Valentino Rossi showed a solid pace in the first two practice sessions and ended the day in fifth place.
Misano Adriatico - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo had a flying start to the 'Grand Prix di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini' weekend, setting a new fastest lap record at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Teammate Valentino Rossi also showed a solid pace in the first two practice sessions and ended the day in fifth place.
After a successful private Aragon test just a week ago, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team made the most of a perfect sunny day at the newly resurfaced Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.
Jorge Lorenzo thoroughly enjoyed the new, more grippy tarmac at the Misano track, which is one of his favourite circuits on the MotoGP calendar. He needed little time to adjust to the resurfaced circuit and swiftly moved up to second in the time sheets in his second outing with a best time of 1‘33.422. The Spaniard spent the remainder of the 45-minute session getting his setting ready for the afternoon and held the second position until the chequered flag came out.
The afternoon saw not only the temperature increase but also the pace. Lorenzo was smart to avoid traffic at the start of the second free practice session by waiting a little longer before leaving pit lane. He initially took first place before dropping to second position, which he held for most of the session until he decided to test winglets, an amendment to his YZR-M1‘s fairing, in the final twelve minutes. His next lap saw him immediately move into to lead when he dropped a 1‘32.871, a new circuit best lap record at Misano that remained unchallenged for the rest of the session.
Championship leader Valentino Rossi was greeted by thousands of cheering fans when he entered the track for the morning practice. Encouraged by the sea of yellow around the circuit, the crowd‘s favourite was on the charge right from the word go and moved up to second place with a 1‘36.456 lap before focusing on his set up. He gradually improved his time as the pace quickened and clocked a 1‘34.086 at the final stages of the session for sixth place.
Like his teammate, Rossi was able to make a big improvement in the afternoon session. Despite the crowdedness on the track, he skillfully maneuvered his way to the top of the timesheets as FP2 came to a close. He wrapped up the session by clocking a time of 1‘33.469, over one and a half seconds faster than his morning lap time. This result improved his ranking in the combined practice times to fifth position, 0.598s off today‘s fastest time.
Jorge Lorenzo: "We have been fast since the beginning of this morning‘s session and I like the new surface of the track, I think it suits my riding style. We tried some different settings in the afternoon that I wasn‘t quite satisfied about, but even with a less than perfect set-up we still managed to have a fast and constant pace with both tyres. We first rode with the hard rear and used the soft at the end and finished in first place. I think that, if we can improve the bike and try the hard tyre, we can make another step forward tomorrow. We are still trying out the winglets to understand the benefit."
Valentino Rossi: "Misano is always special and already today there was a great atmosphere. All around the track there were lots of people and this is good for the whole sport. The new track surface was quite difficult and I suffered in the morning, but we worked a lot on the bike and fortunately we improved in the afternoon. During the practice we were able to make a step forward, which is good, but it‘s not enough because I still don‘t feel a 100 per cent and can‘t ride at the maximum, so we have to improve for tomorrow. It‘s possible that I will give the winglets a try this weekend. We already rode with them during the private test and the first feeling wasn‘t so bad, it helped a little and could make a small difference."
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director: "Today was a great start to the race weekend considering we hadn‘t ridden at Misano since the track was repaved and we were unsure what to expect. Jorge started with a very focused mindset as usually and showed a great pace, setting a new fastest lap record. Vale made progress in the afternoon. He dropped into the mid 1‘33s and looks to make another step tomorrow. The team has done a good job today and we will continue to work tonight to be ready for tomorrow. The pace of the field is very fast so early on in the weekend, but we are feeling confident and are looking forward to qualifying and the race."