Yamaha Sepang Racing on provisional pole
Yamaha Sepang Racing dominated the first qualifying session this morning at the Sepang International Circuit thanks to a magnificent lap – a 2:03.907 – by Franco Morbidelli. Yamaha Sepang Racing were quicker than F.C.C. TSR Honda France and YART Yamaha. The second qualifying takes place this afternoon in Malaysia.
Franco Morbidelli set the FIM EWC’s first Sepang International Circuit lap record this morning with a 2:03.907 fastest lap. With his teammates Hafizh Syahrin and Michael van der Mark, who both set a 2:04, he took Yamaha Sepang Racing to provisional pole at the first edition of the 8 Hours of Sepang.
The toughest competition came from F.C.C. TSR Honda France. Josh Hook, Freddy Foray and Mike di Meglio took second place on the provisional grid ahead of YART Yamaha.
The Austrian factory-backed team will have to do without Marvin Fritz, who crashed right after going out on track this morning. As a result, only Broc Parkes and Niccolò Canepa posted lap times in qualifying. Maco Racing Team rider Karel Hanika could replace Marvin Fritz in the saddle of the YART Yamaha.
BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team, who are 4th on the provisional grid, face the same problem, with Kenny Foray withdrawing due to an injury sustained during the night test on Wednesday. But Werner Daemen, the manager of the factory BMW team, has decided to race with only his other two riders, Ilya Mykhalchyk and Markus Reiterberger.
VRD Igol Pierret Experiences set a very good pace to claim fifth place on the provisional grid, ahead of the FIM EWC reigning champion Webike SRC Kawasaki France. Team ERC Endurance got their Ducati Panigale V4R to seventh place ahead of Wójcik Racing Team, fresh from a remarkable performance at the Bol d’Or, Honda Asia Dream Racing with Showa, BMW Sepang Racing and Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, who are in eleventh place and continuing to fine-tune setup for the second session.
In the Superstock class, the battle lines have been drawn between French team Moto Ain, the winners of last season’s FIM Endurance World Cup, and Japanese BMW-mounted team Tone RT Syncedge 4413, the fastest Superstock at the Suzuka 8 Hours.
The second qualifying session gets underway at 2.30pm local time (GMT+8). Final positions on the starting grid will be determined after the Top 10 Trial, which starts at 7.15pm local time. The Superpole will reassign the first 10 spots on the grid. The fastest rider of each of the 10 best teams in qualifying will do a flying lap to secure his final grid position.
Watch the Facebook Live video of the Top 10 trial on our social media.