Mixed weather conditions stop many riders from participating in both sessions
Dani Pedrosa came away on top of the lap times during today’s free practice sessions ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit. The Repsol Honda rider set a fastest overall time of 2m 1.621s in the first free practice session and the Spaniard’s teammate Casey Stoner was close behind (2m 1.773s) while Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo kept both Hondas in sight with a third place lap of 2m 1.934s.
We've been lucky to have the first practice in the dry to begin setting up the bike for the race.
The afternoon session was a waste for most of the top teams with the track drying throughout the sessions but with some standing water leaving the riders that did venture out having to use full wet rubber that was causing a lot of slides nearing the end. The top three men from this morning’s session never left their chairs with no valuable data available to them due to the slippery track conditions. The morning session however provided much better conditions for the teams, but with rain always a threat in the tropical Malaysian climate, some of the top teams may regret not taking to track to test wet weather settings.
Fourth place in the morning session went to Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso with the Italian setting a best lap time of 2m 2.236s that was good enough to end up one place in front of teammate Cal Crutchlow on a 2m 2.266s lap. Coming away with 6th this morning was American Ben Spies on the Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 with a lap time of 2m 2.358s and he finished ahead of rookie Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda who set a best time of 2m 2.617s. Nicky Hayden ended the first session in 8th with a lap of 2m 2.754s for the Ducati Team while San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista ended up in 9th with a time of 2m 2.872s.
Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison set a lap time of 2m 6.452s in 17th place while Roberto Rolfo (Speedmaster) was 18th fastest with a 2m 6.470s lap. Yonny Hernandez finished the morning session in 19th with a lap time of 2m 7.257s ahead of this afternoon’s fastest man Silva who set a 2m 7.291s in the warm morning conditions. Danilo Petrucci finished in 21st for the Came IodaRacing team (2m 7.818s).
Speaking about his fastest time this morning Pedrosa said, “We've been lucky to have the first practice in the dry to begin setting up the bike for the race because as we've seen in the last few days sooner or later it rains here. The track was a little dirty in the morning and the grip level quite poor, but the lap times were not so bad and the conditions will improve throughout the weekend.
In the morning I had a lot of vibration in the rear, which we think was a problem with the wheel balance. I did a sighting lap in the afternoon and it was full wet until turn 4 but from there, full dry, so we decided to stay in the pits. We will have to make good use of track time tomorrow morning to prepare the bike for qualifying and the race,” Pedrosa added.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo was content with his pace in the first free practice session. He said, “This morning was great, from the beginning I was competitive and more or less at the same pace as Dani and Casey. Casey especially is much stronger than he was in Japan. This afternoon unfortunately we couldn’t practice because of the weather. We need to improve the behavior of the bike in acceleration for tomorrow, it’s a little nervous so we need to make it a little easier.”