Practice for the third of back-to-back rounds began Friday at Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysian Grand Prix, and once again, Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo was untouchable.Just as he did in previous practices, the Yamaha YZR-M1 pilot posted the quickest times Friday. At his team’s home MotoGP round in Sepang, Quartararo broke the lap record in the first free practice and completed the task once again during the second free practice.
The Frenchman Quartararo led the way with a 1:58.576. In combined times he finished 0.534 of a second ahead of his teammate Franco Morbidelli. Taking the final provisional pole position was Mission Winnow Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who finished 0.630 of a second behind.“The lap was really incredible – and my second-time attack would have even better but I caught some traffic,” Fabio Quartararo said. “The most important thing is that we’re really safe in progressing directly to Q2 for tomorrow.“That means that in the morning we can concentrate on working on which tires to choose for the race, although already our pace and our rhythm are strong. My ankle has been quite painful after the crash last weekend in Australia, but when you’re P1 and you’ve got good pace on the bike you’re able to forget about it a little bit!“The news that I’ll have a 2020 A-spec bike next year is a big surprise and I need to say thanks to Yamaha, Petronas and the team for making it happen – but we still need to focus on the last two races of 2019 for now.”Yamaha machinery claimed the fourth and fifth positions in combined timesheets also. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Vinales claimed fourth, followed by his teammate Valentino Rossi.As for the 2019 MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez, the Repsol Honda RC213V pilot finished sixth – nearly a second off the pace. Last week, Marquez claimed his 11th victory of the season at Phillip Island.Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins finished seventh, just ahead of Quartararo’s closet rival for top Independent Team Rider in 2019 MotoGP – Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller. Rounding out the top 10 were Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow.The 20-rider grid returns to Sepang Saturday for two more practice sessions ahead of qualifying.
2019 Sepang MotoGP Friday Practice Results (Combined)
1. F. QUARTARARO, PETRONAS YAMAHA SRT 1’58.576 2. F. MORBIDELLI, PETRONAS YAMAHA SRT 1’59.110 3. A. DOVIZIOSO, DUCATI TEAM 1’59.206 4. M. VIÑALES, MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’59.218 5. V. ROSSI, MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’59.284 6. M. MARQUEZ, REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’59.517 7. A. RINS, TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’59.546 8. J. MILLER, PRAMAC RACING 1’59.593 9. A. ESPARGARÒ, APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’59.707 10. C. CRUTCHLOW, LCR HONDA CASTROL 1’59.711 11. F. BAGNAIA, PRAMAC RACING 1’59.774 12. J. MIR, TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’59.984 13. D. PETRUCCI, DUCATI TEAM 2’00.057 14. J. ZARCO, LCR HONDA IDEMITSU 2’00.268 15. K. ABRAHAM, REALE AVINTIA RACING 2’00.477 16. P. ESPARGARÒ, RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 2’00.658 17. J. LORENZO REPSOL, DUCATI TEAM 2’00.705 18. A. IANNONE, APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 2’01.172 19. H. SYAHRIN, RED BULL KTM TECH3 2’01.579 20. M. KALLIO, RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 2’01.959
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.