The Sepang International Circuit, venue for the Malaysian MotoGP and first official test of 2016, will close for resurfacing from 15 February to 8 May.
Sepang is one of the few venues to host both F1 and MotoGP races. The forthcoming work is based on requirements from the FIA and FIM, to ensure the circuit continues to meet international standards.
The work will involve resurfacing the entire 5.54km track, repairing and upgrading the drainage system, kerbs and run-off area tarmac, plus rebuilding the gravel beds at Turns 1 and 15.
The timing means that the opening 2016 MotoGP test will take place as planned from February 1-3. However the information gained will be of less venue than usual for October's race due to the subsequent resurfacing.
Given the impact that the new Phillip Island surface had on tyres in 2013, it is expected that new MotoGP supplier Michelin will test the new asphalt thoroughly before the grand prix weekend.
“The last 5 years have seen an average 98% usage of the track's availability throughout the year, from large international events all the way to private bookings. These events have taken the circuit to a whole new level of recognition, and in tandem with this, it is a must for SIC to continue providing the best experience and top levels of safety for all track users. Additionally, our efforts to develop motorsports in Malaysia further underline the need to maintain a top international class circuit in the country,” said Dato' Razlan Razali, Chief Executive Officer of the Sepang International Circuit.
“We regret causing disappointment and inconvenience due to the closure of the circuit, and we thank all track users for their understanding. Like all facilities and especially circuits, maintenance works is a priority, and the resurfacing and upgrading works is necessary to ensure the continued availability of a track of the highest quality in Malaysia,” he added.
MotoGP has previously held two of its three official pre-season tests at Sepang. However the second outing of next year has already been moved to Phillip Island, from February 17-19, followed by the usual final test in Qatar.
The last time Sepang was closed for upgrading works was in 2007.