Jorge Lorenzo demonstrated once again that he won’t relinquish his MotoGP world crown without a fight by topping the times in first practice at Phillip Island. The Yamaha rider pipped series leader Marc Marquez by eight hundredths of a second as the two dominated on a bright and blustery morning in Australia.
Lorenzo flew out of the blocks first thing with a 1:31.884 on his very first timed lap and while the Hondas in particular took a few laps to build up their speed, Jorge dived straight into the 1:30s, closing in on the circuit record. After three laps, the world champion was just two tenths away from Nicky Hayden’s 2008 benchmark and moments later, he broke the 90 second barrier with a 1:29.931 to move three tenths clear of Marquez and Valentino Rossi.
A return to the pits for a debrief with his engineers only brought a brief respite as Lorenzo pumped in a 1:29.592 immediately but Marquez showed his hand for the first time shortly afterwards with a 1:29.319. The 20 year old looked as if he’d stolen the upper hand over his compatriot but Yamaha’s team leader put in a sensational lap five minutes from time to finish fastest of all, just half a second shy of the absolute track record around Phillip Island.
Alvaro Bautista jumped up to third with a similarly impressive lap in the closing stages but the Gresini rider trailed the leading duo by half a second. Dani Pedrosa was eight tenths off the pace in fourth with Valentino Rossi demoted to fifth, just ahead of the Tech 3 Yamahas of Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith.
Nicky Hayden was the leading Ducati rider in eighth but the 1.499s gap to the front won’t have gone down well at Bologna with Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone tenth and eleventh on identical times behind the impressive Randy de Puniet who showed promising pace all morning. The fourth GP13 had an even tougher time as Yonny Hernandez dropped his in an accident ten minutes in. The Colombian was uninjured and returned to set the eighteenth fastest time but will be keen on a cleaner session in FP2 later on today.
Whether Stefan Bradl is involved in that session remains to be seen. The German is riding despite having an operation on a broken ankle last weekend and was twentieth this morning, four seconds down on the frontrunners.
|TISSOT AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX – FP1 CLASSIFICATION|
|TOP 10 RIDERS AFTER FP3 AUTOMATICALLY QUALIFY FOR QUALIFYING 2|
|1||JORGE LORENZO||YAMAHA||YAMAHA FACTORY RACING||1:29.167|
|2||MARC MARQUEZ||HONDA||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||1:29.255|
|3||ALVARO BAUTISTA||HONDA||GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI||1:29.831|
|4||DANI PEDROSA||HONDA||REPSOL HONDA TEAM||1:30.008|
|5||VALENTINO ROSSI||YAMAHA||YAMAHA FACTORY RACING||1:30.053|
|6||CAL CRUTCHLOW||YAMAHA||MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3||1:30.130|
|7||BRADLEY SMITH||YAMAHA||MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3||1:30.361|
|8||NICKY HAYDEN||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||1:30.666|
|9||RANDY DE PUNIET||ART||POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR||1:31.280|
|10||ANDREA DOVIZIOSO||DUCATI||DUCATI TEAM||1:31.295|
|11||ANDREA IANNONE||DUCATI||ENERGY T.I. PRAMAC RACING TEAM||1:31.295|
|12||ALEIX ESPARGARO||ART||POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR||1:31.458|
|13||COLIN EDWARDS||FTR KAWASAKI||NGM MOBILE FORWARD RACING||1:31.557|
|14||HIROSHI AOYAMA||FTR||AVINTIA BLUSENS||1:31.637|
|15||HECTOR BARBERA||FTR||AVINTIA BLUSENS||1:31.766|
|16||DANILO PETRUCCI||IODA-SUTER||CAME IODARACING PROJECT||1:31.803|
|17||CLAUDIO CORTI||FTR KAWASAKI||NGM MOBILE FORWARD RACING||1:32.300|
|18||YONNY HERNANDEZ||DUCATI||IGNITE PRAMAC RACING TEAM||1:32.341|
|19||BRYAN STARING||FTR HONDA||GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI||1:32.741|
|20||STEFAN BRADL||HONDA||LCR HONDA MOTOGP||1:33.165|
|21||LUCA SCASSA||ART||CARDION AB MOTORACING||1:33.234|
|22||LUKAS PESEK||IODA-SUTER||CAME IODARACING PROJECT||1:33.797|
|23||MICHAEL LAVERTY||ART||PAUL BIRD MOTORSPORT||1:33.875|
|24||DAMIAN CUDLIN||PBM||PAUL BIRD MOTORSPORT||1:35.906|