Jorge Lorenzo shook off last Sunday's disappointment and got straight down to business at the Sepang International Circuit today, finishing the first free practice session in first place.
His fellow Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, who is looking to wrap up the championship
this Sunday, was fourth fastest on a typically hot and humid day in Malaysia.
Rossi and Lorenzo were first and second for most of the first half of the session, both quickly finding a good rhythm on their M1s around the 5.548km circuit despite the oppressive heat. Casey Stoner took control in the last ten minutes but some quick last-minute laps from 22-year-old Lorenzo saw him move to the top of the timesheets and finish the practice 0.064 seconds ahead of the Australian despite some pain in his little finger - a hangover from Sunday's crash.
"I was riding quite aggressively today and I felt good on the bike right from the start, so I am very happy about this after what happened last weekend”, he said. “It's very hot and it's really hard work to ride out there, but I feel okay. Unfortunately I have some pain in my finger where I hurt it on Sunday, it's not too bad but the cut is right on the knuckle, so it's a bit painful when I have to bend it to brake. Anyway, like I said on Sunday it could be a lot worse! I love riding at this track despite the heat and our bike is working well so I am hopeful for a good weekend."
Rossi ended the day 0.684 seconds down on his team-mate but is confident that the information gathered today will enable him to make a step forward tomorrow morning. Today marked ten years to the day since the Italian won the second world championship of his career, in the 250cc class at the Rio Grand Prix in 1999.
"I am quite happy about today, even if the time and the position aren't perfect. We worked mainly with old tyres to understand the nature of the bike when it's sliding, which is important here, but actually my pace was very consistent and I think we can make another step tomorrow”, he said. “It seems that Bridgestone have brought good tyres here, they are working very well despite the very hot temperatures and the fact that the track is a little bit dirty today. We still need to find a little bit more grip so we will look to improve the setting of the bike for this in the morning - it's going to be very important to be on the front row for Sunday. I think the race will be very hard and we will have to take care to prepare properly and drink a lot of water because it is very, very hot."