Lorenzo strikes first in Sepang heat

Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo

In the hot and humid conditions (Track temp. 47ËšC) at the Sepang International Circuit it was Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo who ended the day on top to send out a message to his title rival Valentino Rossi. All of the talk before the riders took to the track was about Rossi's comments revolving around Marc Marquez from the Press Conference, but it was Rossi's Movistar Yamaha teammate Lorenzo that stole the show amongst the haze at the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix.

Lorenzo had played second fiddle to Dani Pedrosa in the morning's FP1 session, but after spending most of FP2 working on race pace, the Spaniard stuck in some fresh rubber to set a 2'00.246. This time was less than half a second off Marc Marquez's 2014 Pole Record (1'59.791) as the riders hit the ground running at Sepang due to the fact all of the teams get to test at the circuit during preseason. Lorenzo's time was 0.669s faster than his title rival Rossi as he struck an important psychological blow in the epic 2015 MotoGP World Championship title fight.

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa had been quickest out of the blocks in FP1 but found himself 0.047s off the pace of Lorenzo at the end of the day in second overall. The Spaniard will be keen to be involved in the fight for the race win after having missed out on all the fun of the podium battle at Phillip Island.

His teammate Marc Marquez (+0.226s) responded to Rossi's criticism on Friday by ending the day third fastest overall. The reigning MotoGP champion took his 50th GP victory Phillip Island last time out and won last year's race at Sepang from pole.

Ducati Team's Andrea Iannone (+0.240s) followed up his podium at Phillip Island by ending the day fourth fastest despite crashing at turn 8 in FP2. Following his crash the Italian immediately went out and set his quickest time of the day, just 0.014s further back from Marquez at the circuit where his GP15 made its debut during the preseason test.

Rossi found himself down in fifth overall after an issue with his first choice bike at the end of FP2 prevented him from setting a flying lap on fresh rubber. Rossi, who has won six times in the premier class at Sepang, failed to improve on his time from the morning session but has shown before that he can recover from a poor Friday to be competitive come the race. The ‘Doctor' currently leads Lorenzo by 11 points in the standings and has his first chance to lift that elusive tenth title if results go his way on Sunday.

LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow (+0.793s) carried on his run of good form that has seen him record three top ten finishes in a row to end the day in sixth as the leading Satellite rider. Suzuki Ecstar's Aleix Espargaro had expected his GSX-RR to struggle at Sepang due to the two long straights and its lack of acceleration, but he finished the day in seventh overall.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) recovered from his worst finish of the season at the Australian GP to finish in 8th, with Scott Redding (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) completing the top ten.

Avintia Racing's Hector Barbera was the leading Open class rider in 11th, while the man who finished in sixth at the Australian GP, Maverick Vinales, was over 1.5s off the pace in 12th. British rider Bradley Smith on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1 struggled on the opening day and finished down in 14th.

Irishman Eugene Laverty was 16th, 0.001s ahead of his American teammate Nicky Hayden in 17th, while Australian Jack Miller (LCR Honda) ended the session in 20th.

Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time
1 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2'00.246
2 PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 2'00.293
3 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 2'00.472
4 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 2'00.486
5 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2'00.915
6 CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda 2'00.039
7 ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 2'00.058
8 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 2'00.127
9 REDDING Scott 45 GBR Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 2'00.218
10 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 2'00.598
11 BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Avintia Racing Ducati 2'00.616
12 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 2'00.796
13 ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2'00.850
14 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2'02.101
15 BRADL Stefan 6 GER Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 2'02.118
16 LAVERTY Eugene 50 IRE Aspar MotoGP Team Honda 2'02.426
17 HAYDEN Nicky 69 USA Aspar MotoGP Team Honda 2'02.427
18 HERNANDEZ Yonny 68 COL Pramac Racing Ducati 2'02.554
19 BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 2'02.626
20 MILLER Jack 43 AUS LCR Honda Honda 2'03.136
21 DI MEGLIO Mike 63 FRA Avintia Racing Ducati 2'03.394
22 BAZ Loris 76 FRA Athina Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 2'03.429
23 ELIAS Toni 24 SPA Athina Forward Racing Forward Yamaha 2'03.710
24 WEST Anthony 13 AUS AB Motoracing Honda 2'04.892
25 CUDLIN Damian 55 AUS E-Motion IodaRacing Team ART 2'06.962

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