Yamaha Racing press release
Determined Start Down Under for Lorenzo and Spies
The Grand Prix of Australia got underway today at the Phillip Island circuit with two free practice sessions run under glorious sunshine and warm conditions. Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo was very quick to find a good pace in the morning session, the only rider able to get close to Championship leader Casey Stoner. Lorenzo wrapped up the morning in second, just 0.269 seconds from first. The afternoon saw times suffer a little as track conditions changed, the Mallorcan’s pace dropping slightly as he hunted extra rear grip, finishing in third, 0.576 seconds from provisional pole.
Ben Spies made big improvements between the two sessions today. The Texan struggled in the morning session, unable to find a good pace with no positive set up. Some hard work by his crew delivered a much more competitive set up for the afternoon enabling him to climb from eighth in session one to fourth in session two, finding over half a second of extra speed.
Position 2nd - Time 1.30.744 - Laps 24
“Today I felt great in the morning but in the afternoon not as good. It was impossible to replicate the lap time from the morning. We were up to five tenths slower and I’m not sure why, maybe the track conditions were different, anyway we’ll see what happens tomorrow. We know that Casey is very fast here but today he wasn’t so quick. We must try to win and if not possible fight for the podium on Sunday.”
Position 5th - Time 1.31.495 - Laps 36
“I’m feeling good today; we started this morning with both bikes not working so well so we knew we had to come up with something this afternoon. The second session we were working really well but still struggling in a few areas we need to make better tomorrow. I think we definitely can and if we do I can see us dropping up to half a second pretty easily. It’s up to the boys; we know what the problem is we just need to work out how to fix it. As always I’m going to try the best I can to make it interesting for the fans and get up there.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“It was quite a good day for us today, the morning session especially was a little bit better than the afternoon. Everybody seemed to have less speed on the straight which was strange as there wasn’t much wind. Jorge feels confident on the bike and has space to improve, especially with rear grip. The gap between him and Casey was quite close this morning so we are quite satisfied with the first day.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We had some problems from the morning session with Ben which we partly solved in the afternoon allowing him to get more and more comfortable on the bike. There are still some points where we have to improve and work on but it seems that we know what we need to do. Hopefully the track will be dry tomorrow morning so we can see if we get the results we expect from the changes. Overall the pace is good and our tyre choice is almost done so for a first day we’ve done a great job. Jorge was very quick to find a good pace this morning. He still needs to find something but we are confident he will also make another step tomorrow.”