Jorge Lorenzo tops the timesheets on opening day in Japan
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi shaped up for an intense battle at the Twin Ring Motegi track today, in preparation for Sunday‘s Grand Prix of Japan. The teammates took first and seventh place respectively in the combined free practice times.
Lorenzo was quick to find a solid pace around the Japanese track during the sunny morning practice. He rode his YZR-M1 to second early on in FP1 and spent the majority of the session working on a good dry set-up before posting a best lap of 1’46.181s for third place on his third stint, 0.395s from the front.
The afternoon saw more of the same smooth riding from the Mallorcan. He set the provisional fastest time of 1‘46.111s early on in the second 45-minute session. He continued his form as the pace quickened and was the fourth rider dropping into the 1‘45s with a 1‘45.911s for provisional third place, which he further improved at the very end of the session, dropping a 1.45.151s to wrap up the day at the top of the time sheets with a 0.053s margin to his closest rival.
Similar to last year, Yamaha’s usual rider line-up is joined by Katsuyuki Nakasuga, four-time consecutive premier JSB1000 class (All Japan Road Race Championship) winner, who also won the Suzuka 8-Hour race two years in a row in 2015 and 2016. He finished his first day as a wildcard for the Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing Team, riding his YZR-M1 to 17th place in the combined free practice times, with a 1’47.135s best lap.
It‘s been quite a positive day. This afternoon the conditions dropped a lot in terms of the temperature and that‘s why some riders crashed, because it was quite tricky and you need to be very careful with the temperature of the tyre. We were able to improve a lot on the last set of tyres and improved the bike a little bit also in the corners. The bike is working quite well and I‘m in good shape, so I‘m very motivated to make it a good race.