With the first two races today being exciting ones, the third race didn't need to be exciting for this year to be better than last year. But it was.
The track was cooler than expected as the overcast weather held the sun off. Jonathan Rea, Max Biaggi and Leon Haslam chose a different front tyre to the rest of the grid. Last year, this track had events that determined the outcome of the championship and, with Rea able to leave this weekend crowned champion, this year seemed to be no different.
Press releases from the teams and series organizers after qualifying at Sepang:
Superpole at the longest track of the year, with laps of over two minutes round the 5.543KM circuit, would not allow riders and teams as much time to relax. With no time to waste, and a lap too long for two good laps on the qualifying tyre, riders would get two laps on a race tyre and maybe only one on the qualifier. Ayrton Badovini missed the session after he got a concussion when he crashed with Matteo Baiocco in FP3. He will likely declared unfit for the races tomorrow.
Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea were quickest in the untimed session ahead of Michael van der Mark and Jordi Torres. The Kawasakis set their fastest times of the weekend, showing they aim to challenge the Aprilias in qualifying.
Jordi Torres was quickest in the morning's session, ahead of Leon Haslam. Randy de Puniet was half a second off, third quickest in the session and qualifying fourth behind Max Biaggi, in his best provisional position of the year. Aprilia took the provisional front row ahead of De Puniet and Sylvain Guintoli.
Press releases after the first day of practice at Sepang:
With the rain stopped at the end of the Supersport session, most riders waited for the track to dry, and only went out in the last third of the session. Chaz Davies was quickest on the drying tarmac, beating out Alex Lowes for the quickest lap, but was still seven seconds off the morning's pace.
Returning former champion Max Biaggi, having tested in Sepang recently, went quickest in the morning session, taking the top spot early and never relinquishing it once he had it. Chaz Davies got within two tenths while the Kawasakis of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes were over half a second off Biaggi's pace.
Previews of this weekend's upcoming World Superbike round at Sepang from the series organizers and the teams:
2015 has not been kind to Davide Giugliano. The factory Ducati rider was already forced to miss the first four rounds of the season after fracturing two lumbar vertebrae in testing crash at Phillip Island, a week before the season began. Now he will be forced to miss the remainder of the season, after scans revealed a fracture of the thoracic vertebra D3, sustained in a crash at Laguna Seca.
Giugliano crashed during race 2 at Laguna Seca, cartwheeling spectacularly through the gravel at Turn 6 when a few spots of rain started to fall at the circuit. Though he was initially only diagnosed with some heavy bruising, upon his return to Italy, the Aruba.it Ducati man decided to have another scan, in part to ensure that no further damage had been done to the vertebrae he injured back in February. The scan turned up a fracture of a different vertebra, however, and Giugliano was told that the recovery period would be three months. That effectively put an end to his 2015 season, ruling him out of the remainder of the races.
Press releases from the World Superbike teams after Sunday's races at Laguna Seca: