— MotoGP 2013 – Round 15 – Sepang
— Lorenzo taunts Marquez’s penalty point at Sepang press conference
As the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang kicked off with the usual Thursday pre-race press conference with Repsol Honda Team duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, as well as Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, Marc VDS Racing Team’s Moto2™ leader Scott Redding and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s local Moto3™ talent Zulfahmi Khairuddin, all eyes were pealed on Repsol rider Marquez, who earlier in the day received one penalty point from Race Direction, and will be stripped of the Constructors Championship points for that race after his touch with Pedrosa in Aragon.
Marquez commented: “In the end we need to respect that decision. We are ready and I want to be concentrated on this weekend. It will be interesting to see the track and my riding style, because my first real MotoGP test was here and now things have changed with the electronics and so on.” Yet when prompted about whether the penalty will change his approach to racing he added: “I will not change.”
Pedrosa, nursing a sore throat, was unwilling to share his thoughts on the matter: “About today: no comment. I have no comment because it is something between Race Direction and Marc. I am only a side effect of what happened in Aragon…Physically I have had a hard week. I started to improve at the end of last week, but I actually started to feel a bit better than I am now. I will see how the physical condition is tomorrow.”
Lorenzo added a touch of irony to proceedings with his view on Marquez’s penalty point: “The Jerez action was a great show, and Silverstone, and Laguna when he passed Valentino outside of the track was a great show, so I think they should encourage that type of action to make an example to the young riders…I think they are wrong (about the one penalty point). They have too many penalties. They should have given him one more point in the championship!”
And on the weekend ahead he stated: “In Aragón we lost a good opportunity to win the world title, that is true, but clearly we weren’t’ competitive enough to fight until the last corner with Marc, to win like at Silverstone. Now the championship is more difficult, it’s almost impossible, but something special could happen with the race at 4 o’clock – there could be rain. We have to be concentrated to try and win whether it is here, Phillip Island or Motegi, and react to anything special that happens.”
Rossi, who has had great success at Sepang over the years, is looking forward to this weekend’s action: “Yes, this track is fantastic, it’s great, I like it a lot. It’s one of my favourites, but I think that’s the same for all of the riders, especially in MotoGP, as they know every centimetre of it as we spend a lot of time here in the winter. And so all of the top guys are very strong and fast at this track. The temperature will be difficult all weekend, but the track is very fun and you can make big slides. It’s a great enjoyment to ride here. We will see what happens.”
Nicky Hayden, who has been linked with a move to Aspar for over a month now, was still not able to confirm a possible move at the end of the season, which will have been influenced by this evening’s other news that Aprilia’s influential Luigi Dall’Igna will move to Ducati next year: “Some things have changed in the last weeks, for sure. I think we’re a bit closer to a deal now, but I’m definitely staying in MotoGP. Just need to figure out what bike, what team and so on. I thought I would have it all tied up by now which isn’t the case, but I need to sort out the details and see where my next home is.”
Redding, looking to beat his nearest rival Pol Espargaro to keep his championship lead, thinks the extra pressure will be good for him: “Yeah it’s going to be important, but also fun. To have the pressure like this, I also quite like it. I like Phillip Island and also Motegi. We know we are going to struggle a little bit here with the two straights, but you have to forget that little disadvantage and try and get a good handful of points.”
Local boy Khairuddin, who broke his right wrist last time out in Aragon, has been declared fit for his home race: “I am really happy to be back home after the surgery in Barcelona last week. This morning we had a check in the Medical Centre to declare if I’m fit to race this weekend, which the doctor confirmed. I feel good with my body and my hands and everything looks really good. It was a little bit under pressure. Everybody in Malaysia is waiting and I am really happy that they have helped me to be fit for the race this weekend. I can move my hand now, it feels good and now tomorrow I can just forgot about that and concentrate on riding.”
Earlier in the day some of the riders took to some pre-race activity as NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Mattia Pasini, PBM’s Michael Laverty, Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales and Ana Carrasco, San Carlo Team Italia’s Romano Fenati, Maptaq SAG Zelos Team’s Marcel Schrotter, Red Bull KTM’s Arthur Sissis, his teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Tech3’s Danny Kent, RW Racing GP’s Jasper Iwema, as well as GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Niccolo Antonelli, took to the track’s Go-Karting venue, to sharpen up the race-craft before the serious business gets underway on Friday. Sissis took the victory ahead of Kent and Pasini.
Parallel to this, the South East Asian Motorcycle Business Forum 2013 was also held today, to bring the main players from the motorcycle and racing industry together with key sponsors and figures in the Asian territory. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta was joined by Repsol Honda Team Principle Livio Suppo, LCR Honda MotoGP Team CEO Lucio Cecchinello, as well as Shell Advance Motorcycle Oil Lubricant Global Brand Manager Koh Kar Tai, as they networked with many other key sponsors and local government representatives the day before the race.
– Marc Marquez penalty
On 29 September 2013 during the MotoGP race of the Gran Premio IVECO de Aragón, rider number 93 Marc Marquez made contact with the machine of rider number 26, Dani Pedrosa, who subsequently crashed as a result of damage to his machine caused by that contact.
Technical information was requested from the Repsol Honda Team in order to enable the Race Direction to study the possible causes of the crash of Dani Pedrosa, and this was examined in the days following the Gran Premio IVECO de Aragón. The technical report submitted to Race Direction makes it clear that the technical design of the damaged sensor, and the subsequent effect of this damage on the electronic controls of the machine, were major factors in the crash of Dani Pedrosa.
A Race Direction hearing was held on 10 October 2013 at the Sepang International Circuit. The Race Direction decided on the basis of Article 220.127.116.11 of the 2013 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Disciplinary and Arbitration Code to impose the addition of one Penalty Point to the record of rider number 93 Marc Marquez for the 2013 season for irresponsible riding causing danger to another competitor, which is an infringement of Article 1.21.2 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.
Furthermore, the Race Direction found that the design of the sensor and related electronics system compromised the safety of the rider. It therefore decided in application of Article 18.104.22.168 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Regulations that the 25 points in the Manufacturers’ Championship gained by the manufacturer Honda in the Gran Premio IVECO de Aragón were withdrawn.
No appeal has been lodged. The decision of Race Direction is final.
– Sandro Cortese Penalty
On 29 September 2013 during the Moto2 race of the Gran Premio IVECO de Aragón, rider number 11 Sandro Cortese came into contact with rider number 15 Alex De Angelis who subsequently crashed as a result of this contact.
This is considered to be irresponsible riding causing danger to another competitor and is therefore an infringement of Article 1.21.2 of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.
Video evidence of the incident was requested by Race Direction and this was received in the week following the Aragón race. A Race Direction hearing was held on 10 October at the Sepang International Circuit, where both riders gave evidence.
The decision of Race Direction was to impose the addition of one Penalty Point to the record of rider number 11 Sandro Cortese for the 2013 season, according to Article 22.214.171.124 of the 2013 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Disciplinary and Arbitration Code.
No appeal has been lodged. The decision of Race Direction is final.
— Teams preview Sepang MotoGP
— Yamaha Preview
The heat is definitely on as Yamaha Factory Racing head overseas for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the first of the triple back-to-back races that mark the final push to the end of the season. Just four races remain for defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo to try to retain his crown from current championship leader Marc Marquez.
The Sepang circuit is up first this Sunday. Lorenzo has yet to score a premier class MotoGP victory at the track, coming second in 2012 and third in 2010. The Mallorcan does have one 250cc win under his belt from 2006.
Nine time world champion Valentino Rossi is a big fan of the Malaysian track and carries the honour of the rider with most wins at the circuit. The Italian claims a 125cc victory in 1997, a 500cc win in 2001 and premier class victories in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.
The Sepang International Circuit held its first Grand Prix in 1999 and continues to be a class-leading venue. The track provides fast, exciting racing with four slow corners, two long straights and ten medium to high-speed corners providing big challenges in bike set up. With a 5.5km lap length it is one of the longest laps on the Grand Prix circuit and as races are run in extremely hot and humid conditions it provides one of the ultimate tests of endurance for the riders who must be in peak physical condition to cope.
Jorge Lorenzo – “Now we start the big trip with three races in a row and face the last part of the championship, the crucial part. After Aragon where we fought so hard we now visit a special circuit. Sepang is a track everybody knows really well. I guess all the riders will be strong there because we made a couple of pre-season tests. Sepang is a long and technical circuit with two great straights but also some nice corners. The worst thing is it’s always stormy and you never know when it is going to rain. I have some good memories there but we need to keep focus now on the race and try to recover a little bit to Marquez. The championship is difficult but we want to fight until the end. Let’s see what happens!”
Valentino Rossi – “The Sepang circuit is a track that I like a lot, I have had many great victories there. I think it suits the Yamaha quite well. It’s very demanding physically because it’s very hot but it’s also a great track and challenge because of this. I want to try to make a good weekend and work hard on the set up to arrive competitively for the race on Sunday.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager – “We go now to Malaysia to start the last four races of the season and we are much stronger than at the beginning of the year. I am quite positive for Sepang because Jorge likes the track and also Phillip Island and Motegi that follow afterwards are I think quite good for us. He is feeling good and strong. Aragon P2 was of course not so bad but we wanted to win. For sure for the next rounds we would like to get some victories to finish the 2013 season in the best way. We will see what happens!”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director – “The three races in a row will be certainly very interesting. We have good memories for each race and we are ready to do our best to close the season in a positive way. In Sepang we did two tests earlier in the season, as the other teams, but in the meantime the bikes have changed a lot. Having good weather and good conditions will be important. It is also important not to make mistakes because the races are three in a row, and the points that we can collect are many. We expect to improve even more, to do better, with both riders. We are ready for these three important weeks.”
— HRC Preview
This weekend the contest for the 2013 MotoGP World Championship moves from its European heartland to the tropical heat of Malaysia, where the spectacular Sepang circuit hosts round 14 of 18.
Remarkable rookie Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) leads the charge, breaking records at every race. Earlier this year the 20-year-old became the youngest winner of a premier-class motorcycle Grand Prix and he has now won a total of six races, the most victories ever recorded by an apprentice in the class of kings.
With four rounds remaining – including a gruelling run of three races on consecutive Sundays in Malaysia, Australia and Japan – Marquez leads reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) by 39 points. He has won five of the last seven races and hasn’t finished lower than second since June’s Catalan Grand Prix where he took third place.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) travels to Asia following a luckless race at Aragon where he crashed out after Marquez made contact with his machine. Although the two bikes barely connected, the impact was enough to sever the cable that connects the rear-wheel speed sensor on Pedrosa’s bike to its engine-management system. The freak incident disabled Pedrosa’s traction-control system, which caused the former 250 and 125 World Champion to crash moments later. Both riders are due to meet Race Direction at Sepang on Thursday to review the incident.
Pedrosa’s first non-finish of the year gives him a mountain to climb in the battle for the title. Going into Aragon he was equal on points with Lorenzo and 34 behind Marquez. Now he languishes 59 points behind the leader, through no fault of his own.
Pedrosa won last year’s rain-lashed Sepang race (as well as the 2003 125 GP and the 2004 250 GP at the track) and will be out to win again and keep himself in the title game, despite some pain from the hip he injured at Aragon.
Between them, Marquez and Pedrosa have won eight of the 13 races so far, putting Honda ahead in the constructors’ World Championship and the Repsol Honda Team at the top of the team championship.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) enjoyed a great battle with nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) at Aragon, eventually finishing fifth, just one second from the podium. The 2011 Moto2 World Champion – who in July became the first German to start a MotoGP race from pole position – regained a lot of confidence in that race and is in the mood to keep attacking at Sepang.
Bautista arrives in Malaysia determined to continue his impressive form that has seen him in the thick of the battle for the final podium place on several occasions. The hard-riding Spaniard has finished six of the last seven races in the top six, including fourth-place finishes at Laguna Seca and last time out at Aragon. He knows that if things go his way he can make the top three for the first time this year.
Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) is delighted to be embarking on the trio of ‘flyaway’ races that brings him to Sepang and then next week to his home race at Phillip Island. The Australian rookie has had a tough first season in bike racing’s biggest championship, fighting to get into the points-scoring positions on his CBR1000RR-powered CRT bike. So far he has scored two points and he will be out to score more at Sepang this Sunday.
The contest for the Honda-powered Moto2 World Championship is heading for a thrilling climax between Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) and Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex). Although Redding leads the way, the last few races have usually seen the Briton and the Spaniard taking it in turns to beat each other. At the last two races, however, Espargaro scored more points than Redding, so the gap now stands at just 20 points with four races remaining.
Espargaro’s team-mate Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) also has an outside chance of joining the title battle. The Spaniard currently sits 14 points behind Espargaro, after finishing second at Aragon behind runaway winner Nicolas Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter).
Four riders within 21 points of each other dispute fourth place in the series, with Redding’s team-mate Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) leading Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter).
Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) is another Australian on his way home via Sepang. The teenage Moto3 ace knows that this weekend’s race at the challenging, high-speed Malaysian venue will be a tough one, but he will be doing everything in his powers to equal or better his recent Misano result, where he came home fifth.
Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda), Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) and Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) and Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini FTR Honda) should also feature in the battle for points in MotoGP’s smallest class.
Sepang is usually the hottest race of the MotoGP season, which makes it one of the toughest events of the year. High temperatures and sweltering humidity at the track outside Kuala Lumpur demand a great deal from riders, motorcycles, tyres and pit crew.
The circuit, which has been on the calendar since 1999, is popular with riders because it features a challenging mix of mostly medium- and high-speed corners and two long straights where they can fully use the horsepower of their MotoGP machines.
Race day at Sepang is immediately followed by the Australian GP on October 20 and then the Japanese GP at Motegi on October 27. The 2013 season finale takes place at Valencia, Spain, on November 10.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: “Now we head to Malaysia for the first of the flyaway races and I’m ready to get there! Sepang is a circuit I like, it’s the first track where we were really able to test the Honda at so it will be nice to go back there and regain the feeling, and to see what we have learned over the season! I know there is a hearing set for Thursday with Race Direction to discuss the incident with Dani in Aragón. There is not much we can do, we need to wait and see what they say.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: “I felt good in the last race riding at the front, and I look forward to finding the same feelings on the bike again in Sepang. The track has a little of everything, fast and slow corners, hard braking and long straights and the weather conditions make it hard work. Physically it’s been a hard week, I couldn’t walk for three days due to the pain in my hip, but it’s getting better every day so I’m hoping to be in perfect condition for the weekend.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: “Aragon proved that our performance is getting stronger and stronger. Also, I gained a lot of confidence during that race, which gives me the motivation to continue improving at Sepang. I know that I still need a little more experience to help me manage the drop in the tyres during the last few races, but hopefully I can get on top of that soon. Sepang is always a real challenge, for which I’m fully ready.”
Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: “Aragon confirmed the good form we have been in during the second half of the season and proved that Misano was nothing but a blip. At Alcañiz we got back to the level we had been showing in previous races and we took another step forward with the material we introduced in the test on the Monday after Misano. We fought all race for a spot on the podium and it was a real shame to lose touch with Valentino [Rossi] on the last lap because of the battle with Bradl. Anyway, we achieved our goal of being the first non-factory bike across the line and that is a source of great satisfaction to us. We are really improving and we want to confirm our progress again at Sepang by reducing the gap to the winner. It won’t be easy because everybody is starting out with the data from preseason testing but I think we are at a relative advantage because our bike has improved a lot since then. I want to enjoy myself again like I have in the last few races. I have been working hard on my physical condition in readiness for the heat and humidity of this race and it is important to know when to use your energy and when to save it. The track is always fantastic and definitely amongst my favourites, with lots of different kinds of corners, hard braking zones, fast direction changes and some spectacular sliding. It is a wide track with some different lines and lots of opportunities to pass on the brakes. The weather tends to be changeable from the morning to the afternoon and the pace tends to drop as the day progresses because of the intense heat.”
Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: “Finally we are on the way home and I am looking forward to racing in Malaysia this weekend. I wasn’t too happy with the result at Aragon but it is important we make up for it this weekend in Malaysia and give ourselves a good platform to work from in my home Grand Prix the following weekend. I like Sepang and I want to give it my best shot before heading on to Australia. My feeling with the bike has improved and there is no reason why we can’t have a good race on Sunday. The heat will play a big part I am sure but I have done my best to prepare for it.”
Moto2 rider quotes
Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team: “Three races in three weeks make it busy but I’m looking forward to Sepang and what comes after it. At Aragon two weeks ago the main straight was our downfall, but we’ve got a new engine for Sepang so hopefully we’ll have a bit more speed. And my right arm should be better after the op we had after Misano. It’s going to be a big fight for the title at the final four races with Pol and maybe Tito [Rabat], so the plan is pretty simple: keep fighting all the way.”
Pol Espargaro, Tuenti HP40 Pons: “I am looking forward to Malaysia – it’s a good circuit for us. We have to get there and then find out if we will be in a good position for the race. My strategy is simple: just to try to win it! When you are fighting for third or fourth you can’t get so many points back, so we have to push 100 percent, but also we need to try to be relaxed and stay cool.”
Esteve Rabat, Tuenti HP 40 Pons: “Sepang is a circuit I really love. Overall, my season is going quite well and one good thing is that I am now comfortable when the tyres are sliding, which is especially important in the heat at Sepang. We will try to keep going in the same direction with the team – keep working and try to do our best.”
Honda Moto3 Rider quotes
Jack Miller, Caretta Technology – RTG: “I look forward to Sepang! I really love the track and I hope to get back on form there. It’s a fast track with a couple of long straights, but if you’re in a group then the straights aren’t such a problem because you can use the slipstream. That’s the thing in qualifying as well – try and find a decent slipstream.”
Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold: “Sepang is one of the tracks I prefer in the championship, but they have two straights, so this will be difficult for us. If you can get in a group and slipstream, then it’s not so bad. I like the rest of the track: it will suit our bike well.”
Romano Fenati, San Carlo Team Italia: “Sepang has two long straights, so we know it will be a difficult weekend. Although I know the circuit we didn’t have such a good race last year, so this year I hope to do better. My team is working very hard and very well. Between Misano and Aragon we made a big step, and we hope to carry on the same way.”
— Bridgestone Preview
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium (Symmetric) & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main) & Soft (Alternative)
Round fifteen of the 2013 MotoGP™ season takes place at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, a real test of man and machine with its high ambient temperatures and technical layout.
Measuring approximately 5.5 kilometres in length, Sepang is characterised by two long straights that end in extreme braking zones which demand high levels of stability from the front tyre. The rest of the circuit is a mix of high and low speed corners that combine to generate significant loads, with this circuit being one of the more demanding for tyres.
Although Sepang is hard on tyres, the stresses placed on the left and right shoulders of the tyre are similar hence two of the three rear tyre specifications offered at this circuit, the soft and medium rear slicks are symmetric. Only the hard compound rear slick which is offered just to the works riders is asymmetric in construction, with the right shoulder featuring harder rubber than the left shoulder.
Owing to its hard braking zones and high ambient temperatures, the front tyre allocation for Sepang includes the two hardest front slick tyres in Bridgestone’s range, the medium and hard compound front slicks. As the need for warm-up performance is not a major factor in the hot Malaysian climate, the main wet tyre at Sepang will be the hard compound wet tyre. Each rider will also be able to select up to two front and rear wet tyres in the alternative soft compound.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“I am looking forward to this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang as MotoGP is becoming more and more popular in this part of the world and I expect another large and vocal crowd will be present. Although it is an excellent venue, the heat and humidity at Sepang takes its toll on the riders and the layout of the circuit is quite demanding on tyres so overall, this is one of the more challenging events on the calendar. Marc is in a commanding position at the moment and as we head into the final few races of the season, we are all eagerly waiting to see how Jorge will rise to the challenge as he strives to defend his championship crown. Also, starting on the Monday after the race the selection event for next year’s inaugural Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup will take place at Sepang and Bridgestone will be providing tyres for this event. I look forward to seeing the talented crop of young Asian riders contend for a place in what will be an exciting feeder series for the world championship.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Sepang is one of the most impressive circuits on the MotoGP calendar and is distinctive because of its two long straights which help make it one of the longest circuits we visit. Wild weather is often encountered here with track temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius and heavy rain, like we experienced last year, all possible over a race weekend. Sepang features a mix of high speed corners and tight hairpins with heavy braking, which makes good front tyre stability a priority here. Overall this circuit is quite tough on tyres as tyre temperatures can be quite extreme due to the nature of the circuit and the hot ambient conditions which give little chance for the tyres to cool.”