Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo has made a flying start to this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, completing the first day of free practice as the fastest rider. The defending champion came out fighting in the first morning practice and led the session apart from a brief appearance by rival Marc Marquez at the top of the time sheets mid way through.
A new tarmac surface at the track has vastly improved grip, allowing Lorenzo to drop almost a second under the race record in the morning. The afternoon saw him pick up the pace even further, the only rider to drop
Teammate Valentino Rossi also enjoyed a positive start to the weekend today. The Italian nine time champion made a big step forward between the morning and afternoon sessions, shaving nearly half a second off his time and moving half a second closer to the front. He finished the day in fifth overall, 0.576 from Lorenzo in first and just 0.059 seconds from Dani Pedrosa in fourth.
1st / 1’28.961 / 32 laps
“I feel that here we are much more competitive than in Malaysia. There are some problems with the wind in some corners where we cannot keep the front wheel on the ground so we need to improve that for tomorrow. In general every step we make with the bike works so little by little we have improved and been faster. The tyre feels consistent also so let’s see if we can improve the little issue with the front. The new tarmac is much better, you can push with more confidence and there are less bumps. The exit of turn six has a little bump, but apart from this corner everything is much better.”
5th / 1’29.537 / 43 laps
“I’m happy about today, especially this afternoon as we were able to improve the settings of the bike a lot. I’m happy about my pace, I’m constant and also quite fast, I can stay on a 1’29 also with used tyres. We have to improve some areas, especially turn four to try to go faster and we need to exit the last corner in a better way. We also need to work for the edge of the tyre, especially on the left as it’s a big stress. The track is fantastic with good weather like today. The new surface is very good so it’s a great pleasure to ride the M1 here. We are all very close and we are quite fast. The track is easier to ride like this because the new tarmac has more grip and less bumps. It’s easier but we have to be faster! The lines are more or less the same.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“It’s been a good first day despite the windy circumstances, which all riders complained about. The tarmac is a lot better than before so they are happy with the grip of the track. Jorge was very consistent and happy with the set up. It’s very positive to be fastest so let’s work towards some more possibilities for tomorrow because I don’t think today was the fastest lap of the weekend.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Today definitely started very well and we were able to get a lot of data. The bikes look like they are both working well. As a result we were able to make improvements much more quickly than the previous two races. This track is very suitable for our bike. It’s really important to start like this at the beginning and make the setting of the bike as good as possible. We are satisfied with today but will keep pushing and working to make something even better for tomorrow.”
Crutchlow and Smith impress in record-breaking Phillip Island practice
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith impressed on a record-breaking opening day of practice at the spectacular Phillip Island track in Australia today.
The British pair took full advantage of favourable weather conditions and a smooth new surface offering excellent grip levels to set competitive times at the start of the 16th round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship. A strong and unpredictable wind blowing off the nearby Bass Strait didn’t prevent Crutchlow from comfortably lapping under Nicky Hayden’s 2008 lap record of 1.30.059, the 27-year-old setting a personal best pace of 1.29.667 under clear blue skies. That was good enough to place Crutchlow, who is scheduled to make his 50th MotoGP start in Sunday’s 27-lap race, sixth on the combined timesheets on a day that ended with the top six all under lap record pace. Just one place below Crutchlow on the rankings was teammate Smith, who made a confident start to his first taste of the jaw-dropping Phillip Island circuit on a 1000cc MotoGP machine.
Smith wasted no time in getting up to speed in this morning’s FP1, with a best lap of 1.30.361 leaving him just 0.231s behind Crutchlow. The 22-year-old improved his pace to a 1.30.165 in this afternoon’s blustery FP2 session and that secured him seventh on the leaderboard and the third best time set by a non-factory rider. It wasn’t only the lap record that was smashed today, with Alvaro Bautista setting a new top speed record at Phillip Island with an astonishing speed of 343.9km/h (213.68mph) on the long start/finish straight.
6th 1.29.667 – 43 laps
“Today was a good start to the weekend and I am satisfied to be in the top six. I’d like to be stronger on the brakes going into Turn 4, which can be important for overtaking in the race on Sunday. It was obvious that the new track surface is a big improvement and they have done a really good job in making it smooth with a lot of grip. A few of us were consistently under the lap record with a similar pace and hopefully tomorrow I can improve to be a bit higher up. I was on the podium here last year and it was great to share the rostrum with Casey and Jorge. It will be difficult to repeat that on Sunday but I will be trying my maximum as always to get the best result possible for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad.”
7th 1.30.165 – 45 laps
“The first day here in Phillip Island has been better than my Friday performances in recent races and I am happy about that. This morning my feeling with the bike was really good and the new surface gave me a lot of confidence with the Bridgestone tyres and I could push a lot. We tried a couple of things with the bike to find a good direction for tomorrow and we are moving in the right way and that’s good. I don’t really have any problems, so tomorrow we will make a couple of small setting changes and hopefully I will be able to break into the 29s and reduce the gap to Jorge at the front.”
2013 MotoGP Australia
Phillip Island 18/10/2013
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’28.961
2 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’29.255
3 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’29.438
4 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’29.478
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’29.537
6 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’29.667
7 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’30.165
8 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’30.215
9 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’30.609
10 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’30.754
11 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’30.792
12 Colin Edwards FTR Kawasaki USA 1’30.917
13 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’31.091
14 Yonny Hernandez ART COL 1’31.134
15 Hector Barbera FTR ESP 1’31.286
(Nicky Hayden, 1-1-2008)
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Casey Stoner, 5-10-2008)
Last Years Winner: