Zulfahmi Khairuddin analyses Sepang Circuit turn-by-turn


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider reveals secrets of home circuit, which hosts this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

“I think the Sepang International Circuit is one of the toughest tracks on the World Championship calendar. The temperatures and humidity are a hard combination to bear for those riders who, unlike me, are not used to such conditions.” This is how the circuit is described by Zulfahmi Khairuddin, reviewing the 5548 metre long track where last year he took his first World Championship podium —and the first pole position of his career. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider analyses, turn-by-turn, the track that will host this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Main Straight, Turns 1 and 2
“This track has two long straights: The main straight and the back straight. The former is quite long —920 meters— and gives way to Turn 1, the right hander. It’s one of the slowest on the entire circuit and in Moto3 we take it in second gear. Then we have a little descent before going down to first and taking the second corner, which is a very closed left hander.”

Turns 3 and 4
“The third corner is very long and the lower category riders take it at full gas. Upon exiting we come to a slow corner, Turn 4, which we take in second.”

Turns 5 and 6
“We come to one of my favorite sections of the Sepang Circuit, Turn 5. It’s a left hander, run in fifth gear and it is very important to quickly change direction to the right and drop down a gear to get into Turn 6.”

Turns 7 and 8
“Coming out of Turn 6 there is almost 400 metres of straight before two consecutive right handers. In Moto3 we take them in fourth gear. On the exit, we again have around a 1/2km straight.

Turns 9, 10 and 11
“We arrive at the slowest corner on the circuit, where you have to go in hard on the brakes if you don’t want to have a scare. The exit is taken in first gear at full gas, then you put it in third to take another two linked right handers.”

Turns 12, 13 and 14
“That brings us to the final section of the Sepang Circuit, which is undoubtedly the most technical. This part starts downhill and with a quick left turn, which is linked with two right handers. Turn 14 is the decisive place where you can gain or lose a lot of time.”

Back straight and Turn 15
“The long back straight brings us to the last turn of the track, where last year I made a mistake under braking and Sandro [Cortese] took the opportunity to overtake and take the win. Braking here is very strong and, as we’ve seen, can decide races. After this turn there is one final push before the chequered flag.”