The Sepang World Superbike races brought teammates to the fore today. All of the top teams have two-riders that need to get along and compete at the same time. Under the tropical sun, some of the partnerships may have changed beyond repair.
Press releases from the organizers and from the teams after Sunday's World Superbike and World Supersport races at Sepang:
2014 Sepang World Superbike Race Two Results: Race Restarted After Burning Bike Brought Out Red Flag
World Superbike race two started at 16:30 local time, with the schedule being shifted for the main markets to be able to see the racing.
The race started with Toni Elias taking the lead into turn one from an excellent start, with Sylvain Guintoli pushing past a few turns later when Elias wobbled out of a corner. Tom Sykes, with his wrist injured in the first race, was third until Marco Melandri passed him, setting up an Aprilia 1-2-3 ahead of a Kawasaki 1-2 tailed off by Baz.
On the fourth lap, Guintoli started eking out a lead from Elias but the red flags were brought out after Claudio Corti's MV Agusta leaked fluids onto the track and caught fire, much to Corti's surprise.
The opening World Superbike race was sixteen 5.5km laps for a total of 88.7 kilometres on a 52°C track.
The World Supersport race was fourteen long laps of close racing in 32°C sunshine with a track temperature of 48°C.
It rains almost every day in Sepang, and yet it has been dry for the last two days. Rain is predicted for Sunday, but that doesn't mean it's a certainty. Heat and humidity, however, are. New riders need to be reminded to take their helmets off when they get back to their pit boxes, and plenty of fluids need to be ingested.
The Hermann Tilke designed Formula 1 circuit suits motorbikes more than other car tracks, but the bumps, caused by braking cars pushing the tarmac into corners like a carpet against a wall, can still catch riders out, especially at the end of the faster stretches where you have to tip your bike in over corrugated road.
Press releases from the series organizers and World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Sepang:
As the temperature rose to 35°C, the lap times dropped.
Superpole took place in a humid 35º climate and 60º track. The long lap length reduced the amount of chances each rider would have determine their qualifying place.
Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri topped the sheets ahead of Superpole in the untimed practice session.
Jules Cluzel was two thirds of a second quicker than Michael van der Mark, with an impressive 2'08.577 lap. Ratthapark Wilairot was unable to improve on his times from Friday but remains third in qualifying due to his quick time in the first session yesterday.
Sylvain Guintoli was quickest by over four tenths of a second, continuing Aprilia's dominance of the top spot. All but the last two riders went quicker than their times yesterday, determining their Superpole places this session.
The World Superbike championship has never raced in Malaysia and this weekend, the sixth of the season, the iconic MotoGP and Formula 1 circuit Sepang, fifty kilometres from the capital Kuala Lumpur, finally plays host to the series. Tropical weather, as expected, prevailed and an extended seventy-five minute opening session for both classes introduced the teams to 32º temperatures.