Two-time WorldSBK Champion Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) has topped the combined timesheets on the opening day of action at the Sepang International Circuit.
The 2’04.823 lap-time set in the early minutes of the morning’s Free Practice 1 allowed the Italian to not only lead the session itself, but also to remain on top in the afternoon, given the torrential rain that began falling around midday.
Double winner at Laguna Seca Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati SBK Team) and the Kawasaki Racing Team pairing of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea completed the top-4, with the Welshman closing the gap to the top spot to 0.149s at the end of the first 45-minute session.
Leon Haslam and Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils) were fifth and sixth, respectively while positions from seventh to tenth were taken by Voltcom Crescent Suzuki’s Alex Lowes and Randy de Puniet and Pata Honda duo of Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark.
A wet start to FP2 saw many WorldSBK riders electing to remain in the box, hoping that the heat would dry the 5.543km circuit in time for a fast lap at the end of the session. It was not until the final 13 minutes that a dry line appeared.
Leon Haslam entered the circuit with nine minutes to go, immediately moving into the top-3 of the afternoon session, while only Biaggi of the other front-runners from FP1 ventured onto the circuit.
In the damp conditions of the final stages it was eventually Davies who came out on top with a time of 2’11.300, ahead of fellow Brit Alex Lowes.
WorldSBK Sepang – Combined times Free Practice 1 and 2
1 – Max Biaggi Aprilia Racing Team 2’04.823
2 – Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team +0.149
3 – Jonathan Rea Kawasaki Racing Team +0.559