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Bridgestone and Michelin get ready for Sepang scorcher

Bridgestone and Michelin get ready for Sepang scorcher

The heat of the Sepang circuit requires some specific differences in the tyre constructions which Bridgestone and Michelin will provide for the MotoGP riders.

Sepang has always been a distinctive circuit on the MotoGP calendar, and its scorching temperatures couldn´t be more different to the chilly conditions of Phillip Island. Whilst the humidity has never come as a surprise to the teams and tyre manufacturers, resurfacing work undertaken before last year´s event threw out a few unknowns ahead of the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. With that asphalt now familiar to Bridgestone and Michelin, expect even faster laps from the rubber providers.

`The circuit was resurfaced for last year´s race which gave us a new challenge, but the race performance showed good pace and consistency across the entire field, and it was a highly competitive race,´ says Bridgestone´s Tohru Ubukata.

`The track layout requires a lot of outright engine power and good braking stability from the machines as riders brake from speeds in excess of 300km/h. It is also one of the hottest tracks that we race at with track temperatures often in excess of 50 degrees Celsius.

`For this reason, we have to look carefully at the central part of the tyre because of the pressure that it is placed under and the length of time that riders are upright over the lap.´

Michelin´s Jean-Philippe Weber also acknowledges the demands placed upon tyres by the heat, but reveals that there will not be too much difference in rear constructions between those used two weeks ago and this Sunday´s rubber.

`We expect the asphalt to be less demanding than it was last year, because Sepang is used a lot for racing, testing and other activities. Riders use similar rear tyre constructions as they used at Phillip Island, with different compounds adapted to suit these special conditions. Edge grip and traction are very important at Sepang, with quite a few long corners. The tyres need to provide consistent performance through these corners during the race,´ says Weber ahead of Michelin´s last MotoGP flyaway race.

`The front tyre definitely gets more stress at Sepang than it does at Phillip Island, with a lot of heavy braking from high speeds, so riders need a stiffer construction front tyre for this race, something like what they use at Motegi and Shanghai, which also feature lots of very heavy braking.´

The choice of single tyre manufacturer will be announced in Malaysia, although Bridgestone are the only company to have entered a tender for the role.


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