Jonas Folger topped both free practice sessions on the opening day of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend which has been overshadowed by Maverick Vinales’ dramatic departure from Avintia Blusens. The Spanish teenager walked out on his team on Friday morning, handing another boost to Sandro Cortese’s bid to clinch the title. Cortese would go on to finish the day in second, a quarter of a second behind his compatriot.
Folger was the rider to beat all day with his 2:05.097 lap quick enough to lead the morning session by over a second from Jakub Kornfeil and home favourite Zulfahmi Khairuddin. His time wouldn’t be beaten for the rest of the day by any other rider but Jonas did improve himself to a 2:05.038 in the afternoon, just five minutes before the notorious Sepang showers arrived to end the on-track action.
Cortese beat the rain to go second behind Folger with local hero Khairuddin continuing his impressive form to take third, just three tenths off the pace. Miguel Oliveira provided the fireworks in FP2 by crashing at turn nine, almost wiping out championship contender Luis Salom in the process, but the Portuguese youngster remounted to finish fourth ahead of Alessandro Tonucci, one of the stars of Motegi.
Louis Rossi was fifth fastest ahead of the second Team Italia FTR-Honda of Romano Fenati with Jakub Kornfeil slipping to eighth having failed to beat his FP1 time. After his near-miss with Oliveira, Luis Salom was ninth and following Vinales’ withdrawal, is the only rider capable of denying Cortese the title although he will incur a five-place grid penalty after qualifying.
Fresh from his maiden victory in Japan, Danny Kent finished the afternoon in eleventh with compatriots Danny Webb and John McPhee 23rd and 26th respectively.
|Moto3 Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix: Combined Friday Practice Times|
|1||Jonas Folger||Kalex KTM||Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3||2:15.038|
|2||Sandro Cortese||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+0.241|
|4||Miguel Oliveira||Suter Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+0.986|
|5||Alessandro Tonucci||FTR Honda||Team Italia FMI||+1.044|
|6||Louis Rossi||FTR Honda||Racing Team Germany||+1.121|
|7||Romano Fenati||FTR Honda||Team Italia FMI||+1.193|
|8||Jakub Kornfeil||FTR Honda||Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta||+1.202|
|9||Luis Salom||Kalex KTM||RW Racing GP||+1.235|
|10||Alex Rins||Suter Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+1.383|
|11||Danny Kent||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+1.598|
|12||Brad Binder||Kalex KTM||RW Racing GP||+1.835|
|13||Alex Marquez||Suter Honda||Ambrogio Next Racing||+1.920|
|14||Efren Vazquez||FTR Honda||JHK t-shirt Laglisse||+2.021|
|15||Jack Miller||Honda||Caretta Technology||+2.023|
|16||Alberto Moncayo||FTR Honda||Andalucía JHK t-shirt Laglisse||+2.355|
|17||Adrian Martin||FTR Honda||JHK t-shirt Laglisse||+2.372|
|18||Niklas Ajo||KTM||TT Motion Events Racing||+2.398|
|19||Alan Techer||TSR Honda||Technomag-CIP-TSR||+2.494|
|20||Isaac Vinales||FTR Honda||Ongetta-Centro Seta||+2.552|
|21||Arthur Sissis||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+2.748|
|22||Josep Rodriguez||FGR Honda||Moto FGR||+3.018|
|23||Danny Webb||Mahindra||Mahindra Racing||+3.031|
|24||Niccolo Antonelli||FTR Honda||San Carlo Gresini Moto3||+3.166|
|25||Toni Finsterbusch||Honda||Cresto Guide MZ Racing||+3.236|
|26||John McPhee||KRP Honda||Caretta Technology||+3.265|
|27||Giulian Pedone||Suter Honda||Ambrogio Next Racing||+3.608|
|28||Luca Amato||Kalex KTM||Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3||+3.649|
|29||Kenta Fujii||TSR Honda||Technomag-CIP-TSR||+4.216|
|30||Armando Pontone||Ioda||IodaRacing Project||+4.285|
|31||Riccardo Moretti||Mahindra||Mahindra Racing||+11.229|
|32||Maverick Vinales||FTR Honda||Blusens Avintia||No Time|