MotoGP: Crutchlow Quickest In Wet FP2 At Sepang (Updated)

MotoGP: Crutchlow Quickest In Wet FP2 At Sepang (Updated)

© 2022, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

MotoGP FP2

 

 

More, from a press release issued by FIM:

FIM MotoGP™ Stewards Notification of Sanction: Pol Espargaro

Friday, 21 October 2022

Please find attached an FIM MotoGP™ Stewards Notification of Sanction for Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team).

For rejoining the track unsafely and causing a dangerous for another rider in FP1, he has been given a three-place grid penalty for the PETRONAS Grand Prix of Malaysia MotoGP™ race.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Binder fastest, Bagnaia outside the top ten on Day 1

FP1 sees the KTM rider take to the top before tougher conditions in the afternoon – leaving Pecco outside the provisional Q2 places on Friday

 

Brad Binder (33). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Brad Binder (33). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Friday, 21 October 2022

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder takes Friday honours at the PETRONAS Grand Prix of Malaysia, fastest in FP1 by less than a tenth ahead of Australian GP winner Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar). Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) completes the top three, with some riders not putting in a time attack in the morning… and the weather closing in in the afternoon.

That leaves Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) in P11 overall, as he was in FP1, and by just 0.003. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) is seventh, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) down in a difficult P20. Neither Quartararo nor Bagnaia fitted new Michelin tyres for their final runs, and Aleix Espargaro suffered a crash on one bike and a technical problem on the other.

On a day of mixed weather, FP2 belonged to Cal Crutchlow (WithU Yamaha RND MotoGP™ Team), who set the quickest lap in a damp afternoon session at Sepang after a late change to slick Michelin tyres. However, his afternoon benchmark of 2:05.710 was several seconds away from the 1:59.576 which Binder achieved earlier in the day when the circuit was completely dry.

A huge downpour had caused a lengthy red flag period in the preceding session, Moto2™ FP2, but the sun was shining by the time the premier class rolled out for their second session of the day. All 24 riders started on wet Michelin tyres but there was precious little spray being kicked up by then. The session ended on slicks and with Crutchlow top as Bagnaia took second. Quartararo was fifth on wets.

The combined timesheets

It’s all from FP1, with Brad Binder heading Rins’ late charge and Marc Marquez third. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), who’s facing his last stand in the title fight, was fourth, ahead of 2020 World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar).

 

Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) slots into sixth ahead of Quartararo, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) in P8. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and teammate and Rookie of the Year Marco Bezzecchi complete the top ten and are therefore provisionally into Q2 ahead of Bagnaia… but what will FP3 bring?

 

Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Bagnaia, and teammate Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), will most definitely be hoping for dry skies. Can they move into the top ten? And if they don’t, will both head out to fight for only two sports in Q2 or will the Australian sit on the bench? It could be a big morning in FP3 from 10:50 (GMT +8) before qualifying from 15:05.

 

Fabio Quartararo (20) and Francesco Bagnaia (63) in action on Friday at Sepang. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Fabio Quartararo (20) and Francesco Bagnaia (63) in action on Friday at Sepang. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

FRIDAY: TOP 3

1 Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – KTM –  1’59.479

2 Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – Suzuki – +0.097

3 Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – Honda – +0.144

 

Augusto Fernandez (37). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Augusto Fernandez (37). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Fernandez slams in a statement Friday

The contender ends Day 1 over eight tenths clear, with Ogura fifth but 1.1 seconds back

There’s no better way to bounce back from a mistake than absolute domination, and that’s what Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had for the rest of the field on Friday. Ending the day over eight tenths clear after storming to the top in FP1, the number 37 was back in business in a big way.

His teammate, Pedro Acosta, was first on the chase in second, with Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) third. All three laps at the top were set in FP1, before the first of those from the afternoon: Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team). Gonzalez ends the day fourth thanks to that effort, which was set before a downpour mid-FP2.

Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) sits fifth from his FP1 time, ahead of Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) thanks to his FP2 best. Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) and Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools SpeedUp) complete the top ten, the latter from FP2.

Ogura leads by just 3.5 points and it seems to be advantage Fernandez heading into qualifying. Tune in to see the grid decided from 13:30 (GMT+8)!

FRIDAY: TOP 3

1 Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – Kalex – 2’06.816

2 Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – Kalex – +0.828

3 Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) – Kalex – +1.051

 

Dennis Foggia (7). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Dennis Foggia (7). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Foggia and Sasaki split by just 0.070

Two key players in the fight for silver are split by almost nothing on Friday, with Garcia 14th

As the fight for second heats up at Sepang, Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) and Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) led the way at the top of the timesheets, split by just 0.070 on Friday. Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team), who leads the battle for silver by two points, had a tougher day down in P14.

Rain hit for other classes but not Moto3™, with the lightweight runners enjoying two dry sessions. Foggia led both sessions and Sasaki’s best in FP1 is the second best overall, with both faster in the morning.

David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) ends the day in third thanks to his FP2 best, ahead of two more from FP1: Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse).

Angeluss MTA teammates Ivan Ortola and Stefano Nepa were next up from FP2, ahead of now-reigning World Champion Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team). Guevara crashed in FP2, rider ok. He was one of seven crashers in the afternoon, including a second spill for Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) after the Japanese rider was the sole faller in FP1.

Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) and Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) complete the top ten.

The rider currently second overall, Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team), sits in P14 after Day 1 and will currently be the last rider through directly to Q2. See who’ll make the cut at 9:00 (GMT +11) local time on Saturday morning, before qualifying sets the grid from 12:35!

FRIDAY: TOP 3

1 Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) – Honda – 2’12.226

2 Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) – Husqvarna – +0.070

3 David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) – KTM – +0.388

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Mooney VR46 Racing Team:

TOP10 FOR MARINI AND BEZZECCHI IN THE DAY1 IN MALAYSIA

A day of uncertain weather with the riders of the Mooney VR46 Racing Team both momentarily into the Q2 thanks to the lap times of the FP1

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), October 21st 2022 – Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi hit the momentary access into the Q2 of the Malaysian GP (03.30 pm local time, 09.30 am CET) which will take place this weekend at Sepang. Thanks to the excellent lap times signed in FP1, the riders of the Mooney VR46 Racing Team are respectively in ninth and tenth place in the combined standings of the day despite the rain in the FP2.

Able to immediately keep up with the pace of the strongest guys, Luca closes with a good 2’00.733 (2’09.825 in FP2, P10), has the two-minute barrier within reach and is just over a second from the very first riders (Binder, 1’59.479).

In the slip stream of his teammate, despite a crash at the start of the session this morning, Marco with a lap time of 2’00.767 and satisfied with the progress made in the wet in the afternoon (2’09.992 in FP2, P13).

Luca Marini 10

A good Friday: we were on track in both dry and wet conditions and this is positive considering that we are in Malaysia, a country with sudden changes in weather. I feel strong in both situations even if I can still improve in some points. We are working on the electronics to make the bike turn better and I hope for a good weather tomorrow. The choice on the tire for the race is still open and we need to run kilometers in the dry to decide.

Marco Bezzecchi 72

Not a perfect start in FP1 with the crash right at the start of the session, but then some good sensations and a significant lap time. In the FP2 we were on track in the wet: not bad, I needed a session like this because in the last few GPs we struggled in these conditions and we had to try some new solutions. I hope for good weather for tomorrow to be able to work well on the race pace.

Pablo Nieto, Team Manager

An excellent start this morning in the FP1 with both guys in the Top10 and temporarily qualified for the Q2. A second session then in the wet where we made the most of to be ready to face any surprises of the weather. We will continue in this direction.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Tech3 KTM Factory Racing:

Tech3 KTM Factory Racing Adapts to Malaysia Tropical Weather in Mixed Track Conditions on Friday

The Malaysian party started on Friday for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing, and the rain invited itself again, a guest the MotoGP class has become accustomed to lately. Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez were returning to the Sepang International Circuit for the first time since the winter test, this time with a MotoGP season in the bag. While the morning was dry, but very hot, the afternoon session was delayed due to a heavy tropical rain which saw the FP2 start with more than one hour delay.

Following his busy home Grand Prix last week in Phillip Island which saw him scoring a point in front of a home crowd, Remy Gardner faced the extremely hot and humid conditions this morning in Sepang, a big change compared to the previous round. In FP1, it  took him a bit of time to re-adapt to the Malaysian layout, but once he felt comfortable, he was able to register a lap in 2’01.704. The game changed in the afternoon after the heavy rain, meaning that FP2 started with wet tyres but could potentially leave space with a try in slicks. It was not the option chosen by Remy Gardner who rode in wet all FP2 long. His best ride in 2’10.592 placed him in P18 at the end of FP2, and P21 in the combined standing.

Eager to return to Malaysia for a race weekend this time, Spaniard Raul Fernandez was also looking forward to reuniting with Sepang, this time with more experience on the KTM RC16. Under tough physical conditions, he rode in 2’01.831 in the first of the four free practice sessions. In FP2, he seemed to feel comfortable on the drying track although it remained tricky to adapt to some parts of the track being still wet, and others dry. He finished FP2 in P14 with a lap in 2’10.392, and twenty-third overall. The action will be back tomorrow for qualifying day, with FP3 starting at 10:50 (GMT+8).

 

Remy Gardner

Position: 21st

Time: 2’01.704

Laps: 33

“I did not have a good feeling with the rear tyre in FP1 this morning but it seemed like it was the same with all KTM bikes. Brad Binder put a new medium at the end and said that it was a big jump forward, so it was probably because we had a green track. We had a good session anyway. In the afternoon, it was a bit trickier as we had a bit of wet and dry, but we had a pretty good rhythm and I enjoyed riding.”

 

Raul Fernandez

Position: 23rd

Time: 2’01.831

Laps: 32

“Hot day! This morning we tried to feel the track, find our marks again and we decided to not use a new set of tyres, which will be interesting for the race on Sunday. In the afternoon, we had a bit of everything after the big rain as some parts of the track were wet, others dry towards the end of the session, so it was tricky to make a decision with tyres. Overall, it has been a positive first day, but we will need to analyse well tonight our tyre strategy for tomorrow.”

 

 

 

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

Crutchlow tops FP2 in Malaysia, Binder faces tricky opening day

The WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team kicked off the home Grand Prix in style today.

Friday saw all kind of typical Malaysian weather at the Sepang International Circuit. After a hot and humid morning session, heavy rain hit the area and delivered a delay of FP2, which eventually started on wet tarmac, but ended in drying conditions.

WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team‘s Cal Crutchlow had an interesting Friday. He used Free Practice one this morning to try several changes on his bike and thereby finished in 18th position. In FP2, he was one of the first riders going out on slicks in the final seven minutes. He showed a fantastic pace in tricky conditions and eventually topped the session with an advantage of 0.9 seconds to World Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia, pleasing the entire WithU Yamaha RNF crew.

On the other side of the garage, MotoGP rookie Darryn Binder made some decent progress throughout FP1 this morning, although he punctured his tyre and suffered a crash towards the end of the session. He still finished FP1 just 0.58 seconds behind his experienced teammate. In Free Practice two, he used the time to gather experience on wet track as well as on drying asphalt without focusing on a fast lap time.

Tomorrow’s action-packed Saturday starts with Free Practice three at 10:50 local time (04:50 CET), followed by FP4 at 14:25 local time (08:25 CET) and Qualifying at 15:05 local time (09:06 CET).

CAL CRUTCHLOW

“Today, I felt quite good overall. At the start of the session, it wasn‘t easy, the bike in that condition is not good, when the track is greasy and hot and there is some water. But afterwards, when it started to dry a little bit, the M1 started to feel really good. So I was able to push, and then I went with the slicks and felt okay with it. I think we could have been even faster, but it was nice to be on top of a session again, also for the team to have something to cheer during this difficult year for them. At the same time, it’s obviously great to do that here at the home GP with all the Malaysian fans and sponsors, although the session was quite irrelevant.”

DARRYN BINDER

“This morning we had a little bit of bad luck, unfortunately I went out of the box and in the third flying lap I had a puncture  and had to stop and change tyre, and then I went back out and I was improving lap by lap and started to have a good feeling with the track but unfortunately I made a small mistake in Turn 4 and had a crash, because we couldn’t get the bike back in time so I couldn’t finish the session. Then this afternoon, heaven’s opened, we had a really wet track and it started drying towards the end. Anyway, we went on, we got a feel for the condition with the wet tyre on the track that was drying and we try again tomorrow.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Dry and wet day in Malaysia as Marquez shows early speed

The MotoGP World Championship’s return to Malaysia saw a typical Sepang day with roaring temperatures in the morning and an intense afternoon shower, Marquez and Espargaro dodging puddles for third and 16th respectively.

Warm morning conditions would be replaced by a typical torrential downpour in the afternoon, the intensity of the rain causing a delay to Free Practice 2. Conditions would improve as the afternoon session went on, but no times would be improved and the results of the day were dictated by FP1. Forecasts are currently predicting rain around the time of the race on Saturday, so FP2 may yet prove to be a critical session.

Consistent top three speed from the first green flag had Marc Marquez feeling pleased as the Malaysian GP began. The three-time Malaysian GP winner did back-to-back tests of the new aero package debuted in Australia during Free Practice 1. With the afternoon session impacted by rain, Marquez’s 1’59.623 from the morning easily secured him a spot in the top ten. Third fastest overall, Marquez ends the day pleased with the work done and ready to continue on Saturday.

Pol Espargaro had another Friday of finding steady improvements. Ending the morning session with a best time of 2’01.200, the #44 was eager to continue working in the afternoon but the rain changed his plans. Focusing on getting the most out of his Honda RC213V in the wet, Espargaro completed several longer runs during the afternoon to gather data and see how the condition of the track improved. Currently outside the combined top ten, Espargaro is hoping for a dry Free Practice 3 session to make further improvements. Unfortunately, Espargaro received a three-place grid penalty of an incident early in FP1.

Marc Marquez

THIRD  1’59.623

“Today I was able to finish in the top three and a lot of this was because of the strategy we used. I used a soft tyre straight away in FP1 because I know that being in the top ten is really important here. But honestly, our feeling isn’t the best and there are still things to improve to make us more comfortable on track. We made a small step in FP2 with our second run so the aim is to keep going like this tomorrow. Happy to be in the top three, but there’s work to do.”

Pol Espargaro

16TH  2’01.200

“We didn’t have a great day today. There was the penalty from Free Practice 1 which is a shame, I went to explain the situation to Race Direction but still we have it. It’s a shame because it adds an extra complication to the weekend. Anyway, we made some improvements in Free Practice 1 while a lot of people used the soft tyre. Then in the afternoon we learned as much as we could but towards the end of the session the track was very hot and there wasn’t much more to do. We go again tomorrow.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:

SOLID START TO SEPANG WEEKEND FOR MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP ON MIXED FRIDAY

Sepang (Malaysia), 21st October 2022

GRAND PRIX OF MALAYSIA

FREE PRACTICE

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli were off to a good start in today‘s Grand Prix of Malaysia, showing positive pace in both mixed and dry track conditions. They secured 7th and 12th place in the combined FP timesheets.

LOCAL TIME: 16:10 GMT+8

AIR TEMPERATURE: 29°C

TRACK TEMPERATURE: 34°C

WEATHER: HEAVY CLOUDS / HUMIDITY 83%

 

7th FABIO QUARTARARO 2’00.543 (FP1) / 18+18 LAPS

12th FRANCO MORBIDELLI 2’00.771 (FP1) / 17+17 LAPS

 

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli were in good spirits at the Sepang International Circuit today. They were setting provisional fastest times early on in the morning session without doing a time attack, putting them in 7th and 12th place. With drying track conditions in the afternoon after a heavy downpour, it was impossible to improve their time. Instead, they focused on their wet set-ups and finished the first day of the Grand Prix feeling ready for whatever weather they may face tomorrow.

Quartararo‘s objective is to have fun at the Malaysian circuit this weekend, and it showed in FP1. The Frenchman was top of the rankings for most of the session. In the final minutes, many other riders put in a time attack. The Frenchman‘s best time, a 2‘00.543s set on lap 7/18, kept him in seventh place, 1.064s from first.

Knowing full well that a time improvement in the combined standings wouldn‘t be possible when the FP2 session turned out to be damp, the Frenchman was keen to use the 45 minutes to tune his bike‘s wet set-up. The track was drying quickly throughout the session though, so he had to adapt his riding every lap. Other riders changed to slicks in the final minutes. El Diablo opted to end the session on wets and posted a best time of 2‘09.753s on lap 18/18. It put him 4.043s behind the fastest rider on slicks.

Morbidelli bounced back from a difficult weekend in Australia with a strong FP1 session. He set a provisional fastest lap before focusing on his race pace. As the Italian improved his time, he alternated between the spots from fourth to sixth until the final stages, when other riders got in a hot lap with new tyres. As the number-21 rider didn‘t partake in this action, he completed the session with a 2‘00.771s best time, set on lap 6/17, 1.292s from the top.

Morbido wasn‘t able to negotiate a spot in the top 10 due to the mixed track conditions at the start of FP2, but he didn‘t let that keep him from putting his best foot forward. The Yamaha man was putting in solid lap times, with a personal best of 2‘09.390s on lap 14/17. The lap showed his pace as it was set whilst still riding on wets on a mostly dry track. It left him 3.680s off the fastest FP2 time.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

We had a plan in place for this GP and we stuck with it, but the rain spoiled it. While others chose to get a hot lap in at the end of FP1, we focused on race pace instead. We didn‘t do a time attack and, unfortunately, the rain came before FP2, so that ruled out the chance of improving in the combined standings. But on the bright side, FP2 did allow us to get a feel for the wet conditions. This might come in handy as more rain is predicted for the remainder of the weekend. We often struggle on a mixed or drying track, but today both Fabio and Franky felt comfortable in those conditions too. So, all in all, the combined results don‘t tell the whole story. The pace of our riders is really strong, both in the wet, mixed, and the dry, so we are feeling positive about our chances here this weekend.

FABIO QUARTARARO

On the dry, my feeling is good. I was able to push straight away. The first run in the afternoon was difficult, but from my second run on, I was immediately much faster. I wanted to put on slicks at the end of the session, but there were only 7 minutes remaining and I didn’t want to stop for just one or two laps. So, I decided to keep going. We often struggle in mixed conditions with wet patches on track, and it was much better at the end. In the end, it was a good day. I was just enjoying myself quite a lot today.

FRANCO MORBIDELLI

It was a positive Friday. I just missed the Q2 by 0.004s whilst I hadn’t even put new tyres on. Then in the afternoon, I was really, really fast in the wet conditions, so I can’t complain about today. Also during our worst weekends, we always have a moment when we’re quick and we smile, but today it was a particularly bright moment. I hope it lasts.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Gresini Racing:

DOWNPOUR ON SEPANG, BOTH GRESINI MOTOGP RIDERS IN PROVISIONAL Q2

#MalaysianGP Free Practice. The most-traditional Malaysian afternoon downpour ensured the morning lap-times Team Gresini MotoGP’s Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio were quick enough for both riders to be in the provisional ‘Q2-worthy’ top ten.

The #23 and #49 were fourth and eighth, respectively, in the combined times of today’s two Free Practice sessions, a result that would automatically open the door to Qualifying 2 should FP3 take place in wet or mixed conditions.

Despite the less-significant times set in the afternoon, both sides of the Gresini Racing garage worked hard in order to be ready for a possible wet race.

4th – ENEA BASTIANINI #23 (1’59.875s)

“I’m happy with the morning’s performance: we did well on the dry, even though the feeling wasn’t the same as during testing. There’s a lot of work to do in wet conditions because I wasn’t comfortable on the bike – and we still need to fine-tune something on our dry-track set-up. We’re in Q2 for now and we did well in using the soft tyre. Now we hope for a dry FP3 to continue working.”

8th –  FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO #49 (2’00.552s)

“Was a good Friday; we started off well, but that’s how it is often times. We finished in the top ten and we’re provisionally in Q2 – and that’s surely important. It’ll also be key to continue this way and improve at least as much as the others. Our potential is high and let’s hope we’ll be able to show it in the next couple of days.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:

ÁLEX MÁRQUEZ IMPRESSES ON DAY ONE AT SEPANG

21 October 2022 | Malaysian GP Practice

Álex Márquez made a positive start as free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix got underway in typically unpredictable conditions at Sepang. With contrasting weather in both sessions, the LCR Honda CASTROL rider finished the day in 13th position overall, but again demonstrated his prowess in the wet to build confidence ahead of qualifying.

The Spaniard could not find an ideal set-up during a dry FP1 session, but still finished just three tenths outside the top-10 despite issues with grip. FP2 took place in wet conditions following heavy rain but, as the track dried out, Álex came on strong and topped the timesheets in the closing stages before settling for 3rd spot.

Álex Márquez – 13th

(2’01.015)

“First day here in Malaysia, in the morning we were a little bit off with our set-up and the feeling was not very good and we made big changes for the afternoon, but unfortunately we did not try them as it was wet. We need to improve tomorrow, especially in the dry and see if those changes in set-up work because we need more grip. The grip is the main problem going in (to corners), turning and opening, I have zero rear grip. But in the wet I felt really, really good, throughout all the session (FP2), with the bike and that’s important because the weekend looks like it will continue like this. It will be unpredictable and we need to be ready for all conditions.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:

MALAYSIAN MONSOON FAILS TO DAMPEN PACE OF SUZUKI PAIR

Alex Rins: 2nd – 1’59.576 (+ 0.097)

Joan Mir: 5th – 1’59.951 (+ 0.472)

MotoGP has finally returned to Malaysia for the first race weekend at Sepang International Circuit since 2019, and Friday’s sessions were ‘in at the deep end’ as the riders experienced a dry and quick FP1, and a perilously wet FP2.

Alex Rins and Joan Mir were straight down to business in the morning, setting solid times and keeping themselves firmly in contention. The pair popped into the Top 5 with plenty of time still on the clock, with Rins shooting up to second place a few minutes from the end. Mir was close by, taking fourth at the flag, less than half a second from the top.

There was a long delay to the start of FP2 after a huge downpour and thunderstorm struck Sepang during the Moto2 session. When the riders eventually got underway, the track was still extremely wet and the utmost caution was necessary. Rins and Mir took time to gain some feeling in the conditions, putting in stints on the wet tyres and gradually moving up the order, choosing not to switch to slicks in the limited window at the end of the session when the track had dried a little. They closed FP2 with Mir eighth and Rins 12th, but the faster morning times are what they’ll take into tomorrow.

Alex Rins:

“Today was a bit tricky and we needed to be focused. Despite the fact we weren’t expecting rain for the afternoon, we gave it everything in FP1 just in case, and it paid off. I was able to be pretty strong, with second place, and I feel happy with that because quite often on a Friday I don’t have pace immediately. FP2 was difficult to manage because of the drying track with wet patches, so I decided to stay out on wet tyres. At the moment we don’t know if tomorrow will be dry or wet, it looks 50/50, so we have to wait and see what we can do in terms of qualifying, but if we can go directly to Q2 it will definitely help.”

Joan Mir:

“Things seem to be positive for us in both wet and dry conditions right now, although the track is challenging due to the low grip even when it’s dry, so it’s a bit complicated. We couldn’t really add to the grip today by putting rubber down because of it being so wet, so it seems likely that tomorrow will also be tough. But either way I feel fairly strong, and my FP1 session was nice. Let’s see how things are tomorrow, but I’m aiming high.”

Livio Suppo – Team Manager:

“Another positive day for us. This morning in the dry both riders immediately went quickly, so we’re happy with the current set-up in dry conditions so far. Then the FP2 session was very strange, because it started very wet, but then the circuit started to dry rapidly towards the end. The riders opted not to switch to slicks, but their confidence in the wet was pretty good, which gives us confidence. Overall it seems that whatever the weather, we have potential, so let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:

NAGASHIMA PLEASED WITH PROGRESS AT SEPANG

21 October 2022 | Malaysian GP Practice

Tetsuta Nagashima made encouraging progress as he got to grips with the Sepang International Circuit on MotoGP machinery for the first time. With changeable weather again complicating matters from the premier class in Malaysia, the LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider stuck to his task impressively on the opening day of free practice.

Tetsuta spent a dry FP1 trying to acclimatise to the demanding Sepang circuit with his lap times improving throughout. He then impressed during a wet FP2, ending the session in 20th spot after growing in confidence and is now looking forward to qualifying tomorrow.

Tetsuta Nagashima – 24th

(2’02.866)

“So today the feeling wasn’t bad. I know all the riders have done a test here and from the beginning they were quite fast. But my lap times weren’t bad, I tried to focus on my riding in FP1, in FP2 I wanted to push a bit more, but it was disappointing about the weather as it rained and then came dry. I never really liked these kind of conditions, but it was a good experience and I learned how I could push. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Malaysian GP: Bagnaia ends the first day of free practice at Sepang in 11th position after going second in FP2 in mixed track conditions. Miller 14th

Francesco Bagnaia finished with the 11th fastest time overall in Friday’s free practice for the Malaysian GP, the penultimate round of the 2022 MotoGP season held this weekend at Sepang International Circuit. As he finished eleventh after a dry FP1, the Ducati Lenovo Team rider closed second FP2 held in mixed conditions after a heavy tropical downpour hit the circuit during the Moto2 session.

After a first part of the session held in the wet, MotoGP riders were able to mount slicks on the final minutes of FP2, but the track conditions did not allow changes to the combined timesheets, which therefore remained unchanged from the morning. Jack Miller, fourth in FP2 despite still sore after last Sunday’s crash at Phillip Island, also finished 14th on the first day. The Australian rider, as well as his teammate, did not make the time attack in the morning’s dry FP1, preferring to continue running on used tires, and hopes to find favourable weather conditions to try to improve tomorrow morning in FP3.

Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 11th (2:00.770)

“I am quite calm after this first day, despite finishing only 11th, three thousandths from the top ten. Unfortunately, on the last lap, I made a mistake coming out of Turn 9, losing a lot of time. I hope to be able to find the right conditions in tomorrow’s FP3 to try to get into the top ten. It will be important here, especially if qualifying should be wet. In any case, I am positive: our potential in the wet has grown a lot, and that makes me optimistic.”

Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 14th (2:01.034)

“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy because the bruises I got on my leg in the Phillip Island crash are in a place where I put a lot of pressure riding the bike, and I feel a lot of pain. In any case, I was able to improve lap by lap. This morning we didn’t try the time attack, so after the rain fell this afternoon, we are out of the top ten. Hopefully, tomorrow morning’s FP3 will be dry and will allow us to improve our time. In general, I feel comfortable on the bike. I am just a little worried about Sunday’s race which will be physically very demanding.”

The Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be back on track tomorrow at 10:50am local time (4:50am in Italy) for FP3, while qualifying for the Malaysian GP will be held from 3:05pm local time (9:05am in Italy) after FP4.

 

 

 

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

MALAYSIAN GP – MARTIN P6 AND ZARCO P15 AFTER FIRST DAY OF FREE PRACTICE.

The first day of free practice closes with Jorge Martin in sixth and Johann Zarco in 15th. After a dry first session that sees Prima Pramac riders Martin and Zarco close in sixth and fifteenth position respectively the afternoon session takes place after a violent rain. Zarco as always shows his prowess in the wet and scores the fifth time, Martin in seventeenth position.

Jorge Martín

We can still improve a lot but already today we did a good job, the track is definitely favorable to our bike and I like it a lot. We hope to do a good qualifying tomorrow.

Johann Zarco

The position is not the best but it does not entirely reflect the reality of the situation, I had a technical problem that stuck me a little bit but it is a track that I like very much and where we can do very well.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:

OPENING PRACTICE AT SEPANG

INTERIM DAY IN MALAYSIA WITH VARIABLE WEATHER AND SOME TROUBLES FOR ALEIX

The first day of practice on the Malaysian Sepang circuit can be defined as approximate, at least in the Aprilia camp. In the morning, on a dry track, Maverick took advantage of the first session to get a feel for track conditions but without attempting a time attack in the end. Aleix, on the other hand, fell victim to a series of technical troubles that basically kept him from going out.

The afternoon was conditioned by heavy rainfall that delayed the start of the second practice session, then held on a track that was wet and slowly improving. Not very indicative conditions, with times far from the best time, so confirmation postponed until tomorrow.

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ

“It’s a bit difficult to comment on the day today because in the morning I had two problems on the two bikes that we were unable to solve in time. In the afternoon, in mixed conditions, it didn’t make much sense to push hard because we wouldn’t have been able to improve on our times from the morning anyway. In any case, I’m optimistic because I expect that I’ll be able to be fast with the right asphalt and no hindrances. I’ll get out on the track and push to the maximum from the first lap!”

MAVERICK VIÑALES

“This morning in the dry sensations were less than perfect. The level of grip I felt was very low and that kept me from being fast. In the afternoon, grip was still lacking and we’ll need to analyse the data to figure out how to limit this difficulty. At the end of the day, that’s the element that is limiting us the most because it conditions all riding situations, from entering to exiting corners.”

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