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Old 02-02-2016, 03:00 PM   #1
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MotoGP Sepang test Tyre drama on day two

Loris Baz crashes at 290kmh leading to Michelin removing the soft compound rear

Baz's bike after the 290km/h crash.

DAY TWO of the MotoGP Sepang test has seen many riders begin to doubt the new Michelin tyres as Loris Baz crashes at 290km/h and they withdraw the soft compound rear.

The second day of the Sepang test got off to a steady start, but the fast laps rolled in with Danilo Petrucci setting a 2:00.095 to take the early lead at over half a second faster than Jorge Lorenzo's best time from Monday.

Track time was halted soon after as Frenchman Loris Baz suffered a heavy crash on his Avintia Racing Ducati along the main straight at around 290 km/h. Fortunately, Baz emerged unhurt.

Although the cause of the crash is still unclear, Michelin have since removed the soft compound rear that Baz used. Michelin and the safety committee at the Sepang International Circuit red flagged the test for over an hour as an extensive assessment was made to ensure no other riders would be at risk of a similar fall.

Baz, however, was not the only faller of the day. Pol Espargaro, who set a 2:01.992 to end the day 15th, fell twice at Turn 5, but walked away unharmed. Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo also suffered a fast fall at Turn 5 midway through the day.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP machine suffered extensive damage to the left hand side, but like Espargaro Lorenzo was unhurt. Despite his fall the Spaniard was able to set a 2:00.155 in the closing thirty minutes of the session, an improvement on his Monday time, ending just 0.06s slower than Petrucci.

Tito Rabat, the only rookie in the MotoGP World Championship in 2016, suffered a harmless low side at Turn 15. Rabat improved from a 2:03.463 on Monday to a 2:02.328 on Tuesday to take 17th. Dani Pedrosa joined Espargaro and Jorge Lorenzo in falling at Turn five, Pedrosa also walking away unhurt to produce a mediocre 12th place on the timesheets despite improving on Monday's time.

Third on the time-sheerts was Hector Barbera as he made perfect use of the soft tyres before his team-mate’s fall whilst Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez also made some major improvements as he finished less than a second off Petrucci's best time to finish fourth.

It was another Honda rider who rounded out the top five - Cal Crutchlow. The Manx resident set a 2:00.899 lap time towards the end of the day on the harder option tyre.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi achieved his goal of getting within a second of team-mate Lorenzo and ended the day in sixth. Just behind the Italian was British rider Scott Redding. Andrea Iannone finished as the leading factory Ducati machine as he spent the entire day on the GP16 bike to achieve a best time of 2’01.052.

Aside from the developing situation with the tyres and Baz, the rest of the attention lay on Casey Stoner who was out on track with the rest of the MotoGP World Championship grid for the first time since 2012. The 2007 and 2011 World Champion set a credible 2:01.103 to end ninth and ahead of Andrea Dovizioso who was 14th.

A late charge from Bradley Smith saw the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 man pull himself into tenth, 0.314s clear of Maverick Viñales. The pair completed 59 laps each on Tuesday. Meanwhile Viñales’ Team Suzuki Ecstar team-mate, Aleix Espargaro, was 16th and over half a second off the pace of the 2015 MotoGP Rookie of the Year.

Eugene Laverty, who fell heavily on Monday, has since revealed that he does not have a broken right hand as initial reports had suggested. The Northern Irish rider did not take part on track on day two, but hopes to be passed fit to ride tomorrow.

The final day of testing in Sepang gets underway Wednesday at 10am Local Time.

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MotoGP Sepang test: Lorenzo dominates day one
Sepang MotoGP test times - Day 2
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Sepang MotoGP test times - day two

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