Lorenzo seizes the initiative in Jerez Friday practice
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo took control in Friday free practice at Jerez, the current MotoGP World Champion setting the benchmark time of 1’39.562 at a circuit which yesterday unveiled a corner named in his honor.
Lorenzo narrowly eclipsed his Spanish rival Dani Pedrosa to the best time of the day after the Repsol Honda set a time of 1’39.704 in the morning’s FP1 session. Third quickest today was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, the British rider setting a personal best lap time 0.171 seconds behind his Yamaha stable mate. Another star performer on home soil was Hector Barbera, the Avintia Blusens rider showing the continued improvement of the CRT class as he posted a time of 1’40.736 to end the day in ninth position overall.
In a common scenario for Free Practice 1, riders selected softer slick options front and rear for the first session of the race weekend to gauge track conditions and to find a base bike setup. In the morning session some riders experienced elevated abrasion levels, though this returned to normal as track conditions improved throughout the day. The flowing nature of Jerez demands good front-end stability so as temperatures increased for FP2, many riders opted for the harder of the two front slick options, the medium compound, which offers improved rigidity compared to the softer option.
Rear tyre choice today was predominantly the softer slick options for the CRT and works bikes, and although some riders evaluated the harder rear slicks in FP2, their feedback suggests that the greater edge grip of the softer rear slicks makes them the preferred option. However, further evaluation of rear tyre performance over a race distance will take place tomorrow before tyre choice for Sunday’s main event is determined.
The twenty-four riders contending this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix will next be on track for Free Practice 3 at 0955 local time tomorrow (GMT +2).
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today we had fine weather but the condition of the track wasn’t the best so some riders experienced slightly higher than usual levels of abrasion in FP1. Through changes in bike setup and the improvement in track condition for the afternoon, the rate of tyre wear for FP2 returned to normal and also enabled riders to try some different slick combinations. The need for warm-up performance in the warm afternoon session wasn’t so important, so most of the riders switched to the harder front slick for its better cornering stability and the feedback was that this option provided the best overall performance. For the rear, some riders assessed the harder rear slick option in FP2 but the consensus is that at this track in the current conditions, the softer rear option is working better. The task for the teams is now to find a tyre combination that provides them with the edge grip and cornering stability that are quite important at this circuit, but with the durability for a race distance on the abrasive Jerez tarmac.”