The MotoGP World Championship’s return to Malaysia saw a typical Sepang day with roaring temperatures in the morning and an intense afternoon shower, Marquez and Espargaro dodging puddles for third and 16th respectively.
Warm morning conditions would be replaced by a typical torrential downpour in the afternoon, the intensity of the rain causing a delay to Free Practice 2. Conditions would improve as the afternoon session went on, but no times would be improved and the results of the day were dictated by FP1. Forecasts are currently predicting rain around the time of the race on Saturday, so FP2 may yet prove to be a critical session.
Consistent top three speed from the first green flag had Marc Marquez feeling pleased as the Malaysian GP began. The three-time Malaysian GP winner did back-to-back tests of the new aero package debuted in Australia during Free Practice 1. With the afternoon session impacted by rain, Marquez’s 1’59.623 from the morning easily secured him a spot in the top ten. Third fastest overall, Marquez ends the day pleased with the work done and ready to continue on Saturday.
Pol Espargaro had another Friday of finding steady improvements. Ending the morning session with a best time of 2’01.200, the #44 was eager to continue working in the afternoon but the rain changed his plans. Focusing on getting the most out of his Honda RC213V in the wet, Espargaro completed several longer runs during the afternoon to gather data and see how the condition of the track improved. Currently outside the combined top ten, Espargaro is hoping for a dry Free Practice 3 session to make further improvements. Unfortunately, Espargaro received a three-place grid penalty of an incident early in FP1.