Dani Pedrosa continues to lead the way at Sepang, topping the second session of free practice for the MotoGP class. Jorge Lorenzo was the only man capable of getting anywhere near the Repsol Honda man, Lorenzo within two tenths of Pedrosa. Pedrosa's Repsol Honda teammate ended the session in 3rd, Casey Stoner clearly more comfortable with his damaged anke at Sepang than he was at Motegi last week. Stoner just held off Andrea Dovizioso, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man just three thousandths of a second behind Stoner, and half a second off Pedrosa's time.
Jonas Folger completed a clean sweep of free practice for the Moto3 class, topping the final session of free practice at Sepang. The German had a huge lead over 2nd place man Alex Rins, the young Spaniard nearly seven tenths slower than Folger. Rins' teammate Miguel Oliveira was 3rd, a whole second behind the Aspar man, but just ahead of Sandro Cortese and Luis Salom.
It was a strange day in Malaysia. Part of the strangeness was down to the weather. The familiar pattern of disrupted sessions as the rain fell, but not hard enough to allow the MotoGP riders, in particular, to spend much time on the track in the afternoon. There was a twist, however, a particularly Malaysian one at Sepang: the heavy shower which passed over the track at the start of the afternoon session for MotoGP left part of the circuit soaking, with water a couple of centimeters deep at turns 1 and 2, while the rest of the circuit quickly dried out almost completely.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and the single tire supplier after the first day of a rain-affected practice at Sepang:
Mixed Weather Provides Frustrating Start in Sepang
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia:
Oliveira once again amongst fastest riders
Portuguese rider fourth on first visit to Malaysia, with Rins also amongst the top ten. Álex Márquez places thirteenth, whilst Viñales does not participate in free practice.
Local Malaysian wildcard rider Hafizh Syahrin took advantage of the changeable conditions during FP2 for the Moto2 class at Sepang, going out and setting the fastest time of the session early on, while the track was at its driest. The rain started to fall much more heavily some ten minutes into the session, giving the riders a consistent track, but making it impossible for anyone to match the time of the Malaysian rider, giving Syahrin and his Petronas Raceline Malaysia team a massive boost in front of their home crowd.
The weather returned to play a significant role in MotoGP, once again causing a session of free practice to be wasted. A cloudburst at the start of the session left the section around turns 1 and 2 soaking, with a stream of water running across the track, while the rest of the track dried quickly. The track was too wet around the first couple of turns to safely run slicks, and too dry elsewhere to use wets without completely destroying them in a couple of laps.
Maverick Vinales has shocked the Moto3 paddock at Sepang by announcing he is leaving the Blusens Avintia team with immediate effect. The Spaniard, who took no part in Friday's free practice at Sepang, cited broken promises and dissatisfaction with the team for the reason for leaving. According to Spanish daily Marca, Vinales has flown back to Spain with his father, Angel, after a meeting with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta failed to reach a solution.
Jonas Folger completed the first day of free practice for the Moto3 class firmly in control of the timesheets, ending FP2 a quarter of a second clear of the men chasing him. Sandro Cortese took 2nd spot, just edging out his teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin, the Malaysian rider keen for a strong result at his home round. Miguel Oliveira took 4th, behind the leading KTMs, and ahead of flock of FTR Hondas, lead by Alessandro Tonucci.
Pol Espargaro was the fastest of the Moto2 men in the first free practice for the Moto2 class, leading the class by two tenths of a second. Bradley Smith took 2nd, the Tech 3 man having found an extra burst of speed during the flyaways, while Marc Marquez ended the session in 3rd. Tito Rabat grabbed 4th, fractionally ahead of Dominique Aegerter and Andrea Iannone, Iannone having refound his mojo after a dismal weekend in Japan.
Dani Pedrosa has topped the first session of a hot, humid but dry practice for the MotoGP class, the Spaniard holding on to his strong form from last week at Japan. Behind Pedrosa came his Repsol Honda teammate Casey Stoner, the Australian clearly more comfortable than last week, when he first made his return from the ankle injury he sustained at Indianapolis.
Jonas Folger topped the first (ever) session of free practice for the Moto3 class at Sepang, taking a massive lead over Jakub Kornfeil and Zulfahmi Khairuddin. Championship leader Sandro Cortese ended the day in 4th, but with Maverick Vinales splitting with his team, not taking part in practice and not finishing the season, Cortese will be crowned champion at Sepang if he finishes within five places of Salom.
The Sepang round of MotoGP could see all three championships clinched this weekend, with Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Sandro Cortese all closing in on their respective world championships. The job is easiest for Cortese, all the German has to do to become the inaugural Moto3 champion is finish one place behind Maverick Vinales and the title is his. After getting a little too excited at Motegi, Cortese will doubtless be heading to Sepang in a much calmer frame of mind.
Scott Redding and Mika Kallio are to remain in Moto2 with the Marc VDS Racing team for the 2013 season. The team is to also expand into Moto3, adding young Belgian rider and former Red Bull Rookie Livio Loi.
How do young rookie riders who have never raced at the majority of racetracks go about learning new circuits? The Repsol Media Service issued the following press release about the methods Estrella Galicia rider Alex Rins uses to learn his way around the circuits he has never been to:
From the console to the track
Repsol Moto3 rider Álex Rins is showing excellent talent for adapting to tracks at which he has never ridden before.
Repsol Media Service - Thursday 18/10/2012