Phillip Island Friday MotoGP Practice

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilot who won the last two rounds – Jorge Lorenzo – set the pace Friday during the opening day of practice at Phillip Island.

Lorenzo’s time of 1:29.602 ahead of the Australian Grand Prix was impressive considering the two-time MotoGP suffered a crash during the later moments of the second free practice due to losing the front end of his YZR-M1.

“I didn’t expect the crash because I was braking more or less at the same point with similar pressure as the previous laps but suddenly, without any warning, the front tire closed. Within one tenth of a second I was in the gravel. It was quite a violent crash, but luckily it wasn’t so hard that I got injured,” Lorenzo says.

“My leathers are completely destroyed, but I am ok, which is the most important thing. I think the asymmetrical front tyre was too hard for these cold conditions. These things happen and you just have to learn from it. Now we have to choose between another 31 or another asymmetrical. It’s a critical decision because tomorrow if it’s hotter, the asymmetrical tires might be the better option.”

It wasn’t only Lorenzo who had issues with front-tire traction at the slick Phillip Island circuit. Also crashing were Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro, GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, Drive M7 Aspar’s Hiroshi Aoyama, and Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone.

When the day was complete and the first two free practices were combined, Lorenzo would finish 0.147 of a second ahead of NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro.

Finishing third, 0.150 of a second back, was the 21-year-old Marc Marquez. The Repsol Honda rider was crowned 2014 MotoGP Champion last weekend at Motegi, and has every right to run a slower pace. But in typical Marquez fashion, the two-time MotoGP Champion showed no signs of relaxing.

“Today we focused on working with the new tires that Bridgestone have brought for this circuit, which are totally different from what we have used for the rest of the year. This is also a circuit that requires a very exact setup, because it has some very fast corners. In the afternoon practice session we took a step forward and I felt much better on the bike, but I think we have to keep working because there are still things that we can improve. However, the feeling is very good and I think it has been a positive day,” Marquez says.

Filling the fourth and fifth slots were two Ducati GP14 prototypes. Iannone was 0.201 of a second off Lorenzo’s time, and Dovizioso 0.343 of a second back.

Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) finished sixth, and was followed by Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team).

Also on Friday three of Australia’s greatest ever Grand Prix motorcycle racing stars were honured by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.

Former premier class World Champions Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner all won the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island and the achievements of all three were commemorated in bronze sculptures by Melbourne artist Barbara McLean, unveiled on Friday at the track, with the three riders each in attendance, MotoGP says.

For a preview that includes full point standings, click here.

2014 Phillip Island MotoGP Friday Practice Results (Combined):

Pos
Rider
Team
Combined FP1&2 Time
Gap
1
Jorge LORENZO
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
1’29.602 (FP2)
2
Aleix ESPARGARO
NGM Forward Racing
1’29.749 (FP1)
0.147
3
Marc MARQUEZ
Repsol Honda Team
1’29.752 (FP2)
0.150
4
Andrea IANNONE
Pramac Racing
1’29.803 (FP2)
0.201
5
Andrea DOVIZIOSO
Ducati Team
1’29.945 (FP2)
0.343
6
Valentino ROSSI
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
1’29.954 (FP2)
0.352
7
Cal CRUTCHLOW
Ducati Team
1’30.076 (FP2)
0.474
8
Pol ESPARGARO
Monster Yamaha Tech 3
1’30.103 (FP2)
0.501
9
Yonny HERNANDEZ
Energy T.I. Pramac Racing
1’30.281 (FP2)
0.679
10
Dani PEDROSA
Repsol Honda Team
1’30.289 (FP2)
0.711