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MotoGP: Riders get "dry conditions" at Sepang while Kuala Lumpur suffers a downpour

Bryan Edwards

How do they do that? It's usual for motor racing circuits to have a micro-climate and no one has ever been able to understand why it is so. But when MotoGP reported from Sepang that "the track was dry by 11:30" yesterday, Kuala Lumpur city centre, just 40 km away was settling in for heavy rain that brought city traffic to a standstill.

The unofficial test at Sepang started on Monday with "wet patches" and by the afternoon was properly wet, but not so wet as to prevent running.

24 hours later, some of the major roads in KL city centre were under water several inches deep: KL has a superb drainage system but the amount of rain that appears all at once overwhelms even the large storm drains that run under the pavements.

Only two teams are testing: Repsol Honda's Marc Márquez is testing a MotoGP bike having moved up from MotoGP. He says that there is a big difference between Sepang and Valencia, where he tested after the last race of the season, because the speeds in Malaysia are higher so the differences in both acceleration and braking are more noticeable than in Spain.

He's still riding the 2012 bike but hoped he will improve his performance quickly and, perhaps today, try the 2013 bike. In fact, in dry conditions, he used it yesterday, the second day of the three day test.

Álvaro Bautista aboard his Go & Fun Honda Gresini is testing a new front end and he was pleased that the wet weather gave him the chance to try out the new front end: he reckons that there is much improvement to be gained with the latest suspension.

At the end of day two, Bautista said that the new suspension, from Showa, was not proving as great as an improvement as Honda had hoped: they had asked for the test as part of the process for deciding the final specification for the 2013 bikes. Although he was subtle, it seems that Bautista wants to keep the Honda parts. That he said "was not what we expected."

As both teams had a full day's dry running, KL commuters found that the rain, just 40km from Sepang, turned 15 minute journey times into two hour marathons.

Today, the skies in the city are blue with white cloud and a pleasant breeze.

So Sepang might expect rain.

Valentino Rossi isn't testing in Malaysia: he's too busy wining, for the third time on Sunday, the Monza Rally Show, including winning an event staged on the Monza main straight, now renamed the Marco Simoncelli straight, after the MotoGP rider who was killed in a crash at Sepang in 2011.