Lorenzo lays down the marker in Aragon
Jorge Lorenzo was in another class in Friday Free Practice at MotorLand Aragon as the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider ended both sessions half a second quicker than his closest rival, ultimately setting a personal best lap time that was just three-tenths off the outright circuit lap record.
Having comfortably topped the morning Free Practice 1 session, Lorenzo continued his impressive pace in FP2 this afternoon and set a best time of 1’47.517 to end the day 0.683 seconds ahead of teammate and closest challenger Valentino Rossi who set a 1’48.200. Third quickest overall was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith whose best time of 1’48.318 ensured that Yamaha machines occupied the top three positions on the timesheets today. All of the top three riders set their quickest laps using the combination of the medium compound front and rear slicks.
Sunny and fine conditions persisted today, yet at the start of FP1 the track temperature was a chilly 17°C which resulted in all riders heading out on softer option front and rear slicks to ensure they had the best warm-up performance and grip on the cool asphalt. In the afternoon FP2 session track temperatures reached a peak of 40°C which saw a corresponding shift to riders using the medium compound front slick, as well as evaluation of harder rear slick options. The medium compound rear slick was the preferred rear tire option in today’s sessions, offering a good balance between cornering grip and durability for the more powerful machines, while the open-class riders found the soft compound rear the better option. All the factory Honda and Yamaha riders evaluated the hard compound rear slick in FP2 and although this option couldn’t match the medium rear slick in pace over a single lap, it did provide good consistency and could be an option for Sunday’s race. Today’s sessions also revealed that the performance of the 2015-specification slick tires at Aragon is exceptional, with the top seven riders on combined times going quicker than the current Circuit Record Lap time of 1’48.565.
Similar weather conditions are forecast for tomorrow with an almost zero chance of rain. The next MotoGP session is FP3 which starts at 0955 local time (GMT+2).
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
“Conditions today were good at Aragon and after a cool start in the morning the warmer ambient and track temperatures this afternoon provided an opportunity for the teams and riders to experiment with our different compound options. The medium compound front tire has already shown to be a good performer here at Aragon as it warms up quickly and offers a good balance between braking and cornering performance. No riders tried the hard compound front slick today, but I expect it will be assessed in tomorrow’s practice sessions by a few riders who want more stability while braking and cornering. For the rear tire, all of the factory Honda and Yamaha riders evaluated the hard compound rear slick in FP2 and although it doesn’t offer the single lap performance of the medium rear, it did provide strong and consistent pace. The medium compound rear was preferred by most riders today, while the soft rear slick proved to be quite popular with the open class riders. Currently, all three options could be used for the race and we will know more after the riders do more race simulation work tomorrow.”