Trailing 2015 MotoGP points leader Valentino Rossi by a mere 14 points, Jorge Lorenzo will put every ounce of energy possible towards winning this weekend’s Grand Prix of Japan at Twin Ring Motegi.The 28-year-old Spaniard began this task Friday in the fastest way possible; he led the opening day of free practice at Motegi MotoGP 2015. Under perfect riding conditions, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1 pilot battled through some shoulder pain sustained from a training crash last week.
Lorenzo, who won two weeks ago at Aragon MotoGP, topped Motegi MotoGP Friday free practice one with a 1:45.432, and only got quicker during free practice two. Lorenzo, a two-time MotoGP Champion, finished FP2 at Japan MotoGP 2015 with a best time of 1:44.731, which became a new fastest lap at Motegi.Lorenzo finished the day 0.128 of second ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and 0.312 ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone. As for Rossi, he was eighth fastest, 0.823 behind his teammate Lorenzo.“It was a surprising day, because I didn’t expect to be so competitive, especially in the morning. I expected to improve little by little, but starting from the first run I was the fastest rider and I improved even more on the last outing, so I finished first in the morning and the afternoon,” Lorenzo says.“The bike is going better than last year and we have a great setup. Obviously my shoulder isn’t perfect, but even with my shoulder in this condition I‘m still able to ride and be quite consistent. I believe that with normal physical conditions I could have been even faster, but there‘s no point in thinking about what could have happened. It‘s better to focus on the current situation and take the maximum profit. For tomorrow we still have a margin to improve the bike to suit my riding. I hope it won‘t be raining on Sunday, so let’s hope the weather forecasts improve.”Heading up the second provisional front row after Motegi MotoGP Friday practice was Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who finished 0.328 off the top time. Finishing behind Dovi were Monster Yamaha Tec 3’s Bradley Smith and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro.Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was seventh fastest at Japan MotoGP Friday practice, finishing ahead of Rossi, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro and Avinita Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera.As for the sole American in all of MotoGP, Aspar MotoGP’s Nicky Hayden finished 20th, over two seconds off the pace. This will be Hayden’s final year in GP racing; the 2016 MotoGP Champion joins World Superbike in 2016 with Ten Kate Honda.The 27-rider (two wild cards) 2015 MotoGP grid returns to Motegi Saturday for two additional free practices ahead of qualifying.
2015 Motegi MotoGP Friday Practice Results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’44.731 2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’44.859 3. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team 1’45.043 4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 1’45.059 5. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’45.250 6. Aleix Espargarò (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’45.348 7. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’45.492 8. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’45.554 9. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’45.597 10. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 1’45.645 11. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) CWM LCR Honda 1’45.846 12. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 1’46.074 13. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’46.371 14. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 1’46.464 15. Jack Miller (AUS) CWM LCR Honda 1’46.477 16. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing 1’46.563 17. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing 1’46.648 18. Takumi Takahashi (JPN) Team HRC with Nissin 1’46.650 19. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar MotoGP Team 1’46.770 20. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar MotoGP Team 1’46.827 21. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing 1’46.934 22. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1’46.974 23. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (JPN) Yamaha Factory Racing Team 1’47.096 24. Loris Baz (FRA) Forward Racing 1’47.219 25. Toni Elias (SPA) Forward Racing 1’47.626 26. Alex De Angelis (RSM) E-Motion IodaRacing Team 1’48.572 27. Kousuke Akiyoshi (JPN) AB Motoracing 1’48.769
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.