moto3 / Solid debut for Mir and Quartararo in Malaysia
The Spanish rookie and his French team mate have performed well in the first day of practice at Sepang. Locatelli is 13th.
With the first two free practice sessions, the Malaysian Grand Prix began in earnest, the seventeenth round of the 2016 season running on the 5,5 km Sepang International Circuit. The three riders of Leopard Racing team worked hard from the first laps, having to make adjustments in the afternoon with rain falling during the Moto2 FP1 session.
It was a ‘debut’ in Malaysia for Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo, the two Leopard Racing riders did their best to learn the track and overcome the afternoon conditions, none of the protagonists of the cadet class Moto3 managed to improve their lap times in the afternoon’s rain. Quartararo was unable to race in Sepang last year due to injury, still learning even in his second year in the World Championship.
The best of the first day was Joan Mir: the Mallorcan rookie seemed right at home in the dry, finishing eighth in FP1. In the afternoon session, however, after a promising start, the Spaniard found himself fighting with annoying vibrations as the track was drying.
In the morning he was challenged for the top spots by his teammate Fabio Quartararo, long at the top of the times before closing the first session on Friday in tenth. In the afternoon, Quartararo focused more on the feeling needed in the wet to ensure he was ready for all conditions.
A good Friday also for Andrea Locatelli, twelfth at the end of this first day. The 20 year old from Selvino faced many difficulties in the afternoon due to bad weather conditions. The young Italian talent did not lose his nerve, always giving his best and continuing to constantly improve.
Saturday will open with the third and final free practice session, before formal qualifications that will decide the starting grid for the Moto3 class of the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2016.
#36 Joan MIR – 8th (2’17.141):
“It has been a difficult day for us. In the first session in the dry I felt at ease, without changing tyres. We have good pace. But in the second session in the wet the bike started to move too much and this stopped me from pushing harder. I’m confident we can improve tomorrow.”
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO – 10th (2’17.185):
“It was a good day, it was the first time I ran at this circuit. The most important thing today was really learning the track and I must say I really like the layout. We’ll see what we can do in the dry because in the afternoon there was a lot of water on the track, but I managed to improve in these conditions, we will see what happens tomorrow!”
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI – 13th (2’17.836):
“I am very happy with the day today, despite the weather conditions. We encountered some difficulties in the afternoon on the water, but we can improve more in case of rain. We will work united, I am pretty confident.”
Moto3™ Combined Free Practice Times:
1 – Brad Binder / ITA / Red Bull KTA Ajo / KTM / 2’15.520
2 – K. Pawi / MAL / Honda Team Asia / Honda / 2’16.371
3 – Francesco Bagnaia / ITA / Mahindra Aspar / Mahindra / 2’16.534
8 – Joan MIR / SPA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 2’17.141
10 – Fabio QUARTARARO / FRA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 2’17.185
13 – Andrea LOCATELLI / ITA / Leopard Racing / KTM / 2’17.836
Moto3™ Schedule (Local Time, GMT +8):
Saturday, October 29th:
09:00-09:40 – FP3
12:35-13:15 – QP
Photo credit: Leopard Racing