Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa set the fastest time in the morning practice session at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, then joined most of the fastest riders in sitting out the second session on a wet/dry track that had been doused by the typical afternoon rains.
On a hot and humid morning, Pedrosa continued the hot form he’s been on for the past five races. The Spaniard has won four of five MotoGP races, the only blemish coming in Misano where he was knocked down by Hector Barbera. Pedrosa’s most recent win came in last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, where he thoroughly beat championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), with San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista third. Pedrosa trails Lorenzo by 28 points in the MotoGP World Championship with three races to go.
Bautista was one of 13 riders to set a time in the afternoon, though only two were factory riders. Not setting a time were both Repsol Hondas; Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, both Yamahas; Lorenzo and Ben Spies, both Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders; Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, and a few CRT riders. Others only made half-hearted attempts on the half-wet, half-dry track, including Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden. Teammate Valentino Rossi put in nine laps.
Avintia Blusens (BQR Kawasaki) rider Ivan Silva set the fastest time, which was nine seconds slower than Pedrosa’s morning benchmark. Then came San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro (FTR Honda) and Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet (ART).
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, seventh fastest in the morning, went out in the afternoon, though for no good reason.
“That’s the thing, nothing to learn,” he said. He added that he didn’t want to “go out with slick tires, because in Turn 3 is full of water, so it’s too dangerous.” The temperature will “destroy your rain tires in one lap.”
The morning was more typical and Pedrosa was on pace, as was teammate Stoner, who was more comfortable on his motorcycle after struggling in Motegi, and it showed. Stoner was only .152 sec. off the pace of Pedrosa with Lorenzo a similar gap back in third.
The next three riders were Yamaha-mounted; Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, and Yamaha’s Ben Spies.
Bradl was next, almost a full second down on Pedrosa and narrowly in front of Hayden and Bautista. Hayden’s teammate Rossi was 11th, 1.6 sec. slower than Pedrosa and also behind Hector Barbera on the Pramac Racing Ducati.
Sepang MotoGP Practice Results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2:01.621
2. Casey Stoner (Honda) 2:01.773
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2:01.934
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) 2:02.236
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2:02.266
6. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 2:02.358
7. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2:02.617
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2:02.754
9. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2:02.872
10. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 2:03.221
11. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 2:03.274
15. Colin Edwards (Suter) 2:05.387