2013 Qatar MotoGP: Yamaha’s Lorenzo Leads First Free Practice

Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo

2013 Qatar MotoGP Free Practice 1 Results

For most of the 45-minute Free Practice 1 session Thursday for the opening round of 2013 MotoGP at Losail International Circuit, Valentino Rossi was the rider to beat.

The nine-time World Champion, who switched back to the Yamaha Factory Racing team after two sour years with Ducati Team, was the first rider to dip under the 1:57 mark under the floodlights at Losail.

But with four minutes remaining in FP1, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow, the YZR-M1 rider who led the final preseason test at Jerez, took over the top spot.

At that point, Crutchlow was just under a tenth of a second quicker than Rossi, but his quickness was short lived. With just over a minute to go, Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo posted the quickest time – a 1:56.685 in a relatively crash-free practice. To put this in perspective, the record lap at Losail is a 1:55.153 set by the now-retired Casey Stoner (Ducati, 2007).

Lorenzo, who took the pole and race win at 2012 Qatar MotoGP, finished 0.058 of a second ahead of Crutchlow, with three-time Qatar winner Rossi a further 0.071 of a second behind.

The Yamaha prototypes were the bikes to beat in FP1. The fastest Honda was the Repsol RC213V piloted by the rookie Marc Marquez. The Spaniard, who led all private test sessions at Circuit of the Americas in Austin three weeks ago posted a 1:57.276, and trailed Lorenzo by 0.591 of a second.

Next was the quickest Ducati – the Ducati Team GP13 piloted by newly signed Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian was 0.853 of a second behind Lorenzo.

Sixth through eighth fastest were all Honda RC213Vs, the group lead by San Carlo Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista (-0.916 behind Lorenzo), LCR’s Stefan Bradl (-0.985), who was the final rider to post within a second of Lorenzo, and Repsol’s Dani Pedrosa (-1.064).

The top CRT honors went to Aleix Espargaro on the Power Electronics ART, who was 1.158 second behind, with Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden rounding out the top 10 (-1.124 seconds back).

As for the other Americans, Pramac Racing Ducati’s Ben Spies was 13th quickest, 1.890 seconds off Lorenzo. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards was 17th quickest, 3.656 seconds behind.

The riders will be back on Losail International Circuit for the second and third free practices Friday ahead of the fourth free practice and both qualifying sessions Saturday.

A Note on 2013 MotoGP Free Practice/Qualifying Changes

As in previous years, there will be three 45-minute Free Practice sessions, which on a regular race weekend will be held Friday morning and afternoon, as well as Saturday morning. The difference this year will be that the times set in those sessions will count towards Qualifying, with the combined results determining whether a rider will participate in Q1 or Q2.

Q1 will consist of the riders whose times are 11th place and below, and will be a 15-minute session. During this time riders will have the incentive to qualify for Q2, which the two fastest of the session will be able to contest. This will result in 12 riders contesting the final 15-minute Q2 session, to determine the starting order at the front. The riders not in the fastest two places in QP1 will take grid positions 13 and above according to their placement in QP1.

To accommodate for any unforeseen changes or necessary adjustments, there will be a 30-minute Free Practice 4, which will be held before the two Qualifying sessions. This will be timed as usual but will not have any bearing on which Qualifying session a rider will take part in.

2013 Qatar Free Practice 1 Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 341.7 1’56.685
2 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 338.5 1’56.743 0.058 / 0.058
3 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 338.2 1’56.756 0.071 / 0.013
4 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 344.7 1’57.276 0.591 / 0.520
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 343.0 1’57.538 0.853 / 0.262
6 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 340.4 1’57.601 0.916 / 0.063
7 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 343.5 1’57.670 0.985 / 0.069
8 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 344.4 1’57.749 1.064 / 0.079
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 325.3 1’57.843 1.158 / 0.094
10 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 341.7 1’57.926 1.241 / 0.083
11 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 328.5 1’58.369 1.684 / 0.443
12 29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati 340.5 1’58.559 1.874 / 0.190
13 11 Ben SPIES USA Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati 341.0 1’58.575 1.890 / 0.016
14 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Blusens FTR 319.1 1’59.608 2.923 / 1.033
15 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 323.2 1’59.633 2.948 / 0.025
16 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing ART 324.3 1’59.758 3.073 / 0.125
17 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 320.6 2’00.341 3.656 / 0.583
18 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Paul Bird Motorsport ART 317.6 2’00.426 3.741 / 0.085
19 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Avintia Blusens FTR 311.4 2’00.563 3.878 / 0.137
20 71 Claudio CORTI ITA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 321.0 2’01.227 4.542 / 0.664
21 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 317.7 2’01.438 4.753 / 0.211
22 67 Bryan STARING AUS GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda 317.9 2’01.942 5.257 / 0.504
23 52 Lukas PESEK CZE Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 317.2 2’02.079 5.394 / 0.137
24 70 Michael LAVERTY GBR Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 318.3 2’02.135 5.450 / 0.056

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