In a dry morning practice session at the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who was the pace-man once again as he led ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner.
After a slow start to the session with adjustments being made to the front brake, Pedrosa put in his best time of 2.01’186 on just his second flying lap, ousting Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, who had been the consistent pace setter before hand. Both the title rivals look very evenly matched around most of the circuit, however in the finale sector with the long straights, Lorenzo is loosing up to a quarter of a second on his compatriot.
Pedrosa’s teammate Stoner, who was just over half a second off the top, will not be very happy with his session, as a similar front brake issue looked to be causing him far more trouble. He pitted frequently and was unable to string together a consistent fast run. Marginally behind him was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who went almost three tenths quicker than his teammate Cal Crutchlow.
Yamaha’s Ben Spies, who was trying a set-up with a slightly shortened wheelbase this morning was over a second off top spot, with the American running off track once under heavy braking. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista had a much better day than yesterday, although will still be looking to improve on finishing seventh. Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who suffered a lowside at the end of practice, put his Desmosedici in eighth, ahead of LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who was the only top-ten rider not to improve on yesterday’s time.
Ducati’s Valentino Rossi had an almost identical crash to Hayden in the first few minutes of the session, prompting an amusing incident with him stopping the marshals from taking his bike away. He re-joined the session to finish in 10th. Top CRT honours went to Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró in 12th, while Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez sat out the session with too great a pain in his left shoulder.