The 250cc riders took to the Sepang Circuit in searing heat late this afternoon as the Malaysian Grand Prix got underway in typically tricky conditions. An unusual session saw a variety of different riders take their turn at the top of the time sheets before series leader Hiroshi Aoyama took control. However, with the top eight riders separated by only a second it is unclear whether the Honda rider will be able to withstand the Aprilia onslaught until the end of Sunday’s race.
Álvaro Bautista started out at Sepang with the same attitude and hunger he showed at Phillip Island a week ago, continually improving his lap times until a rear grip problem emerged in the second half of the session. However, after setting the fifth fastest time today and in the knowledge that only a win will do on Sunday in order to keep his title hopes alive the Spaniard is refusing to throw the towel in just yet.
Alex Debon was second, Hector Barbera 6th, Hector Faubel 12th and Axel Pons 19th.
5th Álvaro Bautista 2.08.159 (20 laps):
“I felt comfortable with the bike as soon as I went out on the track today and my feeling was good. The only thing was that the bike was running wide in a few corners and when I tried to pull it back in I was losing the rear. We worked hard on sorting it out and by the end I think we found the way forward. I’m more or less happy with the result because it’s only the first day and we’re only a couple of tenths off the fastest lap. The pace is on lap record and we’re there with the frontrunners, so hopefully the weather holds out tomorrow and allows us to continue improving. As far as I’m concerned I think the more riders are fighting for the win on Sunday the better for me, because that would help us. Having said that it is difficult to make any predictions when the conditions are like this and racing is very different to practice. Holding that pace for so many laps is not easy.”
Pos. Rider Team Lap time Gap
1 Hiroshi AOYAMA Scot Racing Team 250cc 2′07.875
2 Alex DEBON Aeropuerto-Castello-Blusens 2′07.888 0.013
3 Ratthapark WILAIROT Thai Honda PTT SAG 2′07.927 0.052
4 Mike DI MEGLIO Mapfre Aspar Team 250cc 2′07.973 0.098
5 Alvaro BAUTISTA Mapfre Aspar Team 2′08.159 0.284
6 Hector BARBERA Pepe World Team 2′08.285 0.410
7 Mattia PASINI Paddock GP Racing Team 2′08.763 0.888
8 Lukas PESEK Auto Kelly – CP 2′08.852 0.977
9 Raffaele DE ROSA Scot Racing Team 250cc 2′09.120 1.245
10 Marco SIMONCELLI Metis Gilera 2′09.137 1.262
11 Thomas LUTHI Emmi – Caffe Latte 2′09.159 1.284
12 Hector FAUBEL Honda SAG 2′09.209 1.334
13 Jules CLUZEL Matteoni Racing 2′09.635 1.760
14 Alex BALDOLINI WTR San Marino Team 2′09.804 1.929
15 Karel ABRAHAM Cardion AB Motoracing 2′09.816 1.941
16 Shuhei AOYAMA Racing Team Germany 2′09.858 1.983
17 Roberto LOCATELLI Metis Gilera 2′10.001 2.126
18 Shoya TOMIZAWA CIP Moto – GP250 2′10.072 2.197
19 Axel PONS Pepe World Team 2′12.612 4.737
20 Valentin DEBISE CIP Moto – GP250 2′12.919 5.044
21 Vladimir LEONOV Viessmann Kiefer Racing 2′13.159 5.284
22 Bastien CHESAUX Matteoni Racing 2′13.265 5.390
23 Balazs NEMETH Balatonring Team 2′13.414 5.539
24 Imre TOTH Team Toth Aprilia 2′14.116 6.241
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