Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi made solid improvements over the two practice sessions to wrap up the day in fourth in the combined times.
The first of the three overseas triple-header weekend’s kicked off today in Sepang with the first two free practice sessions for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The Italian made a 0.5 second improvement over the two sessions and finished 0.115 seconds behind Cal Crutchlow in third.
Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo had a tougher first day in Sepang. The Mallorcan struggled to find an optimum set up for the Malaysian circuit with mid-corner grip issues affecting his final times. He completed the first day in fifth overall, 0.085 seconds behind his teammate Rossi.
Valentino Rossi (4th / 2'01.538 / 18 laps): “For me personally, especially this afternoon, it was a good practice because we improved the setting of the bike a lot. We improved with the new tyre and with the old tyre I can stay with a good pace so I feel better on the bike. For sure we have to improve, but this afternoon I feel good. It seems our competitors are a little faster than us but I will try 100% because in the last races Jorge is always there fighting at the front. It will be hard but we have to concentrate on the bike. We are not very far but we have a small gap to recover.”
Jorge Lorenzo (5th / 2'01.623 / 14 laps): “We are investigating what happened today because I didn't have confidence in the middle of the corners and also with acceleration. I had a lot of spinning and the bike is very aggressive so we have to see what we can change for tomorrow to try to get back a good feeling with the bike again.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager: “A difficult first practice for us here in Sepang, we struggled a bit to find grip. We need to find out what is going on through the data; we don't have an answer yet. We need to try to get it on the table before tomorrow morning so we can make the next step in the third practice.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director: “Today didn't go as we wanted and as we expected. Anyway, we got a lot of data that we can study and for sure we will use it to improve a set up that is now not perfect. We are pretty confident that with the data and the rider comments we can analyse the issues and put together a different set up that will enable Jorge and Vale to get a better consistent pace and speed.”