With his third position in the Malaysian Grand Prix, Jorge Lorenzo secured his first premier class MotoGP World Championship title.
Having slipped to 11th from the start, a resurgent Valentino Rossi powered to the front and took just his second victory of the season, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso who once again fought very hard for the lead and pushed Rossi until the flag.
Conditions were sweltering over the weekend, and remarkably every session was held in the dry despite the typically humid weather and presence of thunder clouds for much of it.
The race was a demanding test for riders and tires as the ambient temperature reached 33 degrees Celsius.
Q&A with Tohru Ubukata – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
Q. What can you say about track conditions over the weekend?
TU: “On Friday the circuit was very slippery as it normally is for the first session when we first arrive there, whether on the race weekend or during the pre-season tests. On Friday a lot of riders experienced some spinning, but this wasbecause of the greasy surface.”
“By Saturday the track conditions had improved and it was much easier for our tires to work efficiently, and immediately the laptimes dropped by over one second. Finally, in the race Valentino was just 0.009seconds from the lap record, set on our tires back in 2007 so I am quite happy with this.”
Q. Again it seemed that even the softer tire options worked well over race distance?
TU: “Firstly, it is important to note that the softer option front tire we selected for Sepang is still our hard compound rubber, so it is not a soft option. We chose our softer options carefully based on the demands of the circuit, the speed and of course the heat and the tire temperature generated.”
“Our objective this year has always been to select two compound options front and rear that are both suitable for the race, giving riders a choice for Sunday. I am pleased that at Sepang tire choices both front and rear were the most mixed of the season, which means that we have done a good job in developing and selecting the slick tire options for this race.
“Four of the top five riders used the softer front in the race, and Álvaro in fifth also used the softer rear to good effect and with reasonable consistency so I am happy about this. From sixth to tenth, all riders used the harder front slick, and in actual fact the top six riders used four different tire combinations which is a clear sign of how different bike and rider packages prefer different tire compound options in the same conditions.”