MotoGP riders started the first European round of the 2013 World Championship at Jerez on Friday and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo
proved quickest through both Free Practice sessions, posting his best result of the day in FP2 with a 1’39.562. Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa
’s FP1 effort remained his fastest, putting him second in combined practice time, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow
sitting a fraction of a second back in third. The British rider took the runner-up spot in FP2 behind Lorenzo, stoking the fire of expectation that his first podium finish of the season may be within reach at the circuit.
On Thursday before practice Lorenzo was honored by having the final turn at Jerez named after him. The Mallorcan made his GP debut at the circuit in 2002 in the 125cc class, where he was forced to sit out the first day of practice because he’d not yet reached the minimum age limit of 15. In 2013 Lorenzo will celebrate his 26th birthday during qualifying on Saturday and will then fight for his third premier-class win at the track on Sunday.
Pedrosa has finished on the podium at Jerez every year since moving to the premier class in 2006, but has taken just one win there, in 2008. He spent the practice sessions gaining feel for the different tire compounds available and sought solutions to improve stability on corner entry and exit. Crutchlow, similarly, cycled through various set-ups in both sessions trying to find a suitable configuration for the warm conditions on track. He posted competitive lap times during pre-season testing at the circuit and has been strong through the first two rounds of 2013, finishing as the fastest non-factory rider in both Qatar
Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, finished Friday practice at Jerez in fourth, three-tenths of a second off the top time. The Italian is determined to get back on the podium following his sixth-place showing at CoTA.
Pedrosa’s teammate, Marc Marquez, is currently tied for the lead with Lorenzo and has already achieved some remarkable milestones in his rookie season. Nabbing his first podium in his first premier-class race in Qatar, the 20 year-old followed that up with his first pole position and first race win at CoTA. During the press conference prior to Friday’s practice at Jerez, Marquez expressed some self-doubt about whether he’d have a shot to challenge out front at the circuit but ended Friday’s practice sessions more optimistic, posting the fifth-fastest time, 0.327 behind Lorenzo.
Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista ended FP2 in sixth position, with Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone following in seventh. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden finished eighth thanks to his 1’40.722 lap set in FP1, which was just enough to keep him ahead of the fastest CRT rider of the day, Hector Barbera of Avintia Blusens. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro rounded out the top-10.
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl couldn’t improve on his FP1 time and ended the day 11th in combined time, followed by Hayden’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso in 12th. Ducati’s wildcard test rider, Michele Pirro, who is running the new Ducati GP13 Lab bike, finished the day in 13th. Pirro’s mount includes a new chassis and engine management system and represents the Italian marque’s latest effort to improve performance in the premier-class, as they’ve has struggled over the past years to consistently compete with other factory bikes on the grid. Cructhlow’s teammate, Bradley Smith, trailed Pirro in 14th while Espargaro’s teammate, Randy de Puniet, finished 15th.
The final practice session is set for Saturday morning and will decide who moves directly to Q2 to fight for pole. Stay tuned to MotoUSA for full coverage of qualifying and race results as the action unfolds in Spain.
MotoGP Jerez Friday Combined Results 2013:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’39.562 – FP2
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’39.704 – FP1
3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’39.733 – FP2
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’39.874 – FP2
5. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’39.889 – FP2
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’40.507 – FP2
7. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’40.574 – FP2
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’40.722 – FP1
9. Hector Barbera (FTR) 1’40.736 – FP2
10. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1’40.738 – FP2
11. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’40.799 – FP1
12. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’40.884 – FP2
13. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 1’40.902 – FP2
14. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’40.990 – FP2
15. Randy de Puniet (ART) 1’41.078 – FP2
16. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR) 1’41.671 – FP1
17. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter) 1’41.751 – FP2
18. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’41.764 – FP1
19. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’41.790 – FP2
20. Yonny Hernandez (ART) 1’42.155 – FP1
21. Bryan Staring (FRT-Honda) 1’42.606 – FP2
22. Michael Laverty (PBM) 1’42.974 – FP2
23. Karel Abraham (ART) 1’43.334 – FP1
24. Lucas Pesek (Ioda-Suter) 1’43.403 – FP2