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

Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo
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.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
199Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha341.71’56.685
235Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha338.51’56.7430.058 / 0.058
346Valentino ROSSIITAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha338.21’56.7560.071 / 0.013
493Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda344.71’57.2760.591 / 0.520
54Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati343.01’57.5380.853 / 0.262
619Alvaro BAUTISTASPAGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda340.41’57.6010.916 / 0.063
76Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda343.51’57.6700.985 / 0.069
826Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda344.41’57.7491.064 / 0.079
941Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART325.31’57.8431.158 / 0.094
1069Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati341.71’57.9261.241 / 0.083
1138Bradley SMITHGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha328.51’58.3691.684 / 0.443
1229Andrea IANNONEITAEnergy T.I. Pramac RacingDucati340.51’58.5591.874 / 0.190
1311Ben SPIESUSAIgnite Pramac RacingDucati341.01’58.5751.890 / 0.016
148Hector BARBERASPAAvintia BlusensFTR319.11’59.6082.923 / 1.033
1514Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART323.21’59.6332.948 / 0.025
1617Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingART324.31’59.7583.073 / 0.125
175Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki320.62’00.3413.656 / 0.583
1868Yonny HERNANDEZCOLPaul Bird MotorsportART317.62’00.4263.741 / 0.085
197Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNAvintia BlusensFTR311.42’00.5633.878 / 0.137
2071Claudio CORTIITANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki321.02’01.2274.542 / 0.664
219Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter317.72’01.4384.753 / 0.211
2267Bryan STARINGAUSGO&FUN Honda GresiniFTR Honda317.92’01.9425.257 / 0.504
2352Lukas PESEKCZECame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter317.22’02.0795.394 / 0.137
2470Michael LAVERTYGBRPaul Bird MotorsportPBM318.32’02.1355.450 / 0.056