Yamaha team tops Day 2 in Sepang

Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales

Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) went quickest on Day 2 at Sepang International Circuit, just beating teammate Valentino Rossi to the top late on as the Yamaha duo put in some time attack laps. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) was third quickest, with the top three split by less than a tenth as the timesheets were close once again.

It was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro who led the way early on Day 2, with action slow to get in gear following some overnight rain. But soon, times began to tumble – and a good number of late movers shook up the timesheets in the final hour. Espargaro also took a tumble, tipping off at Turn 4 and heading to the medical center but rider ok.

Some of the biggest headlines on Monday were aero fairings, with Honda and Yamaha riders all trying some of this year’s evolutions. Crutchlow had the carbon-black Honda version to try out on HRC test duty, before Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa both tried the innovation at Repsol Honda. At Yamaha, some of the new changes previously seen on test riders’ machines were on show, too – with both Vinales and Rossi trying them out.

The Yamaha duo at the top did a 1:59.355 and a 1:50.390 respectively, with Vinales putting in 68 laps and Rossi 39. Crutchlow, meanwhile, managed a 1:59.443 as his best of 65 laps – keeping the top three within 0.088 seconds.

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) was the next man on the timesheets. The five-time World Champion did a 1:59.498, and was only a further half a tenth back after 44 laps. Another Borgo Panigale machine completed the top five, with Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) impressing once more – and only 0.011 off Lorenzo. Miller did crash, but nevertheless managed to break into the 1:59 club and did 44 laps.

Behind that top five, there was a slightly bigger gap back to sixth. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) ended the day 0.193 off the top five after putting in 48 laps – just ahead of reigning Champion Marc Marquez and settling into life on the 2017 M1.

Marquez put in exactly the same lap count as compatriot and expected Championship rival Maverick Vinales – 68 – and ended the day with a 1:59.730 as his quickest; just 0.002 ahead of another big rival in the form of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team). Marquez was another crasher on Day 2, but it was a very minor tip off early in the lap.

The reigning Champion explained he would be working through their program – going from engine to setups to aero – on Days 2 and 3, and the Spaniard showed that to be true as he tried the aero-fairing in the afternoon. Dovizioso, meanwhile, is concentrating on a deeper evaluation of the new GP18 after initial positive reports after the opening day. Another Ducati was just behind him, with Danilo Petrucci putting the second Alma Pramac Racing machine in P9.

The Repsol Honda riders were out of bikes with different bodywork
The Repsol Honda riders were out of bikes with different bodywork

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was tenth quickest on the second day as Suzuki look to move forward with their changes made for 2018, saying their engine last season had been a mistake in direction. The Italian suffered some early drama however when his GSX-RR caught fight and caused him to pull over, but got back out soon after and put in a total of 57 laps. Teammate Alex Rins was P13, with a similar lap count.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was tantalizingly close to the top ten as the Noale factory continue to evaluate their winter mission for, amongst other things, more horsepower. He did 47 laps, with teammate Scott Redding putting in 51 further down the timesheets as he gets to grips with his switch to the RS-GP.

Dani Pedrosa was the only rider who didn’t improve and he was P12 after topping Day 1, but his fastest lap from the first day is the third fastest overall on combined times.

Pol Espargaro was P14 and did only 22 laps after his crash, a bit bruised, with Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) splitting the two Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders to take 15th; two tenths ahead of the second Austrian machine as Bradley Smith ended Day 2 in P16.

Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) struck back in the battle of the rookies on Monday, with the intermediate class reigning Champion P17 on the second day and managing to stay three tenths clear of fellow rookie Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). The Japanese rider was P21.

The final day of action at Sepang gets underway tomorrow, with the track open from 10:00 (GMT +8) once more.

Day 2 Times

SUNNY

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 1:59.355
2 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.035
3 CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda 0.088
4 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team Ducati 0.143
5 MILLER Jack 43 AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 0.154
6 ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 0.347
7 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.375
8 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 0.377
9 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 0.392
10 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.562
11 ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 0.570
12 PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.644
13 RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 0.687
14 ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.907
15 RABAT Tito 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1.151
16 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1.165
17 MORBIDELLI Franco 21 ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1.307
18 KALLIO Mika 36 FIN KTM Test Team KTM 1.346
19 BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Angel Nieto Team Ducati 1.373
20 ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Angel Nieto Team Ducati 1.559
21 NAKAGAMI Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda Honda 1.597
22 GUINTOLI Sylvain 50 FRA Suzuki Test Team Suzuki 2.037
23 REDDING Scott 45 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 2.101
24 TEST 3 Yamaha 33 JPN Yamaha Test Team Yamaha 2.125
25 HERNANDEZ Yonny 68 COL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2.199
26 SIMEON Xavier 10 BEL Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 2.334
27 LUTHI Tom 12 SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 2.455
28 TEST 2 Yamaha 32 JPN Yamaha Test Team Yamaha 3.218

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