MotoGP: Iannone on top on rain struck second day in Sepang

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Andrea Iannone has taken the Suzuki GSX-RR to the top of the time sheets on the second day of action in MotoGP’s season-opening Malaysian test, finishing ahead of former Suzuki and now Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales and the Aspar Ducati of Alvaro Bautista.

The day got off to a slow start, with Jorge Lorenzo among one of only a handful of the 26 riders present to take to the track early on. Heavy overnight rain left the surface slow to dry, and it was five hours into the eight-hour test before the action fully got underway.

But in the end it was Iannone who went fastest, dipping under both the lap record and Casey Stoner’s fastest time from Monday to end the day on a high.

“I’m very happy with today, although we had a short time due to the track conditions, we could do much work and, most importantly, made a step forward. In the early runs we started with some configurations that didn’t make me feel totally comfortable, then when we tried some changes I found much more confidence and the lap times got a huge benefit.

“They were not radical changes, more small improvements, but they proved to be very effective. We are working very well, I am finding an excellent feeling with my team, they are working very hard and very professionally and this gives me a positive attitude that allows me to ride with confidence. Today is a result of this, we improved a lot since yesterday and it is important for us to have found positive improvements.”

Valentino Rossi was pleased to finish fifth, ahead of impressive rookie Johann Zarco, the Ducatis of Hector Barbera, Andrea Iannone and a rapidly improving Lorenzo.

However, the woes continued for Honda, as both slow pace and mechanical problems meant that Marc Marquez was the best of their riders in tenth, ahead of Cal Crutchlow in 12th and Dani Pedrosa in 14th.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer