Two weeks after he claimed his first victory for the Ducati Team, Jorge Lorenzo was on the top of the time sheets again.The Spaniard, which won the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello and recently signed with Repsol Honda for 2019/2020 MotoGP, was quickest Friday during the opening day of practice at the newly-repaved Barcelona- Catalunya Circuit.
Lorenzo set a new Best Lap (across race and qualifying sessions) of 1:38.930. To put this time into perspective, the previous Best Lap posted at Catalunya was a 1:43.589 posted by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V).Joining Lorenzo on the provisional front row were Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Vinales. Iannone finished 0.107 of a second behind, and Vinales 0.492 back.Jorge Lorenzo, a five-time winner across all classes at Catalunya, says: “We have begun this Catalan GP weekend well and have shown that we have a very competitive base. The track has changed but my feelings are very good and in addition the Montmeló circuit has always been one of those where I manage to get the best out of my riding style.“Ever since the test a few weeks ago we were convinced that we could be very quick here and we confirmed it both this morning and in the afternoon, when we also lapped with a very good race pace. We must continue in this way tomorrow to try and get a front-row grid start, which will be very important for the race.”Last year’s Catalunya GP winner, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, finished fourth Friday, 0.513 of a second off the pace. He was followed by LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow and future Ducati Team pilot Danilo Petrucci on the Alma Pramac Racing Ducati.Rounding out the top 10 were Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco; Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa; Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Hafizh Syahrin; and Reale Avintia Racing Ducati’s Tito Rabat.As for the morning leader, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi finished 11th, 1.059 seconds off the pace. Rossi, who has a record of 10 wins at Catalunya, which includes seven in the premier class, finished a mere 0.001 of a second ahead of Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez.Marquez, the four-time MotoGP Champion, leads the title chase 23 points of Rossi. He struggled during Friday practice, and also suffered a crash at Turn 5, walking away unharmed.Free practice continues Saturday ahead of qualifying and Sunday’s 24-lap MotoGP.For a preview, visit 2018 Catalunya MotoGP Preview: Rossi & Lorenzo Lead Way in Wins.Photo by Luciano Bianchetto
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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!