Petrucci leads second day of Sepang MotoGP test amid tyre drama

Pramac Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci topped the timesheets on the second day of MotoGP's first pre-season test at Sepang, which was interrupted by a high-speed tyre failure for Loris Baz.

Towards the end of the first hour of the session, Baz was thrown from his Avintia Ducati along the start/finish straight at 180mph as his rear tyre failed.

The Frenchman miraculously emerged unscathed and was able to walk back to the pits.

"The rear tyre locked up when I was doing 290km/h," explained Baz. "At the last corner I felt something strange and I thought about completing the lap and coming in.

"At first I thought it could be the engine or the gearbox, but finally it looks like it was the tyre. I was very lucky."

While Michelin is uncertain exactly what caused the failure, the French firm's technical director Nicolas Goubert said it may have been related to tyre pressures.

"These bikes don't have a pressure sensor on the tyre, although what we do is recommend a minimum and maximum pressure," he said.

"It might be possible that what happened has something to do with it, although until we have the results of our test we won't know."

As a precaution, the soft Michelin tyre compound was withdrawn from use once the session was resumed after an hour-long investigation into what caused the failure.

Lorenzo on the pace

This resulted in Petrucci - who had set his best lap of 2m00.095s shortly before Baz's crash - remaining on top for the rest of the session, albeit just 0.060s clear of Day 1 pacesetter Jorge Lorenzo.

The factory Yamaha rider, recovering from an earlier crash at Turn 5, set his best time of 2m00.155s in the very closing moments of the session on the harder tyre, putting him less than two tenths ahead of Baz's Avintia teammate Hector Barbera.

Marc Marquez was fourth, 0.798s off the pace, on the best of the Repsol Hondas, with Cal Crutchlow making a late jump to fifth aboard the satellite LCR machine.

Valentino Rossi was another late improver, going sixth fastest ahead of the Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Scott Redding - albeit some way off Lorenzo's pace for the second day in a row.

Casey Stoner finished his first competitive session since his retirement in ninth place aboard last year's Ducati GP15, just over a second off the pace with a time of 2m01.103s, a second up on his best effort from private testing on Saturday.

Tech 3 Yamaha's Bradley Smith completed the top 10, while Dani Pedrosa on the second Repsol Honda could do no more than 12th, 1.380s off the pace, behind Maverick Vinales on the best of the Suzukis.

Full testing times:

1  Danilo Petrucci Octo Pramac Yakhnich 2:00.095   46
2  Jorge Lorenzo Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2:00.155 0.060 32
3  Hector Barbera Avintia Racing 2:00.387 0.292 32
4  Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team 2:00.843 0.748 52
5  Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda 2:00.899 0.804 55
6  Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2:01.021 0.926 54
7  Scott Redding Octo Pramac Yakhnich 2:01.049 0.954 42
8  Andrea Iannone Ducati Team 2:01.052 0.957 39
9  Casey Stoner Ducati Team 2:01.103 1.008 45
10  Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.107 1.012 59
11  Maverick Vinales Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2:01.421 1.326 59
12  Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 2:01.475 1.380 36
13  Yonny Hernandez Aspar MotoGP Team 2:01.644 1.549 41
14  Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team 2:01.723 1.628 35
15  Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.992 1.897 32
16  Aleix Espargaro Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2:02.092 1.997 39
17  Tito Rabat EG 0.0 Marc VDS 2:02.328 2.233 54
18  Stefan Bradl Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:02.372 2.277 45
19  Loris Baz Avintia Racing 2:02.611 2.516 26
20  Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha Test Team 2:02.691 2.596 43
21  Alvaro Bautista Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:02.876 2.781 52

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series MotoGP
Event Sepang February testing
Track Sepang International Circuit
Drivers Jorge Lorenzo , Danilo Petrucci , Loris Baz
Teams Pramac Racing
Article type Testing report