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Punishing Malaysian conditions await the tyres

Soaring temperatures, abrasive asphalt and heavy downpours will put the Michelin rubber to the test in Sepang

The MotoGP™ paddock and Michelin are heading back to Asia and the Sepang International Circuit, which plays host to the final flyaway race of the season – the Shell Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.

The 5.5km layout first hosted a motorcycle Grand Prix in 1999 and provides one of the longest laps on the calendar, with a fantastic mix of slow corners, fast straights and medium to high speed bends. Couple that with the intense heat and humidity of the Malaysian climate and you have yourself a gruelling weekend.

The riders will find the going tough, but so will the Michelin tyres. Although completely familiar with the Sepang International Circuit, Michelin aren’t taking anything for granted as it produces a tyre that must contend with the severe humidity, high track temperatures and abrasive asphalt. The Michelin Power Slicks will be available in soft, medium and rear compounds, with the front tyres all featuring symmetric designs. The rear slicks, however, will feature an asymmetric design, with a harder right-hand-side.

Tropical rainstorms are never too far away from Sepang, so the likelihood of the Michelin Power Rain tyres being called into action is very high. This weekend will see a soft and medium compound for the front and rear, with the latter – just like its slick counterpart – having a harder right-hand-side shoulder.

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.”

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