Leopard’s Dennis Foggia maintained his typical Friday run of form with the fastest Moto3 time around the Sepang International Circuit.
Setting the pace in the cooler morning session, Foggia was joined by Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max’s Ayumu Sasaki and BOE’s David Munoz in the top three by the close of play with the rookie the fastest improver across the afternoon.
Foggia was the man to beat as the penultimate round’s action began. The Italian setting an early benchmark to command the majority of the opening practice before his 2’12.226 confirmed his position in the closing stages. Sasaki once again the main challenger, just 0.07s back. The pack sat over half a second adrift at the close of the 40-minute session with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Jaume Masia best of the rest, two places ahead of newly crowned champion Izan Guevara.
The intense heat of a Malaysian afternoon greeted the lightweight class for FP2 as temperatures reached 52℃ on track. Numerous off-track excursions littering the opening minutes as CFMoto’s Carlos Tatay suffered a turn 14 crash on his outlap with Sic58’s Ricardo Rossi, Ryusei Yamanaka, Daniel Holgado and John McPhee also suffering in the early stages.
Angeluss MTS’a Stefano Nepa led the session as the action fired up. The Italian over a second adrift on the morning best with his 2’13.247 - and the sole rider to improve on FP1 at the halfway stage - with Sasaki and Munoz in check. Rivacold Snipers’s Andrea Migno took over the top with 15 minutes left to run, however, the overall target was yet to be challenged.
Honda’s Taiyo Furusato was the next to succumb to the Malaysian layout after sliding out at turn nine, Syarifuddin Azman returning for his fourth wildcard of the season as his 2023 full time ride at MT Helmets was confirmed. The VisionTrack wildcard sat 12th and inside Q2 contention as the second session counted down, teammates for the weekend Scott Ogden and Josh Whatley circulating 24th and 29th respectively with the former declared fit following his heavy Phillip Island highside while the latter faces a pitlane start - with a five second delay - after maxing out his engine allocation due to repeated over-revving.
A late-session flurry saw the action heat up with three minutes to go. The pack chasing down Masia and Xavi Artigas as the PruestelGP rider sat on the gateway to the promotion zone thanks to a 2’13.442. Munoz the first to advance to the top three thanks to a 2’12.6 with Ivan Ortola narrowly ahead of his MTA teammate three places back and Sasaki more than happy to sit in the garage and watch.
McPhee improved on his difficult morning but was unable to stake his claim on the top 14, finishing 19th overall with countrymen Ogden and Whatley 26th and 19th respectively. Aspar’s Sergio Garcia beginning his Sepang action from the gateway position with Guevara six places ahead in eighth. Foggia commanding the late session shuffle with a 2’12.348, narrowly shy of his overall target.