21 October 2022 – Sepang International Circuit – Malaysia
The first day of practice of the Malaysian Grand Prix ends with a combined classification that sees Ayumu in second place, while John in nineteenth position.
The wet heat is a prerogative of these territories, and this weekend is no exception. The humidity in the morning grazed the 100%, while the temperature in the air reached 29 °C in free practice 2.
In these difficult climatic conditions Ayumu was at his best, obtaining in free practice 1 the second time, with a best lap equal to 2’12.296, and a gap from the leader of the morning session D. Foggia of 0.070 s. We must pay attention to the fact that Ayumu got this performance without the aid of any slipstream. In FP2, Ayumu instead focused on the general setup of the bike, on a track where we do not run from 2019. For this reason, the time of 2’13.292 and the seventh position of free practice 2, have a relative importance. The excellent time in the morning guaranteed Ayumu the second position in the combined Friday.
Conversely for John, who since free practice 1 had a problem with his brakes, failing to make even a time attack. With the time he achieved in FP1 of 2’15.139, he accumulated a gap from the lead of 2.913 s. In FP2 John greatly improved his pace, reducing the gap by about 1.5 s, but the brake problem occurred again, taking away his chance to enter the top 14.
Below the statements of Ayumu, John and Max Biaggi, our Team Owner.
AYUMU SASAKI : “It was a very good first day, I felt good on the bike immediately from FP1, and overall, I am very happy with the pace. In the end of FP2 I could not make a fastest lap with new tires due to traffic, but I am very happy with my day. We think that we can still improve tomorrow, so we will try to do it and I am really looking forward for the race.”
JOHN MCPHEE : “Unfortunately today I wasn’t able to ride in a normal way. In FP1 when we put the soft tyre I had break failure and had to finish my session without a laptime. In FP2 again when I tried to make a time attack I had brake fade. It’s frustrating as a rider as I’m not able to focus on the job in hand when I’m constantly thinking about a technical issue. I feel for my mechanics as it’s not an issue from their side as they are doing a great job. Tomorrow I’ll reset and push hard in FP3 to try and go straight to Q2. On the hard tyre my rhythm was ok so it shows the potential is there if we can fix some problems.”
MAX BIAGGI – TEAM OWNER : “Ayumu started this weekend on the right foot. It will be important to continue on this path, with the goal Sunday to fight for the podium until the last corner. The weather forecast here is always a mystery, so it is necessary to be quick in any condition. Some difficulties instead for John, which at the moment is rather far away. I hope he can improve as much as he managed to do in the previous weekend, with the desire this time to see him fight for the podium.”
Results PETRONAS Grand Prix of Malaysia 2022 – Combined FP1 – FP2
1. Dennis FOGGIA (Honda) 2’12.226, 2. Ayumu SASAKI (Husqvarna) 2’12.296, 19. John MCPHEE (Husqvarna) 2’13.755.