.”
“After two great weekends we arrive at the last of the three back-to-back races. We had some great results these last few weeks with Vale’s amazing victory at Phillip Island last weekend and Jorge winning the weekend before at Motegi, but the Grand Prix of Malaysia might be the biggest challenge of the three. Sepang always is quite challenging because of the heat and its specific layout. Thanks to the pre-season test we have quite a lot of data and since the riders both like this circuit, I think we can be positive in our expectations. The bike is working really well and it will be interesting to see how our newfound data from this season will affect our times. We are ready to do our best again, which is very important as we are almost at the end of the season."
Triple flyaway finishes in Malaysia
The MotoGP World Championship embarks upon its final stretch this weekend, heading to Malaysia for the third and last round of the overseas tripleheader.
The NGM Forward Racing Team return on the track where they tested in the pre-season with very good results. After the unlucky Australian GP, Aleix Espargaro looks forward to race at Sepang that saw him very fast in the winter tests. Strong of the ninth place at Phillip Island also team mate Alex De Angelis is determined to make a good result on the technical and physically demanding Malaysian track.
NGM Forward Racing Moto2 riders Mattia Pasini and Florian Marino look forward to race on Sunday. The Italian was really fast in Australia and he is determined to get a good result on the Malaysian track. Also the Frenchman Marino is optimist for the third and last round of the tripleheader
Located around 50km south of Kuala Lumpur city, the Sepang International Circuit is a technical track that features four slow corners following two long straights and medium to high-speed corners that always guarantee spectacular overtaking manoeuvres and hard fought races.
“I really look forward to race at Sepang. For me it’s one of the most beautiful tracks of the whole season. The circuit is wide and similar to Mugello and Barcelona with long bends and also 2 long straights. It’s a fast track and we know that we suffer in terms of top speed but we did a very good pre-season so I look forward to race there”.
Alex De Angelis
“Sepang is a very physically and demanding round for the heat and the humidity but it’s one of my favourite track. After having struggled in the practices for some technical problems, the team did a great job on Sunday and we finished in 9th place. I aim at doing another step forward and close the season in the best possible way”.
DRIVE M7 Aspar Team excited ahead of hectic home round for main sponsors
Spanish team and its riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama looking forward to home round for Malaysian energy drink manufacturer DRIVE M7
It may not be the longest track on the MotoGP calendar since the return of Silverstone but its 5.543km of tarmac certainly presents one of the most difficult challenges for the teams and riders. The Sepang International Circuit this weekend plays host to the seventeenth and penultimate round of the 2014 season and with the title already wrapped up in favour of Honda's Marc Marquez the chase is on for second place between Yamaha team-mates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. After two straight wins for the Spaniard it was the Italian who triumphed last time out in Australia and there are just eight points between them with 50 still up for grabs.
Excitement has been building for this race in the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team garage for some weeks now, as the Spanish outfit prepare to represent main sponsor DRIVE M7 in their home round. The riders could hardly be in better shape coming into this race having both scored top ten finishes at Phillip Island a few days ago, with Hiroshi Aoyama confirming his form as one of the most consistent performers in MotoGP at the moment and Nicky Hayden reaching something like peak fitness after his long recovery from wrist surgery. The target for both riders is to score strong results again on Sunday in front of the local support.
Nicky Hayden: “Sepang is an awesome circuit – long, wide and with some really interesting sections. I like it a lot but the weather always plays a big part and it can vary dramatically from one session to another. That makes it hard to find the limit of the grip, plus Sepang has a lot of different kinds of corners so you need a good set-up to be able to ride fast and safe. But it's a great track and an interesting challenge for us. The Malaysian Grand Prix is also the home race for our main sponsor so I am sure we will have a lot of support there and hopefully we can pay them back with a strong weekend.”
Hiroshi Aoyama: “It was be a special Grand Prix for us this weekend at Sepang because our main sponsor is Malaysian so it will be like a home race. The first two races of the flyaways have been very productive for us so we go to Malaysia in good spirits and with high hopes for the race. Sepang is a very demanding circuit, both for its characteristics and for the suffocating conditions we usually get there, but it is also my favourite track so I am looking forward to riding this weekend. We have been doing a great job in this last part of the season and we have reached a very high level of performance now so I am sure we can continue this with another strong showing on Sunday. We finished eighth in Australia and I would love to do even better in Malaysia.”
At Sepang for the penultimate race, Iannone seeks redemption and Hernandez is ready for his fiftieth race in the World Championship
Malaysia will be the third and final race of the overseas three oversea appointments. After the Australian GP Andrea Iannone wants to reach the top positions in the race even more, while Yonny Hernandez is determined to do well to celebrate his first fiftieth GP.
Andrea Iannone and Pramac Racing Team return after about eight months at the Sepang circuit, where they took the first two tests of the season and where the Gp14 debuted. This weekend will be yet another test to see how much the Desmosedici has improved and will be useful to see the progress that package motorcycle/driver has made the from testing in February. Although still a bit bruised Andrea arrives in Malaysia eager to leave behind the incident in Melbourne.
In Sepang, Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing) will start his fiftieth race weekend in MotoGP Circus. Two races from the end of the season, the young Colombian rider will battle to stay in the top-fifteen in the overall standings, a position that he shares with veteran Nicky Hayden.
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing)
"From now on I will have two Gp14.2 so I can work better during the practice sessions. Now that I have to focus on just a configuration of the bike I hope it will help me get to the race with an ideal set-up and the possibility to battle with the best. "
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing)
"I like this track very much, I hope to be able to do my best, there are the two races left and I want to finish the season with two positive results. "
TEAM GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI SET TO CLOSE THE INTENSE FLYAWAY TRIPLE-HEADER AT SEPANG
The long trip outside of Europe of the Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini comes to an end this weekend with the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit, which played host last February of two important sessions of winter testing.
Sixth placed in last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, Alvaro Bautista will be looking to exploit the data collected during testing to return to a good level of competitiveness: also at Phillip Island, the Spaniard was slowed down by rear grip issues that didn’t allow him to ride to the best his Honda RC213V machine. Bautista can count on a positive streak of results at Sepang: winner in 2006 in the 125cc class, Alvaro collected a fifth place in 2010, on his MotoGP debut; a result he replicated last year.
His teammate, Scott Redding, never achieved great results on the Malaysian track: his best finish was a seventh place obtained last year in Moto2. The English however, can still take advantage of the experience gained in testing earlier this year, to try to confirm himself the best among the riders aboard the Open Class Honda RCV1000R. Redding currently has 69 points in the standings, seven more of Hiroshi Aoyama, his closest rival among the riders who ride same bike.
ALVARO BAUTISTA “We arrive in Malaysia with a great desire to close in the best possible way and the triple-header outside Europe: last February during Sepang test we performed reasonably well, so we hope to get the same feeling as in the past. We can take advantage of useful references on the tyres, so I sincerely hope that this represents a good opportunity to find a solution to the rear grip issues encountered in recent races, otherwise we can’t expect to get better results than those collected lately. However, all the guys are giving more than one hundred percent, despite hard times, so I would like to thank them”.
SCOTT REDDING “Last February, during my first visit at the Sepang circuit aboard a MotoGP bike, I didn’t find myself very much at ease. But now the situation is very different: I got to know the bike better and we have more experience on the bike. In every race I learned something, especially in those in which I was able to follow more experienced riders, as happened for example at Phillip Island with Alvaro. It will be interesting to get back on track at Sepang, and see how much we have improved over the season; in any case, for me this will be one of the most difficult races of the year, both with regard to the circuit layout and for the weather conditions”.
Tech3 duo ready to power through the heat to success in final flyaway battle at Sepang
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith head to the world famous Sepang International Circuit for the last flyaway race this weekend as they are poised for further strong results at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The 5543 metre track is located approximately 50 kilometres south of the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur and was constructed in 1998, with the inaugural MotoGP race occurring a year later. The circuit is considered one of the finest on the planet and sets the standard for all Grand Prix tracks in terms of facilities and layout. There are five left corners and ten right turns with varying degrees of angles and speed. The circuit ensures a thoroughly entertaining and memorable battle at every visit with plenty of fierce overtaking at the 25 metre wide, ultra modern track.
Pol Espargaro intends to determinedly bounce back from coming agonizingly close to seizing his first MotoGP podium in Australia, by storming to a top result this weekend at Sepang. The reigning Moto2 World Champion will be looking to use his experience of the pre season testing with the Yamaha YZR-M1 to battle for the leading satellite bike position. Meanwhile Bradley Smith who rode to his first ever podium in the MotoGP class at the last race in Phillip Island, is aiming to continue his excellent form. He intends to seize a high flying finish to further his ambition of clinching 6th place in the championship standings as the season nears completion.
Championship : 7th Points : 116
"After the unfortunate end to the tricky Phillip Island race, I am looking forward to going to Malaysia, which is a track I have had experience on with a MotoGP bike due to the successful pre season tests. I feel confident as I am a fan of the Sepang International Circuit and I have learnt a lot since the beginning of the year, so I am certain that we can have a competitive finish. The heat and humidity will be tough to deal with as always, but it is part of the event and we will have to fight through it. The Yamaha is quick on the Sepang track and it’s awesome to ride with a big mixture of fast and slow corners. The battle on Sunday will be a long and challenging one, with the circuit having one of the longest lap distances on the calendar. Realistically, I aim to be in the top six this weekend in Sunday’s race and I am ready for the fight in front of the fantastic Asian fans before we head back to Europe for the final race in my home county at Valencia."
Championship : 8th Points : 108
"After the fantastic podium experience at Phillip Island, I am feeling really optimistic for the next round in Sepang, where I will be pushing once again to be the quickest satellite bike. I have had some good results here in previous years and we undertook a positive pre season test earlier this year. Therefore we have some valuable knowledge of the track which should enable us to hit the ground running. The circuit is one of the best on the calendar and it really is fantastic to ride around with its massive variety of corner styles and speeds, as well as the two long straights. There’s always a lot of overtaking but I am ready for the challenge and I fully intend to get into the top six again. The weather situation can be a bit tricky in Malaysia, so we will have to keep that in mind for the weekend with some possible showers occurring. Still, I am excited to be back on the Yamaha for the final race in the east and I will be riding at full throttle to get another top finish."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :
"It has been a long trip to the other side of the world for the three flyaway races but we have had some great results, particularly Bradley’s maiden podium in Phillip Island. This weekend we will compete at Sepang, which is one of the best tracks we visit as the Malaysia people always do a brilliant job to ensure that the circuit is well prepared. We had a good pre season test here with both of our guys putting a huge amount of effort in, so we are feeling confident for this weekend and will aim to be the top satellite bikes. Pol, who was really unlucky to fall and miss out on his debut podium at the end of the last race, has picked himself up and is feeling positive for Malaysia. He has ridden at Sepang on the Yamaha before, which will be a big help as he will have less disadvantage with the lack of track experience in the MotoGP class this time. Therefore, we expect him to be challenging for the title of the fastest satellite bike. Bradley definitely had a superb race in Australia with the excellent rostrum finish which was his first in only his second season in the premier class. He will take the positive confidence to Sepang where he will continue to try his best and build on the result from last week. The team and I expect him to be attacking in the top six. We all look forward to the Sepang race in front of the passionate crowd who adore our sport as we try to entertain them with our best efforts before heading home to Europe."
TROPICAL SEPANG CIRCUIT WELCOMES THE MOTOGP CIRCUS
Sepang, 23 October: LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl arrives in Malaysia this week for the penultimate round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship aiming to finish the season's traditional Asian 3-week trip with a productive result. Sepang is arguably the most demanding race of the year for riders and bikes. Last year the German missed the Malaysian round due to the fracture of his right ankle during Saturday’s practice.
Stefan: "The last race wasn't great for us, so now it's time to look towards Sepang and do our maximum here (and at the last race at Valencia next month). Everyone always wants to finish the season on a high, so these events will be especially challenging for everyone. I've not had the best of luck at Sepang over the years but it's a great track and we will do what we can to get closer to the leaders again. This is a track we all know very well and it’s going to be physically demanding as always - due to the weather”.
Bridgestone MotoGP™ Preview - Round 17: Sepang
Wednesday, October 22 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Round seventeen of the 2014 MotoGP™ season takes place at Sepang International Circuit, a circuit defined by its high ambient temperatures and humidity, and a fast, technical layout.
Measuring approximately 5.5 kilometres in length, Sepang is characterised 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 stress on tyres, with this circuit being one of the more demanding in terms of tyre development.
With the severe braking zones being such an integral part of the Sepang Circuit, Bridgestone has developed a new hard compound front slick tyre that riders will get to use in a race setting for the first time this weekend. This new development offers the same excellent braking stability and durability of the previous hard compound front slick, but with better cornering and warm-up performance.
Although Sepang is tough on tyres and asymmetric rear slicks are supplied at this circuit, the stresses placed on the left and right shoulders of the tyre are not as marked as at other circuits, so the right shoulder features rubber only one step harder than the left. The rear tyre options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the medium and hard compounds, while the Ducati and Open-class riders have the soft and medium compound rear slicks available to them. Owing to its severe braking zones and high ambient temperatures, the front tyre allocation for Sepang comprises rubber compounds that are towards the harder end of Bridgestone’s range with the medium compound front being available alongside the new hard compound front slick that makes its competitive debut this weekend.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The final leg of the triple-header takes place this weekend at Malaysia’s Sepang Circuit, and this event is growing in popularity each year as South-east Asia’s love affair with MotoGP continues to grow. There is still a lot to play for in this championship, with two rounds left to decide who will finish second in the championship. Valentino and Jorge are in great form for Yamaha, but Dani has a tremendous record at Sepang having won there the past two years, so it seems we may have an exciting battle on our hands. This weekend also marks the final round of the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup which Bridgestone has been proud to support in its inaugural year. This series has helped unearth some great young riding talent in Asia, and I hope to see a successful conclusion to this year’s championship in front of a big crowd at Sepang.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“The Sepang circuit have a varied layout that is characterised by its two long straights, the long lap length and the high track temperature which is often above 50 degrees Celsius. It is one of the fastest circuits of the season and features a mix of high speed corners and tight hairpins with heavy braking. Front tyre stability is crucial under braking, especially at the end of the two fast straights, and the high speed corners demand good shoulder grip and durability. This weekend marks the debut of our new hard compound front slick and given how important good front-end feel and stability is at this circuit, this new development should be a boost to riders this weekend.
“Tyre durability and a good bike setup are crucial here as the high ambient and track temperatures mean that there is little cooling effect on the tyres. The track surface at Sepang has degraded significantly over the years, so it’s important that the teams find a setup that makes best use of the tyres and in this regard, having the winter tests here is important.”