Reigning world champ Jorge Lorenzo returned to form today at Mugello, setting the quickest combined time in the two 45-minute MotoGP
practice sessions at the Italian circuit. Behind him was nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, ahead of Cal Crutchlow, with all riding Yamaha YZR-M1 prototypes.
“In the morning it was wet and bad conditions so we preferred to not exit at the end of FP1 with the slick tires as we thought the track was dangerous,” Lorenzo shared. “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.”
Lorenzo’s time of 1’48.375 was barely ahead of both Rossi and Crutchlow but nearly a second faster than Nicky Hayden who slots into fourth-place aboard his Ducati Desmosedici prototype. Still Rossi didn’t seem too concerned about Lorenzo’s pace.
“I’m happy because it's a very good practice today, starting from the beginning, staying at the top,” said Rossi. “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.”
With the Ducati factory only a short drive from the track, the team does quite a bit of testing at the Tuscan circuit and has home track advantage coming into the race weekend. Hayden’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso was about a half of a second off the American’s time having crashed in the sketchy wet/dry morning conditions however he remounted and registered the seventh fastest time behind both Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Iannone.
Aside from the dominant performance put in by the top-three Yamaha riders the big news was series rookie Marc Marquez having crashed off the 200 mph-plus back straightaway before Turn 1. The 20-year-old somehow avoided serious injury but sat out the rest of the day. Curiously, Pedrosa was just over a second off the pace of front runner Lorenzo.
American Ben Spies re-joins the series this weekend after taking a few weeks off to better rehabilitate a pesky shoulder injury that has troubled the rider for almost a full year now. Spies was well adrift of the pace lapping the 3.259-mile track in a time of 1’51.105.
MotoGP Mugello Friday Results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’48.375
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’48.409
3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’48.672
4. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’49.377
5. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’49.383
6. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’49.467
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’49.543
8. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’49.595
9. Randy De Puniet (ART CRT) 1’49.599
10. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 1’49.649
11. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’49.733
12. Aleix Espargaro (ART CRT) 1’49.769
13. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’50.103
14. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’50.210
15. Hector Barbera (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1’50.400
16. Ben Spies (Ducati) 1’51.105
17. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1’51.433
18. Karel Abraham (ART CRT) 1’51.528
19. Yonny Hernandez (ART CRT) 1’51.644
20. Danilo Petrucci (Suter-BMW CRT) 1’51.937
21. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1’52.182
22. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 1’53.314
23. Michael Laverty (PBM-ART CRT) 1’53.480
24. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda CRT) 1’54.231
25. Lukas Pesek (Suter-BMW CRT) 1’54.829