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MotoGP Malaysia: Pedrosa to the fore on hazy Friday morning

Somewhat forgotten amidst the controversy surrounding Valentino Rossi's attack on Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa leads Jorge Lorenzo in FP1
A day on from Valentino Rossi's astonishing attack on Marc Marquez during and after the pre-event press conference, a response was forthcoming from a Repsol Honda in MotoGP FP1 at Sepang.

However, it wasn't the blue and orange machine you would have expected, as Dani Pedrosa set the fastest time three laps into a hazy Friday morning session in Malaysia with championship protagonist Jorge Lorenzo second.

As riders already spent six days testing at this track aboard Bridgestone tyres in 2015, the 'Factory' HRC men took little time to get down to a quick pace. Both Pedrosa and Marquez set their fastest times on lap three.

Indeed Pedrosa's time of 2m 0.412s was comfortably under the circuit lap record and a full two tenths clear of Lorenzo.

Posting three runs, the man who sits eleven points in arrears of Rossi in the championship set his fastest time on his second bike after changing the clutch on his number one machine.

That came after a close call while braking for the final turn. As Lorenzo pitched into the near-180 degree hairpin, he found Damian Cudlin in his way. He picked up just in time to avoid the Aprilia machine, much to his annoyance.

Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo was quick to dismiss suggestions Rossi's words had impacted Marquez negatively. The Spaniard – like team-mate Pedrosa and Rossi - only managed one sub 2m 1s lap in the 45 minutes, while Lorenzo posted four.

In the same way he was in Phillip Island, the encounter that pushed him to direct his charged Marquez attack, Rossi was the last of the front quartet, half a second slower than Pedrosa's fastest time.

Behind, the satellite Hondas of Scott Redding and Cal Crutchlow – Castrol liveried for the first time in 2015 - impressed with the fifth and sixth fastest times. Both men opted to run the harder compound rear tyre while the majority favoured the medium compound.

At first glance, it appears the front four has plenty in hand over the rest of the field as Redding lapped 0.3s slower than Rossi. Crutchlow's personal best time came after he fell at the fast turn five and was just a hundredth slower than Redding's. The spill came just moments after Alvaro Bautista crashed his Aprilia at the final hairpin.

Andrea Iannone was the first of the Ducatis in seventh, as he led the impressive Hector Barbera and Aleix Espargaro, the latter slipping to the lower reaches of the top ten after spending much of the 45 minutes on the edge of the top six.

Not present at the Sepang circuit on Thursday, Andrea Dovizioso endured an eventful trip to Malaysia. The Italian chose to use the days between Australia and Malaysia to take a vacation but soon learned that his flight to Kuala Lumpur was canceled because of the smoke haze.

Out on track without hitches on Friday morning, Dovizioso gradually worked his lap time down to a high 2m 1s to end the session tenth fastest.

1. Dani Pedrosa
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Marc Marquez
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Scott Redding
6. Cal Crutchlow
7. Andrea Iannone
8. Hector Barbera
9. Aleix Espargaro
10. Andrea Dovizioso
11. Danilo Petrucci
12. Maverick Viñales
13. Pol Espargaro
14. Stefan Bradl
15. Bradley Smith
16. Nicky Hayden
17. Yonny Hernandez
18. Jack Miller
19. Alvaro Bautista
20. Mike Di Meglio
21. Loris Baz
22. Eugene Laverty
23. Toni Elias
24. Anthony West
25. Damian Cudlin

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October 23, 2015 6:38 AM

Good time for Vale, for a FP1. True to form and the expected behaviour from Lorenzo, at Damian Cudlin this time. WTF is Dovi playing at? Would you go away on vacation and take a risk on a late flight if you had an opportunity to thrash a Ducati MotoGP bike at Sepang?

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