Sepang debut beckons for Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
The eni FIM Superbike World Championship travels east for its debut appearance at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this week and Voltcom Crescent Suzuki racers Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes are eager to experience the Grand Prix track for themselves.
Having competed at the Sepang circuit during his 250 Grand Prix days, Laverty is looking forward to renewing his knowledge on-board his Suzuki GSX-R1000. Refreshed by his recent visit to the Suzuki factory in Hamamatsu, Japan, and the opportunity to ride its development MotoGP™ machine; the Irishman heads to Malaysia determined to realign his turbulent season.
Lowes is enthusiastic about his first trip to Southeast Asia, fresh from his home podium result at Donington Park, and is looking to capitalise on his development aboard the Yoshimura-powered GSX-R so far. With two podiums, in both the wet and dry, now under his rookie belt, the British racer is pleased with the way he is gelling with his World Championship machine and is hoping the second phase of the season will continue to prove fruitful.
Built in 1999 the 5,548 meter long Herman Tilke designed track, positioned 60kms to the south of Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, comprises 15 corners and two long straights, providing a technical and challenging layout for both riders and technicians alike. The weather conditions here play as much a part of the weekend’s set-up as the circuit’s design, with asphalt temperatures hitting 60°C, humidity levels between 50 and 90% and rainfall deluges widely expected.
Due to the introduction of the circuit to the World Championship’s 2014 calendar, Voltcom Crescent Suzuki will have an extended first free practice session on Friday 6th June, with 75 minutes on track commencing at 10:30hrs local time (03:30BST). The schedule returns to normal with the second free practice at 15:30hrs local time (08:30BST) and Superpole retains its 15:00hrs local time slot on Saturday. Sunday 8th June sees a further revision, with race one starting at 13:30 (06:30BST) and race two getting underway three hours later at 16:30 (09:30BST).
"Last time out was a big disappointment as my crew deserved better. Again, like in Assen, I crashed early in the races and so I need to settle into a better rhythm from the start. I raced at Sepang on-board a 250cc machine back in 2007 but I'm more or less treating it like a new circuit. We have an extra half hour of track time on Friday which should allow us to get the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki up to speed that bit quicker. It's been too long since our sole podium finish of the season in Phillip Island so we'll keep on fighting and try to get back up there as soon as we can."
“I'm looking forward to Sepang this weekend, it's a great track and one I can't wait to ride. I have a lot to learn over there as I've never seen the track before but I'm hoping to work hard and achieve some good results. I feel a lot better on the Suzuki GSX-R after my podium at Donington so I'm very excited to get to Sepang and see what the team can do.”