Jorge Lorenzo laid down an early marker at Le Mans with a blistering performance on Friday afternoon ahead of this weekend’s French Grand Prix. The reigning champion went quicker than the existing lap record late in the second session, giving him a three tenth advantage over Ducati’s Andrea Iannone and championship leader Marc Marquez.
After being surprisingly outpaced by Dani Pedrosa in the morning session, Lorenzo resumed his dominance at the start of FP2 and within four laps, the Yamaha rider was already underneath the morning benchmark. Jorge returned to the pits after setting a 1:33.572 but more improvements were to come on his final run, the Spaniard seemingly bettering his own time at will, breaking into the 1:32s as he did so.
Lorenzo later confirmed that his impressive pace was much more than a one-off flyer and believes he has the consistency to replicate today’s form over a race distance.
“I am very satisfied because from the beginning we started with a good setting and I was relatively fast, quite comfortably. In the afternoon we improved the bike a little bit and we went even faster with quite a big difference, a couple of tenths, to the rider in second place. It wasn‘t just one lap, we also had a good pace so it was a very good start to the weekend. Let‘s see if tomorrow we can increase the pace a little bit more and prepare for the race to our best capabilities.”
When he set his quickest lap, Lorenzo was eight tenths clear of the field but Iannone cut that to 0.339s in the dying seconds, edging him ahead of Marquez. Pol Espargaro benefitted from following the no.93 around the Bugatti circuit and ended the day in fourth with Andrea Dovizioso pipping the Suzukis of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales to fifth.
A lack of progress in FP2 saw Dani Pedrosa slip to eighth ahead of Hector Barbera while Jerez winner Valentino Rossi faces a nervous Saturday morning to confirm a place in Q2, the Italian finishing Friday in tenth spot.
2016 MONSTER ENERGY GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE (FRIDAY CLASSIFICATION)
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