Binder fastest in the dry in Malaysia


Moto3 World Champion sets best time of the day in only dry session on Friday. Bo Bendsneyder debuts at Sepang with fifteenth fastest lap.

The first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix saw very different track conditions for the Moto3 riders in the two Free Practice sessions. In the opening session, sickness Red Bull KTM Ajo enjoyed a positive run with Brad Binder topping the timesheets and Bo Bendsneyder in fifteenth –in his first experience on the track. In the afternoon, ask rain stopped the pair from improving their times at the resurfaced Sepang International Circuit.

In the first practice session in Malaysia, pharm Brad Binder put in the showing of a World Champion. The South African waited until 12 minutes from the end, when the asphalt was drier, for a single seven-lap stint. He set his best lap on his final attempt, with a 2:15.520 that put him 8 tenths ahead of the rider in second place. Bendsneyder used a different strategy, waiting only five minutes to go out and get to know the circuit. He completed a total of 13 laps and, like his teammate, set his best time on his last attempt. Bendsneyder was fifteenth with a 2:18.026.

As is typical in Malaysia, the weather changed completely for the second session –leaving 40 minutes of wet track time for the Moto3 grid. The Red Bull KTM Ajo riders used the time to test their feeling in the conditions, aware that it could be the same on race day. Bendsneyder was seventh –2:28.387– while Binder was more conservative and clocked a 2:29.436 –nineteenth.

Tomorrow will see the penultimate pole position of the season contested, starting at 12:35pm local time –6:35am CET. Binder will look for a second consecutive pole position and Bendsneyder a place that allows him to fight for points on Sunday.

Results (Combined practice time FP1-FP2)
1. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:15.520
2. Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda) 2:16.371 +0.851
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Mahindra) 2:16.534 +1.014
4. Marcos Ramirez (Mahindra) 2:16.834 +1.314
5. Livio Loi (Honda) 2:16.898 +1.378
15. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) 2:18.026 +2.506

“This first day in Malaysia went pretty well. This morning we could not do many laps, because we waited until the track was more or less dry to get out there and push. The feeling in the dry was good, but in the wet in the afternoon it was not very good and we had to test setups. The good news is we know how to fix things for tomorrow in order to be faster and get a better feeling in the wet. In the dry we are very strong and we just have to continue on.”

“Overall it was not a bad day. In the first practice we had dry conditions but with wet patches. It helped us to learn the circuit, which is totally new to me. I think we have made the most of the session and it went well. In FP2, in the rain, we also did a great job. At first I was a little worried about the grip, but it ended up being pretty good. In short, I am happy with how things went, step by step we are going faster and I hope that tomorrow will be even better.”