The Pata Honda team had its first taste of the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today 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 degrees.
Jonathan Rea: “It’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: “Not 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.”