Jorge Lorenzo Paces Day One In Valencia

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo, shown here in 2016, has returned to Yamaha as a test rider. (Yamaha Photo)

VALENCIA, Spain – Jorge Lorenzo began his final race with Movistar Yamaha by topping the practice charts on Friday at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Lorenzo moved to the top of the leaderboard just 15 minutes into FP1 and held the position for a large part of the session. After some time in the pits he upped the pace at the end of FP1 and put down a 1:31.045 to reclaim the top position on the scoring pylon in the final moments.

Lorenzo carried his speed straight into the afternoon session, initially leading the way before other riders bumped him from the top. The last ten minutes became a flurry of activity but Lorenzo delivered an impressive 1:30.463, the first lap under the 1:31 mark of the weekend, to finish first on the combined times. He was 0.247s faster than his closest rival, Marc Marquez.

“I feel very good and I think the tarmac has a lot of grip. Michelin brought very good tires for the front and the rear,” said Lorenzo, who is moving to the Ducati factory team next season. “We tried the new front and it’s different; it has more movability in the corner and the rear has a lot of grip and it warms up quickly. I felt good with it. Finally we put in the soft rear tire to see if it is possible and better to use for qualifying and we saw that it‘s clearly better than the hard one and I set a good lap time, so I‘m satisfied. For the moment we have started the last weekend with Yamaha in the best way possible: first and first. Marquez is very strong too and (Maverick) Viñales is very fast as well, it will be very close on Sunday if it‘s a dry race, but we are not sure because the weather is uncertain.”

Maverick Viñales moved up the timesheets in the afternoon from sixth to end Friday third on combined times, with Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) moving up one place in the afternoon from fifth in FP1 to fourth.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) ended the Spanish dominion at the top in fifth, despite the Circuit traditionally being more difficult for the Ducati. Aleix Espargaro was sixth overall, followed by Andrea Iannone, Valentino Rossi, Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding.