Deceptively sunny but cold is the usual welcome for the season finale and Valencia did not surprise from that point of view. What did surprise was a rare crash for world champion Joan Mir ten minutes into the morning session, ruining a pair of leathers into the gravel trap at turn ten. No harm, no foul, the Spaniard limped away, dusted himself off and probably rejoiced that the suit was already prepared for the gala.
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Finding both tires and a setup he liked more than in FP3, championship leader Marc Marquez set the fastest time of the fourth practice as riders began working on race settings before the afternoon's qualifying session. Marquez's 2'00.438 put him two-tenths ahead of leading rival Andrea Dovizioso (2nd). Suzuki's Alex Rins, who had one of his best races of the season at the recent Philip Island contest, finished the fourth practice in a surprising third place. Johann Zarco took the top Yamaha spot in fourth, just barely in front of Dani Pedrosa (5th).
Franco Morbidelli, Moto2 championship points leader, dominated the final practice before Saturday afternoon's qualifying session with a 2'06.605 at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. While Morbidelli's time was a mere seven-hundredths of a second clear of Francesco Bagnaia (2nd), it was his consistency that should worry rivals. Morbidelli, who sits 29 points ahead of Thomas Luthi with one race remaining, spent much of the session in the 2'06s -- an indication of a relentless race pace.
Valentino Rossi seized the top spot in FP3 when he became the only rider to drop into a sub, two-minute laptime at the Sepang circuit Saturday. Rossi's set his 1'59.947 -- the weekend's fastest time by any rider -- with no time left in the third practice. Johann Zarco, who led much of the session, was bumped into second by the Italian's final lap. Dani Pedrosa jumped from 11th into third near the end of practice as riders began switching to the soft-option rear tire in an attempt to ensure a top-10 finish.
Jorge Martin took advantage of a rapidly drying track to take the top time in FP3 Saturday at the Sepang circuit Sunday as riders began to set their fastest times of the weekend. Martin's 2'15.606 put him four-tenths of a second ahead of the number two finisher Juanfran Guevara. Newly crowned World Champion Joan Mir seized third as the day began heating up.
Alex Marquez appears ready to prove that his recent win in the wet at Motegi was no fluke. On a wet Sepang track with intermittent rainfall, the Spaniard topped the timesheet and ran consistently fast times throughout the second Friday session. Lorenzo Baldasarri (2nd) finished his day just two-hundredths behind the leader with FP1 leader Miguel Oliveira taking third.
Andrea Dovizioso again led practice at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia Friday with a dominant showing on the wet, 5.5 km track. Dovizioso's 2'11.640 left him a half a second clear of championship rival and points leader Marc Marquez (2nd). Jorge Lorenzo seized the third-fastest time -- a mark that still left him a full second off his Ducati teammate's pace. Dovizioso must finish the race a minimum of nine points clear of Marquez to keep the championship fight alive for the season's final round in three weeks.