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Andrea Iannone fourth in free practice, Andrea Dovizioso fifteenth on day 1 of Shell Malaysia Grand Prix at Sepang

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Andrea Iannone ended the first day of free practice action for the Shell Malaysia Grand Prix, which is being held this weekend at Sepang, in fourth place. The Ducati Team rider, who returned to the track for the first time since FP1 at Aragón, bolted on a new rear tyre towards the end of the morning session to record a lap time of 2’01.521. Iannone then opted not to go out in the afternoon session, which was held in wet conditions following a downpour that fell at the Malaysian circuit shortly before FP2.

Andrea Dovizioso used the same set of tyres all the way through the first session, the Italian setting a good time (2’02.561) on his last lap. Unfortunately the wet track surface in the afternoon session did not allow the Italian rider to improve his morning time and so Dovizioso ended the first day in fifteenth place.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 2’01.521 (4th)
“It was a positive return: I expected to struggle a lot more, not really physically but in general in getting back up to speed, but already in the first practice session I had an excellent feeling with my bike and was feeling good. So in the end I am pleased with how this first day went after my long period away from the track. This afternoon we opted not to go out in the wet so as to avoid taking any unnecessary risks, but obviously if it continues to rain tomorrow we will start to get ready in case the race on Sunday is a wet one.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2’02.561 (15th)
“It was a bit of a strange day and as expected the new track surface had an effect on today’s two sessions. This morning the track conditions weren’t good, but above all there were some wet patches that prevented us from doing the normal lines, so we didn’t focus on getting into the top 10 and didn’t fit a new tyre like nearly all the other riders. Even though conditions weren’t particularly great in the afternoon, we lapped as much as possible both with wet-weather and intermediate tyres, so as to be ready for tomorrow and Sunday in case it rains, seeing as here in Malaysia it’s always possible. My sensations are quite positive, but let’s wait for tomorrow to see if the track is dry and conditions improve as we put in more and more laps.”