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Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) ends Day 1 at the Shell Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets in the Moto3™ class, the Italian setting a 2:14.227 on a dry Sepang International Circuit before the rain started to fall with just under 20 minutes remaining.
FP1 saw a damp track greet the lightweight class and so the dry times set at the start of a dry FP2 would decide the order of play on Friday. It was Arbolino who went quickest before the weather intervened, setting the benchmark time on his third flying lap as John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) ended the day just 0.010 behind. Third on the combined times was Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), just 0.020 separating the Spaniard from Arbolino, with Championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) also very close for company in fourth – 0.024 the gap between the leading quartet.
After his huge Japanese GP crash, Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) returns to action in Malaysia still nursing his injuries picked up in Motegi but nonetheless, the Italian impressed on Day 1 to end fifth fastest – 0.122 off the top. Countryman Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) completed Friday a further 0.003 back in P6, with the same gap separating him to another Italian; Enea Bastinaini (Leopard Racing). The Honda rider was P7 on the combined times, with title contender Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) eighth overall, but the gap is just 0.155 between him and the fastest time.
Ninth quickest was rookie Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0), with Australian GP winner Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) rounding out a top ten that was covered by 0.321 in Malaysia. P3 in the Championship Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) finished Friday in P13.
Thai rider Apiwath Wongthananon (VR46 Master Camp Team) suffered a crash at Turn 15 early in the session and was taken to the medical centre for a checkup, with Makar Yurchenko (Marinelli Snipers Team) heading to the hospital for further checks after his FP1 crash at Turn 1.
So it was a subdued end to Moto3™ proceedings on Friday as the rain fell, will the lightweight have more luck with the weather on Saturday to get a dry FP3 under their belts before qualifying? Find out when they head back out on Saturday morning at 09:00 local time (GMT +8).
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Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix: Moto3™ FP2