At the beginning of the year, much was made of the addition of rules governing rider behavior to the Sporting Regulations section of the FIM MotoGP rulebook. That gave the newly instituted panel of FIM Stewards, who oversee all disciplinary measures, the power to punish riders and teams for a range of activities related to the promotion of the series. The biggest worry was caused by section 184.108.40.206, which threatened punishment of riders who made public pronouncements considered harmful to the championship.
Marc Marquez put in a fast final lap to crowd out Cal Crutchlow from the top spot in a wet FP4 at the Sepang Circuit Saturday. Cal Crutchlow, who led much of the session on the damp-but-grippy track, finished second, seven-hundredths back. Maverick Vinales took third as riders worked on wet race settings for the Sunday race.
Takaaki Nakagami didn’t let rain delays bother him Saturday at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia. The Japanese rider grabbed the top spot, just beating out Franco Morbidelli, the fastest rider in the previous practice. Jonas Folger completed the top three.
The sun came out and dried the Sepang circuit out on Saturday morning, providing a thrilling FP3 session as the MotoGP riders battled for a spot in Q2. Practice started with damp patches on the track, but the burning tropical sun soon scorched the remaining water away.
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.
The weather has not been kind to MotoGP in 2016. At the nine events since Barcelona, it has rained at some point or another at five of them. At two more, Austria and Motegi, it was the cold rather than the rain which was a factor. Even Sepang, where in most years, it only rains once the riders have finished practice, has seen the rain ruin riders' plans.
Heavy rains overnight left the track covered in damp patches, despite the resurfacing of the circuit which was done to address the issue of standing water in some corners. More rain at lunchtime meant the afternoon sessions were done on a wet track that dried slowly, despite the tropical sun beating down.
The track should have been dry in the morning, after the sun had had four hours to burn off the water. But patches remained at various points around the track, most away from the racing line, but there were some spots where the water remained on the racing line.
"The dampest part of the track is turn three –that’s the slippiest," Scott Redding said. "Turn three still had a lot of patches. Turn four had some too, especially on that acceleration point. There were a few into turn 14. The angle that you have most, where Zarco went down, it was just everywhere around there. You had to work out a line, the way through there, without hitting any puddles."
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after practice on Friday:
Marquez sits out FP2 due to gastroenteritis after setting the quickest time in the morning
Gastroenteritis caused Marc Marquez to miss the FP2 session of the Malaysian Grand Prix today, as the 2016 World Champion returned to his hotel to rest and try to completely recover ahead of tomorrow’s qualifying day.
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
Chaz Davies takes provisional pole by less than five hundredths of a second from Jonathan Rea in the last timed session before Superpole. Leon Haslam, after a tough morning getting used to World Superbike after a long absence, is the quickest rider in Superpole one, with Michael van der Mark unable to improve on his morning's time as second favourite to advance to Superpole one. Tom Sykes continued to struggle, only managing to go ninth quickest, seven tenths off the pace.
Randy Krummenacher, Ayrton Badovini and Alex Baldolini turned qualifying on its head by relegating the morning's fast men off the provisional front row.
Jonathan Rea and Chaz Davies open the weekend with the two quickest times ahead of Michael van der Mark. Tom Sykes, Rea's only remaining challenger for the title, was thirteenth quickest.