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
Pos Rider Motorcycle Team Time/Gap
1  Jonas Folger Kalex KTM Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 2:15.038
2  Sandro Cortese KTM Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.241
3  Zulfahmi Khairuddin KTM AirAsia-Sic-Ajo +0.302
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