By Stephen English

The Malaysian MotoGP is traditionally one of the physically toughest races on the MotoGP calendar.

The heat at Sepang saps energy while the humidity makes it difficult to catch your breath.

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The task of racing flat out for 45 minutes is therefore not for the faint hearted.

The extreme weather also makes it easier for a rider to momentarily lose concentration and, after the opening day of running at Sepang, both Michael Laverty and Nicky Hayden admitted that the venue provides a unique challenge for riders across all three classes:

"You're soaked through with the sweat and you need to keep on top of your fluid intake," commented Laverty. "It's a tiring and physical track and the heat wears you down. It'll be a tough 20 lap race on Sunday if it stays dry but in these conditions it's a tough workout."

This will be Laverty's first time racing in Malaysia whereas Hayden is a veteran of ten starts at Sepang. The American also stressed that it is not just the rider that feels the effects of the Malaysian weather but also the tyres:

"It's tough for the rider and the tyres, it gets hot and greasy," said the 2006 world champion. "When this track is hot it's probably the hardest race of the year. It's hard with the heat but the air, with so much humidity, means that you don't get a lot of oxygen but it's what you train for and prepare for so we deal with it."