The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has visited the Sepang International Circuit since 2014 but with major changes to the track since last year's race there is the potential for some surprises this weekend.WorldSBK has a rich history in Malaysia, with Sepang the third venue to have hosted the Championship. Johor and Shah Alam have also hosted races but the current venue has been one that has been met with universal praise. It's technical layout and challenging conditions have made this an instant favourite with riders but major resurfacing could unsettle the running order.
Kawasaki and Ducati will rightly start the weekend as the favourites, but with the circuit having undergone major work, the opening day of practice will be a journey into the unknown for the teams and riders. Corners have been reprofiled, a new track surface laid and the challenge presented by the SIC could be very different in the opening sessions. With places in Superpole 2 up for grabs for the top ten after Friday's practice session, getting to grips with the changes will be paramount.
Teams that arrive with a solid base setting are at an advantage, but the new corner profiles will ensure that no rider arrives with a perfect setup. Over the course of the last year, Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies have dominated by virtue of their ability to arrive at any round and know what to expect. The extensive changes will remove some of that advantage and put the field on a more even keel this weekend.
Can We Expect the Unexpected in Sepang?