Reigning MotoGP Champion fastest on home soil ahead of Crutchlow and Pedrosa
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo toped the time sheets on the first day of practice ahead of the Gran Premio bwin De Espana at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit with the Spanish rider topping both Free Practice sessions with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow second fastest and Dani Pedrosa in third position for the Repsol Honda Team. There was also a small bit of drama today with a power cut delaying the start of the second free practice session.
I’m happy that we are first in today’s two sessions but I want more.
Sitting in 7th place on day one is the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing machine of Andrea Iannone on a best lap of 1m 40.574s while his teammate Ben Spies will not contest the race this weekend with fresh chest and back injuries. The CRT machines have been progressing at a much faster rate this year and this was confirmed with Hector Barbera (Avintia Blusens) in 8th place with a best lap of 1m 40.736s and he was joined by his fellow countryman Aleix Espargaro with the 9th best lap of 1m 40.738s for the Power Electronics Aspar team. Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden (1m 40.837s) and Andrea Dovizioso (1m 40.884s) finished in 10th and 11th respectively while their team test rider Michele Pirro set the 12th best time 1m 40.902s.
Colin Edwards finished in 19th place today for the NGM forward Racing team with a best time of 1m 42.058s while Paul Bird Motorsport rider Yonny Hernandez set the 20th best time of 1m 42.603s. Bryan Staring finished in 21st today with the GO&FUN Honda Gresini Team setting a best time of 1m 42.606 ahead of Michael Laverty (Paul Bird Motorsport) in 22nd setting a lap time of 1m 42.974s ahead of Karel Abraham who returns on the Cardion AB Motoracing who is nursing a fragile shoulder following a crash at the last round in Austin, Texas. The final place went to Lukas Pesek who had an engine failure that left the Czech rider with a lap time of 1m 43.403s for the Came IodaRacing. With the top 10 riders now progressing automatically into the second qualifying session, the rest of the field will be busy battling it out tomorrow morning for the final two places in Q2.
Speaking about his first day on home soil, Lorenzo was upbeat saying, “At the beginning of the second practice I felt better than this morning but with the warmer temperatures it has been difficult to keep the same pace. We will have to work on the settings to keep the same pace for tomorrow. We need to try to improve our pace by three or four tenths, to ride comfortably in the 39s will be a good feeling. I’m happy that we are first in today’s two sessions but I want more.”
Pedrosa was happy with his performance on day one and is expecting a tough battle in qualifying. He said, “Today we were able to get some good laps in at this circuit. We tried the soft and the hard tire, and also some things with the suspension settings. It wasn't bad, generally, although we need to keep working on this in order to get the bike more stable - both on the entrance and exit of the corners. That would allow us to ride at a faster pace. We will also need to prepare well for qualifying, which could be very tight.”
We’ve got a few ideas to improve even further tomorrow and I will sit down with my crew tonight and have a good look at the data to come up with a plan of attack for the rest of the weekend. My Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is doing a great job again and being competitive and fast today gives us a lot of confidence to take into Saturday and Sunday,” Crutchlow added.