Marquez, after Phillip Island, puts one hand on the title
Marc Marquez (Honda) takes a breath-taking victory at the Australian Grand Prix and extends his title lead. Now Marc has a 33-point gap on main rival Ducati Team's Andrea Dovizioso, who finished 13th.
Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales (both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team sponsored by BMC) finished in second and third place, respectively.
Malaysian GP: high-temperatures, downpours and humidity
The MotoGP Championship, where the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team is sponsored by BMC, stops in this weekend in Malaysia; this round can always be an unpredictable affair with extremely high-temperatures often quickly followed by torrential downpours which flood the track, all added to the constant humidity and sweltering conditions that exist during this time of year. This means the tyres must work exceedingly hard on an abrasive surface during the hottest part of the day — when the track can regularly heat up to temperatures of more than 50°C — to manage these intense conditions.
The Michelin Power Slick tyres will have to work at the absolute
limit to give the riders the performance and durability that is required over the 20-lap race around the 5,543m circuit and the choice of compounds will be paramount to achieving this for all concerned. The range for the weekend will be soft, medium and hard compounds for both the front and rear, with the rear selection featuring an asymmetric configuration that will have a harder rubber on the right shoulder of the tyre.
The Sepang International Circuit staged its first MotoGP race in 1999 and has since become a permanent event on the calendar. It is a safe and modern facility with a layout that provides many different challenges for riders, manufacturers and technical partners alike, making it a track that is also an important test venue in the winter. Its 15 corners — 5 left and 10 right — are combined with two long straights either side of some of the most impressive grandstands of the season and a big crowd is expected to fill them on race day. With the hot and sultry climate at Sepang, there is also a strong possibility of wet weather, so the Michelin Power Rain tyres will most likely see track action some time during the weekend and due to the hotter nature of the track’s location, the selection will be a soft and medium symmetric compound for both the front and rear of the MotoGP machines.
The track and brakes info
Located 85 km from Kuala Lumpur on a 260-hectare oil palm plantation, this is the second longest track in the World Championship after Silverstone and one of the most difficult for the MotoGP braking systems. Formula 1 also races here, but the brakes on the single-seaters are under less stress compared to the motorcycles.
There are lots of braking sections for the MotoGP bikes, and the time spent braking is significant. This combined with the tropical weather make managing the temperatures of both the brakes and the riders crucial. During a race in 2015, the air temperature reached 35°C and the tarmac hit 47°C.
Last year, the rain played a key role in FP2, FP4, Q1, Q2 and even during the race: Several riders tested the Brembo carbon discs to eliminate the problem of weather variations and intermittent rain. That experimentation proved decisive for Marc Marquez's victory this year at Misano Adriatico, where he used carbon discs to compete in the rain.
According to Brembo technicians, who assist 100% of the 2017 MotoGP pilots, Sepang International Circuit is very demanding on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it earned a 5 on the difficulty index, the same score given to Motegi, Spielberg and Barcelona.
The demand on the brakes during the GP
On Sepang International Circuit the Formula 1 cars use their brakes eight times per lap for a total of 17 seconds, while the MotoGP bikes have to use them 11 times for more than twice the time, 35 seconds. That means the brakes on the motorcycles are in use for 29% of the race and those of the single-seaters for only 17%.
The average peak deceleration per lap of the MotoGP bikes is 1,07 G due to there being five braking points that measure less than 1 G. Summing up all of the force applied by a rider on the brake lever from the starting line to the checkered flag, the result comes in at about 1 ton. In other words, the riders are required to apply a force of more than 24 kg on the brake pedal every minute of the race.
The most demanding braking sections
Of the 11 braking sectionson the track, two are classified as very demanding on the brakes, three are of medium difficulty and the remaining six are light.
The most challenging corner is the Pangkor Laut (turn 1), which is also where the Formula 1 cars brake the hardest: The MotoGP bikes hit the turn at 318 km/h and enter it at 74 km/h after traveling 263 meters in 5,3 seconds. The riders are required to apply significant force: 1,5 G in deceleration and a 6,8 kg load on the brake lever, while the Brembo HTC 64T brake fluid gets up to 11,7 bar of pressure.
Turn 15, which is after the Penang Straight, is also difficult: The MotoGP bikes go from 311 km/h to 72 km/h in 5,6 seconds thanks to the 6,1 kg load on the brake lever. The braking space on this corner measures 270 meters and the deceleration is 1,5 G.
There are three other corners where the braking distance is right around 200 meters: Turn 4 is 194 meters long, turn 9 is 191 meters and turn 14 is 189 meters. On this last corner the bikes enter going 'just' 182 km/h and so the gap in speed attained through braking is less than 100 km/h.