Michelin is back in Asia as the final leg of the three-week fly-away tour concludes with a visit to the Sepang International Circuit as MotoGP heads to Malaysia for the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The melting pot of Malaysian culture reflects perfectly in the layout of the 5,543m circuit. That is a track where extremely high-temperatures can heat the surface to highs above of 50°C. Then the sky can open and the abrasive asphalt disappears under a flood of heavy downpours. In combination with the five left and ten right corners plus two long straights, the layout is a difficult examination on riders, bikes and especially tyres. Sepang has become a regular test venue. It is also a track synonymous with preparing a MotoGP bike and all of its components for the season ahead, during the winter tests.
Did you know that @AndreaDovizioso has won the last two races at @sepangcircuit ? Did you know that @lorenzo99 has been on the podium in the last 7 years in a row? Come on guys, #MalaysianGP is here! #ForzaDucati #DucatiTeam pic.twitter.com/do6VmwP0Fg
— Ducati Motor (@DucatiMotor) November 1, 2018
Michelin does not take the familiarity of the well-known circuit for granted and it produces a tyre that must contend with the humid and hot conditions
The selection of soft, medium and hard compound Michelin Power Slicks will cope with these high temperatures. They will also have the consistency and durability to combat the abrasivity of the asphalt. The selection for round 18 of the championship will feature symmetric tyres for the front. Meanwhile, the rears will all be asymmetric. Their right-hand-side will be harder to cope with the added stresses that edge of the tyre will face at this demanding circuit.
With tropical rainstorms almost a daily feature at Sepang, the Michelin Power Rain tyres will most probably be called into action at some point during the weekend. That has happened during the previous two seasons since Michelin’s return to MotoGP. This week’s allocations will see a soft and medium compound for the front and rear. The latter features an asymmetric design with the harder right side.
#MotoGP riders had to face difficult conditions last year in Sepang! 🌧️
— MotoGP™🏁🇲🇾 (@MotoGP) October 31, 2018
Michelin and MotoGP will begin the penultimate weekend of Grand Prix action on Friday with two free practice sessions. The next day two more will follow. Saturday afternoon will see qualifying for the 20-lap race take place to decide grid positions. The 18th round of the season will get underway at 15.00hrs local time (07.00hrs GMT/UTC, 08.00hrs CET) on Sunday 4th November.
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“This is a circuit we all know very well as we come here every year for a pre-season test and it is an ideal track to understand about the bikes and the tyres. The track surface was re-laid in 2016, so it should be properly settled now, and although we have lots of data for here it does also still require a lot of thought as it is one of the hottest venues we visit and the track temperatures can be quite extreme, it is not unusual to see it go over 50°C. The tyres are pushed to the extremes to cope with the high temperatures and have shown their full potential since we returned to MotoGP, they have also had to show their wet weather prowess, as we have had quite a few damp sessions at Malaysia since our return.”
“This will be the final race of a five-week tour that has seen us take in Thailand, Japan and Australia so far, these are all very important venues for Michelin and MotoGP and it has been great to see the support and passion that there is in these places for the sport and we are sure it will be no different this weekend in Sepang.”