Sunshine was almost teasing to cut through the clouds ahead of the first session of the day and the lightweight class got action underway with the promise of a dry day. And the fastest men in pouring rain on Friday were still showing the same speed on the damp surface of Saturday morning. Raul Fernandez was fast out of the box and led the way for most of the session, with Marco Bezzecchi as the closest challenger throughout.
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No one had it easy today and the intermediate class did not escape the downpour, ending the day in some of the worst conditions yet. Iker Lecuona had no complaints as he retrieved the top position he ended FP1 in and it was Joe Roberts’ turn to do the chasing. The American did an excellent job of it and the duo carried on a faraway battle, Roberts claiming the lead for the mid part of the session and Lecuona snatching it back for the final ten minutes.
Umbrellas were back out in force for the start of the second MotoGP outing of the weekend and there was little time to find some speed before Johann Zarco had a big tumble at turn 12 and the river of debris he left in his wake required a red flag barely ten minutes into the session. In a copy-paste of earlier today, riders retreated to their garages and the safety car had some more slip and slide fun.
The second batch of practice sessions started off where FP1 left off, namely on a wet track with light drizzle and the same fast men at the front. Marco Bezzecchi swiftly set camp at the top of the timesheets and successfully defended a six hundredths of a second lead from Alonso Lopez. Things hotted up in the final quarter of an hour, when several riders went red on the timesheets but no one had the speed to match Lopez, who went almost a second faster than the morning benchmark.
The still firmly drenched tarmac had started to allow some more speed toward the end of the premier class session but sparse drops of rain threatened the start of the already delayed Moto2 outing once again. Joe Roberts found his way to the top of the timesheets before the downpour threatened to stop play once again. The action continued with on and off rain and Iker Lecuona got his time in the limelight for the final ten minutes, when he set a sequence of red hot laps to chase down Roberts.
The rain showed no intention of going away as the premier class attacked the tricky conditions and it prompted a red flag not even ten minutes into the session. Marc Marquez was just getting into his element and put his name at the top of the standings for the sizeable pause in proceedings, while the likes of Alex Rins, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi had some rodeo moments for the highlights reel.
Despite rain and lightning teaming up overnight, the first day of action for the final round of the season did see some motorbikes hit the track straight away. The wet surface, serious drizzle and darkening clouds did not allow for particularly competitive times early on but nearly the entire lightweight class pack braved the conditions.
Marc Marquez set the fastest time of FP4 Saturday just before rain prompted all of the riders to pit for rain tires -- or to wait out the weather. Unfortunately for Maverick Vinales and Karel Abraham rain flag were not visible when both were on on fast laps at the Sepang circuit. The pair both crashed just after the storm began.