The Malaysian GP weekend kicked off in semi-damp conditions, with a few wet spots on the track. Andrea Dovizioso was fastest, having set a 1’59’’697, ahead of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.
At the beginning of the session, all eyes were on Jorge Lorenzo, who returned to action after over one month of inactivity due to his injury contracted at Aragon. The Ducati started committing from the very beginning, despite displaying a few signs of discomfort on his ankle and towards his bike especially.
Lorenzo’s teammate Dovizioso, who won the previous Malaysian GPs, ruled in FP1, as he emerged as the best once the time attack began. The Yamaha duo closely follows and keeps its momentum in check, with Valentino Rossi jumping to 2nd in the closing minute of the session, just 0.070s behind the pace setter.
Jack Miller from Alma Pramac Ducati clocked the fourth quickest laptime, beating his teammate Petrucci by over 2 tenths. Alex Rins was sixth, 0.544s off the pace, while from Aleix Espargaro onwards the gap increased significantly. The Spaniard closed in 7th, 8 tenths down but 0.1 faster than Alvaro Bautista, who wore red last weekend.
Johann Zarco set the 9th fastest time, 75 thousandths ahead of Marc Marquez, whom he took out at Phillip Island following a high-risk collision. Honda rider Daniel Pedrosa (P16) was just 0.5s slower than his teammate, who seemed to struggle today.
Andrea Iannone missed out on the top 10 by a little over one tenth, whereas Nakagami and Morbidelli are separated by 0.010s behind him. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who is replacing injured Cal Crutchlow, had a first sample of the track and managed to set the 15th time. Local hero Hafizh Syahrin finished the session in P17, 1.7s off the leader Dovizioso.