The last five minutes of the practice became a battle between the two Factory Yamahas as they swapped positions at the top of the timesheets.
The Gran Premio d'Italia got off to a damp start this morning at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello with difficult track conditions keeping the MotoGP riders on wet tyres with just a few exceptions in the final moments.
The second practice in the afternoon proved to be a different story with Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi dominating on slick tyres to the delight of the Mugello crowd.
The last five minutes of the practice became a battle between the two Factory Yamahas as they swapped positions at the top of the timesheets, Lorenzo eventually taking the top spot at the chequered flag as the clock hit zero with a 1’48.375. Rossi wrapped up just 0.034 seconds behind. Fellow Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow made it a Yamaha top three, the next riders a full second behind.
Jorge Lorenzo 1st, Time - 1'48.375, 26 laps: “In the morning it was wet and bad conditions so we preferred to not exit at the end of FP1 with the slick tyres as we thought the track was dangerous. We had to wait for the afternoon and dry conditions.
From the beginning the Yamaha riders were very strong and competitive which means the track is working well for us this year. We have to wait for the improvement of our rivals and the possible change in weather that can change our performance but for the moment we are very competitive and happy.”
Valentino Rossi 2nd, Time - 1'48.409, 32 laps: “I’m happy because it's a very good practice today, starting from the beginning, staying at the top. It’s very good for the team as we are in first and second and for Yamaha because we have three Yamahas on the first three positions.
Already the lap time is not so bad but we have to stay focused and concentrate for tomorrow because for sure our opponents will improve a lot. We have to make another step to improve and go faster to fight for a good position in the race.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager: "Finally a good day. We are not as fast as last year but this morning was a rain session. This afternoon we were not just fastest, but also with a good rhythm.
We will keep working as we have some things to solve for tomorrow but for now Jorge has a good rhythm and a good feeling with the bike. Let’s work and see what we can improve on the bike and the package for tomorrow.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director: "Even if we lost the morning due to the less than perfect track conditions, this afternoon we did a great job. The base set up we started with worked very well with both riders.
The consistency and the speed of both of them was superb, to see three Yamahas in the top three positions is really promising. I think we will for sure try to improve the bike as we are only on the first day but it seems very promising so far.”