Max Biaggi (ITA) set the fastest lap-time of the day in his third quick lap attempt
Two-time WorldSBK Champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) has topped the combined timesheets on the opening day of action at the Sepang International Circuit.
The 2’04.823 lap-time set in the early minutes of the morning’s Free Practice 1 allowed the Italian to not only lead the session itself, but also to remain on top in the afternoon, given the torrential rain that began falling around midday.
Double winner at Laguna Seca Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) and the Kawasaki Racing Team pairing of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea completed the top-4, with the Welshman closing the gap to the top spot to 0.149s at the end of the first 45-minute session.
Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) were fifth and sixth, respectively while positions from seventh to tenth were taken by Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet and Pata Honda duo of Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark.
A wet start to FP2 saw many WorldSBK riders electing to remain in the box, hoping that the heat would dry the 5.543km circuit in time for a fast lap at the end of the session. It was not until the final 13 minutes that a dry line appeared.
Leon Haslam entered the circuit with nine minutes to go, immediately moving into the top-3 of the afternoon session, while only Biaggi of the other front-runners from FP1 ventured onto the circuit.
In the damp conditions of the final stages it was eventually Davies who came out on top with a time of 2’11.300, ahead of fellow Brit Alex Lowes.
WorldSBK Sepang – Combined times Free Practice 1 and 2
1 – Max Biaggi Aprilia Racing Team 2’04.823
2 – Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team +0.149
3 – Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team +0.559
Lorenzo Zanetti (ITA) the fastest overall on opening day of action
Opening day honours go to Zanetti as rain arrives for FP2
The World Supersport championship resumes this weekend at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia with Lorenzo Zanetti (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) topping the opening day thanks to an FP1 lap time of 2’09.235. The Italian was just ahead of his team mate and title contender Jules Cluzel, who heads into tomorrow second overall. The Frenchman only managed three laps this morning before a technical problem.
Third was American PJ Jacobsen (CORE Motorsport Thailand), who edged Pata Honda’s Kyle Smith, championship leader Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) and Roberto Rolfo (Lorini Honda) as the 19 riders familiarised themselves with the 5.543km circuit.
Free Practice 2 was wet following a downpour before the session, meaning the overall times were unaffected. Nevertheless it’s worth casting a glance at the times in FP2 as the forecast for the next two days is similar, and with the race on Sunday due to start at a similar time as this afternoon’s session the results could be telling.
With nine minutes to go, the sun came out and the rain stopped which saw the circuit drying quickly although it was still very much damp by the time the chequered flag was waved.
At the end of the 45 minutes it was PJ Jacobsen ahead by 1.6s, his-wet weather time of 2’23.544 keeping him well ahead of Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), who recovered from an off-track moment to finish second ahead of Kyle Smith, Jules Cluzel, Gino Rea (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda) and Martin Cardenas (CIA Landlords Insurance Honda). In the damp Zanetti could only manage ninth place.
A notable absentee from the second session was Roberto Rolfo (Team Lorini Honda), who remained in his box throughout as did his team mate Marcos Ramirez.
World Supersport Sepang – Combined times Free Practice 1 and 2
1 – Lorenzo Zanetti MV Agusta Reparto Corse 2’09.235
2 – Jules Cluzel MV Agusta Reparto Corse +0.103
3 – PJ Jacobsen CORE” Motorsport Thailand +0.475