SEPANG, Malaysia — Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa topped the timesheets on the opening day of the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang Friday.
Pedrosa set the fastest lap of the day in the dry morning practice with the afternoon being marred by patches of heavy rain, headed by Iván Silva.
While the morning was a dry affair where all riders got a full session on track, the afternoon session was hit with heavy rain to begin with, after which the sun slowly dried out the track. It was however not enough to replicate the morning’s conditions, with many of the top riders not opting to set a quick time.
And despite Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva setting the fastest lap of the afternoon in the high 2.10s, it was Pedrosa’s pace in the mid 2.01s in the morning that gave the best indication of the pace to come this weekend.
The Spaniard’s teammate, Casey Stoner, was a much-improved figure on the first day, finishing just marginally behind in second. He, like Pedrosa, did also not set a time in the afternoon, not wishing to risk further injury. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo brought his machine home in third, yet was over three tenths off the top, and will be hoping for a further dry run and an increase in pace to match the Repsol Hondas over the weekend.
A further three tenths back was Andrea Dovizioso on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 satellite machine, who looks set to have another momentous battle with his teammate Cal Crutchlow, who ended the day marginally behind in fifth.
He finished ahead of Yamaha’s Ben Spies, with the American still seeking that extra sliver of pace to get past the Monster Yamaha duo. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl made a solid start to the weekend in seventh, just under a second off the top, yet also sat out the second free practice, stating that very little was to be gained from the mixed conditions.
Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden ended the day in eighth, and did look like he was preparing his bike for the wet briefly in FP2, though did not persist with the number of dry patches on track.