Dani Pedrosa sets pace at Sepang practice
Last Updated: October 20, 2012 8:53am
Dani Pedrosa set the fastest time in practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix as he boosted his hopes of cutting into Jorge Lorenzo's MotoGP World Championship lead.
Victory in Japan last weekend saw the Repsol Honda rider cut the gap behind his Yamaha rival Lorenzo to 28 points with just three races left to run.
Lorenzo will win the title if he finishes third at each race at Sepang this weekend, regardless of what Pedrosa does.
But the pressure is on with Pedrosa posting a time of two minutes 1.621 seconds during the morning session - with the afternoon session ruined by rain, rendering the times meaningless.
Team-mate Casey Stoner was second fastest, just over a tenth of a second down on Pedrosa.
Lorenzo was third on the first of the factory Yamahas, with the satellite Tech 3 machines of Andrea Dovizioso and Britain's Cal Crutchlow fourth and fifth.
Crutchlow was disappointed to miss out on valuable set-up time during the afternoon, said: "It was a shame the rain meant I didn't get to go out on track for the second session because I had some work to do to improve the bike.
"I felt confident right from the start this morning and even though I wasn't pushing that hard because the track was quite greasy, the lap time still came quite easy. Hopefully tomorrow we will have better luck with the weather and we can focus on improving the bike for the race."
Ben Spies was sixth on the second factory Yamaha, ahead of Stefan Bradl and Nicky Hayden, who was the quickest of the Ducatis.
Alvaro Bautista was ninth for Gresini Honda as the team return to the circuit where their rider Marco Simoncelli was killed in a horrific crash last year.
Valentino Rossi, the 2010 winner in Sepang, finished 11th quickest as his spell with Ducati heads for its conclusion.