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MotoGP Setup report - Sepang - September 21st 2005

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  1. Circuit: Sepang
  2. Country: Malaysia
  3. Track length: 5548 m
  4. Opened: 1999
  5. Fastest Lap Ever: 2' 1.833 (Valentino Rossi, 2004)
  6. MotoGP lap record: 2' 3.253 (Valentino Rossi, 2004)
  7. Last year MotoGP winner: Valentino Rossi
  8. Circuit tel: +60 3 85262000
  9. Circuit web site:
  10. 2004 race summary;

    Valentino Rossi arrived in Sepang in very determined mood, wanting to forget about his Qatar DNF. Aided by the extensive preseason tests on the Malaysian circuit the YZR-M1 was in very good shape to give Rossi the performance he needed to get his revenge. He dominated qualifying, setting the fastest lap ever, and come Sunday he slipped straight into second place on the first lap behind Alex Barros (Honda).

    The two switched places several times until Rossi made his final pass stick on lap four. Eventual second place finisher Max Biaggi (Honda) was close behind determined to stay in contention for the top podium position. Rossi managed to maintain and extend his advantage, while he was cautious not to ruin his tyres with air temperatures being higher than expected, hitting 40C. Still he was able to still put in laps inside the 2'03s, setting a new lap record of 2'03.253 on lap eight. Rossi eventually finished 3.6 seconds ahead of Biaggi, who never quite made it to pose a serious threat. Colin Edwards had a disappointing result on his Honda finishing in 11th place.

    Set-up report YZR-M1;

    Due to the Sepang circuit's hairpins and numerous hard braking areas a fast lap comes down to braking stability and the bike's turn-in characteristics. Two such areas include the combination of long straights and hairpins that make up the final sequence of the 5542m layout. Suspension technicians have a relatively easy task with the track surface boasting a high level of grip and few bumps. At the same time it is a venue that also offers challenging high-speed sweepers - the first, diving down deep into a hollow before climbing back out the other side for a 90 degree right-hander. This corner alone has a tendency to load up the front of the bike to the extreme on the entry, and the rear on the exit. The other is a blind left-hander that disappears over an undulating crest, which ensures that keeping the back-end in line will be challenging even for the best MotoGP talent.

    Therefore the ideal chassis set-up is somewhat compromised. With this approach the key areas of concern are catered for - such as braking stability and chassis agility under heavy loads. To help cater for both the suspension balance will be targeted towards a similar neutral feel as that used in Motegi. The front fork springs will be set slightly firmer - achieved with a higher spring rate - with the bike's attitude controlled by the spring preload. Softer damper settings will improve feel, leaving the heavier springs to deal with the high cornering and braking forces. As for the rear shock, it will also carry a high spring rate, but the damping will still be smooth to give the riders the feel needed to get the power down hard and predictably, in conditions that can melt a rear tyre in a matter of laps.

    Aiding the Yamaha contingent at Malaysia will be the 2005 YZR-M1's in-line, four-cylinder power plant. This year's evolutions in terms of electronic engine management will give improved throttle linearity making the power delivery more predictable. The more tractable power will also improve tyre endurance, a must in the hot Sepang climate.