| Track country: Malaysia|
| Track length: 5548m, 3.447miles|
| Track width: 25m|
| Longest straight: 920m, 0.572miles |
| Track left corners: 5|
| Track right corners: 10 |
| Track time zone: GMT +8 |
| Track location: |
Sepang - track information
Built with Formula One cars in mind, the long 5.548km circuit contains a variety of bends and undulations and a 920 metre start and finish straight which runs parallel with an almost as long straight which is linked to the main straight by a first gear left-hand hairpin.
The circuit is famous for its enormous grandstands, featuring hibiscus (the national flower of Malaysia) style roofs which dominate both straights and for the humidity and weather changes. It's always very hot and humid for the riders and teams and often in the afternoon very heavy short sharp thundery showers can fall, just to make practice, qualifying and racing even more demanding.
The Malaysian Grand Prix was first staged at the bumpy and tight Shah Alam circuit in Kuala Lumpur in 1991 and stayed there until 1998 when it switched for one year to Johor. In 1999 it was held at Sepang for the first time and Kenny Roberts won the race for Suzuki and repeated his victory the following year en route to the World 500cc Championship.
Sepang circuit is one of the longest and most complicated circuits in the World MotoGP Championship. Sepang is one of the most challenging circuits both technically and for
the riders. As well as being very long, the extreme climatic conditions make it very difficult tom compete here. An air temperature of around 38 degrees, a track temperature of nearly 60 degrees and humidity levels of more than 75% represent a tough challenge for all riders.
The Sepang is track which combines fase and slow speeds. In three corners speeds of only 60 Km/h are reached whereas on the two straights riders can reach in excess of 305 Km/h. There are sectors of the track where bike agility is crucial, but also other sectors where the bike must be very stable to be able to take corners at more than 170 Km/h. As is normally the case in this sport, it is impossible to find ideal settings with such differing demands on the bike so we must find a satisfactory balance to achieve a good result.
Suspension set up is complicated in Sepang. A series of hard braking zones would requires fitting of hard front springs, but since there is another bumpy section of the track where chattering is commonplace, springs that are slightly softer than are fitted to absorb this chattering. In the rear suspension the most important factor is the grip. Depending on the amount of grip at the track in the beginning, normally slightly softer springs are fitted to start off to increase rear grip. Normally, however, after the first day of practice, the level of grip increases, and a harder spring is fit in the rear to cope with the corners which are taken at nearly 180Km/h.
The gearbox set up is also a crucial factor at this circuit given the large gap between slowest and fastest speeds on one lap. A very short first gear ratio is used and the sixth is relatively long, near the 325 Km/h mark. With two long straights, which are taken starting in second gear and moving up to sixth, it is crucial to find the correct steps between gears. As an indicator of this it is worth bearing in mind that for 25% of the lap time the rider is on the two straights. The most important gears are second and third since all the corners except the fast '3' corner are taken in these gears.
The climatic conditions are extreme in Sepang the bikes must be specially prepared to increase the refrigeration efficiency of the engine. To achieve this end, radiators with larger capacities than normal are fitted.
Tyre choice again is important in Sepang. The two consecutive straights of nearly 1km each put an enormous amount of stress on the tyres, so much so that we have seen tyres quite literally explode in the past because of the high temperatures inside. The Michelin and Bridgestone
technicians will have taken note of the performance of their tyres in preseason testing in Sepang.
Sepang - travel information
The circuit is some 5km from Kuala Lumpur airport and easily reached.
Sepang - address and contact information
Sepang International Circuit
Tel: +60 3 8526 2051
Fax +60 3 8526 1020
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