Pata Honda begins work at hot Sepang
The Pata Honda team had its first taste of the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia yesterday as riders Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam took their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SPs to the famous track for the first time.
Rea ended the day in eighth place and Haslam was eleventh as French rider Sylvain Guintoli set the provisional pole time at the 5.548km circuit that lies 60km to the south of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Both riders suffered from low grip levels today, although they were able to improve on their morning times in the second free practice session which took place in the anticipated hot and humid conditions this afternoon, with air temperatures in the low thirties and the track at 41˚C.
Jonathan Rea - P8, 2m05.752sIt’s disappointing to be this far off on day one. We were able to improve our time with a new rear tyre but generally our base speed needs to improve. The good thing is that it felt quite comfortable when I did my fastest lap. The changes we are making on the chassis are going the right way but we have some engine cutting along the straights when I’m on full throttle. We need to look at that problem because at a track like Sepang it's quite a disadvantage. I think I’m losing about half a second in the last sector, which includes the back straight. Hopefully tomorrow we can do a better job.
Leon Haslam - P11, 2m06.607sNot a great day, to be honest. We tried a few radical changes on the chassis and we’re still finding our way with that. I’ve had a problem with power delivery today and ran out of time this afternoon. I had a grip problem as well and the one new tyre I tried was spinning up everywhere.
Pieter Breddels - technical co-ordinatorJonathan had various problems in opening free practice this morning which we were able to solve partly for this afternoon. There are still some things to resolve and have a look at but this afternoon he was able to improve his time, despite the hot conditions and low grip levels. For Leon we decided to change the set-up of the bike, both with electronics and with chassis settings. It’s bringing some positives but his overall position has not improved. We’ll keep trying to improve and see what we can get tomorrow.
Free Practice Results - Combined times
1 Sylvain Guintoli 2m05.096s FRA APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team2 Marco Melandri 2m05.167s ITA APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team3 Toni Elias 2m05.222s ESP APRILIA Red Devils Roma4 Davide Guigliano 2m05.278s ITA DUCATI Ducati Superbike Team5 Tom Sykes 2m05.283s GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team6 Eugene Laverty 2m05.356s IRL SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki7 Chaz Davies 2m05.448s GBR DUCATI Ducati Superbike Team8 Jonathan Rea 2m05.752s GBR HONDA Pata Honda9 Loris Baz 2m05.950s FRA KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team10 Alex Lowes 2m06.089s GBR SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki11 Leon Haslam 2m06.607s GBR HONDA Pata Honda