Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa topped the timesheet in Friday’s MotoGP
Free Practice at Sepang, finishing fastest in both sessions and nearing the track record with his best effort of the day in FP2. Pedrosa’s teammate, Marc Marquez, finished second-fastest three-tenths ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow in third.
Pedrosa notched a win at Sepang in 2012
, his only victory at the circuit to-date in the premier class. Last year’s contest was cut short after increasingly hazardous conditions resulted in a number of crashes, but was a bright spot for the Spaniard since it was his first ever wet race win.
He’s currently 59 points behind series points leader Marquez, a deficit that widened substantially after an incident during the previous round at Aragon
in which Pedrosa crashed out of competition. The crash, which was caused when Marquez made a move to pass and touched Pedrosa’s machine, clipping the traction control wire, came under review of Race Direction
and it was decided that the rookie would receive one penalty point for the collision.
“When sitting on the bike I have quite a lot of pain, as the seat is very hard, so we shall see if a few more anti-inflammatories can help to alleviate the issue,” said Pedrosa, who escaped the Aragon crash with minor, but lingering injuries. “We might also add a small cushion underneath my leathers, in order to absorb the bumps that we get when riding.”
Marquez ended half-a-second behind his teammate and spent much of the day addressing braking issues on his RC213V. Crutchlow, who will undergo surgery after this year’s season to address an injury sustained at Silverstone, struggled with swelling and pain in his right arm during the morning session. Swelling subsided in the afternoon and he posted a series of 2’01 laps late in the afternoon after switching to a fresh set of tires.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi trailed Crutchlow in fourth, improving his best morning lap time by half-a-second in FP2. Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, finished fifth and was unable to improve on his FP1 time due to persistent grip issues.
“We are investigating what happened today because I didn't have confidence in the middle of the corners and also with acceleration,” explained Lorenzo. “I had a lot of spinning and the bike is very aggressive so we have to see what we can change for tomorrow to try to get back a good feeling with the bike again.”
Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista notched the sixth-fastest time followed by LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl in seventh. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso took eighth and ninth, respectively while Crutchlow’s teammate, Bradley Smith, rounded out the top-10. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro topped the CRT ranks, finishing 11th.
MotoGP Sepang Friday Results 2013:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 2’00.554
2. Marc Marquez (Honda) 2’01.087
3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 2’01.423
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 2’01.538
5. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2’01.623
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 2’01.659
7. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 2’01.727
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 2’02.373
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 2’02.487
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 2’02.551
11. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 2’02.610
12. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 2’02.819
13. Hector Barbera (FTR) 2’03.225
14. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’03.574
15. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 2’03.780
16. Randy de Puniet (ART) 2’03.922
17. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR) 2’04.273
18. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki) 2’04.703
19. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter) 2’04.965
20. Michael Laverty (ART) 2’05.319
21. Luca Scassa (ART) 2’05.598
22. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda) 2’06.538
23. Lukas Pesek (Ioda-Suter) 2’07.024
24. Damian Cudlin (PBM) 2’07.642