Aragon Grand Prix, Friday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Jorge Lorenzo set the fastest times in each sector on the way to topping both sessions on Friday at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón.
Movistar Yamaha’s Lorenzo completely dominated proceedings on the opening day of practice at MotorLand Aragon to top the combined timesheets by 0.683s from his title rival and teammate Valentino Rossi. Lorenzo set the fastest time in each sector in the afternoon, after earlier topping FP1, to complete the perfect day for the Spaniard.
Lorenzo took advantage of ideal conditions (Track temp. 40˚C) in the warmer afternoon session to set a 1’47.517 and incredibly was the only rider to break the 1’48 barrier. There were no winglets on either of the Yamaha M1’s but that didn’t stop Lorenzo from flying and setting a time that was only four-tenths off Marc Marquez’s Pole Record from 2014 (1’47.187).
Rossi finished the day second on the combined timesheets, as the factory Movistar Yamaha team were able to hit the ground running after two private tests conducted at the track. The Italian holds a 23-point advantage in the standings over his teammate but had no answer to the Spaniard’s blistering pace on the first day of practice.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith (+0.801s) completed an all-Yamaha top three, as he ended the day as the leading Satellite rider in third. The British rider continued the form that saw him claim his career best MotoGP™ result last time out at Misano (2nd).
The Repsol Honda duo of Dani Pedrosa (+0.841s) and Marc Marquez (+0.884s) were fourth and fifth respectively, as they decided to stick with the harder option rear for the whole of FP2. This was in contrast to the rest of the leading riders who all opted for the softer option rear available to them in the last ten minutes of the session to set a flying lap.
Pol Espargaro, (+0.928s) on the second Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1, was sixth fastest on the combined timesheets, as the top six found themselves separated by almost a second.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro benefitted from the increased levels of grip in the afternoon to improve by almost two seconds in FP2 and finish seventh. Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone were eighth and ninth respectively, while Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) completed the top ten ahead of his teammate Yonny Hernandez.
Scott Redding (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) ended FP1 in fifth, but had to settle for 12th overall after only managing to improve by three-tenths in the afternoon. LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was in 13th, as he spent Friday once more focusing on his race setup.
Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera was the leading Open class rider in 14th after walking away unhurt from an FP1 crash at turn two. Eugene Laverty (Aspar MotoGP Team) had ended FP1 in 11th, but had to settle for 18th at the end of the day ahead of Jack Miller (LCR Honda) in 21st and his teammate Nicky Hayden (22nd).
Tony Elias made his debut for the Forward Racing team and ended the day in 24th overall, 3.6s of the pace of Lorenzo.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Rabat set a 1’53.164 in glorious sunshine at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón to finally beat Marc Marquez’s lap record (1’53.296), which had stood since 2011. The Spaniard was in blistering form in the afternoon and ended the session 0.135s ahead of Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Takaaki Nakagami on a day that saw less than a second separate the top 17 riders.
Nakagami improved by over two seconds from FP1 in warmer conditions this afternoon to end the day second overall. Paginas Amarillas HP40’s Alex Rins completed the provisional front row, as he found himself 0.188s off the pace of Rabat while experimenting with a new 2016-spec Kalex chassis.
Forward Racing’s Simone Corsi (+0.208s) ended the day in fourth overall ahead of Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes (+0.377s). Lowes had earlier topped FP1 but struggled to improve as temperatures increased in the afternoon.
Paginas Amarillas HP40’s Luis Salom (+0.449s) was sixth fastest ahead of championship leader Johann Zarco on the Ajo Motorsport Kalex. Zarco found himself 0.611s off the pace of Rabat, as he decided to spend FP2 working on his race setup on used tyres. The Frenchman has a chance to lift the Moto2™ title come Sunday if results go his way in what will be the 100th Moto2™ race since the class began in 2010.
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Julian Simon (QMMF Racing) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) completed the top ten.
Mika Kallio completed his debut for the QMMF Racing Team in 13th overall to finish just ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (14th) who announced on Friday that he had re-signed with his Forward Racing team for 2016. His replacement in the Italtrans Racing Team, Edgar Pons, was in 18th ahead of Tech 3’s Xavi Vierge (20th) who also announced he had secured a new deal to ride a Mistral 610 next season.
There were crashes for Randy Krummenacher and Xavier Simeon but both riders were unhurt and ended the day in 23rd and 24th place respectively.
Gresini Racing Team Moto3’s Bastianini was on fire at MotorLand Aragon as he aims to close the 55-point gap to Danny Kent in the standings. The 17-year-old Italian continued the form that saw him take his maiden Moto3™ victory last time out at Misano to set a 1’58.875 in the warmer afternoon session. This was only half a second off Alex Rins’ Pole Record from last year (1’53.296) on a day that saw less than a second separate the top 15 riders. Even a crash at the end of FP2 didn’t dampen Bastianini’s spirits after an excellent day for the man in second place in the Moto3™ World Championship.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira was just 0.018s off the pace of Bastianini in second, as he continues to benefit from the new KTM chassis and swingarm that debuted in Misano. Jorge Navarro showed no ill effects from the crash in FP1 at the San Marino GP that forced him to miss the rest of the weekend as he set the third fastest time on his return to the track. Incredibly, he was just one thousandth of a second further back than Oliveira, as 0.019s separated the provisional front row.
Mapfre Team Mahindra’s Jorge Martin (+0.187s) was fourth fastest ahead of Phillip Oettl (+0.247s) on the Schedl GP Racing KTM. Leopard Racing’s Kent found himself down in sixth, 0.362s off his main title rival Bastianini.
Efren Vazquez (Leopard Racing), Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold), Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completed the top ten.
Sena Yamada is substituting for the injured Fabio Quartararo in the Estrella Galicia 0,0 team and acquitted himself well in 21st. Scotsman John McPhee (SAXORINT RTG) ended the day in 30th.