Riders were forced to ride very close to the limit.
Today’s MotoGP Q2 session took place in extremely challenging conditions at Sepang International Circuit. Following a lunchtime rain shower, the track surface was spotted with damp patches when the session kicked off, and with the possibility that the weather could worsen again, riders were forced to ride very close to the limit.
Andrea Dovizioso managed the situation well and set his best time of 2:01.635 on his very last lap, putting him eighth best at 1.6 seconds from pole-man Marc Marquez.
Nicky Hayden, meanwhile, wasn’t satisfied with his performance in the damp Turn 6, which contributed to his eleventh-place finish. The Ducati Team riders will start tomorrow’s Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix from the third and fourth rows, respectively.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 8th (2:01.635): “The session was a bit more challenging than usual, and very dangerous because the colour of the asphalt here is strange—quite light—and it’s difficult to see where it’s wet. In fact, many of us risked crashing on our out-laps, in Turn 6. It was damp and I didn’t see if there were any flags, and slicks don’t work very well in those conditions!
It was very difficult to manage, because the track dried quickly in the heat, but we could only push at 100% on the last lap; in those circumstances, it depends how much you want to risk. I kept a bit of margin in those two corners, but I pushed hard on the rest—I hadn’t done a 2:01.6 the entire weekend, so it’s not bad considering I didn’t push hard in that section. We’ll see how things go in the race tomorrow, but at least we start from the third row.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 11th (2:02.900): “It’s a real shame about how my qualifying session went, and it was my fault. In FP4 I went the quickest I’ve been all weekend and had the best feeling, and I thought I could maybe do something better in qualifying. Unfortunately, a rain shower came through at lunchtime, and when I went out I had a bad feeling with my GP13, especially in the wet part at Turn 6.
It was really hard to see where the track was wet and where it was dry and to understand how much grip it had. That’s no excuse, as everybody improved their lap times and I didn’t. I just couldn’t get hooked up through the wet part. It was my problem and I apologize to the team. We’ll see if we can recover something tomorrow.”