Flying Lorenzo tops Friday practice at Philip Island

Reigning MotoGP World Champion sets fastest times in first two practice sessions

Jorge Lorenzo walked away from his first day at Philip Island on top of proceedings with the Yamaha Factory Racing rider the fastest in both free practice sessions today ahead of Sunday’s Tissot Australian Grand Prix. The reining world champion looked composed and ultra focused on his YZR-M1 and leads the timings ahead of rival Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and GO&Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista.

Little by little we have improved and been faster.

Jorge Lorenzo

Lorenzo used every bit of his knowledge today to set the fastest time of 1m 28.961s on the track that has had a newly laid surface since last year's race. Marquez’s best lap of 1m 29.255s set in FP1 was enough to see the current championship leader in second place overall despite a crash in this afternoon’s session at Lukey Heights with the rookie twisting the throttle too soon and being ejected off his RC213V machine. Bautista set the second fastest time in FP2 and was third overall on a best lap of 1m 29.438s and he also fell this afternoon but walked away unhurt.

Coming off the back of his win in Malaysia last week Dani Pedrosa finished in fourth today with a best lap time of 1m 29.478s while Valentino Rossi rounded out the top five riders with the Yamaha Factory Racing rider setting a best time of 1m 29.537s ahead of Cal Crutchlow on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine who managed to set a best time of 1m 29.667s to end day one ahead of his teammate Bradley Smith who registered a fastest time of 1m 30.165s. Finishing in 8th today was Randy De Puniet who secured best CRT bragging rights with a best lap of 1m 30.215s ahead of Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden (1m 30.609s) and Andrea Dovizioso with a 1m 30.754s lap.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Lorenzo is much happier at the Australian track compared to the previous race and said, “I feel that here we are much more competitive than in Malaysia. There are some problems with the wind in some corners where we cannot keep the front wheel on the ground so we need to improve that for tomorrow. In general every step we make with the bike works so little by little we have improved and been faster. The tire feels consistent also so let’s see if we can improve the little issue with the front. The new tarmac is much better, you can push with more confidence and there are less bumps. The exit of turn six has a little bump, but apart from this corner everything is much better.”

Marquez was disappointed his rhythm from this morning going into this afternoon’s session was broken after his crash but remains upbeat about the remainder of the weekend. He said, “The day went well - especially in the morning. It's a pity about the crash right at the start of the afternoon run but we went back out with the second bike, which had a totally different geometry and we had no time in which to change things. Thus, we used the initial setup for the entire session. We shall see if tomorrow we can regain the feeling that we had in the morning session, as I felt very good - something that is very important at Phillip Island. We shall continue working in order to improve for the race.”

Bautista was also happy with his performance saying, “It has been a positive day despite the crash this afternoon. I felt good on the new surface straight away, it is much better than last year. In the afternoon we worked hard to take another step forward but after just four laps I had a crash in turn two when I got too tight to the inside and caught a bit of dirt, which caused me to crash. It was a stupid crash but luckily without any serious consequences and I was able to go out on the second bike with the same setting and establish a good feeling again. We made some small changes to the setting from there and improved even further so I am happy and hopeful of more progress tomorrow.”

Alvaro Bautista, Go & Fun Honda Gresini
Alvaro Bautista, Go & Fun Honda Gresini

Photo by: Team Gresini

There was also a fall for Avintia Blusens rider Hector Barbera late on in the session while Stefan Bradl was declared unfit for the remainder of the weekend after taking part in this morning’s session with his broken ankle he suffered at the previous round in Malaysia.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series MOTOGP
Article type Qualifying reports
Tags bautista, featured, gresini, hatch, honda, lorenzo, marquez, philip island, repsol, yamaha