Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo began his title defense in the most positive way – he led the opening free practice Thursday of 2016 MotoGP at Losail International Circuit in Qatar.The five-time World Champion, who led two of the three preseason test sessions, set the pace on his opening lap, dipping well into the 1:55s. Lorenzo, who also completed a 22-lap race simulation run, ended the day with the only time under 1:55; he finished Thursday with a 1:54.810, 0.267 of a second ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi, making for a factory Yamaha YZR-M1 1-2.
Jorge Lorenzo says “I had a good start. From the first run I was able to have the best lap time and probably also the best pace, but we still have a margin for improvement both in lap time and pace. We will keep working on the setting and the electronics to improve in some areas for tomorrow. The track will also be better with more grip level tomorrow and the lap times will be faster.”Rossi was able to get up to speed at the end of the 45-minute session to post his quickest time.Valentino Rossi says “The first practice was positive. I‘m quite satisfied, it was a strong way to start the season, because the second position is good and also the lap times are already not so bad. They’re in the 1‘55s and the pace is quite good. We start working from what we did in the test.“This means that we did a good job during pre-season and we begin with a good base, but now we have to keep focus. The condition of the track changes a lot session by session and together with the team we have to deliver good work so we will be ready when the grip becomes better. I‘ll try to improve the feeling and also try to make the right decision for the tires.”The top Ducati was the factory GP16 piloted by Andrea Iannone. The Italian who earned a podium during last year’s race trailed the 36-year-old Rossi by 0.029 of a second. Next was yet another Ducati, but not a factory Desmosedici; rather, Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera finished fourth aboard the GP15; the Spaniard finished 0.370 of a second behind Lorenzo, and 0.037 of a second ahead of Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Vinales, the Spaniard who topped the Phillip Island preseason test aboard the GSX-RR.Rounding out the top 10 were Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Pol Espargaro (-0.611); Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa (-0.658); Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez (-0.818); Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso (-0.947); and Octo Pramac Ducati’s Scott Redding (-0.972), who was the final rider to post within a second of Lorenzo.The riders return to Losail Friday for the final two practices ahead of Saturday’s qualifying.
2016 Qatar MotoGP Thursday Practice Results:
1. J. LORENZO MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’55.4402. V. ROSSI MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’55.7073. A. IANNONE DUCATI TEAM 1’55.7364. H. BARBERA AVINTIA RACING 1’55.8105. M. VIÑALES TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’55.8476. P. ESPARGARÒ MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1’56.0517. D. PEDROSA REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’56.0988. M. MARQUEZ REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’56.2589. A. DOVIZIOSO DUCATI TEAM 1’56.38710. S. REDDING OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH 1’56.41211. B. SMITH MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1’56.52412. C. CRUTCHLOW LCR HONDA 1’56.59613. L. BAZ AVINTIA RACING 1’56.78314. J. MILLER ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS 1’56.93915. D. PETRUCCI OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH 1’56.98116. A. ESPARGARÒ TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’57.09617. A. BAUTISTA APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’57.12918. Y. HERNANDEZ ASPAR TEAM MOTOGP 1’57.19219. E. LAVERTY ASPAR TEAM MOTOGP 1’57.42120. T. RABAT ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS 1’57.91621. S. BRADL APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’57.989
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!