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The Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix got underway today at the Sepang International Circuit in mixed conditions. Movistar #yamaha MotoGP riders #valentinorossi and #jorgelorenzo spent the morning and afternoon session working through a base set-up to try and get a feel for the drying track and its new tarmac.
During the sunny morning session Rossi positioned himself as a key protagonist from the get-go of the last 2016 overseas Grand Prix weekend. Despite damp patches on the drying track, the Doctor made solid improvements over the first practice and finished in fifth position with a best lap of 2'01.611s, 0.401s from first.
After some heavy rain over lunch, the afternoon session saw more of the same from the Italian. Back out on a wet and drying track, he swiftly took provisional second place on his third lap before focusing his attention on finding a good wet weather set-up in order to be fully prepared for all circumstances come Sunday. Rossi ran out of time to set a lap on slicks when a dry lined formed at the very end of the session. A 2'13.416s best lap, set before a late flurry of activity, saw the nine-time World Champion wrap up the FP2 in 13th place. However, as no riders were able to improve on their best laps due to the damp conditions, he held on to fifth in the combined time sheets.
Lorenzo also had a good first outing in Sepang. He used the first 45-minute session to find an optimum set-up for the Malaysian circuit. Having found a good rhythm on his first laps, it didn't take him long to ride his YZR-M1 to second place. He remained a top five contender, with a best lap of 2'02.013s until the end of the session, when some last-minute track action pushed him to tenth, 0.803s from the front.
The Mallorcan showed his eagerness to fight at the front in Sunday's race as he was one of the first riders to head out on track in FP2. He immediately made his mark with the provisional third fastest time, a position he held for most of the session until the times dropped at the end. Lorenzo returned to the box after ten laps and was one of only a few riders that didn't venture out on slicks in the final minutes of the session when a dry line had formed. He found himself in 16th place in the FP2, but finished the day tenth in the combined rankings.
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