Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team, Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Free Practice Friday, October 16th 2015
Positive Pace for Yamaha in Phillip Island Practice Sessions
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo has made a flying start to this weekend‘s Australian Grand Prix, completing the first day of free practice as the second fastest rider. Championship standings leader Valentino Rossi also came out fighting at the Phillip Island circuit in the morning session and followed it up by taking ninth position in the afternoon.
Phillip Island (Australia), 16th October 2015
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi made their first laps around the Phillip Island circuit today during the first free practice sessions of this weekend‘s Australian Grand Prix.
Fully committed to his goal to decrease the 18-point gap to Rossi in the championship standings, Lorenzo seamlessly continued the impressive pace he displayed at the two previous Grand Prix. Despite a stiff breeze and a consistent drizzle, he was soon on the pace and took over first place in the final twelve minutes, setting a best time of 1‘30.047s. The session was brought to a premature end when rain picked up seven minutes later, allowing the Spaniard to hold first place with a comfortable 0.348s margin over his closest rival.
Lorenzo continued his form in the dry afternoon session and it only took him five laps to post a time of 1‘30.144s and shoot to the top of the provisional ranking order. He spent what was left of the 45-minute session testing the asymmetrical tyre and held onto the lead for most of the second free practice, before the times started to drop in the last minutes. Lorenzo responded by dipping under the 1‘30 mark, posting a strong 1‘29.433s lap to take second place.
Fully aware that every session is crucial when to trying to maintain the lead in the championship, teammate Rossi also wasn‘t shy to show his riding skills in the damp morning session. He steadily upped his pace to briefly move up to second position at the mid-way stage of FP1 with a 1‘31.103s lap. He continued to better his time by more than half a second to a 1‘30.572s lap as the session progressed and finished in third place.
In the sunnier afternoon session, the Doctor further upped his pace and initially topped the leaderboard when he dropped a low 1‘31 lap, which he soon improved to a 1’30.557. While Rossi tested the asymmetrical tyre, the pace of the field increased. The Italian answered by setting a low 1‘30 to slot into second place just 0.058s behind his teammate. He went on to further better his best time to a 1‘30.041, but it wasn‘t enough from him to hold his position and he fell back to ninth place.
We have tried some settings, but in general we have a good basis. The track is very slippery, it‘s a lot worse than it was two years ago and last year. It‘s bumpier as well, but that‘s the same for all the riders. Our pace is very good, we just need to improve the acceleration a bit and some other details for tomorrow.
The feeling was not so bad, especially my pace this afternoon was quite good and also with a used tyre I was able to do some good lap times. I was not strong enough doing a hot lap on new tyres but at the same time we tried the asymmetric front tyre that everybody used and the feeling was not so bad. We have to work a little bit on the bike, but it‘s OK. We will wait for the good conditions tomorrow and will try to work on improving in some places and try to be stronger.
Massimo Meregalli – Team Director
Today was a positive but tricky start to the race weekend, because of the difficult weather conditions. Jorge and Vale both managed to kick off the first free practice sessions well despite the slight bit of rain. Jorge had his usual start to the weekend and has been very fast and consistent in both sessions. Vale also had a good pace in both the morning and the afternoon session, even though he hasn‘t dropped under the 1‘30 yet. The feelings of the riders have been good overall, so we can be satisfied with the work we delivered today and we‘ll keep working hard tonight to get back on track even stronger tomorrow.