Aleix Espargaro has described the initial MotoGP race start as ‘at the worst time’ and helped push for an earlier start time in the Safety Commission following Friday practice.

The Aprilia rider has welcomed the decision to move the Malaysian MotoGP start forward by two hours, with the premier class race commencing at 13:00 local time, in order to avoid the worst of the forecasted heavy rain set to hit the Sepang circuit on Sunday.

Espargaro says the initial plan was to get the race moved forward by just one hour but is thrilled by the confirmation of a two-hour jump to maximise MotoGP’s chances for good conditions.

“Yesterday, the riders, we talked, because also in the Safety Commission, it was raining very, very hard, and it was impossible to talk, we couldn't even listen to what the others were,” Espargaro said following the heavy thunderstorm which hit Sepang after Friday practice.

“We said, why do we have to race at 3pm, we normally race at 2pm? Here, we have to race at 3pm, which is later than normal and at the worst time.

“They did a really good move by moving the race earlier to 1pm. I think it's even going to be tricky, because they say that tomorrow at 1pm, there could be some light rain, but I hope it's not going to be a lot.”

The MotoGP schedule changes move all of Sunday’s sessions forward by two hours meaning track action gets underway with Moto3 warm-up at a local time of 07:40 followed by Moto2 warm-up at 08:10 and the premier class session at 08:40.

“The Moto3 guys will have to put their helmet on at 7:30am, I've never seen something like this, but it's a really good decision, really good move,” Espargaro added. “Because we know how it works here in Malaysia.

“It always starts to rain at lunchtime, so the closer the race is to the morning, the more safe, and a really good move.”

Racing at Sepang begins at 10:00 for Moto3 before Moto2 at 11:20 and MotoGP at 13:00.

Malaysian MotoGP qualifying was suspended by almost 80 minutes due to a heavy rain shower making track conditions unsafe. Espargaro was able to progress through Q1 in the wet before an early crash in Q2 restrained him to 12th place on the grid for the Sepang race.