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Lorenzo Holds Second in First Day of French Free Practice

Yamaha Le Mans MotoGP

Keeping the momentum going at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix race circuit, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo rode his YZR-M1 to second place in the combined session times. Teammate Rossi worked hard on his setting and finished the day in sixth place.

After wrapping up the weekend in Jerez with a successful day of testing two weeks ago, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo was again on the pace today, leading most of the second free practice session to ultimately finish in second place. Teammate Valentino Rossi had a less fortunate first day, but persisted to work hard on his setting for Sunday‘s Monster Energy Grand Prix de France and ended the day in sixth position.

Lorenzo gradually improved his lap times in the cooler morning session as he focused on his set-up, clocking the third fastest time, a 1’34.301, on his final lap. The setting he found for his YZR-M1 proved to be a good basis to build on in the afternoon session. The Spaniard only took a couple of minutes to top the timesheets with a hot lap of 1‘33.369 and led most of the session, only to get pushed to second place in the final stages.

Rossi also made strides today. He booked progress throughout FP1 and finished in seventh place with a 1’34.570 lap. Despite the wind having picked up in the afternoon, keeping the temperatures cool, the nine-time World Champion was still able to further improve his pace in FP2. Having found his rhythm at the end of the session, he was riding laps under the 1‘34 mark and climbed to sixth place in the order.

Today‘s results see Lorenzo take second place in the combined times, 0.190s off the fastest time, and Rossi in sixth, 0.507s from the front.

Jorge Lorenzo

2nd / 1’33.369 / 39 laps

“The first day was good because we finished third in the morning and second in the afternoon, these are good positions. I think we don‘t have the best set-up yet for this track, but we‘ve still been competitive. I believe we have some margin for tomorrow, especially to improve the pace. We are still trying different settings to see which one is better. It will be very important to put the bike together correctly and not drop the pace too much during the race.”

Valentino Rossi

6th / 1’33.686 / 43 laps

“We worked with the tyres and got some good information. The morning session was more difficult but in the afternoon we improved. At the end, I rode a good lap time and also my pace is quite good. We have to work on section one and three, I‘m not fast enough, but the feeling with the bike is not so bad and it looks like we can improve, if we work in a good way. I tried both tyres and I also liked the harder one. I think it can be a good option for the race, but it will depend on the temperature and conditions.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“It was a good start for Jorge today, he has been fast and consistent since the first session. Vale found a good feeling with his bike at the end of the second session and was able to improve his lap time and his rhythm. We still have a lot of work to do, and we‘re confident we can make another step for qualifying. We have to spend some more time on deciding on a race tyre, but we‘re heading in the right direction for Sunday‘s race.”

Flying start sees Smith top of the field at Tech3s Home GP

Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Bradley Smith delivered a sensational FP2 performance to top the standings at the close of the first day of action at the French Grand Prix. The young Briton kicked off proceedings under bright and sunny weather conditions at the Tech3 team’s home race by finishing the opening session in 10th place with a lap time of 1’34.729. He then burst into action in the overcast afternoon practice before blazing to a superb time of 1’33.179 aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1 on his 18th lap out of 19. This time put him at the head of the field and 0.190 of a second ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. Despite the 23 year old unfortunately falling at turn 13 in the dying moments of the session, his performance today leaves him fully motivated for the race on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro completed the opening day of practice in 8th position after producing a solid display at the legendary 4.2 kilometre Le Mans circuit. The young Spaniard started the day with a finish of 5th in the FP1 session, having ran in 1st position until the closing stages of the practice. His final time was a 1’34.331 that left him only 0.051 behind second place as he intended to continue his efforts in the afternoon. Here, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion rode relentlessly and produced a top time of 1’33.903 on his final lap. Yet, he was unlucky to fall towards the end of the practice whilst trying to improve his time further, although he did not suffer any injuries. However, his positive start to the weekend sees him charged with confidence for the qualifying tomorrow where he will aim to repeat his result of 2nd place on the grid at last year’s event in Le Mans.

Bradley Smith

1st / 1’33.179 / 40 laps

“Today was a great start to the weekend and I’m delighted to finish in first on the opening day in Le Mans at the Tech3 team’s home Grand Prix, which is also sponsored by Monster Energy. The team and I did a top job in the Jerez test where we made considerable steps forward with the front forks and the electronic settings. Moreover, we made consistent progress from the word go today and I must say that I feel much more comfortable here when compared to last year which was a tough weekend for me. I unfortunately fell in the final moments of the session but I don’t consider it to be my fault. Aleix went down in front of me so I got distracted and ran wide and then went onto the dirt and rode over a rock which caused the crash. This is annoying, but nevertheless it’s certainly super to finish the opening day at the top of the field and I’m fired up for the rest of the weekend.”

Pol Espargaro

8th / 1’33.903 / 38 laps

“Overall today was quite a good start to the weekend. This morning my feelings on the bike were positive straight away and our pace was really promising. When the second session started, I went out on a new rear tyre but I had a few difficulties to face as the behaviour of the bike had changed from this morning. Yet, when we swapped the tyre at the end of the session, the issues that we had, just disappeared. We do not know why this sometimes happens, but it’s not the first time this season that some new rear tyres have not had the same level of performance as the others. Beside that, I unfortunately made a mistake and crashed at the end of the back straight in the closing stages of the session without being able to set a fast lap. Therefore the gap to Bradley, who was 1st in the practice, does not worry me and I’m confident that I will be up there with him tomorrow afternoon.”

Loris Baz debutting at home track

It has been a day of work for the Athinà Forward Racing team on the track of Le Mans this weekend hosting the Grand Prix of France. After the test in Jerez last week, Stefan Bradl and Loris Baz returned to the track aiming to catch up with the Open class leaders. The first day of practice ended with the riders in 15th and 19th place respectively.

It was a good start for the German rider, who finished as the second open behind Miller, despite some minor problems with the electronics. He posted a personal best of 1’34.543 right on the limit of the point-zone and just three-tenths off the Australian’s time.

This race has a special feel for Loris Baz, who is racing his first home race in the premier class of motorcycle racing at Le Mans. The Frenchman lapped with both his bikes to fine tune the set-ups with the aim of improving the pace for the race. Baz went close to going under the 1.35 mark and finished in 19th place in the combined standings with a time of 1’35.002.

Stefan Bradl

15th / 1’34.543 / 34 laps

“It was a day of work. We closed as the second open and I’m happy. I had some problems with the electronics: the bike was very aggressive and I struggled but I think we can improve tomorrow for qualifying. The pace is good we just have to soften the bike a bit to be very competitive.”

Loris Baz

19th / 1’35.002 / 39 laps

“It was a pretty positive day. I’ve returned to Le Mans after so many years and it was a special emotion. This morning we started right away with both bikes to fine-tune the set-up after the test in Jerez. The feeling was good but I have to improve our race pace. Tomorrow I am convinced we can make a good step forward for qualifying.”

2015 MotoGP France

Le Mans 15/05/2015

1 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’33.179
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’33.369
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’33.553
4 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 1’33.652
5 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’33.670
6 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’33.686
7 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’33.725
8 Pol Espargaro Yamaha ESP 1’33.903
9 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki ESP 1’33.944
10 Yonny Hernandez Ducati COL 1’33.953
11 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’34.092
12 Maverick Viñales Suzuki ESP 1’34.110
13 Jack Miller Honda AUS 1’34.253
14 Scott Redding Honda GBR 1’34.371
15 Stefan Bradl Yamaha DE 1’34.543
19 Loris Baz Yamaha FRA 1’35.002

Circuit Length:
4180

Lap Record:
1’33.678
(Valentino Rossi, 1-1-2005)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’32.042
(Marc Marquez, 18-5-2014)

Last Years Winner:
Marc Marquez