Features

"Sepang is very tricky due to the high temperatures"

Just a few days after a very positive race in Phillip Island, which saw Andrea Iannone take an excellent second place and Alex Rins finish close by in 5th, it was time for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR to head to Malaysia and Sepang International Circuit. The last in the long series of fly-away races, the track has very particular needs in terms of set-up and approach. Alex Rins’ Crew Chief, Manuel Cazeaux, tells us more.

sometimes the track temperature is very high so you can lose grip in the tyres quickly so our electronics package needs to be working well to try and counteract the lack of grip

One of the main features of this 18th round of the Championship is the weather, often wet and always hot and humid, it takes its toll physically on the riders despite their rigorous training regimes. These tough conditions also have an impact on the GSX-RR, as Manu explains: 

The humidity is not really a problem for the bike, only for the riders, but sometimes the track temperature is very high so you can lose grip in the tyres quickly so our electronics package needs to be working well to try and counteract the lack of grip.

With long two very long straights, one of which is nearly a kilometre in length, top speed is another an important factor in overall performance, but this intense heat can also sap engine power…   

For sure the engine efficiency is not as good as it is in, for example, Phillip Island - where its much cooler. But this is pretty much the same for everybody, so well try to manage it well. This could be slightly tricky because were still not where we want to be in terms of acceleration and top speed.

However, much of the track has a flowing feel with several quick corners, a layout which suits the characteristics of the GSX-RR, and the riding styles of Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins. How do the team take advantage of these strengths via the set-up?

The track is flowing here, which Phillip Island is too, but its quite different. The key is to have a bike which turns well and gives the rider confidence in the front end. There are only two hard braking points and a couple of tight corners, but the rest is flowing.

With Top 10 results picked up last year in the rain, and the recent run of great form, the team are feeling positive ahead of the penultimate round of the season, as Manu tells us…

“Sepang is a track that everyone in the team knows very well because we usually spend time there in the winter doing testing, and that always helps when arriving at a circuit. We hope to have a good weekend in front of a big crowd!”

More than 100,000 people are expected at the Sepang International Circuit, close to Kuala Lumpur, for this unpredictable and exciting round. Join us on track from Friday 2nd November.