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Oct 19, 2012

Silva Fastest In Rain-Affected MotoGP Free Practice Two At Sepang (Updated)

Dani Pedrosa (26).
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Sepang Circuit, Malaysia
October 19, 2012
Free Practice Two Results (wet conditions, all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Ivan SILVA, Spain (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR), 2:10.602
2. Michele PIRRO, Italy (Honda-Gresini/FTR), 2:12.043
3. Randy DE PUNIET, France (Aprilia-Aspar/ART), 2:12.046
4. Roberto ROLFO, Italy (Aprilia-Speed Master/ART), 2:13.216
5. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (DUCATI), 2:16.143
6. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 2:17.136
7. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (DUCATI), 2:17.173
8. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (Aprilia-Aspar/ART), 2:17.429
9. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 2:17.804no time recorded
10. James ELLISON, UK (Aprilia-PBM/ART), 2:18.478
11. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 2:19.085
12. Hector BARBERA, Spain (DUCATI), 2:21.113
13. Colin EDWARDS, USA (BMW-Forward/SUTER), 2:26.857
14. Casey STONER, Australia (HONDA), no time recorded
15. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (YAMAHA), no time recorded
16. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (BMW-IODA/SUTER), no time recorded
17. Ben SPIES, USA (YAMAHA), no time recorded
18. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), no time recorded
19. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (YAMAHA), no time recorded
20. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR), no time recorded
21. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), no time recorded

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

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.

Andrea Dovizioso 4th 2.02.236 16 laps:

< p class="MsoPlainText" style="text-align: justify">"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."

Cal Crutchlow 5th 2.02.266 - 16 laps:

"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 mornin g 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."

More, from a press release issued by Yamaha MotoGP Team:

Mixed Weather Provides Frustrating Start in Sepang

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.

Jorge Lorenzo 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."

Ben Spies 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
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
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."

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Pedrosa and Stoner up front on Day 1 in Sepang

Fresh from victory in Motegi last week, the Repsol Honda Team continued to top the time sheets at the Sepang circuit today. Dani Pedrosa took first position recording a best lap time of 2'01.621 with Casey Stoner in second, only 0.152 off Pedrosa with 2'01.773.

It's been a typical first day of free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix, with high temperatures and humidity in the morning session and sporadic heavy showers arriving in the afternoon which reduced time on track. The Repsol Honda riders didn't complete a flying lap in the afternoon as the track was wet at the beginning but as the session progressed areas began to dry up creating awkward 50/50 conditions.

Anyway, the weekend has started very positive for Dani and Casey, both riding under the current circuit record in the dry conditions set by Stoner in 2007 (2'02.108). The team will be aiming to make the most of tomorrow's last free practice to be ready for a strong qualifying session.

DANI PEDROSA 1st 2'01.621

"We've been lucky to have the first practice in the dry to begin setting up the bike for the race because as we've seen in the last few days sooner or later it rains here. The track was a little dirty in the morning and the grip level quite poor, but the lap times were not so bad and the conditions will improve throughout the weekend. In the morning I had a lot of vibration in the rear which we think was a problem with the wheel balance. I did a sighting lap in the afternoon and it was full wet until turn 4 but from there, full dry, so we decided to stay in the pits. We will have to make good use of track time tomorrow morning to prepare the bike for qualifying and the race".

CASEY STONER 2nd 2'01.773

"I definitely feel more comfortable here than I did in Japan, I'm not sure if this is time on the bike or the fact that this track isn't quite so demanding on my right leg. The circuit goes to the right a lot, but there aren't so many slow corners that I need to pick the bike up from and I'm getting a better feeling here so the lap times came easier. We still have quite a bit of work to do and I don't think we are anywhere near the pace that we need to be but the first session went very well and hopefully we can continue in this way for the remainder of the weekend".

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Pedrosa quickest in sultry Sepang practice

Round 16: Malaysian Grand Prix Free Practice One and Two
Sepang, Friday 19 October 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra-Hard. Rear: Medium (Symmetric), Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 30-32°C; Track 38-41°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Wet. Ambient 29-30°C; Track 36-39°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa continued his rampant form by setting the pace on day one at Sepang with the Spaniard clocking a time of 2'01.621 in the first free practice session.

Pedrosa's benchmark time was 0.152 seconds ahead of teammate Casey Stoner on a good day for the Repsol Honda team. Third fastest today was current championship leader Jorge Lorenzo on the Yamaha Factory Racing M1 with the top three riders achieving their best times on the combination of the softer option slicks front and rear.

As is often the case for the first session of the weekend, most riders selected the softer option slicks for FP1 to assess track conditions. Track temperatures reached a peak of 41°C in the morning practice, though the grip level of the circuit was reported to be lower than expected, so most riders didn't evaluate the harder slick options today. FP2 was declared wet after a downpour minutes before the start of the session with only thirteen riders taking part and on a drying track, Avintia Blusens' Ivan Silva was fastest in the second practice setting a time of 2'10.602 on slicks.

Sepang's notoriously unsettled weather means there is a strong possibility of further rainfall tomorrow and Sunday.

Masao Azuma Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

"We had one good session this morning which allowed teams to find a basic setup, but this afternoon's rain meant there was little action on track. The rain was enough to dampen the track for FP2 but then stopped suddenly so we had standing water in turns two and three with the rest of the track dry, making conditions difficult for riders. Hardly any riders evaluated the harder slick options today and I expect many will try the harder front slick tomorrow to see what advantage it gives in the two extreme braking zones here."

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Sepang, 19th October: in the opening day of the Malaysian GP, riders were met with the typically hot and humid conditions at the track, with grip levels characteristically low in the first morning practice, prompting most riders to head out on the softer option tyres including LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl.

The German rookie made a solid start to the weekend in seventh and was looking to improve his machinery overall package but the afternoon session was marred by mixed weather conditions and the 22-year-old could not replicate this morning performance.

Stefan: "This morning first outing was very difficult because the surface was very dirty and the grip very low. We struggled with some chattering problems which we wanted to adjust in the afternoon but unfortunately the weather was unstable with patches of heavy rain in some parts of the track and we could not proceed our job. Let's see what's going on with the weather tomorrow because we have a lot of things to test".

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

Good first impressions for Edwards at Sepang

The first impressions at Sepang are definitely positive for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team and Colin Edwards. The morning session proved to be the only productive session due to the afternoon rain. The American rider had already tested here during the winter and confirms his good feeling with his Suter- BMW by being right behind the De Puniet Espargaro duo.

Satisfying lap times for the Texan rider; at only three tenths from the top CRT bike. A gap that could have been narrowed during the FP2 if the rain did not interfered during the session.

Colin Edwards - 5
"We tested here at the beginning of the year a couple of times, the bike is a little bit different obviously since then, completely different electronics package that what we've finished on. Spent this morning trying to understanding if we were in the ballpark or not, bike setting obviously felt rigid this morning; we are going to play around with it and soften it up a little bit. This afternoon it rained so it was kind of a waste, we couldn't get much done."

Sergio Verbena Crew Chief
"We started off today's first practice at only a few tenths from the best CRT. This is probably the best beginning of a GP weekend so far this season. This winter we tested here and that allowed us to have the data for the setup. We had to work on a few things this afternoon but due tot he rain we were not able to."

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Rain affects day one at Malaysian Grand Prix

The second free practice session at the Malaysian Grand Prix was affected by a typical tropical downpour that gave way to the sun just before the start. Riding on the track, which was neither completely wet nor completely dry, was rendered useless for the entire session.

Valentino Rossi paid the consequences, as he had intended to try some changes to the balance of his Desmosedici in order improve rear grip.

In the morning, Nicky Hayden had started doing some comparative tests with a swingarm with a different stiffness, which Rossi had begun using after Misano. Like his teammate, the American will work on improving grip tomorrow.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 8th (2:02.754)
"With my injury last winter, I didn't really do much meaningful riding here during testing, so it's hard to compare the bike from then to now. The main thing we're working on is finding more edge grip, and we made a couple of improvements there. I was almost two seconds faster than last year here during FP1, which is nice. I tried the new swingarm, which definitely gave me better feeling at the rear. Then this afternoon was really strange. As can happen at long circuits, the track was completely wet on one part and completely dry on another, during the same lap! I did two laps, just to feel the wet conditions in case that's what we have on Sunday. Anyway, I definitely felt a little better today than I did in Motegi, both with my wrist and on the bike, so hopefully we can have a much better weekend."

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 11th (2:03.274)
"We've been a little unfortunate with the weather in recent races. This afternoon it rained right before the session, which made it difficult to work. It's a shame, as we had two or three things to try with the balance of the bike after we were pretty slow this morning. We had continued working with some changes that we used at Motegi, where they'd helped us to have a little more grip under acceleration. Here, though, they weren't as effective because they cause a lot of understeer. This afternoon it was important to be able to work because we wanted to return to a more standard setup, like at Aragon and Misano. I tried riding a little in an effort to understand as much as possible, but it's difficult in these conditions. There's nothing we can do about it, so we'll have to wait until tomorrow."

More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

It was Repsol Honda Team's Dani Pedrosa who topped the timesheets in the premier-class on the opening day of the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang this weekend by setting the fastest lap of the day in the dry morning practice, with the afternoon being marred by patches of heavy rain.

Whilst the morning was a dry affair where all riders got a full session on track, the afternoon session was hit with heavy rain to begin with, after which the sun slowly dried out the track. It was however not enough to replicate the morning's conditions, with many of the top riders not opting to set a quick time. And despite Avintia Blusens' Iván Silva setting the fastest lap of the afternoon in the high 2.10s, it was Pedrosa's pace in the mid 2.01s in the morning that gave the best indication of the pace to come this weekend.

The Spaniard's teammate Casey Stoner looked a much-improved figure with regards his injury fitness concerns on the first day, finishing just marginally behind in second. He, like Pedrosa, did also not set a time in the afternoon, not wishing to risk further injury. Yamaha Factory Racing's Lorenzo brought his machine home in third, yet was over three tenths off the top, and will be hoping for a further dry run and an increase in pace to match the Repsol Hondas over the weekend. A further three tenths back was Andrea Dovizioso on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 satellite machine, who looks set to have another momentous battle with his teammate Cal Crutchlow, who ended the day just marginally behind in fifth.

He finished ahead of Yamaha's Ben Spies, with the American still seeking that extra sliver of pace to get past the Monster Yamaha duo. LCR Honda MotoGP's Stefan Bradl made a solid start to the weekend in seventh, just under a second off the top, yet also sat out the second free practice, stating that very little was to be gained from the mixed conditions. Ducati Team's Nicky Hayden ended the day in eighth, and did look like he was preparing his bike for the wet briefly in FP2, though did not persist due to the number of dry patches on track.

San Carlo Honda Gresini's Álvaro Bautista would have been disappointed with his first outing in ninth, his final position of the day, however he did lap consistently fast when the track was at its wettest later in the day, leading the way for some time. Pramac Racing Team's Héctor Barberá's day saw him finish tenth, while Ducati's Valentino Rossi finished in 11th place. Rossi was one of the few riders who chose to destroy a pair of wet tyres in the afternoon on a drying track, much to the delight of the local fans.

Top CRT spot went to Power Electronics Aspar's Randy de Puniet in 13th, set in the morning practice, before also attempting a near-dry run at the end of FP2. The main protagonists out in the afternoon were the CRT contingent, looking to gain as much track time as possible, to try and claw back time on the prototype machines. Silva benefitted from the last few seconds as the track was as its driest, to finish ahead of San Carlo's Michele Pirro and De Puniet. Wet afternoons are not uncommon in Sepang, yet most riders and teams will be hoping for a fully wet session should the skies open once more in the coming days.


On the first day of Moto2™ free practice at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang it was Tuenti Movil HP 40's Pol Espargaró who led the way in front of Bradley Smith and Marc Márquez.

The Moto2™ grid was greeted with a dry track but warm and humid conditions for the morning session, when all the top times were set, in which Espargaró posted the quickest lap of the day with a 2.08'015. Tech 3 Racing's Bradley Smith, who since Japan seems to have found that little something extra, left it late to jump up the timesheets and present himself as a podium contender this weekend. He did however crash heavily in the afternoon's wet practice, suffering two broken toes. Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol's Marc Márquez was lapping consistently fast in the session, finishing just over three-tenths off the top.

Fourth spot went to Espargaró's teammate Esteve Rabat, with the Spaniard once again on song after his terrific outing in Motegi last time out. He finished just ahead of Technomag-CIP's Dominique Aegerter, who made an appearance in the top ten in fifth. Speed Master's Andrea Iannone, who seemed out of sorts last weekend, looked to have rediscovered some form as he came in sixth, ahead of Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2's Nico Terol.

Interwetten-Paddock's Tom Lüthi, despite being in eighth place, was still less than half a second off the front, with Italtrans Racing Team's Takaaki Nakagami and Came IodaRacing Project's Simone Corsi completing the top ten. There was only one crasher in the morning session in the form of Kiefer Racing's Mike Di Meglio, who was fortunately unhurt.

Heavy rain showers marred the afternoon practice, and it was Petronas Raceline Malaysia's wildcard Hafizh Syahrin went top during the initial drier period in the afternoon, much to the delight of the local crowd. It was S/Master Speed Up's Alessandro Andreozzi who was caught out first by the rain falling in the final turn, whilst NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Alex de Angelis crashed shortly after Smith. Early signs suggest that Márquez and Lüthi were the quickest in wet guise.


In the second Moto3™ free practice session at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang that was cut short by rain it was Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3's Jonas Folger who topped the day's combined timesheets ahead of Sandro Cortese and Zulfahmi Khairuddin.

The afternoon session started dry, and it was Folger who was on blistering form as he set the fastest time of the day with a 2.15'038, ousting Red Bull KTM Ajo's Sandro Cortese into second by over two tenths. AirAsia-SIC-Ajo's Khairuddin completed the top three, as the Malaysian looks to be on podium form a feat that he is incredibly keen to achieve at his home circuit.

Estrella Galicia 0,0's Miguel Oliveira looked to be enjoying the Sepang circuit as he put his bike in fourth, ahead of Team Italia FMI's Alessandro Tonucci, who is continuing in the same vein as in Motegi. Racing Team Germany's Louis Rossi came in sixth, with Tonucci's teammate Romano Fenati in tow in seventh. Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta's Jakub Kornfeil was the only rider within the top ten to not improve on his morning time, and finished the day in eighth.

RW Racing GP's Luis Salom did well to finish ninth after being hit by Oliveira's teammate Alex Rins earlier in the afternoon session. Rins was trying to pass Salom on the inside when the two touched fairings and Rins went down. He was able to get back on his bike and finished the afternoon behind his compatriot in tenth. Motegi race-winner, Red Bull's Danny Kent, ended the day in 11th.

Blusens Avintia's Maverick Viñales was confirmed to have split with his team, after not turning up for both free practice sessions. He cited his unhappiness with the bike and the team, whilst the team stated it was shocked with his statements, and both the timing and public manner of his exit. With the Spaniard second in the championship, this puts Cortese in a very strong position to take the title on Sunday.

More, from a press release issued by Power Electronics Aspar Team:


Randy De Puniet thirteenth and Aleix Espargaró fourteenth on opening day hit by afternoon rainstorm

It was a case of a job half done for the MotoGP teams at Sepang today, as a dry opening free practice session was followed by a lunchtime thunderstorm that made for virtually impossible conditions in the afternoon. With huge damp patches in some areas as the rest of the asphalt dried there was little point in exiting pit lane for the second session and only thirteen riders did so, meaning the lap times from this morning remained as the fastest of the day - Dani Pedrosa topping the overnight timesheets from Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo with Randy De Puniet and Aleix Espargaró again the men to beat in CRT.

Just 0.048 seconds separate the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar pair, De Puniet lapping thirteenth fastest and Espargaró fourteenth. The Frenchman and the Spaniard were amongst the few riders to brave the mixed conditions the afternoon, hoping to gather data that could prove crucial should the weather deal a similar hand on Sunday.

13th Randy De Puniet 2.05.029 (26 laps): "We started out this morning with our usual base setting. We had some problems at Motegi so today we tried to get back on the course we were on beforehand. My feeling with the bike was good but the problem is that it uses up the tyres very quickly. We spent most of the day working with used tyres and trying to adapt the electronics to get the best out of them. Overall it has been a positive day even though the afternoon session was a washout."

14th Aleix Espargaró 2.05.077 (22 laps): "We had a lot of work to get through this morning. At the start of the session we were getting a lot of vibration from the front end, which could have been down to the fact that the track is often dirty here on the first day. I could see from the television that I wasn't the only rider to struggle with it. Even so we set a decent lap time, virtually the same as Randy, and then in the afternoon we couldn't really improve on it because of the weather. We did a short run on wet tyres just to try and get some data in case it rains again for the race on Sunday. Overall I am quite satisfied with the first day here and I hope we can continue making improvements tomorrow."