Promising Start For Lorenzo in Estoril
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies managed to avoid the rain today as the Portuguese GP got underway at Estoril. Lorenzo got down to business quickly in the first free practice as he looked to set up for his fourth consecutive win in Portugal. The afternoon’s second session saw him make a step forward, spending the majority of the 45 minute practice as one of only two riders to break under the 1’38 barrier. The reigning World Champion and current Championship leader completed the second heat in second place just 0.061 from first.
Today marked Texan rider Spies’ first opportunity to ride the Estoril circuit in the dry. With no race experience and no dry set up from last year the crew started with a base set up from Jerez in the morning. A number of set up changes followed and Spies also tried the harder Bridgestone tyre option in the afternoon session. The Yamaha Factory rider made steady improvements from morning to afternoon, finishing the day in eighth having improved on the morning session by 0.332 of a second.
“It’s good to be back on track here, I really love riding at Estoril. We have to improve some sectors for Sunday, especially in braking. We lost some tenths in the first sector but we make up for it in the other three so we are up there in second. We are always in the top four which is important.”
“It hasn’t been a perfect day; we’ve struggled a little bit. We tried to get a feel for the harder tyre this afternoon and don’t think that’s the right way for us. We tried some different settings through the sessions and we think we know what we need to do. We’re not close to the front but we’ll find our way up there. I’m pretty confident my guys and me can step up and be there, it’s in me and the bike so we'll come back tomorrow and improve.
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“We’re quite lucky because it started to rain on the last lap of the second session. We’re happy we missed it because we had quite a few things to try today. This afternoon we focused on some new electronic settings for better grip. We’re not ready yet but we had positive comments from Jorge so we are satisfied with the position and lap time so far.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We worked to find a good, balanced set up today for Ben. It was his first day on a dry circuit here in Estoril so it was a learning experience. We’ve been working hard to make the bike as he wants it; we still have more to do as the set up is not as he would like it yet. Jorge did a really good long run; he definitely has the right rhythm and good pace and should make another step forward tomorrow.”