The Grand Prix of Malaysia got underway today at the Sepang circuit in typically hot conditions with humidity over 85%. Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies spent the morning session working through a base set up to try and improve rear grip issues at a number of corners. The afternoon’s second free practice proved to be useless for the majority of the MotoGP riders as an early rain shower left them with a half wet, half dry track. As a result both Yamaha Factory riders only ventured out for a single lap on wet tyres and didn’t record a time, the conditions making it very easy to crash and providing little useful data.
Position 3rd – Time: 2’01.934 – Laps 14
“This morning was great, from the beginning I was competitive and more or less at the same pace as Dani and Casey. Casey especially is much stronger than he was in Japan. This afternoon unfortunately we couldn’t practice because of the weather. We need to improve the behavior of the bike in acceleration for tomorrow, it’s a little nervous so we need to make it a little easier.”
Position 6th – Time: 2’02.358 – Laps 16
“This morning was pretty normal, the track wasn’t so great and we had some electronic issues that hindered us a little but the bike was working pretty well. We were hoping to get a good session in this afternoon but the rain was against us. It wasn’t worth taking any risks with the track being half dry and half wet so we’ll wait for tomorrow and see what happens.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Overall it’s been a disappointing day because we missed a complete practice this afternoon which is a shame because I think everybody was ready to step up the game and improve things. There were four corners wet and the rest dry so a useless second practice. Let’s see tomorrow, hopefully we’ll have better weather.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“As has happened a few times this year, we have had almost a completely useless Friday. Fortunately we were able to get some data in the morning session as we could get nothing in the afternoon. We prepared some changes from the first session so we hope that tomorrow will be dry so we can test them. It could be that Sunday is mixed like today so tomorrow is very important to complete some laps and get as much information as possible.”
Rain disrupts Dovizioso and Crutchlow’s preparations in Sepang
A heavy early afternoon rain shower prevented Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow from building on a positive opening practice session at the long and technical Sepang International Circuit today.
Dovizioso was fourth and Crutchlow fifth fastest in typically hot and humid conditions this morning, but torrential rain that fell shortly before the start of this afternoon’s second practice session meant only 12 riders took to the track in mixed conditions.
With little to learn from lapping on a drying surface, Dovizioso and Crutchlow decided not to complete a lap this afternoon, but after a positive start this morning, both are optimistic they can challenge for pole position in tomorrow’s qualifying session..
Dovizioso’s best lap of 2.02.236 in FP1 meant he was the leading non-factory rider in the classification and he was just over 0.3s away from the top three, which included in-form Spanish duo Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
Crutchlow was only 0.030s behind his Italian teammate after he quickly found a set-up that coped with slippery track conditions this morning. The British rider ended with a best time of 2.02.266.
Position 4th – Time: 2’02.236 – Laps 16
“The track was very slippery this morning but I was pleased to finish fourth and my lap time was fast and competitive. I could go faster at the end of the session even with a lot of laps on the rear tyre, so it is a promising start to the weekend. I wanted to try some important changes to the set-up of the bike this afternoon but the rain that fell before the start meant we couldn’t do the work we had planned. The conditions were mixed, so it wasn’t worth going out and taking any risks and we will have to wait to try the modifications tomorrow.”
Position 5th – Time 2’02.266 – Laps 12
“It was a shame the rain meant I didn’t get to go out on track for the second session because I had some work to do to improve the bike. I felt confident right from the start this morning and even though I wasn’t pushing that hard because the track was quite greasy, the lap time still came quite easy. Hopefully tomorrow we will have better luck with the weather and we can focus on improving the bike for the race.”
2012 MotoGP Malaysia
1 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 2’01.621
2 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 2’01.773
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 2’01.934
4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 2’02.236
5 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 2’02.266
6 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 2’02.358
7 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 2’02.617
8 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 2’02.754
9 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 2’02.872
10 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 2’03.221
11 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 2’03.274
12 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 2’04.624
13 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 2’05.029
14 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 2’05.077
15 Colin Edwards Suter USA 2’05.387
(Casey Stoner, 1/1/2007)
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Valentino Rossi, 10/25/2009)