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Lorenzo and Rossi Take Second and Sixth in Mixed Tuscan Free Practice

Movistar Yamaha Racing_052016
Despite not setting a time in a damp morning session due to tricky track conditions, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi made a strong start to the Gran Premio d’Italia weekend. Eager to impress at their team’s first home Grand Prix of the season, the teammates pushed hard in the afternoon to make up for lost time in the morning and secured second and sixth in the combined session times.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi enjoyed their first day at the ‘Autodromo del Mugello’ track in the Tuscan sunshine in the afternoon and set some competitive lap times when the sun came out in the afternoon.

Lorenzo decided not to take any risks and remained seated in the Yamaha Factory Racing team’s pit box during the FP1 session. What he missed in action in the morning, he made up for in the afternoon. The current leader of the championship made clear how much he loves the Mugello circuit, by setting multiple fast laps and challenging at the top of the standings throughout the FP2 session. He wrapped up the day in second place with a best lap of 1’48.157s, 0.461s from first.

Teammate Rossi had been looking forward to entertaining his home fans so much that not even the rainy weather conditions could stop him in the morning. He cleverly used the 45-minutes of free practice time to do eight practice starts from pit lane. However, as he immediately returned to the pits after each attempt, he did not set a time for the morning classification.

In the afternoon, the Doctor was able to start working on his settings. He worked on improving the balance of the bike and bettering his setting to suit the last sector of the demanding Mugello circuit. He set a best time of 1’48.340 and ended the day in sixth place, 0.644s from the front.

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“Though the conditions were not ideal, it was a good first day for us in Mugello. The morning session was damp, contrarily to what has been forecast for the rest of the weekend. For this reason we decided it was not necessary to go out to set a time in the morning, instead Vale used FP1 as an opportunity to test some solutions to perfect his starts and practiced them as he exited pit lane. When the sun came out in the afternoon, our hands were itching to begin work. We started in the right way for Jorge and the set up is working well for him. His pace is fast and consistent, even with an used tyre, and he is feeling good with the bike. Vale also booked progress throughout the afternoon session as he concentrated on bettering his race setting, especially on the second part of the track. There is some work to do, but we still have enough time before the race on Sunday.”

Jorge Lorenzo
2nd / 1’48.157 / 15 laps

“I set a 1’48.4s on the first run so that is a good lap time at this track on this bike with these tyres. In the last run, with the same tyres, I improved the lap time even more, so the feeling, starting with this setting, is good. Tomorrow, I think we can improve everything a little bit more and go faster.”

Valentino Rossi
6th / 1’48.340 / 20 laps

“It’s always difficult here. Mugello is one of the best tracks but it’s very demanding and scary, you have to be very courageous because it’s very fast. It has a great layout but it’s difficult to find the right setting. Unfortunately, we lost time this morning due to the weather and we are not OK with the balance of the bike, but for the first practice it was not so bad. The problem is that we are all very close so we have to improve, because especially in the last sector I’m not fast enough. This morning we didn’t want to waste time and we had the chance to practice our starts, because this year we have some more problems with the clutch at the starts and we tried some different stuff, so at the end it was an important test.”

Espargaro and Smith confidently close day one in Mugello

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro began his round six campaign by positively finishing the opening day of action in 10th position at the meandering Mugello circuit. This morning, the young Spaniard decided to wait for drier conditions before attempting a fast lap, with only half the field posting lap times on the partially damp track. Nevertheless, when the dry afternoon session started, the 25-year-old quickly got up to speed as he initiated in setting up his Yamaha YZR-M1. During the practice, Espargaro built up his pace before posting his personal best on his 16th lap, which left him only 0.225 back from third position and therefore highly optimistic for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith battled the iconic circuit and concluded the opening day in 15th as he adjusted the base setup of his MotoGP bike for Sunday’s 23 lap sprint. The young Briton launched into action this morning as he gained valuable data in case of further rain this weekend, before finishing the opening practice in 4th whilst using the intermediate Michelin tyres. In FP2, he lunged forward immediately and consistently progressed before setting his best time on the penultimate lap. The positive initial conclusions from the opening shakedown leaves Smith fully confident of lowering his lap time tomorrow and sealing a top tier grid position for the round six fight.

Pol Espargaro
10th / 1’48.470 / 18 laps

“Today has been a solid start to the weekend, even if our position is quite far behind in tenth. However, the lap time itself is not that bad because we are just 0.3 of a second from Jorge and 0.2 from Valentino which is acceptable after only one practice session. Also, the times are so close that an improvement of a couple of tenths could mean that you end up in fourth position. Yet, we need to be able to run these times alone, more consistently as well as more comfortably and this seems to be our issue at the moment. However, my positive feeling from the test in Jerez and also from Le Mans stays the same, and we are just suffering quite a lot on this track due to the strong engine characteristics of the Ducati MotoGP bikes. This makes it challenging to stay with them at this high-speed circuit. Nevertheless, I am still very positive for Sunday because of last year’s 6th place finish where I was able to fight for the entire race.”

Bradley Smith
15th / 1’49.199 / 30 laps

“This morning the conditions were mixed, so it was the perfect chance for us to try the new intermediate tyres that Michelin brought here. I think that most of the riders who tested them had something positive to say. In terms of safety and options for riders, it’s good to have the intermediates available because it will prevent us from having to use a rain tyre on a dry track and vice versa. Already, it seems that the option they brought here is a good step up from the version that I tested in Sepang and I am happy to see that. This afternoon, we had a small technical issue with bike one, which meant that we had to run with my second bike. Initially, the setting felt ok so we tried some rear shock settings and we needed to confirm the information from Le Mans to ensure that we’re going in the right direction. I’m pleased to say that, for me, the positive factors from the last GP remain and are working well here. The lap time is not the best at the moment and it seems that we’re struggling mainly in sector three plus, a little bit in the other areas too. Therefore, we need to focus tonight and try to make a better bike for tomorrow in order to be able to ride consistently in the 48’s, but I am confident we can achieve this.”