KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2, (AFP): Italian Danilo Petrucci topped the timesheets Tuesday in an incident-packed second day of pre-season MotoGP testing at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit featuring a dramatic high speed tyre blow-out involving Frenchman Loris Baz.
In track temperatures of almost 50ºC (122ºF), Petrucci on a Ducati was among the few riders who improved their times by adapting well to the sizzling weather and new Michelin tyres.
The 25-year-old Italian clocked 2min 00.095sec, 0.060 seconds faster than Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo who dominated Monday’s practice on his Yamaha.
Lorenzo, the 2015 MotoGP world champion who is chasing a fourth championship title, fell at Turn 5 while Honda’s Dani Pedrosa crashed at the same place in the final 30 minutes of testing.
Neither rider was injured.
Baz, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Monday, earlier escaped serious injury when his rear tyre exploded and hurled him off his Ducati bike in a spectacular high-speed crash.
The Frenchman was travelling at around 290 kms per hour (180 mph) along the Sepang circuit’s main straightaway at the time. He credited his protective gear for his escape.
Hector Barbera of Spain on a Ducati finished third, 0.292 seconds behind Petrucci. Honda’s double MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez was fourth-fastest, 0.748 seconds off the pace.
British rider Cal Crutchlow on a Honda was fifth, with a time of 2 mins 0.899 seconds. Valentino Rossi, the charismatic 36-year-old Italian rider, finished the session in sixth position, 0.926 seconds behind Ducati’s Petrucci.
Retired double world champion Casey Stoner, back on track testing for Ducati, was ninth fastest, 1.008 seconds behind Petrucci.
This is the first time since 2012 the Australian is riding alongside the MotoGP race riders.
On Monday Lorenzo clocked 2min 0.684 sec, just over one second faster than Rossi.
The three-day testing at Sepang ends on Wednesday. The MotoGP world championship begins at the Losail circuit in Qatar on March 17.