While Jorge Lorenzo spent the majority of his Friday debrief commenting on the words of team-mate Valentino Rossi from the previous day, he demonstrated his focus is completely on the job at hand by topping MotoGP FP3 at Sepang.
Fastest from the opening minutes, when he cut a demonically fast pace on the medium front and rear tyre compound, Lorenzo posted a 1m 59.544s lap five minutes from the chequered flag to smash the year-old pole position record by a quarter of a second.
Marc Marquez eventually placed second, just 0.1s slower after setting his fastest time on his final lap while trailing Rossi and Aleix Espargaro. As if the flames of the current Rossi-Marquez relationship needed further stoking, Marquez opted to follow the Italian as he slowed.
Despite Rossi motioning for Marquez to go by, the Spaniard sat close behind and only sped up when the Italian did. To demonstrate he hasn't taken Rossi's words lightly – as his calm, thought through debrief yesterday may have suggested – Marquez then used Rossi's tow to set his best time. Mind games anyone?
It begs the question; has Rossi bitten off more than he can chew? The Italian spent much of the session in pit lane, experimenting with different settings. Indeed he posted five separate runs, three of which included just one flying circulation of the Malaysian track. He ended the session fourth fastest, seven tenths off Lorenzo's best time.
All in contrast to Lorenzo – whose fastest time was a full 0.15s faster in the final sector alone – and Marquez, who set several times in the low-mid 2m 0s.
Somewhat the forgotten man of the weekend, Dani Pedrosa was third fastest, 0.4s slower than the fastest time. Described as “on a different planet” by Cal Crutchlow on Friday, Pedrosa's pace on his first run was marginally slower than the front two but still showed potential podium speed.
Just 15 minutes in, Rossi was the first to decide track conditions were most appropriate for a fast time. Fitting new medium front and rear tyres, Rossi jumped from fifth to fourth, before improving again on his final lap.
Following his lead, the impressive Hector Barbera was fifth, his 2m 0.332s lap coming with the aid of a soft rear tyre. The Spaniard's one-lap pace is admirable but his race pace on this evidence was close to two seconds a lap slower.
Crutchlow maintained his strong speed with the sixth fastest time, a place ahead of the elder Espargaro, who acknowledged on Friday that he is working dumbing down the aggressive nature with which he opens the throttle after the Phillip Island race.
Complaining of braking issues in both corner entry and mid-corner after FP2, Andrea Dovizioso entered the top ten late on to place eighth, while Pol Espargaro was a place behind in ninth.
Having initially set his best time, which was good enough for eleventh – 0.9s off Lorenzo – on a medium rear tyre, Maverick Viñales pushed Andrea Iannone outside the all-important top ten on his penultimate lap.
Iannone's cause wasn't aided by the chain of his Ducati appearing to come off as the chequered flag was readied, meaning the Italian will join Bradley Smith (twelfth), late-session faller Danilo Petrucci (13th) and Scott Redding (14th) in this afternoon's Q1 shootout.
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Marc Marquez
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Hector Barbera
6. Cal Crutchlow
7. Aleix Espargaro
8. Andrea Dovizioso
9. Pol Espargaro
10. Maverick Viñales
11. Andrea Iannone
12. Bradley Smith
13. Danilo Petrucci
14. Scott Redding
15. Stefan Bradl
16. Nicky Hayden
17. Yonny Hernandez
18. Alvaro Bautista
19. Toni Elias
20. Jack Miller
21. Mike Di Meglio
22. Eugene Laverty
23. Loris Baz
24. Anthony West
25. Damian Cudlin