Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Sepang:
ON FORM ANTONELLI LEADS THE WAY AT SEPANG. BASTIANINI NINTH
Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 rider Niccolò Antonelli topped the timesheet at the end of the first day of practice of the Malaysian Grand Prix, today at the Sepang International Circuit: the 18-year-old rider from Cattolica, who found himself immediately at ease, clocked the fastest time at the end of the afternoon session with a good 2’13”583, just 0.3 seconds off last year’s pole position time.
His teammate, Enea Bastianini, making his debut on the Malaysian track, ended the first day with the ninth fastest time, 2’14”287. The 16-year-old youngster from Rimini focused to learn the track in the morning session, then he started working on his KTM set-up together with the team, improving his lap times by over a second and already approaching the fastest riders.
NICCOLO' ANTONELLI (1st - 2'13"583)
“I'm very happy! I felt comfortable with the bike and that's why I was able to be fast straight away; Tomorrow we will try to gain even more feeling to further improve and try to stay on top. Today we were also lucky to be able to exploit two dry sessions: the rain, in fact, came immediately after the checkered flag of the afternoon run... I am also pleased about the feeling I had on the bike when my work was focused n the race: already in Australia, in the early laps of the race with a full tank, the situation had improved compared to previous races, and even today the situation was good”.
ENEA BASTIANINI (9th - 2'14"287)
“Today I rode for the first time at Sepang, therefore the first approach with the track, this morning, was not simple; however, I tried to learn it collecting as much information as possible from the other riders, watching them riding. At the beginning of the afternoon session I struggled to ride well, so I came back to the pits after only a few laps. We made some changes to the bike then, when I rejoined the track with new tyres, the situation improved a lot. Something is still missing, but now we are already close to the fastest. We are working in the right direction and I hope to continue doing so until Sunday!”.
“Starting the weekend on top is a positive sign, without a doubt: I’m happy for Niccolò, who worked really well on this first day of practice. Hopefully he can keep this trend over the weekend, thus ending in positive fashion the final part of the Championship. I am also satisfied about Enea’s performance, who for the third time in a row, after Motegi and Phillip Island, was facing a completely new track for him, long and not easy to understand. Anyway, he still managed to improve his lap times constantly, already approaching the fastest riders”.
Alex Marquez third and Alex Rins seventh on opening day in Sepang
Alex Marquez begins with good pace on the first day of a decisive weekend. Honda riders quickly adapt to the Malaysian track and are very competitive.
The first day of possibly the three most important days in Alex Marquez’ career began on Friday at Sepang. The young Spaniard has the chance to be crowned Moto3 World Champion on Sunday –if he claims 6 more points than rival Jack Miller.
Marquez started with good pace, setting the fifth fastest time in the morning session in Malaysia and the third best in the afternoon. Teammate Alex Rins, who also is still in with a mathematical chance of winning the title, was seventh in both sessions. The Repsol riders took advantage of the strong performance of the Honda and the rapid adaptation to the Malaysian track for their bikes.
In the morning session, Marquez was fifth –0.540s off the best time, set by Miller. Seventh and 0.894s down was Rins. In the afternoon, Marquez improved his previous top time by just over half a second time to pull himself up to third place –ahead of Miller and 0.021s off quickest rider Antonelli. Teammate Rins was again seventh, 0.521s off the Italian.
Alex Rins 7th 2:14.104 30 laps 166 km
"We have adapted quickly to the track. We have already seen at previous circuits that we are setting times close to the circuit record from day one. This year the level in Moto3 is much higher than it was last year and that forces us to do much more. It was a shame not to get a better time in the second free practice, because I encountered a group with many people and that prevented me from improving. Still, for tomorrow we have a good setup and I'm sure we'll do well."
Alex Marquez 3rd 2:13.604 30 laps 166 km
"I'm very happy. Although it is a very tricky circuit as it is very wide and long, I felt very comfortable thanks to the team. We have learned to take the steps required at the appropriate time and to have patience. The feeling I take away at the end of the day is very good for tomorrow; a good start is always important. We have a good setup but can still improve in some aspects and with some of our lines, so tomorrow we have work to do before the qualifying session. It will be important to qualify on the first or second row to take things easier in the race, so we will try to be very focused and work as we have done today."
Strange day of adaptation for Juanfran Guevara in Sepang
At unique Malaysian track, MAPFRE Aspar experiences less feeling than at previous rounds
With no time to rest after leaving Australia last Sunday, the Moto3 riders went out today at the Sepang circuit to start the seventeenth and penultimate round of the 2014 season. They were able to ride in the first two practice sessions for the Malaysian GP without being affected by tropical storms typical of the track. The stifling heat, as always, was inescapable. Miller, who comes into the weekend highly motivated after winning last Sunday at home, was fastest in the morning. He was overtaken in the combined timesheet by Antonelli, Kornfeil and Marquez, after their strong showings in the final third of the afternoon run. Antonelli set the fastest time of the first day (2.13.583), already closing in on the pole record set last season by Luis Salom.
After many consecutive rounds doing an incredible job, and fine-tuning a setup that gives him maximum confidence, today Juanfran Guevara suffered more than expected on the opening day of the Malaysian GP. The MAPFRE Aspar rider had a slight loss of feeling on his bike in the tricky conditions at the Sepang circuit. The track has extreme heat and bumps which can adversely affect a day’s work. Hampered by a lack of rear grip, the Spaniard worked to correct this issue and proceeded to improve his times in the afternoon, to conclude the day in twenty-second position.
22nd Juanfran Guevara 2.15.693 (27 laps): "Today we experienced a strange day that was quite tricky. We came into this weekend off the back of many Grands Prix at which the bike responded perfectly and I felt very comfortable riding, however here I have lost some feeling. This circuit is unlike any other, the asphalt is very bumpy and the humidity is oppressive. In the first session I did not have a good feeling, so we made a couple of specific modifications -although we did not want to deviate much from the setup we have and that has served us so well in recent races. We also tried different tyres, but that has not stopped the rear from stepping out, which was our main problem today. Tomorrow our main goal is to get more grip on the rear however possible."
Miller quickly on the pace at Sepang
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider sets fourth fastest time on Friday, whilst Karel Hanika finishes 20th in the combined session.
10/24/2014 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
The Sepang International Circuit hosts the penultimate round of the Moto3 World Championship this weekend, and the first day of the Grand Prix concluded in a very positive way for both Jack Miller and Karel Hanika. The Australian set a good pace in the first two practice sessions, placing 4th on the combined timesheet with a time of 2:13.610 –just 0.027s off the quickest lap. Hanika, who debuts at the Malaysian circuit, was 20th at the end of the day thanks to a 2:15.579 lap.
The Malaysian circuit provided sweltering conditions for the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo in the first free practice session. Jack Miller was the fastest man, setting a 2:13.773 lap and being one of only two riders capable of going under the 2:14 mark. Karel Hanika, with a 2:16.148, was 19th after his first 16 laps of the Sepang International Circuit.
In the second practice session both Red Bull KTM Ajo riders improved their times from the morning. Miller, who at the end of the session tried out the softer tyre compound, clocked a 2:13.610 to go fourth. The Australian was able to complete three laps in the 2:13s. Hanika set the 17th fastest time of the session with a 2:15.579.
Tomorrow is the second day of the Malaysian Grand Prix, with the qualifying session at 12:35pm. Ajo Motorsport have achieved pole position in Moto3 in both previous years.
8 JACK MILLER
"I am very happy with the pace we have shown today on track. Our way of working has been very good and we have to continue like this for tomorrow. I put the soft tyres on at the end of the session and I liked how they worked, but you don’t get maximum performance from them when they are brand new, so that was a shame. Tomorrow we have to work on the stability of the bike. The truth is that we are not far from having the perfect setup."
98 KAREL HANIKA
"This is one of the toughest tracks I have ridden at, because each corner is totally different. Today we focused on learning the layout and I think in the end we did a good job. We didn’t push much, really, but we rode as many laps as possible. There are points on the circuit where we can still improve a lot, but slowly I am getting closer to the others and that's very important. Tomorrow we will have to take a little step up, improve our lap times from today and hope that the qualifying session goes well. The track is challenging but in the end it is down to the rider, not the track. I have to work by myself to be fast and I think that with the team’s help we can do that."
Moto3 - San Carlo Team Italia is working for the race at Sepang
Promising start to the weekend for Andrea Locatelli and encouraging signs for Matteo Ferrari.
Moto3 FP2 just finished before heavens opened on first day of practice at the Sepang International Circuit. Conditions were typical Malaysian with temperature soaring up to 30 degree (43° on the asphalt) and high humidity. Niccolò Antonelli (KTM) powered to provisional pole in a hard-fought FP2 session with a best time of 2'13"583 while San Carlo Team Italia riders worked for the race focusing on some comparative tests.
Like in the vast majority of the races this year, Friday brought Andrea Locatelli’s (Mahindra MGP3O #55) first contact with the Malaysian track. The Italian improved on his morning’s time by over a second setting the FP2 20th lap time (23rd in the combined standing) with a 2'15"732 personal best.
Matteo Ferrari (Mahindra MGP3O #3) lapped on the same level remaining for long in the top-15 just to drop down to 25th in the final stage of the session with a best effort of 2'15"882. The Italian rider used the last minutes to test a Dunlop medium rear tyre.
Andrea Locatelli (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #55) 23rd, 2'15"732
"Today was a positive day. I thought I would struggle more the first day instead I've taken an instant liking to the track and we have been able to do well with our bike. I like the “H” Dunlop front tyre (hard) that helps me to brake harder. Tomorrow we’ll try make some honing work to the front but overall we have started well to the weekend and we can be confident for the qualifying and the race".
Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #3) 25th, 2'15"882
"We can be satisfied enough. I made a good lap in FP2 event though it’s not our “ideal time” because I found some traffic. In my second run I made some decent laps with the same set of tyres – a “H” (hard) front and a “S” (soft) rear – and then I tried the medium compound that we are thinking to use in the race. We don’t think an “S” spec will last race distance so we have worked on the medium spec. We have to make some more little changes to the setup of the bike but we are not far already".
Virginio Ferrari (Riders Manager - San Carlo Team Italia Moto3)
"After the first session we decided to make some changes to the bike’s setup that have given us the results he were hoping for. Andrea and Matteo are happy with the chassis’ setup and this means that the work the team has carried out went in the right direction. Under this point of view we have just to make some fine-tuning to the setup tomorrow".
First laps in Sepang for Husqvarna riders
Danny Kent sets 8th fastest time overall and Niklas Ajo the 17th, at the end of the first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
10/24/2014 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
The start of the penultimate weekend of competition was not overly successful for the Husqvarna riders. On the first day of free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Danny Kent and Niklas Ajo placed 8th and 17th, respectively. The Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo rider set a best lap of 2:14.129, whilst the Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo man’s top time was 2:15.348.
The first practice session saw Danny Kent place a positive fourth, just one tenth off third. After some initial adaptation to Sepang, the Briton clocked a 2:14.202 on his penultimate lap of the session. Niklas Ajo completed the morning with the 15th best time, thanks to a last lap in 2:15.422.
Both riders were able to improve their times in the afternoon. Kent was a tenth quicker than in the morning with a 2:14.129, but nevertheless dropped down to eighth. Ajo suffered a technical problem right after starting the session, completing only two flying laps. However, on one of those he was able to set his top time of the day, placing 15th with a 2:15.348.
The seventeenth Grand Prix of the year continues tomorrow with the final practice session of the weekend, starting at 9am local time. Qualifying takes place at 12.35pm. In the last three races, Danny Kent has a pole position, a front row and a fourth place to his name. Niklas Ajo will try to make amends in a session that he has found tough at recent rounds.
52 DANNY KENT
"Today has been a very difficult day for us. In the last three races we have set a very good pace on all three days and today we tried the same, but we had to change the bike a bit and so my feelings are not as good as before. We will analyse the data we have, compare it to other riders and see where we can improve both myself and the bike. We are still keeping up in the front group. We can be happy, but tomorrow we must work harder. I’m sure that we will solve all the problems."
31 NIKLAS AJO
"In the first free practice session we started well, setting a good pace. But at the end of the session we had not found the perfect setup for the bike and I had to ride alone, without the possibility of using a slipstream. I also had some bad luck, because I crossed the finish line one second after the checkered flag was waved. I continued, thinking that I could still ride and lowered my time by half a second, but it didn’t stand.
In the morning we made good changes that we made the most of in the afternoon, and I improved my time quickly, but we had a technical problem that prevented us from working consistently. We have to stay calm to get good results. Tomorrow we will try to improve the feeling with the setup."
Rabat fastest on opening day at Sepang
Sepang, Malaysia – 24 October 2014: Tito Rabat posted the fastest time on the opening day at Sepang, lapping quicker than the current lap record during a second free practice that started damp and ended dry. Mika Kallio ended the day sixth on combined times, after initially struggling with set up issues this morning.
Rabat was second this morning, but with this afternoon’s Moto3 session red flagged due to the onset of heavy rain, conditions were very different as the 25-year-old Spaniard rolled out on wet tyres for the start of this afternoon’s second free practice.
While most of the Sepang circuit dried rapidly, damp patches remained between turns five and 12 and it was only in the last 15 minutes of the session that conditions were good enough for Rabat to improve on his lap time from this morning, topping the timesheet in the process.
Once again Kallio suffered with a lack of rear grip on the harder of the two tyre options supplied by Dunlop for the Sepang weekend, finishing the opening practice session down in 16th position. Improvements to set up, together with a switch to the softer option tyre, saw Kallio improve his lap time this afternoon, as he finished the day sixth on combined times.
For Jorge Navarro, Sepang is the third new circuit in as many races but at 16 metres wide, reference points are harder to identify here than they are at narrower tracks. Nevertheless, the 18-year-old Spaniard improved his lap time by almost one second this afternoon, in a free practice session brought to a premature conclusion by the onset of heavy rain, and is confident of further improvement tomorrow.
Tito Rabat // 1st // 2’07.729
“I’m happy with progress today. We tested tyres, settings and a lot of other things in the different conditions here at Sepang, which is always special. The rain in the afternoon meant that the track was too wet for slicks and too dry for wets at the start of FP2, so we lost some time there, but we managed to get at least some fully dry running towards the end. Like always, we need to continue working towards the race on Sunday, because that is what is important.”
Mika Kallio // 6th // 2’08.440
“This morning we ran the harder of the two tyre options with predictable results. Like in previous races I just didn’t have any grip with the hard tyre, but we decided to stick with it to save some of the soft tyres we’ve been allocated, although they’re not really soft, more slightly less hard than the hard option. In the afternoon we set up the bike differently to improve the rear grip, but then we lost a lot of the session to the weather, as the track was still damp in places. In the last 15 minutes the conditions were better and we saw that there was an improvement with the bike, with improved rear grip and better balance. Even so, we need to make further changes, because I didn’t feel relaxed on the bike and it was difficult to feel where the limit was. That’s why we ended seven tenths off Tito’s time and why we need to make more improvements tomorrow.”
Jorge Navarro // 21st // 2’15.618
“Sepang is another new circuit for me, and it’s been a bit difficult today. The track is so wide, wider than any track I’ve raced at before, and this makes it difficult to identify reference points when you’re riding alone. But, on the positive side, we’ve made progress and I improved my lap time by almost a second this afternoon. Tomorrow we will make some changes to the bike ahead of the final free practice session and I’m confident I can continue to improve.”
Gino Rea happy after the first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix
Gino Rea made a good start to the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang on Friday, concluding Moto2 Free Practice 1 in 14th position. Rea was strong throughout the morning and was up to 10th mid way through the session. The fourth fastest Suter, Gino’s time placed him one second from pole and 0.8 seconds from P2.
Prior to the afternoon session, a tropical downpour at the Sepang circuit delayed proceedings with the majority of the Moto2 field only pitting out for FP2 with 20 minutes remaining. Rea circulated on track for the final 12 minutes and was unable to better his morning time. With some of the slower riders from the morning going faster, Gino was pushed back four places and ended the day with the 18th quickest lap time. Rea comments on a positive day at the Sepang circuit:
“It’s been a good start to the weekend. In the dry FP1 I had good pace throughout the whole session and ended up 14th with space to improve. In FP2 I had a bit of an electrical problem so I couldn’t go out at the start, but that worked out okay because the first 25 minutes were half wet/ half dry, so nobody went out. I did my lap at the end of the session with the harder option tyre from FP1 and with the electrical problem still there, so it's not too bad. Tomorrow I’ll be trying to remain in the top 15 so we need to keep pushing.”
AGT REA Racing will be back in action tomorrow for the final free practice session and Moto2 qualifying which commences at 15.05 local time. Keep updated with AGT REA Racing on Facebook www.facebook.com/agtrearacing and Twitter @AGT_REA_Racing.
Another new track for Scott Deroue to get used to
The Sepang circuit is the third in just sixteen days where Scott Deroue has to get used to. With three back-to-back races overseas it means hard work and a load of new impressions for the young Dutchman. But Deroue clearly showed progression by the end of the first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix, being 1,2 seconds faster than in FP1.
The three races overseas are the most difficult events of the season, with all the travelling, time differences and changes of conditions. On top of that everything is new for Deroue, coming to the end of his rookie season. The circumstances in Malaysia (hot and humid) make it extra tough to all the riders.
The start of the first day was a challenge for Deroue, especially at some points of the quite complicated Sepang track. He clearly had to find his way. In the second practice he started to feel more confident and that gave him over a second of improvement. Looking at the progression Deroue made over the first two practices, but considering the amount of work that still has to be done, the team and the rider were fairly satisfied so far.
Scott Deroue – 30 (2.17,147)
“I wasn’t too confident entering the corners in the beginning and I lost quite some time at a few points. Also shifting down was still a bit of a problem, but along the way it is getting better. In the second practice things were much smoother already. Unfortunately in my flying lap I had no tow on the straight and I made a mistake in braking in the last corner. We know there is more in it. Tomorrow we have two more sessions to improve.”
Cardus fires into top ten on opening day at Sepang
Tech3 Racing Team rider Ricky Cardus undertook a bright start to round 17 of the Moto2 World Championship to hammer home his intentions for the race on Sunday by finishing the opening day in 10th position in the combined standings. During the morning, the Spaniard kicked off proceedings positively by storming to 7th place with a best time of 2'08.616 which was impressively just three tenths from the front row. However, rain then struck before the afternoon practice causing the session to be wet at the beginning, with an ideal line drying up as the practice progressed. Cardus continued his tireless endeavours in the changing conditions aboard the Mistral 610 as he carried on making refinements to his setup with the Tech3 Racing Team, before surging to 13th in the highly competitive intermediate class. His best lap was a 2'09.069 which was notably over half a second from front row, yet his morning time was strong enough to hold 10th overall. His start today marked a positive beginning to the weekend and sees him brimming with confidence for a successful qualifying performance tomorrow.
Meanwhile on the other side of the Tech3 Racing team garage, Marcel Schrotter finished in 22nd position during the opening day of practice at the Sepang International circuit. The young German who completed the last race in a personal best finish of 7th in Australia, was keen to continue his positive form and set about founding a strong race setup of his Mistral 610 in the opening practice. He completed the session in 19th, with a time of 2'09.232 and less than half a second from the top ten. When the afternoon began, Schrotter proceeded to work with his Tech3 Racing Team through the difficult session and closed the practice one place higher, in 18th. However, the German rider remains fully confident of improving and having a successful qualifying campaign tomorrow in Malaysia.
Ricky Cardus - Posittion : 10th - Time : 2'08.616
“Overall, today was a very positive one for us. This morning we began in a strong manner by finishing in 7th position, which gave us a lot of confidence for the afternoon. In FP2 we ran with the harder tyre compound which is not my preferred choice normally, but we needed to pay attention to our tyre allocation to be flexible for the rest of the weekend, so we went for that decision. Despite this, I was still able to improve in some specific corners and the end lap time was not bad at all. Therefore, I am feeling really optimistic for tomorrow and I am certain that we can be as competitive as we have been today. In terms of where we need to work, I would like to better my corner speed as well as my acceleration, however I already feel prepared for the rest of the weekend in Malaysia and I will give my all to get a great result here.”
Marcel Schrotter - Posittion : 22th - Time : 2'09.232
“In all honesty, I expected a slightly better start than what we had today due to the really strong showing in Phillip Island, however my feeling on the bike was just not the same. We opened the day with a very similar setup to the previous round and we hoped to hit the ground running. Yet, the times did not come that easily. However, my ideal lap would have been nearly half a second quicker than my actual best time in free practice 1 and I would have finished just outside the top ten, so, the truth is that my result on the timesheet appears worse than it actually is. In the afternoon, we just went out on the used tyre from the morningÕs practice in order to gather data and have more tyre options for tomorrow. Nevertheless, I am convinced that we will be able to make a big step forward in FP3 and be as competitive as we were in Phillip Island.”
Good start for SIC-Ajo Team at home
Hafiq Azmi sets the 24th fastest time on the combined timesheet for the day, whilst Hafiza Rofa, debuting as a wildcard, takes 30th.
10/24/2014 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
The Malaysian Grand Prix began on Friday at Sepang, with Hafiq Azmi riding at his home track and the scene of his wild card debut in the Moto3 World Championship just one year ago. The Malaysian completed the first day of practice with the 24th fastest time, setting a best lap of 2:15.819. Hafiza Rofa emulated his compatriot and rode his first laps in a Grand Prix event at his home circuit. The SIC-Ajo Team rider from the Repsol FIM-CEV series was 30th on the combined timesheet, with a time of 2:16.652.
The first practice session was not entirely comfortable for both SIC-Ajo Team riders. The track was slippery, but nevertheless Hafiq Azmi took the 17th fastest time of the morning thanks to his tenth lap, a 2:15.914. Hafiza Rofa completed his first 10 laps as a wildcard with a good feeling, stopping the clock in 2:16.899 and improving the results of the test he had last week at the Malaysian track.
High temperatures at the Sepang circuit did not prevent the riders from lowering their times in the afternoon. Hafiq Azmi clocked a 2:15.819 time on his twelfth lap of the afternoon, placing him 21st. Hafiza Rofa also achieved his best time in the last forty minutes. His seventh lap of the session put him 29th again with a 2:16.652.
Tomorrow will see the final practice session, followed by qualifying at 12:35pm. Hafiq Azmi will try to qualify as high up the grid as possible in order to fight for points in Sunday's race.
38 HAFIQ AZMI
"Today was not bad. In the morning the track conditions were a little difficult as there was a lot of sliding, but in the afternoon I could improve a bit. In the first session I did not feel comfortable with the front end, but thanks to the team we were able to fix this. In the afternoon the rear wheel was stepping out a little, so we will focus on putting that right tomorrow. They are not too big problems, but I'm sure that this will help me improve for tomorrow. I am confident, because all the riders are very close in terms of times."
88 HAFIZA ROFA
"It was a very good day for me. I learned a lot on this first day. We still have to improve many things, especially my riding style and some minor adjustments with the bike. Tomorrow we will test a setup that is a little different, so I can’t wait to get back out on track."
POSITIVE FIRST FREE PRACTICE SESSION ON THE DRY FOR SIMEON AND BALDASSARRI IN MALAYSIA
Xavier Siméon and the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 kicked off today the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend, the third and final leg of the long trip outside of Europe of the Moto2 campaign, immediately getting good feelings in the first of the two practice sessions which took place today at Sepang, this morning on the dry.
This morning the 25-year-old Belgian rider set the 10th fastest time with a lap in 2’08”769, gaining a good feeling with his Suter machine; in the afternoon the track, wet after an heavy downpour, dried out only in the final minutes of the session, so it was not possible to continue the good work started in the morning, with only a few riders who have improved their lap times at the end of the FP2 session and Simeon who then closed the combined timesheet in thirteenth position.
Lorenzo Baldassarri, Team Gresini Moto2, closed this first day of practice with a good 2’09”089, on a track he faced for the first time aboard a Moto2 bike: the 17-year-old rookie was 19th fastest.
XAVIER SIMEON (13th - 2'08"769)
“This morning we started well the weekend: lap by lap I gained the right confidence, because the conditions here are completely different from those encountered in Australia, both in terms of the temperatures and of the track layout. It was a very positive practice session, I felt comfortable with the bike and we have already achieved a good balance: we will continue to work anyway to get a more agile bike, at the same time able to provide a better grip, which here is very important. In the afternoon the track was in very strange conditions and it was not so useful to ride, so we waited until the end of the session to complete a few laps”.
LORENZO BALDASSARRI (19th - 2'09"089)
“The weekend started in a good way: this one was a new track for me with the Moto2 but I was able to adapt to it quickly. Moreover, I was confident after the good race at Phillip Island and I was expecting to do well here; I did it and I’m happy for that. I only had some rear grip issues, but all in all I have a good feeling with the bike. At the end of the afternoon session the track dried out completely and I could return to push hard, but I had a softer set-up, so I was not able to be as fast as I wanted”.
“Actually today we could use only half of the available time, the morning session on the dry track: anyway we could see that Siméon and Baldassarri are still in good form. Both set immediately good lap times, not very far from the fastest. Tomorrow our goal is to continue to improve so that we can start from a good position on the grid and try to follow the positive trend in this last flyaway race before going back to Europe”.
MAPFRE Aspar riders set their best times of the day in morning practice
Terol and Torres close first day at Sepang in 20th and 24th place, respectively, after a second session affected by rain
It was probably the Moto2 riders who were the main victims of the weather conditions today at Sepang. In the first session the intermediate class rode as normal, but in the second session they found a surface still wet during most of their run (after a tropical storm) making it impossible for them to work. Although some tried to put in laps, the risk was greater than any potential benefit. The field waited until the second half of the afternoon session to go back out. Zarco was the fastest rider in the morning session, with Rabat quickest in the afternoon to set a time three-tenths ahead of the Frenchman overall.
Nico Terol started the Malaysian GP with confidence, thanks to changes in to his setup that allowed him to gain grip. With a good feeling, the MAPFRE Aspar rider concluded the first session at Sepang with the seventeenth best time. In the afternoon, with slightly different track conditions due to rain, he could not match his morning time, closing the day in 20th place.
Jordi Torres had more problems setting up his bike and, although he started the day with a very positive time, in the afternoon he could not best it. His main setback was vibration in the front wheel, owing to improper weight transfer when entering corners. Tomorrow he will work to try to solve the problems.
20th Nico Terol 2.09.166 (29 laps): "This morning I started quite well, the feeling was positive and we took a step forward in the development of the bike; I managed to have more grip. This afternoon we experienced an eventful session. I went out when the track was partially wet, but it was absurd to risk it, so I went back to the pits to wait for the track to dry. Perhaps it was because of the rain, even though the track was dry, in the second session we did not have the same feeling as in the morning. In the afternoon we did not have much time to ride. We have experienced a slightly odd day of practice, so I prefer to focus on the confidence gained in the morning session. The goal tomorrow is to take a step forward and try to do well in the qualifying session."
24th Jordi Torres 2.09.503 (25 laps): "The first day at Sepang has been difficult. Today we struggled to catch up. At such a long circuit I find it hard to enter the corners fast and have confidence when it comes to leaning on the front. Today, with it being a tricky afternoon session, we worked hard but the information obtained has not helped us resolve some doubts we have. There are some movements with the front end that we do not quite understand, so my goal tomorrow is to get the bike more stable. We have to try to better manage the weight transfer in order to gain confidence. This circuit has a strange asphalt and I can feel a lot of sliding, so we will have to adapt to that.”