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MotoGP - Sepang - Pre Race

2811 Views 26 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  JonGu
Hollywood is back!

Sete Gibernau will race at GP of Malaysia at the Sepang circuit on September 10th. The Spanish Ducati rider missed the Czech Republic GP because of complications after the operation on his shoulder following the scary first lap crash (not to metion the ambulance crash on the way to the hospital) in Barcelona that also injured Capirossi and Melandri.

Gibernau will return to his place beside the Brno race winner Loris Capirossi while Alex Hofmann, who had replaced Sete, will return to the Ducati of the Pramac-D'Antin Dunlop team.

I don't think we'll see to much from Sete as he gets back into the swing of things, but he needs to do some seriously hard work if he wants to keep his ride. However, I think Ducati is waiting on Nicky before they decide on Sete.

This is the race that Nicky needs to get the setup spot on and get a top three finish to keep his points lead.
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Michelin Previews Sepang MotoGP

From Soup
by staff
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
This just in from Michelin:

MotoGP World Championship, round 13
Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang
September 8/9/10


The 2006 MotoGP World Championship moves closer to its climax at the Malaysian Grand Prix, the first of three back-to-back flyaway races that will play a crucial role in deciding who gets to wear motorcycling's most sought-after crown.

With fives races remaining, four Michelin men lead the hunt for the 2006 MotoGP title: Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin), Valentino Rossi (Camel Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) and Marco Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V-Michelin). These four riders have won ten of the 12 races so far this year, Michelin's nine MotoGP riders filling 30 of a potential 36 podium positions.

Michelin has won 12 of the 15 premier-class GPs staged in Malaysia at three different tracks Â* Sepang, Shah Alam and Johor. Sepang, which joined the GP calendar in 1999, is a venue much visited by MotoGP teams, who regularly use the circuit for winter test sessions.


"This will be a very interesting race for us because we were disappointed with our results at Sepang last year," says Nicolas Goubert, Michelin's motorcycle racing director. "The 2005 race was strange, less than two seconds faster than the previous year's, because track conditions weren't so good. Sepang is like that, the grip character can change very quickly and for no apparent reason, even though the surface looks the same and the temperature stays the same. At last year's race the grip level was much less than during preseason testing, when we were very fast. This year's preseason testing didn't go quite so well for us at Sepang, partly because the bikes weren't as ready as they had been in 2005, so we weren't able to do so many long-distance runs. But maybe that means we will have a better race this time!

"Sepang has been a very popular test track ever since we first went there in 1999. The reasons for this are straightforward: it's a challenging circuit, with similar weather conditions throughout the year and it's quite close to Japan.

"The track isn't one of the most aggressive for tires, but it is quite demanding, with high track temperatures, long straights, some heavy braking and many long right-handers which put a lot of heat into the right side of the tires. The front tire is very important at Sepang because it's a very wide track, so the corner entries are quite long. This should be good for both our new front tires Â* the wider profile tire and the narrower profile with new construction Â* because these tires give better grip and more feel during the crucial corner-entry phase. Our 2006 rear should also help because its bigger footprint delivers improved edge grip which is particularly important through Sepang's longer corners. So I think we should be quicker than last year. The big question is how strong our competitors will be.

"We are now entering the final phase of the 2006 World Championship with four of our riders at the top of the championship. This moment of the season is always very exciting for everyone, including us, because the fight between the different riders and teams becomes even more intense. Our riders and the teams inevitably become even more demanding during this period when every championship point counts for so much, but we are used to this pressure, it is all part of the game, part of th1)e interest."


Lap record: Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team RC211V-Michelin), 2:02.993 (162.390km/h-100.904mph)

Pole position 2005: Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici), 2:01.731

Recent winners of the Malaysian GP 2005 Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici), 43:27.523 2004 Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin), 43:9.146 2003 Valentino Rossi (Repsol Honda RC211V-Michelin), 43:41.457 2002 Max Biaggi (Marlboro Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin), 44:01.592 2001 Valentino Rossi (Nastro Azzurro Honda NSR500-Michelin), 44:46.652 2000 Kenny Roberts (Telefonica Movistar Suzuki RGV500-Michelin) 31:58.102 (race stopped early due to rain) 1999 Kenny Roberts (Suzuki Grand Prix Team RGV500-Michelin), 44:56.033 1998 Mick Doohan (Repsol Honda NSR500-Michelin), race at Johor 1997 Mick Doohan (Repsol Honda NSR500-Michelin), race at Shah Alam 1996 Luca Cadalora (Kanemoto Honda NSR500-Michelin), race at Shah Alam

Michelin MotoGP tire logistics

The secret behind the success of Michelin's MotoGP tires is their all-round performance potential.

Logistics, however, are just as crucial in the quest for victory, particularly when races follow on from each other in quick succession. This year's calendar takes teams from Malaysia to Australia and finally on to Japan in the space of just three weeks!

Michelin provides tires for a total of 18 MotoGP machines for 9 riders at each race of the 17-round World Championship. Since the beginning of the 2006 season, Michelin runners have claimed 7 pole positions and 10 wins from 12 races. They have also secured 30 podium places from a possible 36.

For the forthcoming visit to Asia and the Pacific Rim, Michelin's tires were trucked to the airport in high security convoys. They were then loaded onto secure airfreight containers which left France on the Monday of the week preceding the Malaysian Grand Prix race week. Additional tires will be flown directly to Australia and Japan. To facilitate stock management and movements, all tires are identified by bar codes. The freight containing the tires and equipment needed for the paddock amounts to between 7 and 8 tons. Used tires are returned to Clermont-Ferrand after each race.

Michelin's MotoGP crew totals 16 staff: the program manager, five engineers, eight fitters, one press officer and one security guard to watch over the tires at night.

Michelin takes around 1,000 tires to each GP.

Rear tires (60 per cent).

Front tires (40 per cent). Front tires are available in two profiles: 55 per cent are 'wide' profiles and 45 per cent are 'narrow' profiles.

30 qualifying tires per race for all of Michelin riders.

The number of rain tires taken to each race fluctuates slightly as a function of the anticipated climate (slightly more are taken to Phillip Island where the chances of rain are higher). Rain tires account for around 10 per cent of the total package.

Michelin's nine riders generally use between 200 and 300 tires in the course of a GP weekend. The other 700 tires allow Michelin to respond to all track and weather conditions.

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Kroptikin Thinks......

By Kropotkin:

Three In One - Sepang, Phillip Island and Motegi Preview
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 11:22 PM
The Power Of Numbers

Numerologists, and others who seek deeper meaning in numbers, of which there are many inside the MotoGP paddock, will be delighted this weekend. For, after a 3 week break, MotoGP returns for 3 races in 3 weekends, traveling 9000 miles to do so, in a series of races spread around the Pacific, calling at Sepang in Malaysia, Phillip Island in Australia, and Motegi in Japan.

The first stop is the track which riders both love and hate. Sepang is a well-laid out track, with excellent facilities, not far from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. But being just a couple of degrees from the tropics, the climate at Sepang always plays a role. The heat is usually intense, which combined with high humidity saps riders of their strength, weakening their concentration, and making mistakes ever more likely as the race goes on. And if it's not hot, then it must be raining, a tropical downpour robbing the riders of visibility and making the track more treacherous than ever.

And it's not just the riders that suffer. Sepang is a killer of both tires and bikes. With air temperatures well into the hundreds, it's almost impossible to cool a 250 horsepower engine already running at its very limit. And with track temperatures pushing 130 degrees, tires soften to mush and dissolve like ice cream. Just to add insult to injury, Sepang also has some of the fastest straights of the season, reaching speeds close to 200 mph at three places round the track.

Added to the rich and varied opportunities for mechanical failure is the great racing layout: a wide track, a good range of corners, and a final hairpin after a long straight, the ideal location for do-or-die tussles before the drag up to the finish line, perfect for deciding races on courage, braking skill, and wily lines through the turn. The irony is that, while the riders fear the race, they love the track. It's a track they all know well, as they ride hundreds of laps over a three day winter test during the off season.

Hot, Wet And Fast

Loris Capirossi is among Sepang's admirers. He loves the layout, and won the 2005 race convincingly, leading almost from start to finish, Valentino Rossi the only rider to briefly challenge Capirossi's hegemony two-thirds of the way along. Coming fresh off his win in Brno, and with a lucrative new contract under his belt, Capirex is the man to beat come Sunday. But it's not just the tiny Italian, it's the Bridgestone tires as well. Bridgestone riders took 4 of the top 5 places in qualifying last year, as well as 2 of the 3 steps on the podium. If Bridgestone can find a good race tire at Sepang, the race result could throw a spanner in the works of everyone's championship prospects, with Chris Vermeulen, John Hopkins, Shinya Nakano and Sete Gibernau, fresh back from injury, all capable of finishing at the front of the field.

As for the Michelin runners, Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards must be viewing this race with a some trepidation. The Yamahas have had so many problems with the Michelins disintegrating this season, that a visit to a track notorious for eating tires must be way down on their list of fun things to do, despite Rossi's affection for the Sepang circuit. Nicky Hayden, on the other hand, will feel quietly confident about Sepang. The Kentucky Kid's results at Sepang are as predictable as the rest of his performances this season: When Hayden goes to Malaysia, he comes 4th. Not the place Hayden would choose for himself, but with Capirossi the favorite to win, and trailing by 50 points, and Bridgestone runners expected at the front, Hayden should be able to keep a comfortable points advantage over his closest rivals.

Hayden's team mate Dani Pedrosa will see things otherwise. He has a lot of reasons to want to do well in Malaysia, not least to make up for last year's fiasco, where he slid off after only a few laps, after winning the previous year's race. Pedrosa's eternal 250 rival Casey Stoner will be keen to repeat his performance of last year by taking the win, as it would strengthen his team's bargaining position in finding sponsors, something they've found very hard to do this year, and, more importantly, strengthen his own position in looking for a ride for next year. Many believe his talent deserves a ride, but a string of unnecessary crashes have made the young Australian look like a risky investment.

The Race Of The Season

The middle of the three races is at probably the finest race track of the season, and arguably the final motorcycle racing track in the world. Phillip Island is a track which you cannot help but love. Despite the hopelessly antiquated facilities and the amateurish race organization, the track is sublime. With the old Assen track killed in the name of commerce, Phillip Island remains alone as the cathedral of motorcycle racing. For Phillip Island has everything you could ask of a racing track, and a little bit more. It has a 200 mph front straight, where top speed counts, but which you can slipstream down if you get behind a faster rider; It has 150 mph sweepers, which are more about rider courage than pure horsepower; It has elevation changes combined with difficult turn sequences, where you run downhill with the front loaded up before cutting back to run uphill again, cutting across the slope, at the very limits of grip.

But there's more: Phillip Island also has spectacular scenery, perched as it is on a hill overlooking the Bass Strait, with nothing beside it but 150 miles of sea to Tasmania, and beyond that the Great Southern Ocean. It's location also brings some peculiarities of its own: With nothing to tame it, the wind can come blasting in all the way from Tasmania, making the 200 mph straight a matter of clinging on like grim death. And with the winds can come the rain, but they also bring yet another hazard: Seabirds soar their way around the circuit, blissfully unaware of the motorized mayhem unfolding below them, occasionally settling on the track or floating across the path of an onrushing racing motorcycle, only to perish in an explosion of seagull entrails and racing plastics.

The Man To Beat

As a rider's favorite, it's also a track that everyone wants to win at. A victory at Phillip Island is a proud addition to any rider's trophy cabinet, a mark that the rider has arrived. So the racing will be fierce. Nicky Hayden will want to avenge last year's race, where he came close to beating Valentino Rossi, but just got dropped over the last few laps. But beating The Doctor at Phillip Island is one of the toughest tasks in MotoGP. Rossi has won every race at Phillip Island since 1998, with a brief lapse in 2000, his first season in 500s, where he "only" finished third. This is the track at which his genius shines brightest: Rossi can pass people at places which see other riders heading for the gravel. He is most deadly coming down from Lukey Heights, cutting inside into the MG turn, and holding his line to power out through 11 and back round towards turn 12 and the front straight. Many have tried to emulate his passes through there, but most end up in an ignominious low side, or worse, a high side, and across the grass.

This will not stop the Australian rookies from trying, though. Both Chris Vermeulen and Casey Stoner will be determined to do well at their home GP. Stoner will want to expunge the memory of his premature departure from the 250 race last year, ending his title hopes, and handing Dani Pedrosa the title almost on a plate. Chris Vermeulen's last win at Phillip Island dates back to 2003, when he won the World Supersport race here. He would love to repeat, but the Suzukis have suffered at the Island over the past few years, their lack of top speed making it hard for them to compete.

The man who took advantage of Stoner's misfortune last year, the diminutive Dani Pedrosa, would love another win in Australia. His gritty display last year, slipping out from behind Sebastian Porto to take the win by a few thousandths of a second, earned him a lot of respect, admitting after the race that he'd been riding with a fractured shoulder for the past few races, and still managing to clinch the title. A repeat in the top class would both seal his reputation, and put a lot of pressure on his team mate and championship leader Nicky Hayden.

Pedrosa isn't Hayden's only worry. With Rossi's near perfect record, Ducati's impressive score sheet, and a brace of outstanding home riders, the Kentucky Kid will have his work cut out in Australia. He is always good at Phillip Island, but faces challenges on all sides. If he can't manage to stay ahead of Pedrosa at Sepang, winning, or coming very close, could become an urgent priority at the Island.

At Home With Mr Honda

So after two races capable of shaking up the championship standings, the MotoGP circus heads to the Twin Ring at Motegi, a strange track-within-a-track layout, with the road track nestling partially within a giant oval Honda designed to learn more about Indy Car racing. With the track being designed, owned and built by Honda, you would expect the Hondas to do well here. But the irony is that historically, the Bridgestone-shod non-Hondas have an outstanding record here, taking wins and podiums, forcing the Hondas a humiliatingly long way down the result sheet.

But there are worries here for everyone, as Motegi has seen more than its fair share of mayhem. Last year's race started well enough, with everyone getting through the first corner without incident, in stark contrast to the preceding two years, but it soon developed into a war of attrition. When the checkered flag fell for the end of the race, the final tally of finishers was a shocking 11 out of 21. With this season's litany of injuries already a concern for many teams, a visit to the track infamous for catching out, and casting off the unwary will be one more headache.

Quite why Motegi should cause such carnage is hard to discern. That problems arise as the whole pack tries to dive into the first tight U-turn is hardly surprising. But elsewhere the explanations are less obvious. The track layout is best described as a deformed tuning fork, in itself a rather pleasing irony, crossed tuning forks being the logo of Honda's bitterest rival, Yamaha. The circuit consists of several medium length straights, connected by wide U-turns, with a handful of turns of varying angle and difficulty spread around the track. But there are no strange cambers, steep uphill or downhill sections, or flying blind bends to catch riders out. Perhaps the track's lack of surprises is what catches the riders out, their guards being dropped.

As you might imagine, the track is unloved by everyone. Well, nearly everyone, for the track holds happy memories for Kenny Roberts Jr. Motegi is the place Kenny Jr won his last race, and he returns here capable of mounting a serious threat for the first time in many years. The Honda-powered KR211V is likely also Honda's best chance of winning here, the other Honda riders not having had a great history here. Championship leader Nicky Hayden has two 7th places and a DNF, and Marco Melandri came 5th on a Yamaha two years ago, then was skittled off into the gravel by Valentino Rossi last year. The last Honda winner here was Makoto Tamada in 2004, the last year Tamada was on Bridgestones, and a feat he is unlikely to repeat. But a repeat for the Bridgestones is a very real possibility: Loris Capirossi won here last year, after winning at Brno. If Capirossi and the Bridgestones are in the same form they showed at Brno this year, the competition has much to fear.

Dani Pedrosa's record at Motegi is perhaps the best of the Honda bunch, but Motegi is also the place Pedrosa came close to wrecking his title defense last year. He fell three times during practice, fracturing his shoulder in the process, a prelude to a run of poor results for the young Spaniard. If the layout of the track suits anyone, its combination of heavy braking before 180 degree turns, followed by long straights where acceleration is key, will surely suit the flyweight Spaniard, who at just a smidgeon over 100 pounds has a big advantage in both losing and gaining momentum.

The Die Is Set

After three weekends of long hours aboard planes, difficult climatic conditions, and challenging tracks, the MotoGP circus will take a well-deserved three week break, before heading towards Estoril for the penultimate round. By that time, the championship race should be down to just a couple of names. The great thing about writing this now, before three tough races in the most exciting and topsy-turvy season we've seen for years, is that I can honestly say, with my hand on my heart, that I wouldn't dare place bets on what those names will be. Nicky Hayden heads into this weekend with a 25 point lead. Three weeks from now, things could be so very different. Bring it on.
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Some Humor From

Following on with the splendidly thought-out GP calendar that was scheduled using a blindfolded dart-throwing competition late one night in Dorna HQ the GP rabble turn up this weekend at Sepang in Malaysia. Horrah! The racing's back.

So what of the Sepang track? It's ultra modern. It's clean. It has a superb track design. The weather is usually excellent. It's positioned near a decent airport. In fact it's the kind of place the MotoGP community dreams of whilst stuck fumbling around in the rain with medieval technology in the shanty town slums of the Donington Park paddock.

Sepang is seemingly a favourite of all the riders - many of whom are talking the talk before the event. But can we believe it all?

Rossi's claiming Sepang's his favourite track. Maybe so. But will it be a favourite of his highly temperamental bike with its oversized kill-switch?

Pedrosa's claiming that his many testing miles at Sepang will give him the edge. But what if it rains?

Shinners also claims to love the track and has a new exhaust. But will a tarmac love-affair and an extra 0.3bhp between 4200 and 4500rpm be any use against a Honda?

Capirossi's yet another rider who favours this track. Can everyone like it? He also reckons his Bridgestone boots will too…and he certainly on a roll after Brno. But Sete's back…

Hayden? Well the Konsistency Kid is claiming Brno was a mechanically instigated blip and that normal service will be resumed. But what if it's HRC 'tinkering' the bike to let Pedrosa win?

Edwards claims he'll help Rossi win the title. But will a sixth place finish help anyone?

Hoppers has gone well here before and believes his fitness will show in the predicted sweltering heat. But like Shinners…does this mean anything against an Evil HRC Mobile?

Maybe though it'll be the less vocal riders who shine?

Melandri isn't injured. Usually that's a good thing for a rider but Marco seems to perform better when suffering from some kind of hideous injury. But nevertheless the hardman can never be counted out - and when there's a scrap to be had he likes to be involved. Are we sure he's an Italian?

Stoner has been quiet too. After been publicly dumped by Yam for demanding too much spondooles the gravel-master has turned into the grovel-master and politely asked for his old Honda seat back. HRC have yet to reply. What he needs to do is show them he's worth keeping.

And finally the biggest surprise, in numerous ways, could be Kenny McJunior. Kenny's come to life this season like a microwave meal and if the heavens open who'd bet against him ending up on the podium?
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You are one cuttin and pastin muthafukah
CerkMX said:
And please see my post in the greatest GP rider ever thread...i would be happy to take that book off your hands for a short time:thumbsup
My pics:
1st Capirossi
2nd Pedrosa
3rd Rossi
Looks like Pedrosa might be in some trouble the next few rounds... or maybe he'll go even faster like Melandri does when he is riding injured

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