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Oct 15, 2013

Even More From Last Weekend's Various Motorcycle Road Races

The start of the FIM MotoGP World Championship race at Sepang. Photo courtesy of Bridgestone.
Malaysian MotoGP™ debrief with Masao Azuma

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium (Symmetric) & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main) & Soft (Alternative)

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa clinched his third victory of the year in sultry conditions at Sepang ahead of teammate Marc Marquez and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.

After unsettled weather on Friday and Saturday, conditions on race day were warm and fine with the track temperature reaching 46°C at the start of the race. Softer slicks front and rear were preferred by the twenty-three riders contesting the Malaysian Grand Prix, with only two riders selecting the harder rear slick option, and just five riders opting for the hard compound front tyre. Strong tyre performance at Sepang resulted in new qualifying and race lap records being set and an overall race time eighteen seconds quicker than the previous record.

Q&A with Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

What challenges does the Sepang circuit provide for Bridgestone in terms of tyre development and were you happy with tyre performance last weekend?

“Sepang is only moderately severe circuit on tyres, but in combination with the hot Malaysian climate the venue does present us with some challenges. The high ambient temperatures mean the tyres retain a lot of heat, so to ensure consistent performance and durability we tend to use harder compound here. Also, track conditions at this circuit seem to be deteriorating year-on-year, probably due to the large amount of racing held at the circuit, so our tyres need to also provide a high amount of feel and grip for the riders.

“Our tyre allocation was well suited to the conditions we had at Sepang last weekend and overall performance was good. Many riders complained about the bumps in the braking zones this year, but new qualifying and race lap records were set and the overall race time was also the quickest ever at this circuit. Rider feedback after the race was that the tyres offered strong, consistent performance over race distance so I am happy with this result.”

How does the deteriorating condition of the track surface at Sepang influence tyre choice?

“Last weekend the condition of the circuit was a factor in front tyre selection as in contrast to most other races this year, the majority of riders selected the softer of the two front slick compounds available. Sepang features heavy braking zones and some fast corners which would normally suggest the selection of the harder option tyre for maximum braking and cornering stability. Last year, more than half of the riders had planned to use the hard front tyre for the race if it was dry. This year however, due to greater amount of bumps in the braking zones, the preference this year was for the softer option, medium compound front tyre. This is because most riders felt the more pliable rubber of the softer option was better at absorbing the bumps, giving riders greater control when entering the corners. Curiously, of the five riders that chose the hard compound front slick for the race, four were CRT entries, so depending on machine specification and setup some riders felt the hard option offered an advantage over the soft. Also, after the race some riders commented that the grip level of the track on Sunday wasn’t as good in comparison to Saturday. We think this was due to the overnight rain and this is something we’ve experienced before at this circuit.”

Temperatures were warmer on race day than on Friday and Saturday. Did this have an effect on tyre choice?

“Track temperatures on Sunday for the race were about five degrees warmer than seen in qualifying, which wasn’t a big enough increase to have an effect on tyre choice. As the riders mentioned that on Sunday grip levels were lower than on previous days and also considering the aforementioned bumps, the softer slicks were always going to be the preferred option. Our slick allocation for this race was towards the harder end of the scale and only if track conditions were in the mid-fifty degree range would we have perhaps seen a shift towards the harder slick options.”

More, from a press release issued by Bel-Ray:

Bel-Ray Racer Jonas Folger Scores Top 10 Result in Malaysia Grand Prix

Teammates Aleix Espargaro and Jordi Torres also finish top 10 in their respective classes.

FARMINGDALE, N.J. ? Round 15 of the 2013 World Championship series took place at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia this past weekend. The track is located 50 km south of Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, and has one of the longest laps on the Grand Prix circuit. High heat and humidity make the event particularly challenging for the riders and teams who struggle to keep the bikes performing at their best in the extreme conditions.

Bel-Ray’s Moto3 class racer Jonas Folger started from 10th on the grid and moved up early, into 8th place at one point during the competition. Keeping the leaders in sight, Folger’s tires began to wear, and he was forced to slow his pace to avoid a crash due to a lack of grip. Nevertheless, Folger retained 8th place as he crossed the line.

“The race was very hard for me,” said Folger after the checkered flag. “I had a bad foot coming into the race and today it took its toll. I made a pretty good start, and from the opening moment I pushed hard to stay in the leading group. I risked a lot, and that made the front end work more than normal. I tried to brake very late to gain positions, and at first I was incisive. So then I pushed the front forks too much. Consequently, I noticed that gradually the front tire started to lose grip. I tried changing my riding style and being smoother, but gradually I could feel the front suspension losing performance was not as responsive under braking. Even so, I’m satisfied because I gave all I could. I hope to be fully recovered from my ankle injury in Australia and able to ride in normal conditions. This week, we will discuss how we can improve both the bike and me, to be more competitive in Australia.”

Bel-Ray fields two racers in the Moto2 class as part of the Aspar Team. Jordi Torres and Nico Terol have both experienced mixed results this season. Torres’ 9th place and Terol’s 19th place were the result of strong rides by both racers.

”I had a good feeling today in the race’” said Torres. “Last year, I didn’t enjoy myself at Sepang because of the immense straight. I came here ready to change the situation. We struggled all weekend to adapt to this track and not lose ground to our rivals. At the beginning of the race, we endured the onslaught well, even though halfway through (Johann) Zarco escaped and I almost crashed when chasing him down. Seeing that the front was beginning to slip about more and more, I dropped the pace a little to avoid any nasty surprises. This 9th in Sepang, a circuit that is not amongst my favorites, is a small victory for me.”

Terol’s 19th place was the result of a tenacious ride after overcoming the adversity of a crash.

“The last race was perfect, but here we have not received any reward for our effort and hard work. Even though I started from 14th, I never threw in the towel. When I got to the group ahead of me, at the end of the straight I lost the front and went down. After getting back on track, I had twisted handlebars to wrestle with and just tried to go at the fastest pace possible. I leave Sepang happy because I think we did a great job in the race and I was incisive. We still have two races in a row to come, so hopefully we can take a better result in Australia.”

In the MotoGP class, Bel-Ray Aspar rider Aleix Espargaro was again the top CRT racer in the field. His 9th place finish cements his position as the top CRT in the overall season standings, 51 points ahead of his nearest rival.

“I am very happy. This is a difficult circuit; we achieved a great result here today. At the beginning of the race, we were very strong and I had fun riding with the Ducati riders –just like last time. After (Andrea) Dovizioso pulled away, I kept up with him for a few laps. But when the rear tire performance decreased, it was hard for me to stay with him because the bike was sliding around a lot. I believe that we should be satisfied with our result this weekend because we were the CRT winner at a tough circuit for us. In the end, we finished in 9th place, so we continue to lead the classification for CRT riders with an advantage of over 50 points. Our goal is to keep pushing hard and see if we can be crowned champions in Australia.”

Espargaro’s teammate Randy DePuniet overcame a lack of tire grip that forced him to ride more conservatively to avoid a crash. His 12th place finish was the result of consistent lap times.

“I think we’ve all had problems with tires, which is normal at this track as it is always so hot,” said DePuniet. “If I’m not mistaken, most CRT riders chose the softer rear tire and mid-race its performance plummeted. Premature tire wear compromised our setup and at times I had the back sliding out and the front bouncing up and down. Nevertheless, I pushed hard to stay upright and keep with (Hiroshi) Aoyama and (Yonny) Hernandez, but I made a mistake and I almost completely lost the front end. I finished in 12th place, which I think is a good result after a difficult weekend.”

The series will continue this weekend in Australia at the Phillip Island Circuit for the Tissot Australian Grand Prix.

To learn more about Bel-Ray specialty powersports lubricants, visit or call (732) 938-2421.

Follow Bel-Ray racers all season long at

More, from a press release issued by BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport:

BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport completes perfect 2013 IDM season.

BMW Motorrad celebrates the Riders’ and Manufacturers’ title in the IDM Superbike as well as the Riders’ title in the Superstock class – Two more victories for champion Markus Reiterberger at Lausitzring.

Klettwitz/Munich, 15th October 2013. With last weekend’s final round at Lausitzring (GER), BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport completed a perfect 2013 season in the International German Motorcycle Championship (IDM). The HP RaceSupport-backed BMW customer teams and riders claimed the Riders’ and Manufacturers’ titles in the IDM Superbike class as well as the Riders’ title in the Superstock class. Thus, the BMW S 1000 RR was the bike to beat again in 2013.

In the highly competitive IDM Superbike, the titles were decided with races to spare. BMW had already successfully defended the Manufacturers’ title at Sachsenring (GER) at the sixth of eight championship rounds this season. At the penultimate round at Hockenheimring (GER), young German Markus Reiterberger crowned himself Riders’ champion in his first ever full season in the series. At last weekend’s season finale, the fight for the title in the IDM Superstock category was decided in an exciting showdown. Bastien Mackels (BEL) from the VanZon alpha Technik BMW by Herpigny Team retained the upper hand by winning the final race of the year and in doing so, secured the Riders’ title in this class.

At Lausitzring, the BMW teams and riders finished the season in style. Champion Reiterberger claimed victory in both races with his BMW S 1000 RR of the VanZon Remeha BMW Team. In addition, the first IDM podium finish for the new BMW HP4 was celebrated. Stefan Nebel (GER / Wilbers BMW Racing) finished third in race one with the bike which is equipped with the innovative electronic damping system DDC.

The season summary in the IDM Superbike category is once more impressive: the BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport-backed teams achieved 12 victories and a total of 29 podium finishes this year. At the end of the season, BMW tops the Manufacturers’ classification with 639 points and an advantage of 274 points to its closest rival. In the Riders’ classification of the IDM Superbike, champion Reiterberger collected a total of 314 points, 127 points more than second-placed Austrian Michael Ranseder (Honda / 187 points). BMW rider Damian Cudlin (AUS / RAC Racing) finished the season in third overall with 182 points. In the Superstock class, BMW rider Mackels won the title with an advantage of two points to his Swiss rival Daniel Sutter (340 to 338 points).

“It was a great season. We can celebrate the Riders’ title in the Superbike and the Superstock categories, and the Manufacturers’ title – what else can one wish for? We achieved all the ambitious goals we had before the season,” said Berthold Hauser, General Manager BMW Motorrad HP RaceSupport. “Congratulations and a big ‘Thank you’ to all our partner teams and riders. These successes are not guaranteed in a fiercely contested series like the IDM. They were only made possible by the close co-operation between the customer teams and our HP RaceSupport experts who worked hand-in-hand in order to continuously improve the performance of our BMW bikes. The RR was already a winning bike in the past and it was great to see the confirmation of its potential this year. We are also proud that our efforts with the new BMW HP4 and its innovative DDC technology paid off and we brought the bike to the podium. Adapting this new system to the requirements of racing was one of the areas in which we had our main focus this year. Overall, the season could not have gone much better.”