Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo set a formidable pace to top the timesheets in Friday practice for the Australian Grand Prix, the reigning champion getting within a few tenths of the outright lap record in an exciting opening day at Phillip Island.
Lorenzo took full advantage of the grip offered by the recently resurfaced circuit to set a time of 1’28.961 in Free Practice 2 to beat Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez – who set a time of 1'29.255 in the morning FP1 session - by 0.294 seconds as the fastest rider of the day. Third quickest was GO&FUN Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista whose personal best time of 1'29.438 made him the only rider besides Marquez to get within half a second of Lorenzo. Randy de Puniet put in a phenomenal performance to clock the eighth quickest lap of the day to top the CRT crop, the Power Electronics Aspar rider ending the day just 1.254 seconds off Lorenzo’s benchmark time.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast indicates slightly warmer conditions with a negligible chance of rain. The MotoGP™ riders will be out on track again at 1055 local time (GMT +11) tomorrow for FP3 before qualifying gets underway from 1510.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“This morning’s FP1 session was the first chance for us to assess what effect the new Phillip Island surface would have on tyre performance and straight away it was apparent that the new surface offers more grip which resulted in very quick lap times. It was great to see times getting close to the Circuit Best Lap time on the opening day! In the morning session softer slick options front and rear were used and the feedback from the riders was that these options were working very well. In FP2, six riders assessed the harder front slick which also received positive comments, and although only one rider assessed the harder rear slicks, the feedback received indicate that it gives good, consistent performance.
“We anticipated that the new tarmac at this circuit had the potential to make this circuit even more severe on tyres, so we analysed the tyres used by the riders today to see if this was the case. Our analysis shows that the tarmac has made this track tougher on tyres, so we have decided that although riders can still use the softer rear slicks for the remaining practice sessions and qualifying, for the race we have specified that all riders use the harder rear slick options available to them.”