Bridgstone: Pedrosa close to record pace on opening day in Malaysia

Dani Pedrosa’s time was just two-tenths of a second off the qualifying lap record, the Spaniard topping the opening day ahead of teammate Marc Marquez.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa set a sizzling time of 2’00.554 in this afternoon’s Free Practice 2 session to finish half a second clear of his closest rival in the first day of practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Pedrosa’s time was just two-tenths of a second off the qualifying lap record, the Spaniard topping the opening day ahead of teammate Marc Marquez who was second quickest with a personal best time of 2’01.087. Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow was the closest rider to the Honda duo, his lap time of 2’01.423 slotting him in at third in the overall classification. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was the quickest of the CRT today, setting a time 2.056 seconds off Pedrosa’s benchmark to finish eleventh on the timesheets.

Dry track conditions greeted riders in both sessions today despite a heavy downpour around midday, with a peak track temperature of 44°C recorded during FP2. At the start of Free Practice One all riders headed out on soft slick options front and rear to gauge the track condition, with two riders assessing the hard compound front slick later on in the morning session. In the second session of the day tyre choice was more varied, with five riders trying the harder rear slick options, while both the soft and hard front slicks were also used. The softer front and rear slick options were preferred by riders today, with almost every rider setting their quickest time on this tyre combination.

Similar weather conditions to today with the chance of rain are forecast for tomorrow. The final ranked practice session, FP3, starts at 0955 local time (GMT +8) before qualifying gets underway from 1410.

Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department: “Today was a good start to the race weekend and thankfully the heavy rain earlier didn’t disrupt the afternoon session. Softer slick options were preferred by the riders today, though the reasons for this preference were different for the front and rear tyres. The moderate track temperatures meant few riders felt the need to evaluate the harder rear slick options, while for the front, most riders felt that the softer front slick offered better bump absorption in the braking zones, which at this circuit feature quite heavy undulations. Considering we are already near record qualifying pace on the opening day here at Sepang, I expect we will see some more lap records set over the weekend.”

Bridgestone Motorsport

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Series MOTOGP
Article type Practice report
Tags bridgestone, crutchlow, honda, marquez, motogp, pedrosa, sepang