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Lorenzo Leads as Indianapolis Begins

Lorenzo Leads 080715

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo impressed with a strong start to the race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today. Teammate Valentino Rossi had a more challenging start to the second half of the season, finishing the first practice session in tenth.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were on track today for the first time since the start of the Summer break for the first free practice sessions ahead of this weekend’s Indianapolis Grand Prix.

Having returned from their holiday this was the first opportunity for both riders to re-familiarize themselves with their YZR-M1 and get back into a riding rhythm. Lorenzo needed little time to reclaim his form, finishing the first day in first place with Rossi ending the day in tenth.

Lorenzo quickly got a feel for the American track on his first laps in the morning session and needed only seven minutes to take over the top spot from his teammate. He held this position as he began to work on his setting and improve his time until the times dropped at the end of FP1. He answered the challenge and pulled a 1’33.654 out of the hat to lead the morning standings.

As the conditions heated up in the afternoon so did the action on track with all riders increasing their pace. Lorenzo kept working on perfecting his set-up and decided it was time to give another push at the end of FP2. He took over the provisional lead before a last minute shoot out moved him back to second, but again Lorenzo saved the best for last and finished at the top of the time sheets with a 1’32.860.

Teammate Rossi also set an impressive pace early on during the morning practice session, riding the YZR-M1 to first in the rankings on the first lap. He continued to reclaim the provisional top spot multiple times as the pace of the field quickened. He then moved on to testing solutions to improve tyre life, a common problem at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway due to its lay-out with mainly left corners, ending the first session as fifth quickest with a best lap of 1’34.374.

The Doctor worked tirelessly in the afternoon to further improve his setting. Though he didn’t make up any ground in terms of the ranking, he was able to better his time to a 1’33.532, thereby reducing the gap to the front. He ended the session in tenth place.

With nearly all MotoGP riders having improved their times in the second practice, today’s results see Lorenzo hold first in the combined session times, with Rossi 0,672s behind in tenth position.

Jorge Lorenzo

1st / 1’32.860 / 27 laps

“I’m very happy, because with every change we made we were able to improve the bike a bit. I’m riding very well and had a good feeling with the bike so I was able to ride close to the limit for the moment. We had the same sensation with the harder tyre, while other riders had used a new soft tyre they couldn’t even get close to our time, so that was a very good sign in the morning and we confirmed it in the afternoon. Let’s see if we continue working this way and we’ll concentrate on improving the bike even more.”

Valentino Rossi

10th / 1’33.532 / 41 laps

“It was a difficult Friday, because I wasn’t strong or fast enough, already starting from this morning. We have a lot of problems and I don’t feel good with the bike and was not able to ride at the limit. The main problem is that I didn’t have enough feeling with the front so I had trouble under braking, turning, and also in changing direction I’m very slow. The bike is too lazy and heavy so this means we don’t have the right balance. Like I said, it was a difficult day. We tried the soft tyre at the end and it was a little bit faster, but not enough. For tomorrow it’s very important that we try to understand the problem, do good work with all the data during this night and try to be more competitive, already starting from tomorrow morning, which will be important for the grid. The problem became bigger because Jorge and Marquez are very fast and consistent so we need to improve.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“Today we had a very good start to the race weekend. Jorge has been extremely fast and consistent since the beginning on both tyre choices, so that gives us a lot of confidence. He will focus tomorrow on fine-tuning the setting to improve the bike in the areas where that’s still possible. Valentino wasn’t as quick to find a good confidence, the team made a few changes on the bike, but there was still something lacking with the feeling. They will work tonight to find a different solution, which will be tested tomorrow morning. There is still time enough, so we are confident he will make a step tomorrow and his bike will be ready for Sunday’s race.”

Espargaro commences Indianapolis challenge in 6th place

Pol Espargaro kicked off the second half of the 2015 MotoGP season with a firm run to 6th on the opening day of practice at the Indianapolis Grand Prix aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. The MotoGP field initially had to deal with a lack of grip on the Indiana asphalt, yet despite this, Espargaro jumped straight into gear and pushed hard to conclude the opening practice in 8th position with a time of 1’34.669. When the afternoon session commenced, the young Spaniard, who has recently re-signed with Yamaha to ride for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team for the 2016 season, continued his shake down in preparation for the 27 lap race on Sunday. He set his personal best of 1’33.362 on the 18th lap, yet unfortunately fell as he tried to improve this time on the following lap. Nevertheless, the 2013 Moto2 World Champion was not injured and his performance saw him claim 6th as he finished merely 0.207 back from third place. He now looks onwards to tomorrow, where he will aim to clinch a strong qualifying position for the race on Sunday.

Meanwhile on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith concluded the first day of action after the three week MotoGP summer break with a run to 9th position as the Indianapolis Grand Prix got underway. The British star, who fully intends to reignite his strong form from the opening nine rounds, endured a tricky start in the morning practice as he finished in 16th after suffering with the lack of track grip. Despite this, he jumped straight back onto his MotoGP bike when the afternoon session began and continued taking the necessary steps forward with his Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team by adjusting the base setting of his YZR-M1. After completing 24 laps around the 4.2 kilometre circuit, which was more than any other MotoGP rider, Smith met the chequered flag with a time of 1’33.474, which was merely one tenth of a second behind his teammate. Tomorrow, he will carry on his assault as he aims to finish the weekend once again as the leading satellite rider.

Pol Espargaro

6th / 1’33.362 / 39 laps

“Overall I’m pleased with how today went and it has been nice to be back on my Yamaha YZR-M1 here in Indy. This morning the track was really dirty and the bike was sliding a lot, so I think that neither me nor most of the other riders really felt comfortable at all as the grip level was so low. However, later on in the afternoon, the track conditions improved after the previous Moto2 and Moto3 sessions and the grip had notably increased which allowed us to have a good practice. The session went really well, aside from the crash at the end, which was my mistake, but fortunately there weren’t any consequences for me and there was just a bit of damage to the bike. I felt strong and although there is a margin of improvement to make, I am looking forward to getting back on my bike tomorrow morning.”

Bradley Smith

9th / 1’33.474 / 46 laps

“It’s been a good start to the weekend and obviously, it’s great to be back on the YZR-M1 again. I have to admit that it does feel a bit strange after riding the YZF-R1 so much during the summer break, but I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do this weekend. We began quite well and I felt good today but unfortunately on my best lap in the afternoon session, I was slowed down by a couple of riders. After the result this morning, we did not panic, because we knew that the track would improve and this afternoon I felt much better on the bike. I was able to ride a really strong and consistent pace on the hard tyre as well as on the soft compound when we tried it at the end of the session. The good thing is the consistency is there already, so now we just need to find the next step in order to go forward, but overall I am quite pleased with the performance. We are just inside the top ten which is where we need to be tomorrow morning, but I am confident that we can have a strong qualifying session, plus the track conditions will improve also. However, we will need to use tomorrow for the race setup because we probably can’t take too much information from today due to the lack of grip. Having said that, we are starting from a good base and that’s what counts for today.”

2015 MotoGP United States

Indianapolis 07/08/2015

1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’32.860
2 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’32.863
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’33.155
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’33.166
5 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 1’33.186
6 Pol Espargaro Yamaha ESP 1’33.362
7 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’33.377
8 Scott Redding Honda GBR 1’33.443
9 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’33.474
10 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’33.532
11 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 1’33.763
12 Yonny Hernandez Ducati COL 1’33.934
13 Maverick Viñales Suzuki ESP 1’33.973
14 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’34.083
15 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki ESP 1’34.139

Circuit Length:
4186

Weather:
Dry

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’31.619
(Marc Marquez, 10-8-2014)

Last Years Winner:
Marc Marquez