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The Malaysian round can always be an unpredictable affair with extremely high-temperatures often quickly followed by torrential downpours which flood the track, all added to the constant humidity and sweltering conditions that exist during this time of year. This means the tyres must work exceedingly hard on an abrasive surface during the hottest part of the day — when the track can regularly heat up to temperatures of more than 50°C — to manage these intense conditions.
The MICHELIN Power Slick tyres will have to work at the absolute limit to give the riders the performance and durability that is required over the 20-lap race around the 5,543m circuit and the choice of compounds will be paramount to achieving this for all concerned. The range for the weekend will be soft, medium and hard compounds for both the front and rear, with the rear selection featuring an asymmetric configuration that will have a harder rubber on the right shoulder of the tyre.
The Sepang International Circuit staged its first MotoGP race in 1999 and has since become a permanent event on the calendar. It is a safe and modern facility with a layout that provides many different challenges for riders, manufacturers and technical partners alike, making it a track that is also an important test venue in the winter. Its 15 corners — 5 left and 10 right — are combined with two long straights either side of some of the most impressive grandstands of the season and a big crowd is expected to fill them on race day. With the hot and sultry climate at Sepang, there is also a strong possibility of wet weather, so the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres will most likely see track action some time during the weekend and due to the hotter nature of the track’s location, the selection will be a soft and medium symmetric compound for both the front and rear of the MotoGP machines.
Michelin and the MotoGP field will head out on track on Friday for two free practice sessions, with two more on the following day. Qualifying for the 20-lap race will take place on Saturday afternoon, when all riders will be pushing their Michelin tyres to the limits to claim the best grid positions for the main event, which gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (08.00hrs CET, 07.00hrs GMT/UTC) on Sunday 29th October.
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager: “Sepang is the penultimate race of the year and the final of the three fly-away races. It is always an event that requires particular attention as it can be really hot and the surface is very abrasive, so we need to supply tyres that work in these extreme conditions. It was re-surfaced in 2016, so we have the information from last year’s event and the pre-season test to work with and that data has enabled us to produce the best tyres for the Malaysian circuit. We are constantly learning at each track and at every race to produce the best tyres. Sepang is one of the events that we get the opportunity to see how the tyres perform at the very highest temperatures, so it is an extremely important race for us on our evolution scale.”
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