Repsol Honda rider sets fastest lap in morning session of rain-affected day one
Day one of free practice ahead of the Shell Advance Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit was a day of two halves with warm sunny conditions in the morning session being followed up by torrential rain in the afternoon before the start of FP2 and it was Spaniard Dani Pedrosa who emerged on top of the timing sheets with his best lap coming in the dry this morning.
We shall see what the weather is like tomorrow, and hope to get more dry track time.
The Repsol Honda rider’s best lap of 2m 01.379s gave him the start he wanted following a disastrous DNF last week at Philip Island while setting the second fastest lap today was the NGM Forward Racing machine of Aleix Espargaro with a best time of 2m 01.393s and making it an all Spanish top three is double MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and the Movistar Yamaha team (2m 01.416s).
Marc Marquez wasn’t too far off the front with the 2014 MotoGP World Champion sitting in 4th position after day one for the Repsol Honda team while close behind was the LCR Honda of Stefan Bradl and Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi with less than .3s separating the three riders. The third row was a similar story with factory Ducati teammates Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow in 7th and 8th places respectively and Yonny Hernandez in 9th place for the Energy TI Pramac Racing outfit while rounding out the top ten was Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro (2m 2.248s).
Speaking afterwards Pedrosa was happy to get some dry practice time but the rain didn’t help his efforts in the afternoon. He said, “We were able to ride in the dry this morning and set some good times, but in the afternoon the rain arrived. We shall see what the weather is like tomorrow, and hope to get more dry track time to finish analyzing the performance of the front and rear tires. We only used the soft compound this morning and we would like to try the harder compound. I had a problem with the wet rear, which had hardly any tire wear after 14 laps, but no grip from the beginning. We hope to continue developing the setup of the bike tomorrow and be able to ride with a tire that works well.”
Pre-season testing helps Espargaro with set up
Espargaro was confident coming into this weekend after a confidence-boosting test at Sepang during his winter testing schedule saying, “Already in February during the pre-season test I was competitive here so today we started from that point and I could confirm the positive feelings. I was fast on the dry this morning, but also on the wet in the FP2 the feeling was quiet good. I’m confident for the qualifying of tomorrow as I have a good pace”.”
Lorenzo hopeful of consistent weather conditions for Sunday's race
Lorenzo is hopeful that the rain will stay away on race day but is confident in his progress so far. He said, “The race will be held at 4 o’clock this weekend but it would be better if the race was at 2 o’clock because at 4 o’clock it usually starts to rain here. We hope to either have a completely wet race or a completely dry race, but not something in between because that would be difficult for everyone. In the wet I was really satisfied and happy. Midway through the practice I was pushing really hard and was feeling very good. My lap time was two seconds quicker than anyone else! Finally Marc and Dani improved at the end of the practice, but at that moment I was really fast.
Valentino was having some problems, so this means our setting was working very well and I was feeling great on the bike. On the dry in the morning I also felt good from the beginning. I finished in third, which is like a second place because Aleix put on the extra soft tire. Dani seems to be strong here on the dry, like always, but I think we can fight for the win.” Lorenzo added.