Qatar MotoGP 2016 Thursday Practice

Qatar MotoGP 2016 Friday Practice | Lorenzo Leads Rossi
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo

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.”

Yamaha's Valentino Rossi at Qatar Practice MotoGP Friday
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

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.

Ducati Team's Andrea Iannone at Qatar MotoGP Practice Friday
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone

2016 Qatar MotoGP Thursday Practice Results:

1. J. LORENZO MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’55.440

2. V. ROSSI MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’55.707

3. A. IANNONE DUCATI TEAM 1’55.736

4. H. BARBERA AVINTIA RACING 1’55.810

5. M. VIÑALES TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’55.847

6. P. ESPARGARÒ MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1’56.051

7. D. PEDROSA REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’56.098

8. M. MARQUEZ REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’56.258

9. A. DOVIZIOSO DUCATI TEAM 1’56.387

10. S. REDDING OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH 1’56.412

11. B. SMITH MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1’56.524

12. C. CRUTCHLOW LCR HONDA 1’56.596

13. L. BAZ AVINTIA RACING 1’56.783

14. J. MILLER ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS 1’56.939

15. D. PETRUCCI OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH 1’56.981

16. A. ESPARGARÒ TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’57.096

17. A. BAUTISTA APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’57.129

18. Y. HERNANDEZ ASPAR TEAM MOTOGP 1’57.192

19. E. LAVERTY ASPAR TEAM MOTOGP 1’57.421

20. T. RABAT ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS 1’57.916

21. S. BRADL APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’57.989