When we hear Sepang, we picture a fast, technical track where the sun can ruin the asphalt and then, five minutes later, rain might soak it. Although the Malaysian track holds no secrets for the MotoGP riders, used to beginning the winter season here, surprises are always just around the corner.
Not only for those riding, but also for the Michelin technicians who have prepared for the penultimate race of the season by creating tyres able to stand up to the heat and abrasive asphalt. As always, three compounds are available (soft, medium and hard), with symmetrical front tyres and asymmetric rears (with a harder right side).
In case of wet weather, the Michelin rain tyres are soft and medium (the rear tyres also asymmetric in this case).
“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 - explains Michelin manager Piero Taramasso - 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 therefore have to deal with significant stress.
“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" assured Taramasso.