IodaRacing rider Lorenzo Savadori went quickest on Friday at Sepang International Circuit, beating Honda’s Nicky Hayden to the top spot by just over two tenths of a second in the final minutes of the second practice session. Kawasaki rider Tom Sykes finds himself outside the top ten on Day 1 and heading through Tissot-Superpole 1 after heading the field in the morning.
Kawasaki Racing Team pairing Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea were fastest in FP1 as times quickly tumbled, with the KRT duo taking the top spots from Honda WorldSBK team riders Nicky Hayden and Michael van der Mark in the last few minutes of the first session. FP1 saw Ducati riders Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano out of position on the timesheets outside the top ten, with FP2 left for the Aruba.it pairing to make sure they would graduate to Tissot-Superpole 2.
Leading that charge to Superpole was Aprilia rider Savadori, with the Italian rider putting in a last lap dash to go quickest near the end of the day’s action in FP2. IodaRacing rider Savadori, who has been gaining confidence throughout his rookie season, managed a gap of 0.216 above Sepang veteran but fellow WorldSBK rookie Nicky Hayden after the American put in a series of quick laps.
Markus Reiterberger was another quick rookie on Day 1, with the Althea BMW rider coming home in P3 ahead of Yamaha’s Alex Lowes. Aruba.it Racing – Ducati rider Davide Giugliano was the fastest Ducati on Day 1 in P5 after improving his FP1 pace, ahead of second Althea BMW rider Jordi Torres. Dutch Honda rider Michael van der Mark was seventh fastest on the opening day, ahead of Imola double winner and second Aruba.it rider Chaz Davies.
Anthony West, riding for Pedercini as replacement for injured Sylvain Barrier, was ninth after FP2 and consequently graduates straight through to Tissot-Superpole 2 in an incredibly impressive first contact with both the bike and newly resurfaced track. The Australian rider eventually went quicker than reigning Champion Jonathan Rea, who ended the day in P10.
Rea, who was second fastest in the morning, just made it through to Superpole 2, edging out teammate Tom Sykes for the last place in the top ten. Rea spent the morning circulating in a similar place on the timesheets until a last lap push saw him move up to P2, however the afternoon session saw the Championship leader under more pressure. Sykes, who had been fastest in the morning, is the big name sent through Superpole 1. The Yorkshireman has a fantastic qualifying record at Sepang International Circuit however, and could even benefit from the extra track time afforded by Superpole 1 as riders get to grips with the new asphalt in Malaysia.
FP3 begins on Saturday at 10:45 local time (GMT +8), before Tissot-Superpole at 13:30 ahead of Race 1 at 16:00.