Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class in Valencia:
After Franco Morbidelli stole his thunder in FP2, Tom Luthi wasted no time in showing his speed on Saturday morning, heading straight to the top of the timesheets and leading the Italian by over six tenths of a second for most of the session. More so, that early time was one tenth of a second faster than Tito Rabat’s pole position time from 2015.
Morbidelli shaved a few tenths off to get as close as two tenths of a second, but the biggest surprise of the session was Danny Kent, the British rider getting as high as third in the final minutes of the session. That pushed world champion Johann Zarco down to fourth position, half a second off Luthi.
Another session, another good start from Franco Morbidelli, the Italian beating Tom Luthi’s FP1 time by a mere tenth of a second. With an initial gap of over three tenths of a second, the Estrella Galicia rider was unperturbed at the top, Takaaki Nakagami getting as close as a tenth of a second to put his name next on the timing screens. The Japanese rider had a lot of track time to recover after the rodeo adventures from the morning session but did so successfully, going straight up to second and keeping his position for much of the session.
Johann Zarco has also staged a bit of a comeback for the afternoon session, the recently crowned champion cutting his deficit to the leader to three tenths of a second to finish third. Half a tenth down on the world champion was Julian Simon, perhaps a sign of the unusual configuration of the rest of the top ten.
With four consecutive podiums in the last races, Franco Morbidelli seemed to have gotten a taste for top positions, the Estrella Galicia rider being the first leader of the session. Just as Jonas Folger took over at the top of the pack, a red flag popped up with thirty-seven minutes to go, due to some fluid spilling in turn fourteen following a crash for Takaaki Nakagami. It was a rough morning for Nakagami, the Japanese rider having a few moments before the bike finally threw him off, luckily without consequences.
After the session was resumed, Thomas Luthi looked like threatening Folger’s position, getting as close as a tenth of a second before putting in a fast set of laps at the end to grab the top position. Foger lost second position too as Simone Corsi sneaked ahead of him in the final minutes.
Press releases from the Moto2 & Moto3 teams after an incident-packed Malaysian Grand Prix:
Third consecutive top 10 result for Livio Loi
After another bizarre race Livio Loi recorded his third consecutive top 10 result. In the GP of Malaysia, the third of the flyaways, RW Racing GP’s Belgian crossed the line in ninth just before the Moto3 race was red flagged because of rain.
Moto2 standings after Sepang:
The riders may have been complaining that the new surface of the Sepang circuit takes too long to dry out, but about one thing, they are all agreed. It has fantastic grip. "We have this problem of the track drying up, it's very difficult," Jorge Lorenzo told the press conference, agreeing with his teammate. "But the grip is perfect, it's amazing the grip."
That was obvious in the afternoon, when the MotoGP riders took to a track still soaking after the tropical downpour which had caused the preceding Moto3 qualifying session to be red flagged. The lean angle the riders were still getting despite standing water was remarkable. That was even true after the Moto3 downpour had ended, and the track was awash. The top Moto3 riders were still improving their times on a track which was wetter than at the start of the session.
The same grip had helped in the morning, when there were still a few wet patches on the track. As the sun started to burn the water off, Maverick Viñales dipped under the two minute mark, posting two laps of 1'59.9. That was on a track which was still not completely dry, the riders able to power through almost as if it had never rained.