Soaring Sepang temperatures throw up tough tyre test

An abrasive circuit and some of the highest track temperatures we see throughout the season make tyre choice and conservation crucial

The three flyaway rounds pose a real test to riders and teams alike, but also for Michelin too with Twin Ring Motegi, Phillip Island now the Sepang International Circuit posing very different but also very difficult challenges. This weekend, some of the highest track temperatures we see all year will be the test, alongside a circuit with quite an abrasive nature. Add to that some heavy rain, which is forecast over the weekend, and tyre choice plus tyre conservation becomes key.

Michelin are well aware of the challenges they face this weekend with MotoGP™ pre-season tests taking place at the Malaysian circuit every year. However, just because they’re aware of the challenges and have tackled them brilliantly in years gone by that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of focus from the French tyre manufacturers ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The soft, medium and hard compound are selected to cope with these requirements and the tyres will have the specifications to combat the abrasive nature and heat of the asphalt, without any compromise to performance. Supplied as symmetric for the front and asymmetric for the rear, which features a harder right-hand side to cope with the increased stresses that side of the tyre has to contend with.

Malaysia’s tropical location means that rain is almost a daily feature, so there is every probability that a heavy downpour will cover the circuit at some point during the weekend. With this possibility and the complex demands of the track, soft and medium compounds for both the front and rear will be available, with the latter featuring an asymmetric design with the harder right-hand side.

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager: “The end of this long and exhausting tour of Asia and Oceania is drawing to a close, but that does not mean we are ready to relax, because the Malaysian GP is a very important race and also one that requires the utmost respect. Over the last three events we have had a huge mix of weather, from torrential rain to high temperatures and we now expect to roll that all in to one weekend here in Malaysia, but without the chill we had in Australia!

“We have probably more data from Sepang than any other circuit, but it still is a track that demands total respect, as it’s very technical, has an abrasive surface and usually the asphalt can be very hot. This is one of the venues where the tyres face the possibility of the greatest difference in conditions, not only over the weekend, but hourly, as we can have torrential rain and then the track dries quickly. The correct rubber is needed to work in those situations and from our intensive testing and knowledge of the circuit we know we have that.”

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