Newly crowned Moto3 champion Joan Mir grabbed the top time in the first practice Friday at the Sepang curcuit in Malaysia with a 2'13.129 lap with two minutes left in the session. Adam Norrodin, in his home race, set the second-best time at the session's end. The Malaysian bumped Livio Loi to third. Loi, who remains without a contract for 2018, briefly led the dry session. Romano Fenati, who won in Motegi three weeks ago, took fourth, just in front of Enea Bastinini (5th), completing a Honda sweep of the top five slots.
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Results and summary of the MotoGP race in Phillip Island:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race in Phillip Island:
Results and summary of the Moto3 race in Phillip Island:
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class in Phillip Island:
Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class in Phillip Island:
In an apt description of Phillip Island, half the sky ahead of the final practice session was nearly black, while the other half was marshmallows on a light blue background. Making the best of the still dry track, most riders joined the action on the soft rear tyre, with the exception of a couple Ducatis, including Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci, as well as the Yamaha trio of Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales and Johann Zarco.
Marc Marquez trialled both rear tyre options, starting on the soft around sixth position and switching to the medium for the final stage of the session, snatching the lead soon after. The Spaniard picked up Andrea Iannone to inadvertently show him the ropes and drag him into second position. Marquez maintained top spot to the flag and posted a short run of consistent mid 1:29s.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class in Phillip Island:
If you skipped the previous FP3 sessions, you would never guess the struggles of the premier class judging by the clear and sunny skies that welcomed the Moto2 grid. Back to slicks it was but the intermediate class still had to face jumpers & gloves conditions.
On a drying track, not only the times tumbled but also the riders themselves, with some fast crashes for the likes of Iker Lecuona, Lorenzo Baldassarri or Axel Pons. Miguel Oliveira escaped that faith to set himself at the top of the timesheets early in the session and holding station through the brief lull caused by some new drops of rain falling in the final fifteen minutes. The Portuguese rider went on to improve his own time and put a gap of six tenths into the pursuers.
While the worst the lightweight class had to contend with was a cold track and touch of drizzle, the promised rain was finally unleashed almost poetically as the premier class looked to hit the track. In typical Phillip Island fashion, things were further complicated by the rain seriously affecting specific parts of the track and completely ignoring others.
Rain tyres were the order of the day while the weather kept changing its mind between drizzle and dry patches for the first few minutes of the session but then the setting was firmly turned up to downpour with thirty-five minutes remaining.
The promise of rain and the delivery of clear but significantly chilly conditions instead gave too much confidence to the feisty lot of the Moto3 grid. What that meant was a few unpleasant crashes to start proceedings on Saturday morning, fast men like Nicolo Bulega and Bo Bendsneyder giving their teams plenty of homework.
The cold temperatures made it difficult for the lightweight class to get anywhere near to Friday performance, Jules Danilo being a fresh face at the top of the timings for much of the morning session. The Frenchman kept a charging Joan Mir away until the last quarter of an hour, the world championship leader over a second slower than his own best time from FP2.
Takaaki Nakagami carried his momentum from this morning into FP2, topping a strange and crash-filled second session of free practice for the Moto2 class. Nakagami pressed home his advantage, topping the timesheets by seven tenths of a second this afternoon, a similar gap to this morning.
Dominique Aegerter ended the day in second, a couple of tenths quicker than Pecco Bagnaia and Alex Marquez. Championship leader Franco Morbidelli posted the seventh quickest time, a second off the pace of Nakagami, while his main rival Tom Luthi was eleventh, 1.3 seconds off Nakagami's pace.