Sepang International Circuit is among Andrea Dovizioso’s favourite tracks. Here, the rider from Romagna won his 125cc world title in 2004 and landed his first victory on his Desmosedici GP in 2016. Andrea is still competing for the second place at the world cup and, though he is fifteen points ahead of the runner-up, he will try to seal the deal already in Malaysia.
In the meantime, the physical conditions of Jorge Lorenzo are such that his participation in the Malaysia Grand Prix is not confirmed yet. As things stand, Jorge will fly to Sepang to hit the track and test the status of his wrist during FP1. Alvaro Bautista will go back to the Angel Nieto team, though it should be pointed out that the Spanish rider spent a weekend in Australia above all expectations, competing for the podium at his first go in the official team.
As for the Sepang circuit, let’s just remember that it might be the only track in the championship where the MotoGP motorbikes do not use electronics to cut power, and in almost all the curves the riders can rely on every bit of the exuberant horsepower a modern MotoGP bike has to unleash. It’s a very technical, varied track where long corners taken leaning down at a reasonably high speed are alternated with sudden and forceful braking followed by some pretty slow curves. Malaysia’s latitude puts it in a tropical zone and the weather can often be bizarre. Making things even more complicated, the recent renovation of the asphalt brought a problem to the surface, namely the long time the new coating needs to dry in spite of the local temperatures abundantly exceeding 30 degrees Celsius.
The Sepang circuit, located about 50 km south of Kuala Lumpur, is one of the most modern and spectacular tracks in the world. It was built as part of a vast complex that also includes a hotel, shopping centre, golf course and other sports facilities. It was built in just 14 months, held its first GP in 1999 and set the standard for race circuits worldwide. With four slow corners following two long straights and ten medium to high-speed corners, the wide track is particularly favourable to overtaking and plenty of throttle. One of the longest laps in MotoGP is made all the more gruelling for riders by intense heat and humidity.Circuit data