Rins Quickest on Tight Opening Day at Sepang

by Louis Suddaby
Alex Rins - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Alex Rins continued Suzuki’s impressive recent form by setting the pace on Friday ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Spaniard led a top four, covered by just over a tenth of a second, featuring four different manufacturers with the omens promising for a fiercely competitive race at Sepang this weekend.

After missing the last two races through injury, all eyes were on the returning Jorge Lorenzo in the factory Ducati garage. The five-times champion withdrew from the Japanese Grand Prix after a handful of laps in FP1 and history appeared to be repeating itself when Jorge lapped three seconds off the pace in the morning session, finishing at the bottom of the leaderboard. Lorenzo was even slower in FP2, completing only four timed laps, but has not yet officially withdrawn from the event.

Andrea Dovizioso was riding in total comfort on the sister Ducati, setting the fastest time in the morning session, and it took a qualifying-style time attack on new tyres from Rins to usurp him. The Italian, who could secure the championship runner-up spot this weekend, was four thousandths quicker than Marc Marquez in third overall, despite an erratic afternoon for the world champion who had several near-misses on his ill-handling Honda.

Valentino Rossi wound up fourth by virtue of his FP1 time, although his long run consistency during the afternoon was particularly eye-catching, while Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales finished sixth behind the Pramac Ducati of Jack Miller. Danilo Petrucci was seventh ahead of Johann Zarco and Andrea Iannone while Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro holds the last provisional Q2 spot overnight.


2018 Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix (Friday Practice)

PosRiderConstructorTeamLap Time 
142. Alex RinsSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR1:59.608FP2
24. Andrea DoviziosoDucatiDucati Team1:59.697FP1
393. Marc MarquezHondaRepsol Honda Team1:59.701FP2
446. Valentino RossiYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:59.767FP1
543. Jack MillerDucatiAlma Pramac Racing1:59.771FP2
625. Maverick VinalesYamahaMovistar Yamaha MotoGP1:59.802FP2
79. Danilo PetrucciDucatiAlma Pramac Racing1:59.811FP2
85. Johann ZarcoYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 32:00.159FP2
929. Andrea IannoneSuzukiTeam Suzuki ECSTAR2:00.502FP2
1041. Aleix EspargaroApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini2:00.552FP1
1126. Dani PedrosaHondaRepsol Honda Team2:00.579FP2
1219. Alvaro BautistaDucatiAngel Nieto Team2:00.664FP1
1330. Takaaki NakagamiHondaLCR Honda IDEMITSU2:00.829FP2
1421. Franco MorbidelliHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS2:00.981FP2
1543. Pol EspargaroKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing2:01.020FP2
1638. Bradley SmithKTMRed Bull KTM Factory Racing2:01.230FP1
176. Stefan BradlHondaLCR Honda CASTROL2:01.313FP1
1855. Hafizh SyahrinYamahaMonster Yamaha Tech 32:01.419FP1
1917. Karel AbrahamDucatiAngel Nieto Team2:01.684FP2
2045. Scott ReddingApriliaAprilia Racing Team Gresini2:01.690FP1
2112. Thomas LuthiHondaEG 0,0 Marc VDS2:01.743FP2
2210. Xavier SimeonDucatiReale Avintia Racing2:01.900FP2
2381. Jordi TorresDucatiReale Avintia Racing2:01.940FP2
2499. Jorge LorenzoDucatiDucati Team2:03.204FP1

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