Ducatis are topping the timesheets halfway through the second day of the Sepang MotoGP test. Danilo Petrucci set a quick time early, taking over top spot from Jorge Lorenzo, who looked like dominating the second day as he had the first. In the late morning, Hector Barbera joined Petrucci at the front, putting the GP14.2 behind the Pramac GP15.
Jorge Lorenzo is third fastest, nearly three quarters of a second off the time of Petrucci, but the Yamaha man suffered a crash in the early afternoon, sliding off at Turn 5 and damaging his M1. Pol Espargaro also crashed at around the same time, track grip reducing in the afternoon. Marc Marquez set the fourth fastest time, dropping nearly a second and a half off his best time from yesterday, and ending ahead of another pair of Ducatis, this time those of Scott Redding and Andrea Iannone.
Though the crashes of Lorenzo and Espargaro were a minor worry for Michelin, what appeared to be a much bigger problem occurred in the first hour of the day. Loris Baz got halfway down the main straight before his Avintia Ducati GP14.2 disintegrated in an explosion of bike and tire parts. Confusion among the marshals meant it took nearly a minute for the red flag to be shown, several riders passing the straight still littered with parts.
The cause of the crash is still not entirely clear, but has been narrowed down to three possible causes. A problem with the engine was ruled out by the data, leaving just three possibilities: either the rear suspension broke, causing the tire to be ripped open; or there was a construction fault with the rear tire; or the rear tire overheated due to it being underinflated.
There is still no official explanation, but underinflation appears to be the probable culprit. Baz had suffered problems with a rear tire earlier in the day, which were also caused by running dangerously low pressures, with the aim of producing more grip and a better lap time. As a safety precaution, Michelin has temporarily withdrawn the tire Baz crashed on, the softer of the two compounds, and imposed a minimum inflation pressure of 1.7 Bar. Normally, teams would be running around 1.5 or 1.6 Bar, but there have been rumors of some of the teams at the bottom of the standings playing around with low tire pressures in search of extra grip.
Times shortly after 2pm:
|1||9||Danilo Petrucci||Ducati GP15||2:00.095|
|2||8||Hector Barbera||Ducati GP14.2||2:00.387||0.292||0.292|
|3||99||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha M1||2:00.833||0.738||0.446|
|4||93||Marc Márquez||Honda RC213V||2:00.843||0.748||0.010|
|5||45||Scott Redding||Ducati GP15||2:01.049||0.954||0.206|
|6||29||Andrea Iannone||Ducati GP16||2:01.052||0.957||0.003|
|7||25||Maverick Viñales||Suzuki GSX-RR||2:01.421||1.326||0.369|
|8||26||Dani Pedrosa||Honda RC213V||2:01.475||1.380||0.054|
|9||46||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha M1||2:01.604||1.509||0.129|
|10||68||Yonny Hernandez||Ducati GP14.2||2:01.644||1.549||0.040|
|11||27||Casey Stoner||Ducati GP15 Test||2:01.699||1.604||0.055|
|12||4||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati GP16||2:01.723||1.628||0.024|
|13||44||Pol Espargaro||Yamaha M1||2:01.992||1.897||0.269|
|14||38||Bradley Smith||Yamaha M1||2:02.248||2.153||0.256|
|15||53||Tito Rabat||Honda RC213V||2:02.328||2.233||0.080|
|16||35||Cal Crutchlow||Honda RC213V||2:02.331||2.236||0.003|
|17||6||Stefan Bradl||Aprilia RS-GP||2:02.372||2.277||0.041|
|18||76||Loris Baz||Ducati GP14.2||2:02.611||2.516||0.239|
|19||21||Katsuyuki Nakasuga||Yamaha M1 Test||2:02.710||2.615||0.099|
|20||41||Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki GSX-RR||2:02.745||2.650||0.035|
|21||19||Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia RS-GP||2:02.876||2.781||0.131|