Due to the Sepang circuit's hairpins and numerous hard braking areas a fast lap comes down to braking stability and the bike's turn-in characteristics. Two such areas include the combination of long straights and hairpins that make up the final sequence of the 5542m layout.
The task is made a little easier, for the suspension technicians, with the track surface boasting a high level of grip and few bumps. At the same time it is a venue that also offers challenging high-speed sweepers - the first, diving down deep into a hollow before climbing back out the other side for a 90 degree right-hander.
This corner alone has a tendency to load up the front of the bike to the extreme on the entry, and the rear on the exit. The other is a blind left-hander that disappears over an undulating crest, which ensures that keeping the back-end in line will be challenging even for the best MotoGP talent.
Therefore the ideal chassis set-up is somewhat compromised. With this approach the key areas of concern are catered for - such as braking stability and chassis agility under heavy loads.
To help cater for both the suspension balance will be targeted towards a similar neutral feel as that used in Motegi. The front fork springs will be set slightly firmer - achieved with a higher spring rate - with the bike's attitude controlled by the spring preload.
Softer damper settings will improve feel, leaving the heavier springs to deal with the high cornering and braking forces. As for the rear shock, it will also carry a high spring rate, but the damping will still be smooth to give the riders the feel needed to get the power down hard and predictably, in conditions that can melt a rear tyre in a matter of laps.
Aiding the Yamaha contingent at Malaysia will be the 2004 YZR-M1's in-line, four-cylinder power plant. It's more predictable and drivable power character offers improve tyre endurance over the 2003 machine - a must in the steamy Sepang climate.