Jorge Lorenzo made the perfect start to his final weekend with Movistar Yamaha by topping both Friday practice sessions in Valencia. The Spaniard, who clinched his fifth world title here last year, looked back to his best as he outpaced Marc Marquez with Maverick Vinales the only other rider in touch with the front pair.
Marquez looked to have stolen the advantage late in the second session after embarking on an impressive final run which included four back-to-back laps in the 1:30 range. Lorenzo responded superbly though, clocking a 1:30.463 in the closing minutes to finish the afternoon on top and within half a second of his own pole position record from a year ago.
Speaking after the session, Lorenzo was delighted with his start to the weekend, saying his day couldn’t have gone any better.
“I feel very good and I think the tarmac has a lot of grip. Michelin brought very good tyres for the front and the rear. We tried the new front and it’s different; it has more movability in the corner and the rear has a lot of grip and it warms up quickly. I felt good with it. Finally we put in the soft rear tyre to see if it is possible and better to use for qualifying and we saw that it‘s clearly better than the hard one and I set a good lap time, so I‘m satisfied. For the moment we have started the last weekend with Yamaha in the best way possible: first and first. Marquez is very strong too and Viñales is very fast as well, it will be very close on Sunday if it‘s a dry race, but we are not sure because the weather is uncertain.”
Vinales trailed the former and current world champions in third with Pol Espargaro using a slipstream from Andrea Dovizioso to snatch fourth from the Ducati rider, Espargaro aiming to become the tenth different winner of 2016. Aleix Espargaro would also earn that distinction should he triumph on Sunday and the Suzuki rider completed the top six in FP2.
Andrea Iannone was seventh quickest ahead of championship runner-up Valentino Rossi while Danilo Petrucci and the returning Dani Pedrosa rounded out the top ten. Today was also notable for the competitive debut of KTM with Mika Kallio finishing three seconds off in 22nd with their developmental machine.
2016 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana (Friday Classification)
|1||99. Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:30.463|
|2||93. Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:30.710|
|3||25. Maverick VINALES||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:30.775|
|4||44. Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:31.000|
|5||4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:31.066|
|6||41. Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||1:31.186|
|7||29. Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:31.189|
|8||46. Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||1:31.257|
|9||9. Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||1:31.295|
|10||26. Dani PEDROSA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:31.358|
|11||35. Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||LCR Honda||1:31.462|
|12||45. Scott REDDING||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||1:31.733|
|13||8. Hector BARBERA||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:31.742|
|14||73. Jack MILLER||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1:31.754|
|15||50. Eugene LAVERTY||Ducati||Pull & Bear Aspar Team||1:31.776|
|16||6. Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:32.014|
|17||19. Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||1:32.206|
|18||68. Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||Pull & Bear Aspar Team||1:32.218|
|19||38. Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:32.280|
|20||76. Loris BAZ||Ducati||Avintia Racing||1:32.476|
|21||53. Tito RABAT||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||1:32.637|
|22||36. Mika KALLIO||KTM||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||1:33.574|