News 28 Oct 2016

Marquez sets MotoGP pace on Friday at Sepang

Miller quickest in damp conditions of second practice.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

The first practice session of the day for Moto3 saw damp patches of the newly-resurfaced Sepang International Circuit hamper early laptimes, before the moisture dried off and laptimes began to fall.

MotoGP had a dry FP1 – topped by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – before a downpour during Moto2 saw track conditions worsen dramatically.

With FP1 times out of reach after the rain, the times from FP1 remained the combined timesheets for Friday, with Marquez heading the tables, despite missing FP2.

As mentioned in the pre-event press conference by the new reigning champion, Marquez has been suffering with illness ahead of the event and sat out FP2 with his place on the timesheets not under threat.

Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was second fastest in FP1 and retains the place on combined times, with Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) impressing in P3 with a late leap up the tables.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) put in an impressive performance to take fourth as he returns from injury following a crash in FP1 in Misano, with 9-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top five.

Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was P7, just behind compatriot Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing), who returns to Avintia this weekend following his substitutions for Iannone at the factory Ducati Team.

Yonny Hernandez (Pull&Bear Aspar) had a stunning session to spend some time in the top three, before ending Friday in P8 from his FP1 time.

Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was ninth fastest as the Spaniard again impressed for the Noale factory, with 2010, 2012 and 2015 MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top ten after losing his final hot lap to an error in FP1.

In the wet afternoon session, some riders got in some wet weather time, as well as trying the Michelin intermediates, but it was Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) who finally topped FP2.

He was fastest from Crutchlow when conditions were just able to take slicks, with Hector Barbera, Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) completing the top five from in the slower afternoon session.

With weather for FP3 not a certainty in the unsure climate of Sepang, the biggest name who could find himself out of Q2 if laptimes don’t improve on Saturday morning was Australian GP winner Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda).

The third practice session will be the final decider for direct entry to Q2, with Marquez leading the way and hoping to be back to full power for qualifying day.

The quickest Moto2 times were all set in the dry conditions of FP2, led by Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) over Takaaki Takagami (DEMITSU Honda Team Asia) and Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS). Remy Gardner was 12th for Tasca Racing Scuderia.

New Moto3 champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) topped timesheets on Friday at the Malaysian GP, after going quickest in FP1 and the grid finding FP2 soaked through.

With laptimes not dropping, times from the first practice session of the weekend remain as the quickest combined and Binder heads day one, ahead of home hero Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia) and Francesco Bagnaia (Pull&Bear Aspar Mahindra).