NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro proved fastest through both MotoGP Free Practice sessions at Jerez after topping the timesheet late in the morning. Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo finished second in combined results, also setting his best lap in FP1, followed by defending world champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda in third.
Warm temperatures greeted riders in the morning and most would post their best times of the day in FP1. During the afternoon session the conditions became hot and grip issues started to plague a number of riders.
“This morning we started the session in the right direction and I was quiet comfortable on the bike but in the afternoon the track conditions changed a lot,” said Espargaro. “The front was closing and I struggled with the electronics. I didn’t use the soft tire, we will try it tomorrow.”
The same went for Lorenzo, the Mallorcan explaining that the slick conditions forced him to use a different rear tire than the morning, a choice that made the bike feel “nervous.”
Marquez, on the other hand, was fastest in FP2 and trailed Espargaro on adjusted time by four-tenths of a second in the difficult conditions.
"Today was a positive first day at a track where I had a lot of difficulty last year,” said Marquez. “It seems as if this year we are at the same level as the faster riders like Dani [Pedrosa], Lorenzo and Rossi right from the start, and this is obviously important. With that accomplished, we have also tried to work on things, but it was much easier to set a fast lap and pace this morning, than when the temperatures rose this afternoon.”
Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, posted the fourth-fastest time of the day in FP1 followed by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in fifth, the Italian rider putting in his best effort in FP2. Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, took sixth on the timesheet with a lap set in FP2 with Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista pacing seventh with a fast lap from FP1.
Dovi’s teammate, Cal Crutchlow, made a return to the track during Friday practice at Jerez, his first time back on the Ducati since his hard fall at Circuit of the Americas in Round 2 which left him with an injured right hand. The British rider finished in 18th position.
“I think that went as we expected today," explained Crutchlow. "The position doesn’t really reflect where we should be but I’m just happy to be back riding this weekend with the team. We never used the soft tire like maybe a lot of riders in front of me did. Today was about getting back some feeling with the bike, because I’m feeling a bit rusty. My hand is sore changing direction but braking doesn’t seem so bad at the moment. I’m optimistic again about riding tomorrow and I think we can take some information from today and build on it for practice and qualifying.”
MotoGP Jerez Friday Combined Practice Results 2014
1. Aleix Espargaro (Forward-Yamaha) 1’39.357 FP1
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’39.714 FP1
3. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’39.757 FP2
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’39.860 FP1
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’40.028 FP2
6. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’40.125 FP2
7. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1’40.560 FP1
8. Stefan Bradl (Honda) 1’40.644 FP1
9. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 1’40.686 FP1
10. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’40.742 FP2
11. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’40.758 FP1
12. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1’40.788 FP2
13. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 1’40.918 FP2
14. Michele Pirro (Ducati) 1’40.924 FP1
15. Hector Barbera (Avintia) 1’40.928 FP1
16. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’41.183 FP1
17. Colin Edwards (Forward-Yamaha) 1’41.252 FP1
18. Cal Crutchlow (Ducati) 1’41.353 FP2
19. Scott Redding (Honda) 1’41.374 FP1
20. Karel Abraham (Honda) 1’41.578 FP1
21. Danilo Petrucci (ART) 1’41.589 FP2
22. Michael Laverty (PBM) 1’41.914 FP2
23. Broc Parkes (PBM) 1’42.171 FP1
24. Mike di Meglio (Avintia) 1’42.220 FP2