Championship leader Luis Salom has lead a rampant KTM fight back during Moto3 FP3 in Sepang. Following the strong performance of the Mahindra and Honda riders on Friday, Salom reveled in the morning's cool track conditions, finishing the session almost half a second ahead of Jonas Folger and some six tenths quicker than the fastest ever Moto3 lap set at the Malaysian circuit. Salom's main championship rivals Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins completed an all KTM top four.
Is Sepang a Honda track or a Yamaha track? On the evidence of the first day of practice, you would have to say it is definitely a Honda track. Or more specifically, a factory Honda track, according to Valentino Rossi. The Italian veteran told reporters that the factory Hondas seemed to have something extra at Sepang, even compared to the satellite RC213Vs.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at the Sepang International Circuit:
Crutchlow makes flying start to flyaway triple-header in Sepang
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow made a fantastic start to the Malaysian MotoGP weekend today, the British rider setting the third fastest time on the opening day of practice at the physically demanding Sepang International Circuit.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Sepang:
Rain slows down first day at Sepang for Rins and Marquez
First free practice session takes place on dry track, second on wet surface after intense storm. Rins places fourth and Marquez eighteenth after morning crash.
Repsol Media Service - Malaysia, Sepang Circuit - Friday 11/10/2013
Riders For Health is offering grid passes for the final round at Valencia in an eBay auction. The press release appears below:
Get on the grid for Valencia MotoGP™!
Riders for Health and MotoGP™ are offering fans the chance to bid for exclusive MotoGP grid passes for the final race of the season in a series of eBay auctions. The auctions will raise money for Riders for Health, the official charity of MotoGP, to support their lifesaving work in Africa.
Esteve Rabat has continued his devastating early form at Sepang to head Moto2 FP2 by a staggering seven tenths of a second. Thomas Luthi was the closest that any of the seemingly hapless field could get ending up precisely 0.709 behind the inspired Spaniard. Scott Redding showed an improvement on his morning pace to finish in third place and importantly ahead of his fierce title rival Pol Espargaro in fourth. Takaaki Nakagami rounded out the top five placings despite a small crash late in the session.
Dani Pedrosa has continued his determined showing in the morning session and finished the second MotoGP practice session at Sepang a mere two tenths of a second off the outright circuit pole record. The diminutive Spaniard was in peerless form as he headed Marc Marquez by over half a second. Cal Crutchlow finished as top Yamaha and in third place ahead of Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista.
The second Moto3 free practice session was run on a damp track for the majority after a torrential down pour during the days lunch break. Australian Jack Miller ended the mixed proceedings at the top of the time sheets after the track had dried out with ten minutes remaining. In the end his impressive lap time was only half a second slower than his morning's effort.
The first Moto2 practice session at Sepang was headed by Tito Rabat, it proved to be a tricky affair, with light sprinkles of rain appearing throughout. The 'in form' rider of the class has scored more points than any other over the last five races and was not deterred by the conditions as he topped the timesheets by almost half a second. Fellow Pons Kalex rider Pol Espargaro ended in second place ahead of Thomas Luthi, Takaaki Nakagami and Mika Kallio.
Dani Pedrosa has responded to the controversy that emerged out of the last round in Aragon in perfect fashion by leading MotoGP FP1 in Sepang. The Spaniard's time of 2:01.229 put him a decisive three tenths of a second clear of his partner in contention and team mate Marc Marquez. Jorge Lorenzo cut a frustrated figure during the session, despite finishing in third place and only three hundredths behind Marquez, the World Champion looked unhappy with the setup of his Yamaha and remonstrated regularly with his mechanics.
Maverick Vinales has topped the time sheets at the conclusion of the first Moto3 free practice session in Sepang. The Spaniard is the only rider competing in the class to have taken victory at the Malaysian circuit previously and showed his affinity with a scorching benchmark time of 2:14.961. He was followed closely by the impressive FTR Honda pair of Alexis Masbou and Jack Miller who both enjoyed spells at the head of the field throughout the session.
Just a few hours before the bikes hit the track, all the talk should be about the prospects for the riders in the coming weekend. At Sepang, though, it was all different. Nobody was talking about who might end where, whether the Sepang is a Honda or a Yamaha track, whether Ducati will benefit from Sepang's long straights or suffer around the fast corners, about whether Scott Redding or Pol Espargaro will have the upper hand in Moto2. It was not the prospect of on-track action, but off-track drama which captured the attention.
Press release previews of the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang from the MotoGP teams and single tire supplier Bridgestone:
Malaysia to kick off overseas tripleheader for Ducati Team
Previews of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:
Gino Rea to ride for Argiñano & Ginés Racing Team at Malaysia, Australia and Japan
Below are the FIM press releases announcing the punishments imposed by Race Direction on Marc Marquez after the incident with Dani Pedrosa in the MotoGP race at Aragon, and Sandro Cortese after the incident with Alex De Angelis in the Moto2 race at Aragon:
2013 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix - Decision of the Race Direction