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.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Sepang:
Binder takes pole in the rain
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider snatches sixth pole position of the year at wet Sepang International Circuit. Bo Bendsneyder heads the third row for Malaysian GP.
10/29/2016 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
The Sepang circuit started the day much as it did on Friday: mainly dry, with prominent damp patches around the circuit. The track improved as the session went on, times dropping closer and closer to the lap record. The top spot changed hands several times throughout the session, until reigning champion Brad Binder asserted his authority over the class, just pipping Jakub Kornfeil to the fastest time by six thousandths of a second.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after practice on Friday:
Binder fastest in the dry in Malaysia
Moto3 World Champion sets best time of the day in only dry session on Friday. Bo Bendsneyder debuts at Sepang with fifteenth fastest lap.
10/28/2016 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
On a fully wet track, it was Pecco Bagnaia who ended the second session of Moto3 practice. The Italian had been quickest all session, putting in a very fast lap as FP2 ended. That knocked Jorge Navarro into second, the Spaniard crashing on his final run.
Local hero Khairul Idham Pawi excelled again in the afternoon, relishing the riding in the wet to take third place. Pawi had also been quick in the dry morning session, beaten only by Brad Binder in FP1. Nicolo Bulega took fourth, ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki on the CIP Mahindra.
Press releases previewing the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix:
Malaysia the next battleground for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0
Jorge Navarro comes into the penultimate round of the Moto3 World Championship season third in the overall standings, motivated to fight for the runner-up spot. Aron Canet will work towards a strong debut at Sepang.