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MotoGP Malaysia: Lorenzo fastest, Rossi one-second off

Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo narrowly edges out Dani Pedrosa to head timesheets on day one at Sepang as Valentino Rossi ends FP2 in eighth.
Jorge Lorenzo swept to the top of the FP2 time sheets at Sepang in Malaysia as his Movistar Yamaha team-mate and MotoGP championship leader Valentino Rossi finished more than one-second behind.

Lorenzo, who has slashed Rossi's lead in the standings to 11 points ahead of the penultimate round, jumped from sixth to first in the final eight minutes on the YZR-M1 with a time of 2m 00.246s, heading Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa in second place.

Motegi winner Pedrosa, fastest in FP1, had held sway for much of the session on the RC213V and appeared on course to assume control again after running fastest through the first three sectors in the stifling humidity at Sepang, only to lose out by fractions of a second to Lorenzo, who remained 0.047 seconds clear.

Marc Marquez, accused by Rossi of favouring Lorenzo in the title race and of helping the Majorcan in the Australian MotoGP, ended FP2 in third with a repeat of his result in the morning, completing the day with a fastest time in 2m 00.472s and with a deficit of 0.226s to Lorenzo.

Marquez survived several big moments on the Honda as he pushed the front end to its limits, with one particularly close call through turn 4 shown in the television replays.

Rossi had been running in a solid fourth place using the hard front/rear combination but appeared to struggle as he attempted his final time attack after switching to the medium tyres, pulling into pit lane early and gesticulating to his team.

The Italian finished eighth in FP2 and along with Scott Redding were the only riders who failed to improve their times from the morning, although the 36-year-old's best effort from FP1 leaves him fifth on the combined times from Friday.

However in terms of race pace, Rossi appears closely matched with the likes of Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Marquez - and can take comfort from Lorenzo running medium tyres in the afternoon session.

Ducati's Andrea Iannone, who denied Rossi third place at Phillip Island, came off at turn 8 in the early stages of the session but regrouped and fought back to finish fourth on the GP15, only 0.014s behind Marquez.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow, sporting a new Castrol livery on his LCR Honda for the Malaysian Grand Prix, climbed the order into fifth with a time of 2m 01.239s with the top six completed Aleix Espargaro on the Suzuki GSX-RR, who was eight tenths behind Lorenzo.

Andrea Dovizioso gave a better account of himself on the second factory Ducati as he bids to make amends for a disappointing result at Phillip Island, ending FP2 in seventh ahead of Rossi, with Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) and Redding on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda the top ten.

Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) was next followed by Avintia Ducati's Hector Barbera and the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha pair of Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith in 13th and 14th respectively, with British star Smith 1.8 seconds behind Lorenzo's factory M1.

Aprilia's Stefan Bradl finished 15th ahead of Eugene Laverty on the Aspar Honda, who made a big improvement on his time from FP1.

The Irishman's team-mate, Nicky Hayden, was one place behind in 17th in his penultimate MotoGP race before the American makes the switch to World Superbikes for 2016.

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

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lorenzo, Malaysian MotoGP 2015
Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP 2016
Reddng, Petrucci, Smith Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden after crash, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Petrucci Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Barbera, Smith Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Miller Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Pol Espargaro, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Australian MotoGP 2016
Bradl, Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016
Lorenzo, Australian MotoGP 2016
Redding, Australian MotoGP 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP 2016
Hayden, Australian MotoGP 2016

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October 23, 2015 8:43 AM

Lorenzo is doing what he needs to. We can't read much into Rossi's level from that session. However, there will be more than two riders in the mix this's going to be a big weekend.

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