2016 Sepang Moto2 & Moto3 Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after practice on Friday:

Binder fastest in the dry in Malaysia

Moto3 World Champion sets best time of the day in only dry session on Friday. Bo Bendsneyder debuts at Sepang with fifteenth fastest lap.

10/28/2016 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia

The first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix saw very different track conditions for the Moto3 riders in the two Free Practice sessions. In the opening session, Red Bull KTM Ajo enjoyed a positive run with Brad Binder topping the timesheets and Bo Bendsneyder in fifteenth –in his first experience on the track. In the afternoon, rain stopped the pair from improving their times at the resurfaced Sepang International Circuit.

In the first practice session in Malaysia, Brad Binder put in the showing of a World Champion. The South African waited until 12 minutes from the end, when the asphalt was drier, for a single seven-lap stint. He set his best lap on his final attempt, with a 2:15.520 that put him 8 tenths ahead of the rider in second place. Bendsneyder used a different strategy, waiting only five minutes to go out and get to know the circuit. He completed a total of 13 laps and, like his teammate, set his best time on his last attempt. Bendsneyder was fifteenth with a 2:18.026.

As is typical in Malaysia, the weather changed completely for the second session –leaving 40 minutes of wet track time for the Moto3 grid. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders used the time to test their feeling in the conditions, aware that it could be the same on race day. Bendsneyder was seventh –2:28.387– while Binder was more conservative and clocked a 2:29.436 –nineteenth.

Tomorrow will see the penultimate pole position of the season contested, starting at 12:35pm local time –6:35am CET. Binder will look for a second consecutive pole position and Bendsneyder a place that allows him to fight for points on Sunday.


"This first day in Malaysia went pretty well. This morning we could not do many laps, because we waited until the track was more or less dry to get out there and push. The feeling in the dry was good, but in the wet in the afternoon it was not very good and we had to test setups. The good news is we know how to fix things for tomorrow in order to be faster and get a better feeling in the wet. In the dry we are very strong and we just have to continue on."


"Overall it was not a bad day. In the first practice we had dry conditions but with wet patches. It helped us to learn the circuit, which is totally new to me. I think we have made the most of the session and it went well. In FP2, in the rain, we also did a great job. At first I was a little worried about the grip, but it ended up being pretty good. In short, I am happy with how things went, step by step we are going faster and I hope that tomorrow will be even better."


The Gresini Racing Team Moto3 was back on track today for the first two Free Practice sessions of the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit: Fabio Di Giannantonio and Ayumu Sasaki, who this weekend is replacing injured Enea Bastianini, were in action on a damp track this morning, while this afternoon’s FP2 session was held under the rain.

Conditions which have recommended Fabio Di Giannantonio - at his first visit to the Malaysian circuit - not to take too many risks: the 18-year-old rookie from Rome, who was immediately fast in the early stages of the FP1, preferred to stay in the pits in the second part of the morning session considering the presence of several wet patches on the asphalt. Therefore “Diggia” - 14th fastest in the afternoon in the wet - closed the combined classification in 29th position with a lap time of 2’20”160.

The day was also good for Ayumu Sasaki, who faced his first experience in the Moto3 World Championship with the right approach, completing 27 laps and resulting 22nd fastest both in the morning and in the afternoon with a wet track.

FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO (29th - 2'20"160)

“The first free practice session has been positive, although the conditions were not the best to learn the track. In fact since the beginning of the session I always set good lap times, remaining in the top ten and even in the top five midway through the session. Later, however, to push harder it would have been necessary to take too many risks, because there were many wet patches on the asphalt, so I preferred to stay in the pits. In the afternoon, with the rain, I did a 30-minute long run to get used to the track and to the wet conditions: I’m very happy with how it went because I have always improved and I was able to learn something at every lap. IN the final stages of the FP2 we tried a change on the front end to try to make the bike turn better, and also from this point of view we made some progress, immediately improving our lap times. I’m very happy with this first day and we can still improve a lot. The track is beautiful because is very wide and you can make a lot of lines”.

AYUMU SASAKI (22nd - 2'18"959)

“In the morning the weather was good, but on the track there were still many wet areas, so I couldn’t push hard. However, I make the most of the FP1 to get used to both the bike and the team: they did a great job to help me and the morning session was positive. Unfortunately in the afternoon it rained and the conditions were even more difficult for me, but it was a positive session to learn many things ahead of the rest of the weekend!”.


“Given today’s conditions, we started the weekend with calm and without taking too many risks: having said that, it was not bad at all and we believe we have done a good job, although of course there is room for improvement. Di Giannantonio had never been here, so he didn’t want to risk too much and I think he has taken the right approach to learn. Sasaki started a wonderful experience with the right approach too, and it was nice to see Enea in the garage to give him advice”.


The young talents suffered the mostly dry conditions of the FP1, while in FP2, under the rain, Bulega was with the strongest guys with the fourth lap time. In the combined standings of the Day1 Migno is 14th, Dalla Porta 23rd and Bulega 25th.

Sepang (Malaysia), October 28th, 2016 – Nicolò Bulega, who had struggled to find the pace in the first session, is with the fastest guys under the rain at his debut at Sepang. In fact, in the FP2, the young rookie of the Sky Racing Team VR46 closed the gap with the strongest guys, scoring the fourth lap time. Considering the weather, this lap time was not enough to improved his position in the combined standings of the Day1. After the two sessions of free practice, Bulega is 25th, Andrea Migno is 14th and Lorenzo Dalla Porta 23rd. After a morning characterized by a mostly dry track, at lunchtime, a storm has hit the circuit forcing the riders to face the afternoon session in the wet.

Andrea, despite the small crash, fortunately without consequences, was forced in to the pits loosing important minutes and he does not improved his 2.17.942 (FP1 ed). Dalla Porta and Bulega have signed respectively the times of 2.18.981 and 2.19.002.

PABLO NIETO - Team Manager

A strange day: in the morning session the track was wet in some areas and dirty in others, while in the afternoon was completely wet after the storm at lunchtime. In the first round we struggled to find the pace, while in FP2 Nicolò was immediately close to the strongest guys. As his teammates, he made an important step forward in the wet conditions and he finished in fourth place. Overall Lorenzo did a good job and he has still areas for improvement. The performance of Andrea was affected by a crash, fortunately without consequences.

Andrea Migno

BEST TIME > 2.17.942

I was expecting something more from this first day of work, but the crash has broke my rhythm and has compromised the schedule for today. I lose something in terms of feeling, but we have the chance of making a good step forward in qualifying.

Nicolo Bulega

BEST TIME > 2.19.002

After my debut on this track, I can say that this circuit seems to me the most difficult of the oversea races. I like it, but this morning I really struggled to find the right feeling. We made some changes before the second session, but we rode under the rain. I am satisfied with the progress made in the wet, we are close to the firsts, but I’m curious to try the track in dry conditions.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta

BEST TIME > 2.18.981

Considering the weather, it was not a bad start. This morning the track conditions were tricky, while in the afternoon the rain was the real protagonist. For the qualifying we can improve the setting so I’m confident for tomorrow.

Canet sixth and Navarro ninth on tricky opening day in Malaysia

Jorge Navarro takes second fastest time in the afternoon session, with the Spanish rider fastest in the wet. Aron Canet puts in his first laps of Sepang, placing amongst the top positions.

The resurfaced Sepang International Circuit greeted the Moto3 riders with tricky conditions on Friday morning, with wet patches of asphalt due to overnight rainfall. This failed to impede rookie Aron Canet, however, who in just three laps had moved up to second placed on the timesheets. He was able to go fastest at the halfway point of the session, eventually finishing sixth in his first ever session in Malaysia with a time of 2:17.900. Teammate Jorge Navarro had been up as high as second, but placed ninth thanks to a 2:17.171 penultimate lap.

The characteristic tropical climate in Malaysia provided a brief but intense spell of torrential rain, leaving the track waterlogged for the second practice session. Navarro made a breakthrough in the wet midway through FP2, taking the top spot and holding onto it until near the end. He would suffer a small crash at Turn 2 with 6 minutes remaining, but remounted and undertook a further two laps. His best time from the session, a 2:26.914, put him second fastest in the wet. Canet, in eighth, continued to work on learning the Malaysian track, riding in the difficult conditions presented by the humidity and high temperatures.

Tomorrow sees the final Moto3 Free Practice session at 9am –local time, followed by qualifying at 12:35pm.

Jorge Navarro

Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider

9th, 2:17.171, 26 laps, 144 km

"We were competitive in the wet"

"They have resurfaced the circuit and have changed the climbs and descents a little, but on the bike you do not notice much of a change. This morning the track was dry with wet patches, and with these conditions we could not check the grip levels at the track now. In the afternoon I felt very comfortable on the bike and we were competitive in the wet. With 6 minutes remaining, looking for the limit in the conditions, I couldn’t save a crash at Turn 2. Luckily I was able to restart the engine and continue for two more laps, which helped me to regain confidence; it has also been a crash that has helped us improve in some respects. It seems that the weather will keep changing throughout the weekend, so it will be important to be able to quickly adapt to this situation."

Aron Canet

Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider

6th, 2:16.900, 28 laps, 155 km

"Sixth on the combined timesheets today is a good result, but I think we have room for improvement"

"In the first session I was not entirely comfortable because of the track conditions; there were several pools of water and, although the asphalt dried slowly, some areas remained wet. However, we achieved sixth place and I think it is a good result, considering it was my first time at the circuit. In the afternoon the track was wet we worked with a wet tyre. We rode pretty fast and the feeling with the bike was good. I like the track layout, which is very wide, and I think I can go well in the dry. Sixth on the combined timesheets today is a good result for today, but I think we still have room for improvement.”

RBA Racing riders improve in mixed conditions at the circuit of Sepang


Sepang, Malaysia

The penultimate Grand Prix of the 2016 Moto3 World Championship kicked off today, at the Sepang International circuit.

The changeable weather which is typical of Malaysia played along during the first day on track. In the FP1, Gabriel Rodrigo and his crew decided to wait and leave the pit box only in the second part of the session, when the track was almost completely dry. A crash without consequences forced the Argentinian youngster to finish the first practice before the chequered flag, still achieving a positive initial feedback. In the afternoon, the session was held on wet track. Gabriel got used straight away to the new conditions, setting the eleventh time. In today’s combined standings, the Argentinian maintains the 21st placement (2'18.491).

The first session of the day was an important shakedown for Guevara and his technicians: the laps were useful to verify the performance of the bike on the new tarmac, in mixed conditions. In the FP2, Juanfran focused on the development of the wet set-up, improving his pace in the second part of the session. The Spaniard stays in 27th position in the combined classification, as per the time he set in the morning (2’19.533).

#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: 21st - 2’18.491

“This morning the track conditions weren’t too good: most of the track was dry, but there were wet patches and humid areas. We went out on slick tyres, but in the beginning the situation was quite complicated. Little by little I started feeling more confident and this is quite an important improvement, compared to the previous occasions we were out on mixed conditions. I started making my own pace and I was quite competitive. We were within the Top-5, but I crashed out. We couldn’t finish the session and take advantage of the last few minutes, when the conditions were better. The other guys got to set faster times, however I’m happy with our performance today. This afternoon on the wet we started off well. Once the track began to dry up and it was possible to push more, we lacked rear grip when entering the corners. We stopped to try and make some changes, but we couldn’t do much. Despite that, we could complete a strong FP2, as we finished with the eleventh time. If we have the same conditions in the QP tomorrow, we need to make some adjustments on the bike and then we should be able to make a step forward.”

#58 Juanfran Guevara: 27th - 2’19.544

”This morning it all began with some tricky conditions for the track. The wet parts prevented us from working as we had planned. We managed to improve lap after lap, despite the humid areas, but we were still far from the times that are set on the dry normally. We decided not to take too many risks in these mixed conditions. We were hoping that the second session would bring a general improvement to the track, and when we got to the FP2 it was all wet. We got out planning to find again the same feeling we had at Phillip Island, when we were competitive under the rain. After making some changes to the rear part of the bike, we could make again some progress. At the end of the session the track was drying up, but the performance of the bike wasn’t one of the best, probably because of the high temperatures. We have to prepare some changes for tomorrow, but the important thing is that we aren’t too far from the times of the Top-10 on the wet. For tomorrow we hope we’ll have to deal with more stable conditions.”

Solid debut for Mir and Quartararo in Malaysia

The Spanish rookie and his French team mate have performed well in the first day of practice at Sepang. Locatelli is 13th.

With the first two free practice sessions, the Malaysian Grand Prix began in earnest, the seventeenth round of the 2016 season running on the 5,5 km Sepang International Circuit. The three riders of Leopard Racing team worked hard from the first laps, having to make adjustments in the afternoon with rain falling during the Moto2 FP1 session.

It was a ‘debut’ in Malaysia for Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo, the two Leopard Racing riders did their best to learn the track and overcome the afternoon conditions, none of the protagonists of the cadet class Moto3 managed to improve their lap times in the afternoon’s rain. Quartararo was unable to race in Sepang last year due to injury, still learning even in his second year in the World Championship.

The best of the first day was Joan Mir: the Mallorcan rookie seemed right at home in the dry, finishing eighth in FP1. In the afternoon session, however, after a promising start, the Spaniard found himself fighting with annoying vibrations as the track was drying.

In the morning he was challenged for the top spots by his teammate Fabio Quartararo, long at the top of the times before closing the first session on Friday in tenth. In the afternoon, Quartararo focused more on the feeling needed in the wet to ensure he was ready for all conditions.

A good Friday also for Andrea Locatelli, twelfth at the end of this first day. The 20 year old from Selvino faced many difficulties in the afternoon due to bad weather conditions. The young Italian talent did not lose his nerve, always giving his best and continuing to constantly improve.

Saturday will open with the third and final free practice session, before formal qualifications that will decide the starting grid for the Moto3 class of the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2016.

#36 Joan MIR - 8th (2'17.141):

"It has been a difficult day for us. In the first session in the dry I felt at ease, without changing tyres. We have good pace. But in the second session in the wet the bike started to move too much and this stopped me from pushing harder. I'm confident we can improve tomorrow."

#20 Fabio QUARTARARO - 10th (2'17.185):

"It was a good day, it was the first time I ran at this circuit. The most important thing today was really learning the track and I must say I really like the layout. We'll see what we can do in the dry because in the afternoon there was a lot of water on the track, but I managed to improve in these conditions, we will see what happens tomorrow!"

#55 Andrea LOCATELLI - 13th (2'17.836):

"I am very happy with the day today, despite the weather conditions. We encountered some difficulties in the afternoon on the water, but we can improve more in case of rain. We will work united, I am pretty confident."

Moto3 - The riders of 3570 Team Italia discover the Sepang Circuit

First free practice aimed at discovering the track for Lorenzo Petrarca and Stefano Valtulini.

The last round of the triple extra-European races, the Grand Prix of Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit, has started with variable weather conditions. While the purpose of 3570 Team Italia riders was to discover the characteristics of the track, Brad Binder (KTM), the 2016 World Champion, was once again in front of everyone in the combined timesheet, thanks to a time in 2'15"520 in the morning.

The first session of practice, with the asphalt that was gradually drying, offered to Lorenzo Petrarca (30th, 2'20"872) and Stefano Valtulini (32nd, 2'22"263) the opportunity of getting familiar with the characteristics of the Sepang International Circuit, in order to avoid useless risks for the continuation of the race weekend.

In the second practice, with wet track, 3570 Team Italia was back on track with Petrarca (31st,2'32"353) and Valtulini (32nd,2'32"353) looking for the right feeling with bike and track for these difficult weather conditions.

Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #77) 30th, 2'20"872

"I used these two sessions of practice, trying to discover the characteristics of the track. Sepang is not an easy track, and with these weather conditions it's even worse. In the second session, I decided not to take any risk, and we are already working in view of qualifying and race."

Stefano Valtulini (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #43) 32nd, 2'22"263

"It wasn't a positive day. This morning I spent the first session of practice to discover the track, with variable track conditions, it was half wet and half dry. In the second session, on wet track, we improved, but not enough to be satisfied. Together with the team we'll work hard to find a solution in order to recover many positions."

Emanuele Ventura (3570 Team Italia - Team Manager)

"Our riders spent the day discovering the track and their feeling on it. After the crash of Phillip Island, Lorenzo pushed less than usual, trying not to take any risk in view of the qualifying. Stefano is looking for the right feeling to do his best: together we'll do everyone to find suitable solutions for the rest of the weekend.".

Top5 for Zarco to start Malaysian GP

Ajo Motorsport rider shows good pace at the start of the penultimate round of the season, setting the fifth fastest time.

10/28/2016 - Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia

The Moto2 riders began to set up their bikes for Sunday in both wet and dry conditions on the opening day of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Johann Zarco, who has a first opportunity to seal the 2016 title this weekend, started strong at the Sepang International Circuit, performing well in both free practice sessions contested. He set his best lap in the afternoon –2:09.033, fifth–, in the only dry session.

The first practice session was not an easy one for the Ajo Motorsport rider. Before completing his first flying lap, he suffered a small crash at Turn 14. He headed back to the pits, but just before attempting to go back out rain hit the track, leaving the surface wet for the final 25 minutes. Zarco set his best lap in these conditions –2:24.586, putting him 23rd– showing he has a good pace in the wet.

The intermediate class riders were the only ones to lower their times in the afternoon. They were able to use slicks from the outset and improved lap after lap. Zarco undertook a long first stint of ten flying laps, putting him among the top three riders. After a single stop in the pits, the Frenchman set his fastest lap of the entire day –2:09.033–, which gave him fifth place.

Qualifying for the Malaysian GP starts at 3:05pm local time on Sunday –9:05am CET. Last year, Zarco was second on the grid.


"The first day in Malaysia has been good. The first session was dry, but I crashed when I made contact with a wet spot. I went back to the garage and then it started to rain a lot. It has been interesting to ride in wet conditions; I had a good pace compared to my rivals. In the afternoon we were able to put on slicks throughout the session, but still there were some wet spots that made everything a little more difficult, as you can push on some corners but have to be careful and very focused in order not to crash.

I am happy because we have not finished far from the top positions. My feelings on the bike are good and we continue to work with the team to get even better. The weekend has started well, now we must see if we can be faster with this new asphalt than we were last year –something that so far has not been the case because of the track conditions."

Morbidelli and Márquez star in sultry Sepang

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli’s red-hot form in the Moto2 World Championship continued today after he topped the opening day of practice at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.

And a phenomenal first day in the Far East for the Belgian-based squad was rounded off by a superb return to action for Álex Márquez, who lapped inside the top three on the newly resurfaced 5.5km track in both practice sessions.

Morbidelli’s quest for a seventh podium finish in the last 10 races and fourth in a row got off to the perfect start today when his best time of 2’08’816 placed him in first position by 0.089s from Takaaki Nakagami.

Morbidelli’s exceptional performance came after Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS were frustrated by more adverse weather this morning when heavy rain drenched the Sepang International Circuit in the early stages of an FP1 that had already been red-flagged after just six minutes.

Race Direction halted the first session to check track conditions after four riders fell in quick succession at turn 14. Heavy rain started to fall shortly after the session was resumed, which was far from ideal for Morbidelli and Márquez after all the weather disruption in Phillip Island last weekend.

But they did at least take advantage of the rain to make a vital first assessment of the Sepang International Circuit’s new surface on Dunlop’s wet tyres.

Damp patches still littered the 5.5km track at the beginning of FP2, but Morbidelli quickly made his mark and as track conditions improved throughout, his best pace was only 1.5s off lap record pace, despite the rain washing away any rubber laid down earlier in the day.

Having been declared fit to participate in this weekend’s action after a nasty qualifying crash in Phillip Island forced Márquez to withdraw from last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, the Spaniard made a sensational return today.

He was only able to complete two flying laps on Dunlop’s slick tyres before the rain intervention in FP1, but he was still immediately able to slot into the top three.

The 20-year-old carried on that stunning form this afternoon and he was able to improve his pace by 1.1s to keep himself comfortably inside the top three.

Franco Morbidelli: 1st - 2’08’816

“I am really happy because we have started this weekend in a really good way. And it is better to start good than bad! Today’s practice wasn’t perfect because of the weather conditions and it seems the rain is chasing us around the world at the moment. But we were able to try some things on the bike in the mixed conditions and I was quite fast. Being fastest on the first day is always a good boost and it sets us up for a positive weekend. Hopefully we can get some good weather and I’m looking forward to fighting for the win again like in Phillip Island.”

Álex Márquez: 3rd - 2’08’916

“I’ve got to be really happy to come back from a difficult weekend in Australia and be immediately inside the top three on the timesheets. After last weekend I am really motivated to finish off this triple-header in a positive way. The second practice was tricky because it is really risky when you go on track on slick tyres with a lot of damp patches on the surface. But I took enough risks to make third and I’m really satisfied with that. Now we understand where we can improve and we will need to do so because if it remains dry then I can see the lap times improving a lot.”

Rain complicates Friday practice for Baldassarri and Marini

The first day of practice at the Sepang track was marked by unstable weather conditions that made it difficult to interpret the track for the riders of the Forward Racing Team.

The circuit, where the sun was shining early in the morning, was hit by torrential rain in the midst of the first Moto2 practice. The session was therefore interrupted by the red flag forcing Lorenzo Baldassarri and Luca Marini to a long stop.

In the morning practice "Balda" still managed to close in the Top10 while his teammate "Maro" immediately entered the Top15 despite having never raced on this track.

The practice session of the afternoon began on slippery asphalt with Baldassarri and Marini trying different solutions without focusing on the lap time to get ready for the next two days which, according to forecasts, will be marked by monsoon storms. Both riders finished with a time of just over 2:11.

Lorenzo Baldassarri – 19 '- 2'11.023

"It was not easy today to find the feeling with the bike. This morning I had a good pace before the rain came, in the afternoon session I was not comfortable on the bike and I could not improve my time significantly. I like Sepang and I hope that tomorrow the track is easier to interpret than today in order to have a qualifying in line with our target. "

Luca Marini – 21 '- 2'11.169

"All in all it was a positive day of practice. In FP2 I did not push hard because the track was still wet from morning rain but basically I’m not very far away from the top guys.

This is a long and difficult track so the gap between each rider increases. We will start analyzing the data with the team for tomorrow to find ways to improve the bike so that we can gain more confidence with the track. "

Giovanni Cuzari – Team Owner

"Malaysia welcomed our first rounds on track with heavy rain and the guys could not make the most of the two sessions, Luca in particular is on his first experience at Sepang. The second free practice gave us some references to work on with the team in preparation for tomorrow's qualifying. We hope for more stable weather conditions and in a good progression of “Balda” and Luca in the timesheet because we have a good margin of improvement. "


The first day of practice of the Malaysian Grand Prix, conditioned by the changing weather and track conditions, saw Sam Lowes and the Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 closing the combined classification with the ninth fastest time, 2’09”802, obtained in the afternoon session with the track drying out after the rain.

Lowes said he was pleased with the feeling aboard his Kalex Moto2 machine in both sessions: tomorrow the 26-year-old British rider will continue to work on the bike together with the team in order to get an improvement and try to fight for the top positions in Qualifying.

SAM LOWES (9th - 2'09"802)

“It was a positive day, because I felt comfortable riding despite some wet patches on the track. The feeling is good and I think that tomorrow we can still improve a little bit the bike set-up: after Australia is nice having completed such a positive day of practice, with good results in the morning in the wet and making a lot of laps in the afternoon. Slowly we are going back where we need to be. Obviously it’s only free practice, but at the end of the day the tyres were over race distance and this is another positive aspect, because this circuit is usually challenging for the tyres. The resurfaced track is better, but it does not dry properly, some parts remain too wet”.

Vierge back in the groove on the first day in Malaysia

Tech3 Racing Team rider Xavi Vierge kicked off his Malaysian GP campaign in a positive style by finishing the opening day inside the top ten aboard the Mistral 610. The ever-improving Spaniard commenced FP1 as soon as it began, yet, rain fell shortly after the green lights came on. The downpour led to the red flag being issued, but once it resumed, Vierge got straight back to work in the damp conditions as he gathered valuable data for the setup of his Moto2 bike. He posted his personal best on his second lap which left him in 10th and confident of making further steps forward in the afternoon. Here, he once again got into action instantly and after consistently advancing, he sped to his fastest time on his last lap of 17, that saw him end up only 1.123 back from the leader. The solid start leaves the 19-year-old optimistic for the remainder of the weekend and tomorrow he aims to clinch a strong qualifying placement for the round 17 battle on Sunday.

On the other hand, Isaac Viñales produced an encouraging display on the first day at the Sepang International circuit, which he concluded in 18th. The young Spaniard was forced to withdraw from the previous round due to a damaged shoulder, but he got back to the track today and after fighting against the tricky conditions in the morning, he completed 11 laps and finished FP1 in 16th. In the afternoon, he continued to push as he carried on adjusting his Mistral 610 with the Tech3 team and after lapping the 5.5 kilometre circuit 19 times, he set his best time on his 13th, which left him in 18th overall. Having established an initial positive feeling with his Moto2 bike, Viñales confidently sets his sights on making further steps forward tomorrow ahead of the all important qualifying session.

Xavi Vierge

Position: 10th - Time: 2'09.939 - Laps: 27

“Today was good and we have commenced the Malaysian GP in a solid way, even if the track conditions made things tricky. This morning, I only completed one dry lap because it started raining not long into the session. Yet, I spent a lot of time riding whilst it was wet and we eventually found a strong feeling, which is significant because the weather may change quite frequently here just like last weekend in Australia. However, now, we have something prepared for most situations. The FP2 session was not entirely dry but I improved with every lap and the Tech3 guys made progress with the bike and then, in the last ten minutes, I made a step and now we can finish the day with a smile. It is crucial to begin like this and I am sure that we can carry on in this direction."

Isaac Viñales

Position: 18th - Time: 2'10.943 - Laps: 30

“I am quite satisfied with the first day at Sepang and I am looking forward to getting back on the track and making further advances. It was my debut here on the Moto2 bike but I enjoyed riding the Mistral today at this circuit and I am feeling confident for the rest of the weekend. The conditions were not great and certainly made things more challenging. In addition, we need to make a few slight adjustments to the setting, but overall, I am pleased with how we have started this event. I know that we can improve, so the team and I will see what we can do tonight and then tomorrow I will do my very best."

Rain hits Sepang on Friday

Danny Kent and his team-mate Alessandro Nocco participated in the first two free practice sessions of the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2016.

Bad weather characterized the first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix, the seventeenth round of the 2016 season. Heavy showers hit the Sepeng International Circuit, limiting the performances of the protagonists of the intermediate Moto2 class. Despite the adverse weather conditions, the Leopard Racing team is committed as ever and pushing to achieve the best results possible.

Danny Kent could not get past 22nd position in the combined time this Friday, his best lap a2'11.390 around the newly revised Sepang Circuit. The 22 year old from Chippenham could not find the right feeling with the front due to the large puddles left scattered along the racing line post-shower.

After his debut last weekend in the World Championship, Kent’s temporary team-mate, Alessandro Nocco was back out on track. This morning the 19 year old Italian was able to adapt quickly to the Malaysian track, his past in Supersport helping him to understand its layout. Big improvements came throughout the day for the Italian, improving his time by ten seconds.

Tomorrow opens with the third and final free practice session, anticipating the afternoon of formal qualifications that will decide the starting grid for the Moto2 class of the Malaysian Grand Prix 2016.

#52 Danny KENT- 22nd (2’11.390):

"Difficult day for us. Weather hasn’t helped because we only got two dry laps and then the rest were in the wet. In FP1 the feeling was quite good in the rain. In FP2 the track conditions were far from perfect as there were a lot of wet spots on the racing line. It was basically just trying to find the confidence but again I don’t have any feeling from the front. I’m 2.5 seconds off from the front group but I’m already having moments on the front in the slow corners. We definitely need to make a change for tomorrow."

#20 Alessandro NOCCO - 26th (2’13.518):

"Now I’m starting to enjoy it! I feel more comfortable with the bike, on a track that I already know and I was able to push harder. Too bad that the track had several puddles, preventing us from improving further. There was water on the racing line and we had to be very careful. Tomorrow we hope for good weather."

Home Favorite KIP Roars on Day-1 in Sepang


Weather: Wet

Ambient: 26℃ : Track: 30℃

 For the penultimate round of the 2016 Moto3 World Championship kicked off at Sepang International Circuit today and Honda Team Asia’s golden rookie Khairul Idham Pawi set second quickest time of 2m16s371. His team mate, the Japanese rider Hiroki Ono also made solid start with clocking twelfth quickest of 2m17s448.

Under the sweltering heat in FP1, double race winner Pawi has shown formidable style with posting second quickest time, while Ono set strong twelfth quickest. In the rain soaked afternoon’s FP2, KIP demonstrated again his natural-born-speed in the wet with third fastest. Ono concluded sixteenth fastest in this session.

The combined time for today was put in order for FP1’s time because no one improved their lap time in the afternoon. Next Moto3 session is FP3 at 0900 local time (GMT +8).

Khairul Idham Pawi (2nd, 2’16.371, +0.851)

“At the beginning of FP1, I rode cautiously just to check how the new asphalt feels like. It was opposite conditions in the afternoon, but I am satisfied what we achieved for the first day. This weekend, I am very motivated with the support of my home crowd. For tomorrow, I will give my best to get a good position.”

Hiroki Ono (12th, 2’17.448, +1.928)

“In the morning, I didn’t push too hard because there were some wet patches still remaining on the track. In the afternoon, I didn’t get enough rear-grip when the amount of water is high, which is our target to improve for tomorrow. I will try hard to get a good grid position because it is decisive to make a good race on Sunday.”

Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager

“I am very happy that Pawi demonstrated competitiveness in both conditions on his home turf. The only thing he has to be careful about is not to get too excited. Ono also did very well in both sessions. For tomorrow, we can expect that our riders will get their grid positions within second row.”

Good start for RW Racing GP in tricky conditions

The first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix was a good one for Livio Loi and RW Racing GP. In the combined standings at the end of the day Loi was in fifth, continuing his good results in the flyaways.

Loi set his fastest time of 2.16,898 in the dry but tricky conditions of the first practice for Moto3 at the Sepang International Circuit. In the wet second practice the Belgian was in fifth for most of the time, but with a mistake in his final fast lap he ended the session in fifteenth, with 2.28,939.

“Although it was dry in the first session, the conditions were dangerous”, RW Racing GP team manager Jarno Janssen pointed out. “Some 95 percent of the track was dry but there were wet patches everywhere after heavy overnight rain showers that made it very tricky. Livio did a good job. Not only in the first practice, also in the wet in FP2.”

During the Moto2 practice at the end of the morning it began raining again, leaving the track drenched at the start of the second session for Moto3. In these conditions Loi did an excellent job by staying in fifth for most of the time. Only at the end of the practice he dropped back a bit and although he improved his lap time, he finished in fifteenth.

Livio Loi - 5 (2.16,898)

“The result of the second practice may look a bit disappointing but actually it went quite well. I felt confident and the pace was good. The team is doing a great job by giving me a good bike. In my final lap I improved my time, but I made a slight mistake in the third sector, otherwise I would have finished well within the top 10. All in all I’m quite happy with how the first day went.”

Concerning the news that RW Racing GP is on the Moto2 entry list for next year: for the moment we can only confirm that we are negotiating. We keep you posted as soon as there is any official news.

Nakagami Sets 2nd Quickest in Sweltering Sepang

with 15th for Wilairot


Weather: Dry

Ambient: 28℃:Track: 31℃

From freezing cold to scorching heat, the penultimate round of the 2016 Moto2 World Championship crossed the equator and got underway at Sepang International Circuit today. Several months prior to this race weekend, some modifications were made with resurfacing, changing camber for the final turn, and widening run-offs.

  IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia man Takaaki Nakagami, who had dislocated his right shoulder only six days ago, assessed the new track conditions with demonstrating formidable speed. In the afternoon’s FP2, he set the second quickest time of 2m08s905, which is only 0.089 off the fastest.

Another IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider Ratthapark Wilairot posted fifteenth quickest time in his backyard that has an easy access from Thailand. He set 2m10s443 with a help of his local people’s enthusiastic support.

The next practice session FP3 starts at 1055 local time (GMT +8) before qualifying gets underway from 1505.

Takaaki Nakagami (2nd, 2’08.905, +0.089)

“At the beginning of FP2, track conditions were still damp and far from perfect, so I stayed in the box to see how it would go. On 20minutes to go, I went out on the track and did consecutive laps till the end. I am happy about my riding because I kept on improving in every lap. I am also happy about my shoulder because it doesn’t hurt any more, which gave me the confidence to set second quickest. We try hard to get front row tomorrow.”

Ratthapark Wilairot (15th, 2’10.443, +1.627)

“We had typical Sepang weather today, and even in this difficult conditions I set fifteenth fastest, which is good. I didn’t make flying lap because there were still some wet patches on the track, and we concentrated on race setup. Our target for tomorrow is getting a good grid to make a good race on Sunday.”

Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager

“Track conditions in FP2 were a little bit complicated with some damp remaining on the track. Taka did very well to get over such difficult situation. The behavior of his machine is very good as far as I saw it from the trackside. He will get good position tomorrow. And for Feem, this track is very close to his home country, which makes him more motivated. Definitely, this will give him more concentration and competitiveness.”


The opening day at the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix got underway with a dry first free practice during which both Albert Arenas and local rider Hafiq Azmi got a first taste of what they will face this weekend.

This morning’s FP1 was a special occasion for the young rider pairing in Peugeot Motocycles SAXOPRINT when Albert Arenas got his very first sensations about the impressive Sepang International Circuit whereas the team’s new addition Hafiq Azmi made his comeback on a race bike at World Championship level since the conclusion of the 2014 season.

Azmi, who replaces injured John McPhee this weekend found himself for the first time aboard the team’s Peugeot Moto3 machine. The 19-year-old Kuala Lumpur born rider made good progress during both sessions on a track he is very familiarized with. So, for this it doesn’t bother Azmi that he first had to gain initial feelings with the new bike for him in dry conditions this morning whilst a brief torrential downpour just before lunch time changed things completely for the second session.

Meanwhile, Albert Arenas also did a solid job during his first outings on the unknown track for him to found straight a good way around a 5.5 kilometres long circuit but he still faces a lot of work ahead of him and his crew to get more out of the package’s potential.

Moto3 action is set to continue with Saturday morning’s FP3 before the starting grid will be decided in qualifying at lunch time.

#12 Albert ARENAS, FP1: P18 – 2´18.291 (12/12) / FP2: P28 – 2´30.408 (12/12):

“Frankly, I’m impressed about the Sepang Circuit, it’s really nice track even if it’s very long which makes things a bit difficult. But I like it a lot due to its well-balanced layout with fast corners, slow corners and hard breakings. Today we were able to ride in both conditions with a dry session this morning and on a wet track in afternoon. My feeling was good under both conditions but we need keep working hard to make further progress. But for the moment everything was working according to our plans. Of course, there is a lot of work ahead of us for the remaining weekend, which means first I’ve to improve my riding at this track as well as to work on the settings and gearing. We just must keep focussed on our work and keep going.”

#38 Hafiq AZMI, FP1: P28 – 2´19.728 (15/15) / FP2: P26 – 2´30.352 (8/12):

“After my first day with the team and the Peugeot machine I have to say that I already feel pretty comfortable with all. The feeling is improving lap by lap. It was a pity that the rain came later this morning because we had to change our schedule for FP2. But on the other side it was good also to gain first sensations with the bike in wet conditions. However, during FP2 the grip level was quite good so we could do a good job for us and I was able to understand the bike better. I’m confident that we can do a good job this weekend.”

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