Bagnaia (P8) heads comfortably into Q2 qualifying for the Malaysian GP after a positive Friday at Sepang, Bastianini twelfth

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Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia had a positive Friday at the Sepang circuit, setting the eighth-quickest time after the two free practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix and comfortably booking his place in Q2.

Bagnaia modified his approach to the Friday practice sessions, starting immediately with a good base set-up and working intensely in view of the two races over the weekend. After finishing FP1 in P15, he hauled himself up from outside the top-10 in the last ten minutes of practice to go fourth with a time-attack lap of 1:58.420. Pecco then finished in P8 after his second time-attack in the last few minutes lap was hindered by a sector yellow.

On the other side of the garage, teammate Enea Bastianini made some positive progress in the two sessions, finishing sixteenth in the morning before moving up to P12 in the afternoon with a lap time of 1:58.605, just a whisker outside the top-10. Therefore, Bastianini will have to go through Q1 tomorrow.

Francesco Bagnaia (#1 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 8th (1:58.420)
“It was one of the best Fridays in a long time, the first time that I didn’t ask anything to my team for Saturday. I feel good and with the used tyres I was very fast. The first time-attack went very well for me, but in the second unfortunately I missed the second lap a bit after having had the yellow in the first, I'm happy because it was important to have a feeling like that and above all being able to express a lot of speed straight away was fundamental, and as for the race pace we are very strong now. This weekend we began immediately with a better starting setting, and everything came as a consequence. For sure it will be important to do another little step tomorrow morning. I aim to start the sprint race well and push very hard right from the start.”

Enea Bastianini (#23 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 12th (1:58.605)
“Doing more today was difficult because we tried many new things so P12 was acceptable, even if it wasn't the position that we were aspiring to, but there were some ups and downs today and tomorrow we must try to be more consistent to get into Q2. I've never used the rear thumb brake and obviously, it took me a while to adapt and then this afternoon the conditions were different, so we tried to make changes to meet the needs of the track, but we arrived a bit late and with the second tyre I only managed to do one lap so unfortunately, I didn't get into the top-10 by a tenth. I think it was a positive day all in all, and even in the afternoon I had a good rhythm; I was able to keep a pace of 1’59 quite easily, so things are not as black as in the previous races.”

The Ducati Lenovo Team will be out on track again at the Sepang International Circuit on Saturday morning for the second free practice session at 10.10 local time (03.10 CET), while Q1 and Q2 follow shortly after at 10.50 (03.50). The 10-lap Sprint race is scheduled for a 15.00 start (08.00 CEST).