Sepang MotoGP: Pedrosa Leads Friday Practice

2012 Sepang MotoGP Friday Practice Results

The 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix got underway Friday with the mixed weather conditions for the first two free practices.

The 21-rider MotoGP grid was met by dry track conditions in the first free practice, but heavy rains marred the beginning of the second session, though the track would gradually dry.

When Friday was complete, the morning practice would award the fastest lap times as many riders decided to sit out the second free practice.

And the leader? The man who has a shot at the 2012 MotoGP title – Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.

The Spaniard, who has won the last two rounds at Aragon and Motegi, posted a 2:01.621 in free practice one. Pedrosa was followed by his teammate, Casey Stoner, 0.152 of a second behind. The third fastest rider, and final rider to post under 2:02, was the current series leader, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “We’ve been lucky to have the first practice in the dry to begin setting up the bike for the race because as we’ve seen in the last few days sooner or later it rains here.

“The track was a little dirty in the morning and the grip level quite poor, but the lap times were not so bad and the conditions will improve throughout the weekend. In the morning I had a lot of vibration in the rear which we think was a problem with the wheel balance. I did a sighting lap in the afternoon and it was full wet until turn 4 but from there, full dry, so we decided to stay in the pits. We will have to make good use of track time tomorrow morning to prepare the bike for qualifying and the race.”

Stoner, who returned last week at Motegi from his ankle injury sustained at Indy MotoGP, says he feels more comfortable at Sepang.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I definitely feel more comfortable here than I did in Japan, I’m not sure if this is time on the bike or the fact that this track isn’t quite so demanding on my right leg.

“The circuit goes to the right a lot, but there aren’t so many slow corners that I need to pick the bike up from and I’m getting a better feeling here so the lap times came easier. We still have quite a bit of work to do and I don’t think we are anywhere near the pace that we need to be but the first session went very well and hopefully we can continue in this way for the remainder of the weekend.”

As for Lorenzo, who leads Pedrosa by 28 points with three rounds remaining, the 2010 MotoGP Champion trailed the leader by 0.313 of a second.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “This morning was great, from the beginning I was competitive and more or less at the same pace as Dani and Casey. Casey especially is much stronger than he was in Japan. This afternoon unfortunately we couldn’t practice because of the weather. We need to improve the behavior of the bike in acceleration for tomorrow, it’s a little nervous so we need to make it a little easier.”

Next up were the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, respectively. Both satellite YZR-M1 riders were over 0.6 of a second behind Pedrosa.

Sixth fastest was yet another Yamaha, the factory YZR-M1 machine piloted by the American Ben Spies. He was followed by LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who as the final rider to post within a second of Pedrosa, the German 2011 Moto2 Champion 0.996 of a second back.

Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden was eighth quickest, just over a second behind. The American looked as if he would participate in the second free practice, but only did a few laps. Following Hayden was last year’s third-place finisher at Motegi, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. Taking the tenth quickest time was Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, who chose to “destroy” a pair of wet tires in the second free practice, delighting many fans.

MotoGP reports that Top CRT spot went to Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet in 13th, set in the morning practice, before also attempting a near-dry run at the end of FP2. The main protagonists out in the afternoon were the CRT contingent, looking to gain as much track time as possible, to try and claw back time on the prototype machines.

Avintia Blusens’ Ivan Silva, who led the second wet free practice, benefitted from the last few seconds of FP1 as the track was as its driest, to finish ahead of San Carlo’s Michele Pirro and De Puniet. Wet afternoons are not uncommon in Sepang, yet most riders and teams will be hoping for a fully wet session should the skies open once more.

2012 Sepang Free Practice 1 Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 321.2 2’01.621
2. 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 323.5 2’01.773 0.152 / 0.152
3. 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 322.1 2’01.934 0.313 / 0.161
4. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 320.9 2’02.236 0.615 / 0.302
5. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 317.9 2’02.266 0.645 / 0.030
6. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 321.2 2’02.358 0.737 / 0.092
7. 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 321.7 2’02.617 0.996 / 0.259
8. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 322.7 2’02.754 1.133 / 0.137
9. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 319.9 2’02.872 1.251 / 0.118
10. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 315.9 2’03.221 1.600 / 0.349
11. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 318.6 2’03.274 1.653 / 0.053
12. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 311.9 2’04.624 3.003 / 1.350
13. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 301.3 2’05.029 3.408 / 0.405
14. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 300.5 2’05.077 3.456 / 0.048
15. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 305.9 2’05.387 3.766 / 0.310
16. 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 290.0 2’06.058 4.437 / 0.671
17. 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 297.2 2’06.452 4.831 / 0.394
18. 84 Roberto ROLFO ITA Speed Master ART 291.3 2’06.470 4.849 / 0.018
19. 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 296.2 2’07.257 5.636 / 0.787
20. 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 298.3 2’07.291 5.670 / 0.034
21. 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 299.8 2’07.818 6.197 / 0.527