Lorenzo Returns – Tops Friday Jerez MotoGP Practice

Lorenzo Returns - Tops Friday Jerez MotoGP Practice
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo

2015 Jerez MotoGP Friday Practice Results

Lorenzo Returns - Tops Friday Jerez MotoGP Practice
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo

First it was issues with his HJC lid at Qatar, then Bronchitis in Texas, and finally tire problems in Argentina. These were the major complaints of two-time MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo so far in 2015 MotoGP.

But things turned positive Friday during the opening day of practice at Jerez in Spain. Before a home crowd, Lorenzo topped the time sheets in both free practices; this was the first time of 2015 MotoGP that the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilot led a session.

Lorenzo’s quickest time of 1:39.174 arrived in morning practice before hot temperatures caused greasy track conditions. Most of the 25-rider grid was slower during FP2 due to working on setup in the hotter conditions, which are also expected on race day.

When Friday’s sessions were complete, Lorenzo took the provisional pole position ahead of his fellow countrymen: Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro, who finished 0.049 of a second back and the reigning MotoGP Champion, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who was 0.254 of a second behind.

“My mentality from this morning was to go for it and don‘t think too much, just try to ride according to my instinct and it worked very well, especially in the morning. In the afternoon we tried the hard rear tire that was very bad, with lots of spinning for everyone and I decided to go back to the softer one, since that one is much better in cold but also in warmer conditions,” Lorenzo says.

“Yamaha and I did great things together in the past. In the last two years I felt less good, but we focused on the year and now it seems we‘re coming back stronger. We will have to demonstrate it tomorrow and especially on Sunday. Yesterday was a great day for me and I am very grateful that Yamaha has faith in me even in very hard moment. I want to show my form again on the track tomorrow with my speed.”

Lorenzo Returns - Tops Friday Jerez MotoGP Practice Suzuki Espargaro
Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro

Espargaro’s Suzuki GSX-RR runs under open-class rules, which allows the bike to run with softer tires. This allowed him to also post his quickest time in the cooler morning session.

Marquez set his time aboard a Honda RC213V with a modified left grip. The two-time MotoGP Champion who crashed out at Argentina broke his left pinky during a dirt-track training crash last week, and underwent surgery. Doctors in Barcelona inserted a titanium plate in his pinky, and he was deemed fit to ride after a medical evaluation.

“We can be happy that my hand has responded quite well today – as well as could be expected. It hurts a lot but at least I can put in the laps,” Marquez says.

“We’ll see if tomorrow it is better if it doesn’t swell up. As for the bike, I’m feeling pretty good with it and we are working well, but we need to improve some things – especially in the afternoon – when the track temperature rises. The race will be at this time, so we have to improve the setup accordingly.”

Taking fourth overall Friday was Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone, who finished 0.337 of a second behind Lorenzo. In fifth, 0.361 of a second behind, was Iannone’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who finished second at all three rounds held so far this season. Due to this, Dovizioso is in second in the standings, six points behind the man who won in Qatar and Argentina, Valentino Rossi.

Lorenzo Returns - Tops Friday Jerez MotoGP Practice Iannone
Ducati’s Andrea Iannone

Another Ducati followed the factory Ducati Team duo of Andreas – Pramac Racing Danilo Petrucci. He ended the day 0.544 of a second behind, and finished ahead of CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro.

Nine-time World Champion Rossi finished ninth overall, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider working closely on setup. The 36-year-old Italian finished 0.698 of a second behind his teammate, and a mere 0.037 of a second ahead of 10th-place finisher Maverick Vinales on the other Team Suzuki Ecstar.

Taking the top open-class time was Avintia Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera. As for the sole American in MotoGP Aspark MotoGP Team’s Nicky Hayden finished 19th 1,347 seconds off the pace.

The riders will return to Jerez Saturday for two additional free practices ahead of qualifying. For more on the round, visit 2015 Jerez MotoGP Preview.

2015 Jerez MotoGP Practice, Friday Photo Gallery: