The first day of the 16th round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship is in the books after an eventful afternoon at Australia’s Phillip Island. With riders buzzing about the new asphalt being much smoother and having better grip than last year, times were fast around the Aussie circuit today, with none faster than Yamaha Factory rider Jorge Lorenzo.
Lorenzo lead the timesheets in both Phillip Island Free Practice rounds, his 1’28.961 almost a second faster than the standing race record.
“I feel that here we are much more competitive than in Malaysia. There are some problems with the wind in some corners where we cannot keep the front wheel on the ground so we need to improve that for tomorrow. In general every step we make with the bike works so little by little we have improved and been faster. The tire feels consistent also so let’s see if we can improve the little issue with the front. The new tarmac is much better, you can push with more confidence and there are less bumps,” said Lorenzo in team PR.
Finishing Free Practice 2 with the second-fastest time was Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. Bautista rode strong in both sessions, finishing the morning practice third. Bautista crashed in FP2, his get-off coming on the Southern Loop at Turn 2, but was still able to put up the second-fastest effort of the afternoon.
Championship points leader Marc Marquez put a scare in the Repsol Honda garage when he crashed at Turn 9 in Free Practice 2. The Spanish rider walked away unfazed and returned on his back-up bike, but was unable to better his times from the first practice session where he paced second-fastest, mustering a sixth-fastest time in FP2.
His Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa finished third in afternoon practice despite having his day cut short by a mechanical issue with his RC213V. An engine mounting bolt reportedly came loose, causing him to quickly pull to the side of the track. With time in the session dwindling down, Pedrosa opted not to go back out.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi charted a fourth-fastest time on the FP2 timesheets after shaving almost a half second off his morning time. Rossi edged out Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow by 0.059 seconds with a 1’29.537 lap.
“We have to improve some areas, especially turn four to try to go faster and we need to exit the last corner in a better way. We also need to work for the edge of the tire, especially on the left as it's a big stress. The track is fantastic with good weather like today. The new surface is very good so it's a great pleasure to ride the M1 here. We are all very close and we are quite fast,” said Rossi in a Yamaha Racing release.
Marquez meanwhile, finished the second practice session in sixth, slotting in between the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo of Crutchlow and Bradley Smith. The British rider said he’s pleased with the results after turning his first laps on the Australian circuit aboard a top-tier GP machine.
Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet put forth his best practice results of the season, the French rider the top finisher amongst CRT riders in eighth place. The Aspar rider was able to fend off the Ducati Factory duo of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, the ninth- and tenth-fastest riders respectively.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who broke his ankle after a big crash in the last race in Malaysia, gave it a go in the morning practice session but opted not to return for Free Practice 2. Bradl wasn’t able to compete at the same level of intensity he usually races with and finished FP1 back in 20th place. Afterwards, the team announced that he will not race at Phillip Island as he continues to recover from his injury and will try to return in the next round at Motegi.
MotoGP Phillip Island Free Practice 2 Friday Results
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’28.961
2. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’29.438
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’29.478
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’29.537
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’29.667
6. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’29.989
7. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’30.989
8. Randy de Puniet (ART) 1’30.609
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’30.609
10. Andrea Dovizioso(Ducati) 1’30.753
11. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’30.792
12. Colin Edwards (FTR) 1’30.917
13. Aleix Espargaro (ART) 1’31.091
14. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 1’31.134
15. Hector Barbera (FTR) 1’31.286
16. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR) 1’31.434
17. Claudio Corti (FTR) 1’31.451
18. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter) 1’31.985
19. Michael Laverty (ART) 1’32.066
20. Luca Scassa (ART) 1’32.261