The first day for the MotoGP riders at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia saw mixed conditions. The opening Free Practice of the day was held in the dry and the laps put in were the fastest on the combined timesheets for Friday, as in the afternoon a downpour slowed down the times during the second session.
With a 1:59.623, Marc Márquez earned a provisional place in Q2. The Repsol Honda Team rider had a good first Free Practice session which enabled him to secure the third fastest time of the day.
Pol Espargaró was sixteenth in FP1, with a best time of 2:01.200. It was not enough to provisionally put him directly into Q2. Hindered by the afternoon rain that prevented him from improving his times, Espargaró will have another chance in FP3 on Saturday.
“Today I was able to finish in the top three and a lot of this was because of the strategy we used. I used a soft tyre straight away in FP1 because I know that being in the top ten straight away is really important here. But honestly, our feeling isn’t the best and there are still things to improve to make us more comfortable on track. We made a small step in FP2 with our second run so the aim is to keep going like this tomorrow. Happy to be in the top three, but there’s work to do.”
“We didn’t have a great day today. There was the penalty from Free Practice 1 which is a shame, I went to explain the situation to Race Direction but still we have it. It’s a shame because it adds an extra complication to the weekend. Anyway, we made some improvements in Free Practice 1 while a lot of people used the soft tyre. Then in the afternoon we learned as much as we could but towards the end of the session the track was very hot and there wasn’t much more to do. We go again tomorrow.”