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Strong Start at Sunny Misano for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

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Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi got down to business during a perfectly sunny first day at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. They completed 37 and 40 laps respectively to find good set-ups for their YZR-M1s for Sunday’s ‘Grand Prix di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini’ and finished the day in fourth and sixth place.

Lorenzo made a great start this morning and was quick to find a solid pace around the Misano Circuit. He used the 45 minutes of free practice to find a good set up for the track and worked hard as the times dropped towards the end of the session. With less than half a second covering the top ten in FP1, he secured a top5 placement with a 1’33.774s best lap.

Feeling comfortable with the setting he and his team had established in the morning, the defending World Champion found a good rhythm in the afternoon. Though he had already used his second set of tyres midway through FP2, leaving him with no spare tyres at the end, he was still able to make a solid improvement over the two sessions. The Mallorcan took more than 0.7s off his time with a 1’33.056s lap at the end of the session, to finish in fourth place in the combined standings.

Rossi made a perfect start to his home GP weekend today under hot and sunny conditions. He spent the first part of the session focusing on the balance of his bike, before it was time to put his YZR-M1 to the test. Cheered on by the passionate Italian fans, the local hero put his head down at the end of the session to take first place from Pol Esparagaró, by 0.136s, with 1’33.451s lap for a Yamaha 1-2.

The Italian kept his form in the afternoon session as he put his attention towards elongating the life of his front tyre. Despite the hot conditions and traffic on the track he steadily improved his lap times to move up the order into the top three towards the end of the day. His best lap, a 1’33.387s, set before a last-minute flurry of activity, saw him finish in sixth place in the combined free practice times.

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“We’ve made a good start to the weekend today. Jorge quickly found a good basis setting and he carried good speed throughout the two sessions. He could have been even faster if he had changed the tyres later on in the FP2 session. Vale had a solid start to the weekend, topping FP1, but with the temperature rising in the afternoon he suffered from front closing, especially in the fastest sector of the track. We have collected enough data for our engineers to take counter-measures and perfect the setting for tomorrow.”

Jorge Lorenzo
4th / 1’33.056 / 38 laps

“I’m very happy because finally, after a long while, I feel comfortable again with the bike’s setting and I can ride like I want and keep up a constant pace. We decided to change the front and rear tyre really quickly during the practice, so we didn’t have the advantage to put in a new tyre at the end of the session like the rest of the riders. Because of that we couldn’t be a little bit faster, but anyway I had a good pace and good feelings. Let’s try to make another step tomorrow.”

Valentino Rossi
6th / 1’33.387 / 40 laps

“We started very well this morning. With the cooler temperatures this morning I was stronger, but in the afternoon we suffered a bit more, like more or less everybody else, and it became more difficult. We have a lot of work to do because we are a bit on the limit with the front tyre, so we need to try to find the right balance, also considering that the race will be very long.”

Espargaro superbly finishes on top to complete perfect opening day in Misano

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro ignited his San Marino GP campaign with a highly positive start aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 after completing the first day of action at the top of the field. The 25-year-old got straight into action in the opening shakedown and after commencing his set up work, he impressively concluded the practice in second but only a mere tenth of a second behind the leader. The afternoon session began with the weather conditions still being perfect and Espargaro carried on from where he left off. His lap times progressively improved before he blazed across the finish line to post a scorching lap time of 1’32.769 which left him 0.069 clear of the next rider. The outstanding performance marks the perfect comeback from an unfortunate crash at Silverstone, where he was lucky to escape any serious injury and he will look to continue the momentum tomorrow by seizing a top tier grid position.

On the other side of the Tech3 pit box, Alex Lowes impressed once again by ending FP2 in 15th as he stands in for his compatriot Bradley Smith. The young Briton commenced his first outing on the YZR-M1 at the San Marino track with a solid run to 18th in the morning as he continued to gather experience. The confident 25-year-old outlined his determination to succeed by completing more laps than any other rider in the session that saw 16 competitors covered by one second. After midday, he proceeded to make further strides forward and eventually sped to his personal best that was notably only just half a second from top ten. The British star now aims to carry on his progression by clinching a strong qualifying position tomorrow for Sunday’s 28-lap sprint.

Pol Espargaró
1st / 1’32.769 / 40 laps

“It’s a great feeling to end the day in first, even if it is just the beginning of the weekend and with the plans that we have for tomorrow, we hope to continue progressing. Today the bike ran really well and I felt very comfortable on it at the Misano circuit. In addition, the tyres that Michelin brought here have allowed me to ride my Yamaha more in a way that I want to. The rear hard compound has a lot of grip and performed well whilst braking. The end result is a small trophy but the important work starts tomorrow, so tonight we will check some data to improve a bit because there is not much of a gap between the other riders. Another positive from today is that my physical condition after the nasty crash in Silverstone is not affecting my riding whilst on track. Therefore, I look forward to getting back on the Yamaha and I will do my absolute best to get a solid grid position for Sunday’s race.”

Alex Lowes
17th / 1’34.154 / 43 laps

“I have really enjoyed my first day on the YZR-M1 at Misano and I feel that we are certainly making steps forward. In all honesty, riding this bike at this track is fantastic, plus it’s so different to the other motorcycles that I have used here and I mean that in a very positive way. I am increasing my knowledge and the faster I go, the more I have to change my style step by step, but I think we are getting closer to the mid-pack riders. The good thing is, I know what I have to do to advance which is improve my smoothness on the bike in terms of body position, plus I also need to keep building my confidence on corner entry. With a good rest tonight, I will be able to digest all the new information which will set me up for tomorrow’s qualifying. All in all, I have to say that I really liked riding the Yamaha at another track and the sun was shining too which is always good, so I am fired up for the rest of the weekend.”