Dani Pedrosa - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Dani Pedrosa - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

 

Dani Pedrosa got off to a lightning start at the Malaysian Grand Prix as he comfortably set the pace in first practice at Sepang. With their greatest threat, Jorge Lorenzo, taken out of the equation with a finger injury, the quartet of factory Hondas duly dominated on a circuit which was already expected to favour them.

Apart from the very first flying lap for each rider, Honda held the top spot throughout with Marco Simoncelli leading on a 2:04.258 before Casey Stoner took a second off him moments later. Andrea Dovizioso was the first man into the 2:02s with just over ten minutes gone but Pedrosa was clearly the man to beat early on, setting a 2:02.429.

That gave the Spaniard a four tenth advantage over his teammates but he increased it to almost a second next time around, going quicker than the circuit record on a 2:01.916. Dovizioso closed the gap to 0.674s with a quarter of an hour to go only for Stoner to push him down to third in the dying seconds. The new world champion couldn't get anywhere near Pedrosa though and finished the opening session six tenths adrift.

Marco Simoncelli completed the factory Honda lock-out with fourth place with Alvaro Bautista leading the chasing pack in fifth. Ben Spies, despite riding in obvious pain and discomfort, led the factory Yamaha challenge in sixth ahead of seventh placed Randy de Puniet on the quickest Ducati.

Colin Edwards was eighth quickest, just in front of Hiroshi Aoyama while Valentino Rossi was the quickest factory Ducati down in tenth, a full 2.3 seconds off the pace.

On his return to the series, John Hopkins finished a solid 14th on the second Rizla Suzuki, one place in front of Cal Crutchlow while debutant Katsuyuki Nakasuga ended up in 17th after a fall at the final corner.

The only man behind him on the leaderboard was Hector Barbera. The Spaniard is back aboard the Mapfre Aspar Ducati after injuring his collarbone in Japan but he only completed six laps in FP1 before heading to the medical centre, putting his participation in the rest of the weekend on doubt.

 

Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Result

Pos Rider Nat Bike Team Time/Gap
1 Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda Repsol Honda Team 2:01.916
2 Casey Stoner AUS Honda Repsol Honda Team +0.641
3 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Honda Repsol Honda Team +0.674
4 Marco Simoncelli ITA Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +1.395
5 Alvaro Bautista SPA Suzuki Rizla Suzuki MotoGP +1.642
6 Ben Spies USA Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +1.670
7 Randy de Puniet FRA Ducati Pramac Racing Team +1.844
8 Colin Edwards USA Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +1.862
9 Hiroshi Aoyama JAP Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +1.992
10 Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Ducati Team +2.364
11 Karel Abraham CZE Ducati Cardion AB Motoracing +2.429
12 Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Ducati Team +2.558
13 Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Pramac Racing Team +2.605
14 John Hopkins (WC) USA Suzuki Rizla Suzuki MotoGP +2.693
15 Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +2.750
16 Toni Elias SPA Honda LCR Honda MotoGP +2.974
17 Katsuyuki Nakasuga JAP Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +3.474
18 Hector Barbera SPA Ducati Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP +4.283