Moto GP

Danilo Petrucci fastest in crash-filled Sepang day two

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Danilo Petrucci headed the timesheets on Tuesday following an incident-packed second day of pre-season MotoGP testing at Malaysia's Sepang circuit featuring a dramatic high speed tyre blow-out involving Frenchman Loris Baz.

A flurry of fast laps got the day started with Danilo Petrucci setting a 2‰Ûª00.095 to lead early in the day and go over half a second faster than Jorge Lorenzo‰Ûªs best time from Monday. This time would go unbeaten.

"I'm happy for this result. We were quick and we made the most of the situation considered what has happened with Loris Baz," Petrucci said.

"It's nice to set the fastest laptime although obviously it is not entirely representative. To end up the day in first place, however, gives much satisfaction even to the team who did a brillant job. In the afternoon I could not go fast as hoped and this remains an important goal that we will try to get tomorrow. Improvements? Yes, compared to Monday we have made progress. The confidence with the bike and the tires is growing and electronics is improving too. But we are still far from the top riders: tomorrow we'll try to get closer." the Italian concluded.

This early time attack was halted as Loris Baz suffered a heavy fall on his Avintia Racing Ducati, the Frenchman hitting the deck down the main straight at 290 kilometres per hour. The cause of the crash is still unclear, but Baz reportedly heard a sound come from his bike in the final corner before the fall, the rear of his GP14.2 destroyed.
Jorge Lorenzo was second fastest. The World Champion suffered a bit on the hard tyres but was back on track when reverting back to softs.
Michelin and the safety committee at the track held the red flag for over an hour as an extensive assessment was made to make sure no other riders would be at risk of a similar fall. As a safety precaution the soft tyre was withdrawn for the remainder of the test. Baz was able to return to the track after his fall, but unable to better his time and ended 19th.

With riders searching for a fast time there were unfortunately several falls. Pol Espargaro, who set a 2‰Ûª01.992 to end the day 15th, fell twice at Turn 5, frustrated but unhurt. Jorge Lorenzo also suffered a fast fall at Turn 5 midway through the day, his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP machine suffering extensive damage on the left hand side. Fortunately the Spaniard escaped injury. Tito Rabat, the only rookie in the MotoGP World Championship in 2016, suffered a harmless low side at Turn 15. Rabat improved from a 2‰Ûª03.463 on Monday to a 2‰Ûª02.328 as action came to a close, good enough for 17th.

Dani Pedrosa joined Espargaro and Jorge Lorenzo in falling at Turn five, Pedrosa again walking away unhurt. It was a lacklustre 12th on Tuesday for Pedrosa, although he did improve on his Monday time. Several of the falls occurred in the closing hour of the session as riders pushed for a fast final lap. Despite his fall Lorenzo was able to set a 2‰Ûª00.155 in the closing thirty minutes of the session, improving his Monday time and ending just 0.060s slower than Petrucci.

Rounding out the top three was Hector Barbera, the Avintia Ducati rider making perfect use of the soft tyres before his teammate‰Ûªs fall. There were also major improvements for Repsol Honda‰Ûªs Marc Marquez, able to get within 0.750s of Petrucci‰Ûªs best. It was another Honda rider who rounded out the top five, Cal Crutchlow setting a 2‰Ûª00.899 towards the end of the day on the harder option.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‰Ûªs Valentino Rossi achieved his goal of getting within a second of teammate Lorenzo, ending the day in sixth. Just behind the Italian was Scott Redding; with Petrucci leading the day the satellite Ducati outfit can certainly be satisfied with their initial pace.

Andrea Iannone was the leading factory Ducati machine, spending the entire day on the GP16 bike and achieving a best time of 2‰Ûª01.052. Aside from the developing situation with the tyres and Baz, much of the attention was on Casey Stoner who was out on track with the rest of the MotoGP World Championship grid for the first time since 2012. The 2007 and 2011 World Champion set a credible 2‰Ûª01.103 to end ninth and ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, who was 14th.

A late charge from Bradley Smith saw the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 man pull himself into tenth, 0.314s clear of Maverick Vi̱ales. The pair completed 59 laps each on Tuesday. Meanwhile Vi̱ales‰Ûª Team Suzuki Ecstar teammate, Aleix Espargaro, was 16th and over half a second off the pace of the 2015 MotoGP‰ã¢ Rookie of the Year.

Towards the end of the day there was a small crash for Yonny Hernandez, the Colombian walking away unharmed and ending 13th. His teammate, Eugene Laverty, fell heavily on Monday and although initial reports suggested a broken right hand, it was later revealed to be a heavy sprain. Although he didn‰Ûªt take to the track on Tuesday, Laverty is hopefully of testing his fitness on Wednesday.

Both Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista were able to improve their Monday times, Bradl ending as the top Aprilia rider with a 2‰Ûª02.372 which saw him finish 18th. Bautista ended 21st.

The final day of testing in Sepang gets underway Wednesday at 10am Local Time.

Main Photo: Danilo Petrucci
Credit: Supplied

Session 2 as of 18:06 - 02/02/2016 - Local Time
1 PETRUCCI, Danilo Octo Pramac Yakhnich 2:00.095
2 LORENZO, Jorge Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2:00.155 +0.060
3 BARBERA, Hector Avintia Racing 2:00.387 +0.292
4 MARQUEZ, Marc Repsol Honda Team 2:00.843 +0.748
5 CRUTCHLOW, Cal LCR Honda 2:00.899 +0.804
6 ROSSI, Valentino Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2:01.021 +0.926
7 REDDING, Scott Octo Pramac Yakhnich 2:01.049 +0.954
8 IANNONE, Andrea Ducati Team 2:01.052 +0.957
9 STONER, Casey Ducati Team 2:01.103 +1.008
10 SMITH, Bradley Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.107 +1.012
11 VIÌÔALES, Maverick Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2:01.421 +1.326
12 PEDROSA, Dani Repsol Honda Team 2:01.475 +1.380
13 HERNANDEZ, Yonny Aspar MotoGP Team 2:01.644 +1.549
14 DOVIZIOSO, Andrea Ducati Team 2:01.723 +1.628
15 ESPARGARO, Pol Monster Yamaha Tech 3 2:01.992 +1.897
16 ESPARGARO, Aleix Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 2:02.092 +1.997
17 RABAT, Tito EG 0.0 Marc VDS 2:02.328 +2.233
18 BRADL, Stefan Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:02.372 +2.277
19 BAZ, Loris Avintia Racing 2:02.611 +2.516
20 NAKASUGA, Katsuyuki Yamaha Test Team 2:02.691 +2.596
21 BAUTISTA, Alvaro Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2:02.876 +2.781

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