Johann Zarco kicked off the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix today in strong form. The fast Frenchman initiated the hot and humid weekend with a fast pace in FP1 this morning and improved on his quickest time later by 0.567 seconds on the last lap of the second Free Practice to conclude Friday with a provisional Q2 position in eighth.
His Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate Hafizh Syahrin, who is the only rider of the permanent MotoGP field, who haven’t had a test this year before the Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit, had the difficult task to make up for this in just two sessions today. The local hero managed his mission well to miss out on the top 10 by just 0.867 seconds before FP3 at 10.55 local time (3.55 CET) tomorrow decides about the Qualifying entry.
Position: 8th - Time: 2'00.159 - Laps: 33
"The first day in Malaysia has been very difficult for me. The base we had, even if we did the winter test, was not working here and I was pretty slow. Fortunately at the end of the session this morning, I could improve my lap time and be inside the top 10. Also in the afternoon I was in the top 10 at the end of the practice, but we are struggling a lot with the traction, with the rear grip. We try to work on it, but we couldn’t find a good solution yet. Therefore, I’m a bit worried for the rest of the weekend. I keep pushing, though it’s just another experience to take with this bike at this circuit. I hope we can find something that helps for the next days and be ready for the race. It’s a track I like, so I would love to have a decent feeling."
Position: 18th - Time: 2'01.419 - Laps: 30
"Today has not been easy. This morning I felt comfortable and we weren’t too far. In the afternoon, we changed the suspension on the bike to improve, but it doesn’t seem to be the right way. I feel a bit confused, because we have a rhythm, we have ok grip, but the bike doesn’t want to turn, so it’s really difficult. This afternoon we will analyse everything in order to make an improvement for tomorrow. We believe we can do it, but we need to find a good way."