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Oct 8, 2010

Rossi Leads Opening MotoGP Practice At Sepang; Edwards 6th, Spies 9th, Hayden 15th

Valentino Rossi (46) in action today at Sepang.
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Sepang, Malaysia
October 8, 2010
Free Practice One Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (YAMAHA), 2:02.724
2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (HONDA), 2:02.833
3. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 2:02.898
4. Casey STONER, Australia (DUCATI) 2:03.160, crash
5. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (SUZUKI), 2:03.338
6. Colin EDWARDS, USA (YAMAHA), 2:03.393
7. Marco MELANDRI, Italy (HONDA), 2:03.438
8. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (DUCATI), 2:03.471
9. Ben SPIES, USA (YAMAHA), 2:03.477
10. Randy DE PUNIET, France (HONDA), 2:03.539
11. Marco SIMONCELLI, Italy (HONDA), 2:03.680
12. Loris CAPIROSSI, Italy (SUZUKI), 2:03.717
13. Hector BARBERA, Spain (DUCATI), 2:03.760
14. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (HONDA), 2:03.769
15. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 2:03.947
16. Mika KALLIO, Finland (DUCATI), 2:04.023

More, from a press release issued by Rizla Suzuki:

Bautista in top five after first day in Malaysia

Rizla Suzuki's Álvaro Bautista recorded the fifth fastest time during the first practice session at a sweltering Sepang today.

Bautista (P5, 2'03.338, 20 laps) made the most of having previous experience on a MotoGP machine at Sepang one of the few tracks that he will visit this year with that knowledge to put himself firmly amongst the early contenders for this weekend's race. He is still looking to improve the settings of his Suzuki GSV-R tomorrow, but today's performance was certainly his best first day of the season so far and puts him in a confident mood for the rest of the weekend.

Loris Capirossi (P12, 2'03.717, 20 laps) was not pleased with his position on day one, at a circuit he favours as the best of the year. He was unable to get the right feeling from either of his two machines today, despite making many changes to find the best set-up for the 5,548m circuit. Capirossi will analyse today's data to see where the changes need to be made to make improvements to his lap-time tomorrow in readiness for Sunday's race.

Today's first practice was held in very warm conditions with air temperatures getting up to 34ºC and track temperatures hitting a high of 54ºC. Reigning World Champion and five times Sepang winner Valentino Rossi set the day's fastest time.

Rizla Suzuki has one more practice session tomorrow morning, followed by qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's 20-lap race will get underway at 16.00hrs local time (08.00hrs GMT).

Álvaro Bautista:

"I am happy today because we have made a good first practice, it was important that we were able to start with a good setting because we already had a good reference point from the winter tests. It was helpful to have that base setting, but today the conditions were much different from the test and I felt like I had less grip from the rear tyre. I started with the harder rear, but it did seem difficult to get the feel I wanted. I tried both my bikes with different settings and I preferred the second one because it was easier to ride. I put a soft tyre in at the end and did a few laps with that and set a good time. We are still a bit away from the lap-time at the winter test, so we have to improve on many things to get the bike where we want it. We have hard work ahead of us tomorrow and I want to say a big thank-you to all my team, because they have started the weekend very well and we must continue like that."

Loris Capirossi:

"I don't know why I have gone like that today, because normally we go well on this track. I have something not working well because I'm not getting a good feeling in the bike and I don't really know what the problem is. We will have to work hard tomorrow to get it right and then we will see what we can do. We have to look at the data and see what the connection is between that and how the bike is working and make things better for tomorrow."

Paul Denning Team Manager:

"Álvaro has been consistently improving over the last four Grands Prix and this is his best Friday result by some margin. He knows that qualifying and the first three laps of the race are pivotal to his potential to improve his results and he has come out of the box pushing very hard straight away today.

"Loris is very disappointed to be 12th on day one at a track that he considers to be his favourite of the year; possibly he lost his way a little bit in trying two completely different bike set-ups. Clearly on some parts of the circuit he is very quick fastest in sector one shows that and his potential best lap is not far away from the best. He is angry which is always a good sign and we are looking for a lot more from him as the weekend continues."

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Rossi starts strongly in Malaysia on harder option slicks

Round 15: Malaysian Grand Prix Free Practice
Sepang International Circuit, Friday 8 October 2010

Bridgestone tyre compounds available:
Front: Hard, Extra Hard.
Rear: Medium, Hard

Repeating his Friday form in Japan, Valentino Rossi again finished at the top of the timesheets after the opening practice session in Malaysia, recording a best effort 0.6seconds off the existing lap record. The top four this afternoon were also in the same order as after the first free practice in Japan, with Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso in second splitting Fiat Yamaha teammates Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, and Ducati Team's Casey Stoner in fourth. Fifth fastest was Rizla Suzuki's Álvaro Bautista with a fine Friday performance. Despite being one of the longest laps of the season, the top ten riders were separated by a fraction over only 0.8seconds.

Amid the high humidity, conditions remained dry for the session with a track temperature of 53 degrees, which compares to the season-high of 55 degrees Celsius in Catalunya and Indianapolis. In the heat, Most riders set their fastest lap using the harder option front and rear Bridgestone slicks, although many also used the softer options during the hour of track time, making the most of a dry session amid the likelihood of rain this weekend.

Masao Azuma Chief Field Engineer, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department

"Bridgestone and the teams and riders have a lot of experience here at Sepang because of its usage in winter testing so we know that the track conditions during the first session are always quite slippery. Even with this though the laptimes are good, with Valentino just 0.6seconds off the lap record, and some riders were able to use a single set of softer option slicks for the entire session. As the track conditions improve we can expect that the laptimes will too, but already I can say I'm happy with the performance of all our specs as riders' preferences are split. As always in Malaysia in this time of year, there is a high likelihood of rain so this could play a large part in the rest of the weekend."

Top ten from Free Practice (Friday 13:55 14:55 GMT+8)
Pos Rider Team Practice Time Gap Tyres

1 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 2m02.724s Bridgestone slicks
2 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 2m02.833s +0.109s Bridgestone slicks
3 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 2m02.898s +0.174s Bridgestone slicks
4 Casey Stoner Ducati Team 2m03.160s +0.436s Bridgestone slicks
5 Alvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2m03.338s +0.614s Bridgestone slicks
6 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech3 2m03.393s +0.669s Bridgestone slicks
7 Marco Melandri San Carlo Honda Gresini 2m03.438s +0.714s Bridgestone slicks
8 Aleix Espargaro Pramac Racing 2m03.471s +0.747s Bridgestone slicks
9 Ben Spies Monster Yamaha Tech3 2m03.477s +0.753s Bridgestone slicks
10 Randy de Puniet LCR Honda MotoGP 2m03.539s +0.815s Bridgestone slicks

Weather: Dry. Ambient 34°C; Track 53°C (Bridgestone measurement)

More, from a press release issued by Interwetten Honda:

First free practice on Aoyama's favourite track

The Motorcycle Grand Prix of Malaysia started today with the first free practice on the track, which is on of the favourites of Hiroshi Aoyama. The 28 year old could celebrate quite some successes on this track in the past and was looking forward to this event very much. But today the Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team lost a whole day of work as the bike with the set up of Motegi had some technical problems and they were not able to use this bike during today's session. There was no possibility to compare the different set ups of the bikes under these conditions and the work will start again tomorrow. Aoyama finished the first free practice on 14th place.

Hiroshi Aoyama, 14 2'03.769:

"We wanted to try the Motegi Set up on this track and see how I can manage it here, but unfortunately the bike with the Motegi set up had some technical problems and I had to use the other bike with a different set up. We were not able to use the other bike during the whole session and I could not try Motegi's Set up, which I really liked and I wanted to see if it also works here. We have to start from Zero again tomorrow and lost a whole day of work and that is not good at all."

More, from a press release issued by Marlboro Ducati:


Just five days after packing up at the Motegi circuit in Japan the Ducati Marlboro Team was back on track today for the opening free practice of the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Sepang circuit is again in stark contrast to preceding races and, as at Aragon and Motegi, the challenge for Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden is to swiftly find the right set-up for their Desmosedici GP10 machines.

Following on from back-to-back wins in the last two races Stoner was fourth fastest today, just over a second outside his own circuit record here, completing just sixteen laps following a minor crash early in the session. Hayden lapped just 0.8 seconds slower than his team-mate, a relatively marginal gap around the second longest circuit on the calendar, but finds himself in fifteenth on the time sheets and with positions to make up in tomorrow's qualifying practice.

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 4th 2'03.160
"I'm not really happy with the way things went today. We had a small crash at the beginning of the session so had to switch bikes and do a lot of work to get it feeling better. Every time I went out there was some small problem and we seemed to take a while to find a reasonable setting. By the end I had established a good feeling and I wanted to make a better lap time on the second lap of my final run but I ran wide in turn one and that was that. We'll take this data and try to improve the bike for tomorrow. We seem to be struggling most of all with the rear, just like at Motegi, but once we solve that I'm sure we'll see major improvements with the rest of the bike."

NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Marlboro Team) 15th 2'03.947
"We have picked up where we left off in Japan, which is not a good thing. We struggled a lot, right from the beginning, over the bumps mainly. I have a lot of front chatter, we got rear chatter too, and I cannot carry any good corner speed. We're 1.2 seconds off the top, which may not seem that much but the reality is that it is a lot when the field is as tight as it is right now. That kind of gap is pretty much going to send you to the back. We definitely need to do something for tomorrow because today was not good."

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:


Andrea Dovizioso made a positive start to the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang today, setting the second fastest time in Free Practice 1 and laying the foundations for another strong weekend. The Repsol Honda rider has arrived at one of his favourite circuits of the year in confident mood, and immediately slipped into a smooth rhythm as he and his crew set about adjusting the RC212V to the requirements of the Sepang track.

With 35 minutes of the session gone, the 24-year-old Italian went to the top of the timesheets and stayed there until ten minutes to go, when Valentino Rossi recorded a lap just 0.109s quicker than Dovizioso's best. Dovizioso and his crew will be working to further improve the feeling from the front of his RC212V tomorrow, after which they will be going all out to make it two pole positions in succession in the afternoon's qualifying session.

Today's dry session took place in typical Malaysian heat and humidity with temperatures rising to a stifling 38 degrees. To complete the familiar meteorological picture for this region, shortly after the MotoGP practice finished, rain began to fall on the 5.548km circuit as a tropical storm raged nearby. With Sunday's MotoGP race scheduled to start at a later-than-usual 16.00 local time, the teams will certainly have taken note of today's weather patterns.

Dovizioso's team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, is not taking part in the Malaysian Grand Prix as he recovers at home in Spain from the broken collarbone he sustained in Japan one week ago.

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO 2nd 2m 02.833s +0.109s

"I'm happy with this first session at Sepang because we were fast from the very beginning of the practice period. Today the conditions were really extreme in terms of the heat - even more than we're accustomed to here - so physically it was very hard. We started from a good base today however. We will continue work on set-up improvements and adjustments to the electronics to increase the stability at the front end under braking. But I think we have found the limit of the tyres in these conditions, so I will also try to adapt my riding style to make further improvements to the lap time tomorrow. Overall we made a good start today."


"This was a positive start for Andrea, and he is looking in good shape for this Grand Prix. After the progress he and his team made in Japan, and the strong result he achieved in the race, we were also expecting him to be strong here. After FP1 it's 'so far so good'. There are more improvements to come from everyone I'm sure, and I think Andrea can move forward tomorrow. Dani is at home recovering of course and it feels a little strange for us without anything happening on his side of the garage. The whole team wishes Dani a speedy recovery."

More, from a press release issued by Fiat Yamaha:


The MotoGP paddock was back in action today at Sepang and the usual scalding Malaysian temperatures greeted the riders as they made their first foray onto the track. The Fiat Yamaha Team made a strong start to the 15th round of the season, with Valentino Rossi finishing on top of the time sheets and Jorge Lorenzo not far off him in third.

The biggest problem facing the riders today was the lack of grip on track, with the circuit very slippery after a period of inactivity. It was therefore difficult for them to make their Bridgestone tyres work at full potential but despite this the Yamaha riders were quickly on the pace, rarely out of the top three for the whole session. It was Rossi who put down the best lap of the day but Lorenzo, who has his first championship title shot this Sunday, was less than two tenths off his team- mate. Both the Italian and the Spaniard are looking forward to making further improvements tomorrow as more rubber is laid down and the grip levels get better.

Valentino Rossi
Position: 1st Time: 2'02.724 Laps: 21

"It's been another good start for us here and we found a good setting straight away. I am feeling very comfortable on the bike and so far my shoulder is okay here. The track is quite dirty but that will get better and I love riding at this track, it's one of my favourites and I am always happy to be on the bike here. We are confident that we will be able to make some more improvements tomorrow and be in good shape to try for the front row tomorrow afternoon."

Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 3rd Time: 2'02.898 Laps: 22

"Today conditions were quite difficult, with the high temperatures and a dirty track. I'm happy though because I felt good on the bike, I rode fast and I was close to the first position. We rode with the old engine again today but maybe we will try the new one tomorrow. We need to work on the fourth sector, which is where we're losing time at the moment, so tomorrow we will concentrate on that and try to improve further."

Davide Brivio
Team Manager

"It's nice to start the weekend at the front again and this was a good session, with Valentino fast from the beginning. It seems he has a good pace here but of course it's only the first session and we have more work to do. The track isn't in great condition; it's quite slippery at the moment but this will improve throughout the weekend. Tomorrow we will work on our Bridgestone tyre choice and fine-tune the setting ahead of qualifying."

Wilco Zeelenberg
Team Manager

"The track hasn't been used for a while and our first impression is that there's not much grip and it's quite slippery. We tried two different settings to try to work around this but in fact they were both quite similar. We expect it to be better tomorrow but of course we can't just rely on the track improving, we need to work on our setting as well. Anyway we were still fast today, the speed is okay and we're close to the front so we're already competitive, we just need to improve our package a bit more tomorrow."

More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Edwards and Spies target improvements in hot Sepang

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Ben Spies are optimistic they can make big set-up improvements ahead of Sunday's Malaysian MotoGP race after an encouraging start in Sepang.

Boosted by a season best fifth place in Japan last weekend, Edwards spent the majority of a closely contested opening free practice session concentrating on improving front and rear grip with his YZR-M1 machine.

Edwards is a seasoned campaigner at the 5.548km Sepang circuit but he needed to call on all his experience to improve traction during a session that saw air temperatures peak at a gruelling 38 degrees. Scorching hot conditions mak e Sepang one of the most physically and mentally demanding challenges on the calendar with humidity and temperatures posing a serious examination of rider stamina.

Edwards made several set-up changes to the front and rear suspension of his YZR-M1 machine on his way to recording the sixth quickest time, a lap of 2.03.393 only 0.055s away from the top five.

Ben Spies arrived in Kuala Lumpur confident that he would be competitive from the off having impressed in two visits to the long and technical circuit during the winter testing campaign.

The 26-year-old quickly established himself in the top ten and like Edwards dedicated most of his time working on improving front and rear grip as a slippery track surface meant conditions were far from ideal this afternoon.

He occupied a place in the top four in the early stages before a la p of 2.03.477 left him ninth on the timesheets but less than a tenth away from the top six.

Today's session was a closely contested affair with less than a second covering the top 12.

Colin Edwards 6th 2.03.393 18 laps

"I'm happy to be in the top six and really close to fifth but we have still got a lot of work to do. We changed as much on the bike in one hour that we would do in one day at the test because I was really struggling with front and rear grip. We had to move a lot of weight off the front because I wasn't as confident with the front tyre as I have been recently. And I was changing the front and rear suspension a lot to try and improve the traction. I just didn't feel like I could carry any lean angle, so considering some of the limitations I had this afternoon, the position is not too bad. I know I was losing time out t here so with some more overnight changes I'm sure I can be faster."

Ben Spies 9th 2.03.477 24 laps

"For how I felt on the bike, the lap times are not so bad because I honestly expected to see myself in dead last. I just didn't feel confident enough with the bike to push it as hard as I normally can but looking at the times I'm actually not too far off. So I'm actually not as worried as I expected because if we can improve the bike like I know we will, I'll be right up there and in a much stronger position. I've just got to keep plugging away but today we were just chasing front and rear grip. The bike didn't feel that balanced either but we've got lots of ideas and I'm sure we'll be quicker tomorrow and in a strong position to challenge for the top five on Sunday."

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing Team:


Good start for Aleix Espargar on Sepang's track in the twentieth Malaysian Grand Prix. The white and green rider had the eighth fastest time, stopping the clock at seven tenths of a second from the fastest time clocked by Valentino Rossi. It should be also noted the very small gap from the fifth position which is just one-tenth away from Aleix's best lap time. This gives a huge confidence for the tomorrow second free practice session and for the following qualifying session, in which the Spaniard will try to get a good starting grid position. Mika Kallio, although the last lap time registered today, had accused a gap of just over one second from the fastest rider. The Finn has clocked his best time during his last lap also to a useful setting on which the technicians will be able to work tomorrow to further reduce the gap in the second tomorrow free practice session and try to win a top ten starting grid position.

Fabiano Sterlacchini - Technical Director

"Of course the position obtained by Mika today is not what we point to, but over the last few races in which he accused a considerable gap, in this case he has a clearly reduced the gap from the other riders. We had started the free practice session with the last winter test set up, we have than slightly modify the bike to make it more easy to ride in the rear part where Mika hadn't got the full confidence. Tomorrow we will put together the best solution obtained today to try to improve his position. Good test for Aleix that with the eighth fastest lap time has give us good feelings for the rest of this hot race weekend. "

Aleix Espargar - Pramac Racing Team - 8th best time in 2'03 .471

"It was since a few races that I didn't start a Grand Prix in a so positive way. Today, things went in the right way since the beginning and the gap of seven tenths from Valentino Rossi on a such of a long track give us good hopes for the rest of the weekend. The bike responds well and I am hopeful that tomorrow, thanks also to the additional changes that we'll make on the bike with my engineers, we'll be able to gain a good position on the starting grid."

Mika Kallio - Pramac Racing Team - 16th best time in 2'04 .023

"Being last is certainly not a good way to start the race weekend, but unlike other circuits, the gap from the fastest riders is not excessive. We started the free practice with the best winter test setting; we then worked on the bike to make it as balanced as possible. I improved my best lap time lap after lap until the end of the session, which has not happened in the last few races. Some balance changes on the bike had not produced the results we were hoping for, but tomorrow during the second free practice we'll further develop other solutions in order to further reduce the gap from the front riders."

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Sepang, 8 October: The busiest phase of the 2010 MotoGP season sees the LCR Honda Team arriving in Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumpur this week for the second of three races in three weekends. After Sunday's Grand Prix of Japan in which Randy De Puniet took a positive ninth place, the Frenchman and his squad will be looking for another competitive showing to keep his eight position in the world classification as best private rider.

In hot and humid conditions, the premier class riders faced the first free practice session for Sunday's fifteenth Grand Prix of the season and the 29-year-old riding the RC212V no. 14 clocked the tenth fastest time of the day (2'03.539) focused his work mainly on suspension regulations looking for more rear grip.

De Puniet 10th 2'03.539

De Puniet: "It was a quite good first session for me. I did a 17-lap long run on race tyres with a good pace but after that I had some small technical issues thus I lost some track time. At the end I came out on a new hard tyre and I was lapping very fast when I had a big high side. I almost crashed so I preferred to come in. We had really low grip today but this is a trademark of this track and today the asphalt reached 54° degrees. We will focus on engine mapping and suspension regulations to improve the bike for tomorrow's qualifying".

More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

Valentino Rossi was the fastest MotoGP rider in the first practice session of the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Friday, posting a best time of 2'02.724 on his Fiat Yamaha M1 machine. The Italian, who sealed last year's world title in Malaysia, was just over a tenth of a second clear at the top of the timings as he started his weekend in promising style in typically hot and humid Malaysian conditions.

Andrea Dovizioso had led the session but his best time of 2'02.833 left the sole Repsol Honda rider for this weekend teammate Dani Pedrosa is absent through injury in second position, as he continued to show the kind of form which secured him his first premier class pole in the previous round. Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who could take the title this weekend with a finish of ninth place or higher in the race, was third in the session and the final rider under 2'03".

At 0.436s off Rossi's pace Casey Stoner was fourth. The Ducati rider had a crash ten minutes into the session when he lost the front end of his Desmosedici GP10 at turn four, but he was back on track shortly after. Álvaro Bautista's final lap of the session slotted the Rizla Suzuki rookie into fifth position, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards completing the top six.

The top ten on Friday also included Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), Aleix Espargaró (Pramac Racing), Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda).


Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) was the quickest rider in the Moto2 practice with a best time of 2'09.586. However, halfway through the one-hour session there were spots of rain on track and the majority of riders waited for a lull in the weather before venturing back on track for the final ten minutes.

At that stage the top five was De Angelis, Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing), Toni Elías (Gresini Racing), Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) and Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up) and the order did not change for the remainder of the session. De Angelis did however improve his time when he re-emerged towards the end of the session.

Redding ended the hour at 0.188s off the pace of De Angelis, with Elías, Simón and Iannone all within three-tenths of a second of the British rider.

Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Racing) was not far back in sixth (+0.050s on Iannone), with Roberto Rolfo (Italtrans STR), Simone Corsi (JiR Moto2), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP) and Héctor Faubel (Marc VDS Racing Team) inside the top ten.


Marc Márquez picked up where he left off in the previous round of the 2010 125cc World Championship as he set the best time in today's opening practice. The Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider's fastest lap of 2'14.274 left him almost four-tenths clear of second quickest Pol Espargaró.

The Tuenti Racing rider's session got off to a difficult start when he had a crash at turn 11 inside the opening ten minutes, but it failed to affect his confidence as he eventually lapped in a time of 2'14.650. The only other rider to get within a second of Márquez's time was Championship leader Nico Terol (Bancaja Aspar) who was 0.510s off the lead time.

Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) and Bradley Smith (Bancaja Aspar) completed the top five but both have work to do to close the gap on Márquez. Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo) was sixth fastest and avoided a high side at turn two at the end of the session, holding onto and controlling his bike admirably.

Danny Webb (Andalucia Cajasol), Randy Krummenacher (Stipa-Molenaar), Jasper Iwema (CBC Corse) and Adrián Martín (Team Aeroport de Castelló) all had crashes during the session. Webb suffered a fracture of the first metacarpal bone in his right hand, whilst Iwema sustained a ligament injury in his right thumb. Both underwent further medical check-ups following the session.

The riders return to the track at 9am local time on Saturday morning, when the 125cc second practice is scheduled to start.
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