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Friday October 11, 2013 MYT 8:08:00 PM
Friday October 11, 2013 MYT 9:02:19 PM
by lim teik huat
Dani Pedrosa of Spain may be nursing a hip injury but it has not stopped him from topping the timesheets in the opening practice on Friday at the Sepang International Circuit. - EPA Photo
SPAIN’S Dani Pedrosa, still nursing a badly bruised hip, came out fighting to dominate the opening practice proceedings for the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit.
Pedrosa, who was also emotionally affected by last month’s Aragon Grand Prix accident, which set back his world championship title hopes, clocked 2:01.229 on the sixth of his 17 laps in the first practice Friday morning.
Pedrosa remained on top and ahead of his Repsol Honda team-mate Marc Marquez till the end.
He was the only one to breach the 2:01 mark, raising the bar to 2:00.554 in the second practice in the afternoon.
MotoGP rookie and title leader Marquez clocked 2:01.596 in the morning before lowering it to 2:01.087 in the afternoon.
Yamaha’s reigning double world champion Jorge Lorenzo, also of Spain, was timed at 2:01.623 in the morning and it proved to be the fifth fastest at the end of the day.
Briton Cal Crutchlow, riding for the satellite Yamaha team, was the surprise of the day as he claimed the third fastest time of 2:01.423 – ahead of seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi.
The Italian veteran, who is back with Yamaha this year, managed the fourth fastest time of 2:01.538.
It was a satisfying day for Pedrosa, who arrived here with a sore throat but let his riding skills do the talking by nearly equalling Lorenzo’s circuit lap record at Sepang – 2:00.334 set last year.
In Aragon, Pedrosa was involved in a crash with Marquez.
Marquez was handed one penalty point on Thursday, which is effectively a final warning, over the incident.
With four races and a maximum of 100 points available, Pedrosa’s hopes of bagging his first world title in the premier class look slim, as he trails Marquez by 59 points.
Marquez leads the standings with 278 points – well ahead of Lorenzo (239pts) and Pedrosa (219pts).
Pedrosa, who revealed that he could not walk for three days after the Aragon crash due to a badly bruised hip, was happy to start well on the track where he won last year.
”Today went well ... we had two good practice sessions and were able to ride in dry conditions in both the morning and afternoon.
“In the second session, it looked like the track was going to be wet after it rained briefly ... but it dried quickly and we were able to continue working on our setups,” said Pedrosa, who admitted he was still feeling the effects of the Aragon incident.
“When sitting on the bike I have quite a lot of pain, as the seat is very hard ... so, we shall see if a few more anti-inflammatories can help to alleviate the issue,” said Pedrosa.
“We might add a small cushion underneath my leathers ... in order to absorb the bumps that we get when riding.”
Marquez, who is riding at Sepang for the first time since pre-season testing in February, is optimistic he can push harder after this.
“We came here in pre-season, when I had barely ridden a MotoGP bike, so it was interesting to compare things again so many laps and miles later.
”I felt comfortable and this is important when trying to be more consistent every lap.”
”On the single lap, we are half a second off Dani who was very fast, as he always is at Sepang, but our pace in general isn’t too far off.
”We have to push hard because if he can do it, that means that the Honda is capable of those times.
Tags / Keywords:
Dani Pedrosa, Moto GP, Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang International Circuit, Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi
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