Bridgestone gets ready for Sepang
With the team's and Bridgestone having plenty of knowledge of the Sepang circuit following two pre-season tests this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix shouldn't be defined by a fight to manage tyre wear and instead should allow riders to race flat out throughout. With Marc Marquez having set the fastest lap of last weekend's Australian round on the final lap of the race it's clear that Bridgestone has done a good job of managing the rubber as they come to the end of their final season as the sole tyre supplier in the premier class.
“This weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix is the last of the three back-to-back races and after the breath-taking contest we had last week at Phillip Island, the championship is poised for a thrilling conclusion in the final two rounds," said Hiroshi Yamada. "The Sepang circuit is a vastly different circuit from Phillip Island, but like the venue for last week’s round, its layout and climatic conditions create a tough challenge for the riders, their bikes and tyres.
"In recent years we have seen crowds at the Malaysian Grand Prix growing year on year and given the intense championship battle between Jorge and Valentino I hope to see a record crowd at Sepang International Circuit this weekend. This weekend also marks the final round of the Asia Talent Cup and Bridgestone has been extremely proud to be the exclusive tyre supplier for this series at it has an excellent platform to help talented Asian riders on their way to a career in Grand Prix racing.”
The challenge presented by the Malaysian track is unique in that track temperatures are scorching. Shinji Aoki outlined the challenges prior to the start of practice.
“The Sepang circuit has a varied layout with its main features being its two long straights and high track temperatures, which often rise above 50 degrees Celsius," said Aoki. "These factors, along with the track being one of the fastest circuits of the season make this circuit very demanding for tyres. The main characteristics the tyres need to have at this circuit is excellent braking stability from the front tyre and good edge grip and durability from the rear tyre.
"A good bike setup is crucial at this circuit as the grip level of the track isn’t very good and with the high track temperatures, it is easy to overheat the rear tyres. Although teams acquired a lot of bike setting data for this circuit from the pre-season tests in February, the track conditions for the race in October can be quite different to those in testing.”