Jorge Martin took advantage of a rapidly drying track to take the top time in FP3 Saturday at the Sepang circuit Sunday as riders began to set their fastest times of the weekend. Martin's 2'15.606 put him four-tenths of a second ahead of the number two finisher Juanfran Guevara. Newly crowned World Champion Joan Mir seized third as the day began heating up.
Aron Canet dominated a wet Moto3 FP2 Friday at the Sepang circuit with a 2'28.807 lap that put him more than half a second up on the field. More worriesome for the rest of the paddock should the rain continue through the weekend was Canet's consistent top pace in the wet track through the entire session.
Very little separated Bo Bendsneyder (2nd) and Nicolo Bulega (3rd) for the next two spots as rain fell for much of the session. Niccolo Antonelli completed FP2 seven-tenths off the top pace, closely chased by Enea Bastianini (5th). Adam Norrodin at sixth was one of two Malaysians in the top 10 at their home track. John McPhee, who crashed late, still managed seventh.
Newly crowned Moto3 champion Joan Mir grabbed the top time in the first practice Friday at the Sepang curcuit in Malaysia with a 2'13.129 lap with two minutes left in the session. Adam Norrodin, in his home race, set the second-best time at the session's end. The Malaysian bumped Livio Loi to third. Loi, who remains without a contract for 2018, briefly led the dry session. Romano Fenati, who won in Motegi three weeks ago, took fourth, just in front of Enea Bastinini (5th), completing a Honda sweep of the top five slots.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's Sepang round:
Morbidelli ready for Malaysian Moto2 showdown
This weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix is the first opportunity for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli to wrap up the championship he's led since the first race in Qatar.
Phillip Island always delivers. If you came to the track on the edge of the world hoping for a spectacle, you got more than your money's worth. Three stunning races at arguably the greatest racetrack in the world. Three races which really mattered: with just two rounds left after Phillip Island, the results had a significant impact on all three championships. And to cap the day off, one of the best MotoGP races of all time, the second here in the space of three seasons. The sun even shone. Well, most of the time, anyway.
Is it a coincidence that two of the greatest Grand Prix races, perhaps of all time, have happened at Phillip Island in the last three seasons? I don't think so. This place, and this time, have conspired to create the perfect conditions for motorcycle racing. Firstly, there has never been a greater concentration of riding talent on the grid at the same time in the premier class. Secondly, performance parity between the different factories, and between factories and privateers, has never been so great. And thirdly, the Phillip Island circuit is simply made for motorcycle racing. A flowing track in a stunning setting, where brave and skilled riders can make passes at nearly half of the corners on the track.
The 2015 MotoGP race at Phillip Island was a four-way dust up which saw Marc Márquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone, and Valentino Rossi pass each other a grand total of 52 times in 27 laps. The 2017 race saw seven riders slug it out over the same distance, passing and repassing each other a total of 73 times. Blink, and you missed a change of the lead. But you had to blink, just to catch your breath. It is a good job the assiduous Tammy Gorali was willing to go back and tally up the action.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after this weekend's races at Phillip Island:
Moto3 standings after the Australian round at Phillip Island:
Results and summary of the Moto3 race in Phillip Island: