PEDROSA POURS IT ON IN SEPANG: Honda's Dani Pedrosa ended on top from first practice on Friday ahead of the 2014 Malaysia MotoGP. Rain poured for the second session. Image: AFP / Mohd Rasfan
SEPANG, Malaysia - Dani Pedrosa, winner of the previous two Malaysian
MotoGP's, dominated opening practice on Friday as he clocked
the fastest time ahead of Sunday's (October 26) race.
The Spanish Honda rider turned on the heat in the
morning session with a time of 2min1.379 to lead the
chasing pack at the Sepang circuit.
He was followed by compatriot and Forward Yamaha rider
Aleix Espargaro, who trailed Pedrosa by 0.014sec despite a minor crash
at the end of the first session.Third was double MotoGP champion Jorge
Lorenzo at +0.037 behind Pedrosa.
SOARING HEAT, POURING RAIN
Lorenzo said: "Dani seems to be strong here on the dry, like always,
but I think we can fight for the win... I was feeling great on the
bike. We hope to have either a completely wet race or a
completely dry race, but not something in between because that would be
difficult for everyone."
The south-east Asian country is known for its soaring
temperatures and torrential afternoon downpours. Friday was no
exception. Heavy rain saw the second practice session slightly
delayed, forcing riders to change to wet-track tyres and slowing down
their times.Spanish sensation Marc Marquez, who clinched the 2014 Riders'
championship two races earlier in Japan, was fourth, +0.291 on Pedrosa.
He was followed by Germany Honda rider Stefan Bradl
and Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi: the latter won the Australian MotoGP
the previous Sunday.
Marquez, eyeing to equal
Australian Mick Doohan's record of 12 wins in a season this weekend
after falling the previous week, said: "I was pretty comfortable for
both sessions, despite it
being wet in the afternoon. It was actually a good thing, because we
experienced rain and will be ready should it pour again on Sunday.
we're certainly hoping for dry conditions on Saturday so that we can
keep developing the bike's set-up."
The 21-year-old in 2013 became the youngest rider to win the MotoGP championship.
With Marquez triumphing again this year, Italian legend Rossi aims to cement the season's second spot in Malaysia.
Rossi, a nine-times champion through various classes,
is now eight points ahead of his team mate Lorenzo in the standings with
just the Malaysia and Valencia races left in the season.