Crashing at the last corner at Sepang didn't exactly clip the wings of Jorge Lorenzo or his Desmosedici GP. A quick trip back to the garage to collect his thoughts and allow the mechanics to adjust the bike and he was straight back out on track.
And then came the record: 1’58”830 for the Majorcan on the #99 Ducati, smashing the previous fastest time set at the Malaysian track by Marc Marquez with the Honda in 2015. Beyond sheer speed on the flying lap, look out: Jorge's hypothetical race pace would see him fighting for the win with Dani Pedrosa, second at the session's end on the winged RC 213V, and Marquez, eighth today (and seventh over the three days) without wings.
it seems that Lorenzo really likes the 2018 version of the factory Ducati and the new Michelin front tyre could prove a cure-all for him, with his smooth, rounded riding style. Fast too mind you, as confirmed by the overall classification at the end of the three days.
Pedrosa, 0.179 behind, finishes as the best Honda rider, second in both the daily and overall standings; progress continues to be made with the engine and frame , freshly delivered to the Repsol garage by HRC.
Cal Crutchlow is also in shape and his third place finish backs this up. The Brit spent a lot of time cycling over the winter, dropping 6kg. He might have suffered a crash but 'who cares' as he himself put it, causing Lucio Cecchinello to laugh.
A complicated day for Andrea Dovizioso, who crashed and was then forced to take a long break in the garage. His fourth place finish, around 3 and a half tenths from his team-mate, leaves a question mark in the Ducati camp: has Jorge overtaken the Italian in terms of pure performance? Or is Andrea simply working stealthily as he always has done? We won't know until the first race in Qatar.
Jack Miller continues to grow, and then some. His fifth place finish will only spur him on to do more and he'll no doubt be battling for the podium this season.
Alex Rins was once again the best placed Suzuki. An interesting sixth place fo the Catalan rider who, on his second year with the GSX-RR, is already making up for what was a tough start to 2017, with injuries and missed races.
You may well be asking what Vinales, Marquez, Rossi and Zarco are doing between seventh adn tenth place in the combined standings?! Are the Yamahas already in crisis, after leading the way yesterday? No. In the factory garage, and Tech3 garage too, they know how to work and develop a race bike and when it's time to attack, they'll do just that. Marquez, in turn, might be young but he's already an old fox: if we look at his race pace, MM93 would be fighting for the podium in a hypothetical race with Lorenzo and Pedrosa. Work and strategy for the current champion, on a wingless bike.
Petrucci's Ducati is also without wings and closes eleventh, better than that of Tito Rabat. Andrea Iannone (who some say might be riding a GSX-R Yoshimura Superbike at Phillip Island) finished in twelfth place today, thirteenth overall, fourteenth for the Aprilia of Aleix Espargarò.
From Nakagami down, gaps are more than two minutes from the front: n fitteenth is the Japanese rookie, followed by Alvaro Bautista with the Ducati Aspar. Pol Espargarò didn't ride today after a bad 250 km/h crash at turn 4 yesterday. He closes seventeenth overall based on his performance over the previous days.
Mika Kallio with the KTM, Bradley Smith on the M1 Tech3 and the injured Franco Morbidelli, close 18th to 20th, Abraham, Simeon and Redding (the Brit is struggling to build confidence with the RS-GP veneta) would follow, Tom Luthi was quicker than Colombian Hernandez, the temporary replacement for Jonas Folger.