Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo led the Phillip Island MotoGP pack in free practice today, setting the quickest time despite suffering only his second crash of the season when he went down at Honda corner with only six minutes left of the second session.
The Spaniard was one of three riders to go down at the same corner, with Hiro Aoyama and Pol Espargaro preceeding him and having the exact same crash hard on the anchors and just tipping in, while Andreas Dovizioso and Iannone both fell on the brakes into the downhill MG corner.
Bridgestone have brought a special asymmetric front tyre to the Australian track, which was being used by a variety of riders including Lorenzo, Aoyama and Espargaro when they crashed, with a softer-compound on the right shoulder, so there will be some strong feedback this evening.
Lorenzo set his 1’29.604 on only his fourth lap, the last of his first run, and was 0.150s faster than newly-crowned world champion Marc Marquez in the second session but Aleix Espargaro’s fastest from the opening period, set on the softest-available rear Bridgestone, was enough for second overall.
Marquez also set his best time early in the second session, banging in a 1’29.752 on only his fourth lap as did Iannone, going fourth fastest with his third lap of 1’29.803 while Dovizioso returned to the track on his spare bike and set his 1’29.945 right at the end of his last run in session two.
The Italian was just able to topple compatriot Valentino Rossi by just 0.009s and The Doctor headed Britain’s Cal Crutchlow in seventh by just over a tenth. Pol Espargaro and Yonny Hernandez were next along with the slow-starting Dani Pedrosa in tenth.
Pedrosa is rumoured to have flicked a couple of mechanics for 2015 and that had led to the departure of long-time crew chief Mike Leitner, who has been with the Spaniard since 2004. Former Nicky Hayden chief Juan Martinez has been seen in the PI pitlane…
Bradley Smith put his Monster Yamaha one place behind the repsol Honda man in 11th and a second off the pace with Stefan Bradl behind him. Hayden was easily the fastest of the Production Hondas in 13th place with Scott Redding struggling down in 17th. Michael Laverty was 23rd place and trailed team-mate Broc Parkes, who had a big off in the earlier session, by three-tenths.