Despite all the media attention surrounding him, it seems Jorge Lorenzo has stuck by his word of wanting to focus on the situation in hand with Yamaha this season rather than his move to Ducati in the future.
More wings despite safety issues
The arrival of the MotoGP class to the European tracks means that riders have the opportunity to try out new parts and upgrades from their manufacturers. The most visual part included so far at Jerez has been the ‘winglets’; some teams have ran with them previously during the 2015/2016 season.
All teams are running on the same ECU which was meant to reduce the amount the front of the bike lifts when accelerating out of corners; however teams have felt a more physical component was needed. They come in all shapes and sizes, and the amount of them also varies however the need for the wings and the safety surrounding them has been questioned since they were introduced.
Many Spaniards contesting for fastest time
In true Jerez style it could be anyone’s race. Over the last four years a different rider has won here each time round and with five Spaniards making up the majority of the top six after Free Practice on day on it proves it will be hard to determine.
Michelin tyre update
The results from the tyre incident concerning Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati) in Argentina came back from Michelin as Nicolas Goubert confirmed that the reason for Redding’s tyre delaminated was because of three factors included the high track temperatures on that day, the severity of the track layout, and Redding’s size.
It just so happens that he and Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati) are both the two riders who have had the major issues. Although Baz’s tyre incident was caused by a puncture, there are similarities with the two incidents as both ride for Ducati and they are two of the tallest riders in the field; Redding is 185cm tall and Baz is 191cm tall.
FP1 results after day one
Lorenzo led the class after the first day of free practice at Jerez. In the first session he set the time to beat of 1:40.70 aboard his Movistar Yamaha. Six riders were able to lap under 1:41 minutes; five of these were Spaniards and the remaining rider was Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi.
Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) managed to claim second fastest after FP1 and finish as the fastest Ducati just 0.257 seconds slower than Lorenzo. Rossi finished third fastest, ahead of fastest Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, who finished ahead of his teammate Marquez.
The two Team Suzuki Ecstar riders finished in sixth and seventh after FP1 on a track that is said to suit the Suzuki; Maverick Vinales finished ahead of his teammate Aleix Espargaro who managed to set his fastest lap without the winglets everyone seemed to be using. The fastest factory Ducati was that of Andrea Dovizioso who finished in ninth over a second slower than Lorenzo after FP1.
Lorenzo remains fastest after FP2
Only two riders were able to break through the 1:40 minute barrier after day one of free practice. Lorenzo remained fastest overall with a time of 1:39.555; his time is just under a second slower than the circuit lap record set by the Spaniard in 2015 (1:38.735) and is 1.645 seconds slower than the best lap here also set by Lorenzo when he qualified in pole position for the 2015 race. (1:37.910).
Marquez was the only other rider to lap under 1:40 minutes with a time of 1:39.900 which was 0.345 seconds slower than that of Lorenzo.
Aleix Espargaro finally “has a positive feeling” on the Suzuki as he was able to finish as third fastest on day one. He puts it down to “an incredible job” by his crew, and a “calmer” approach; Aleix was not meant to be testing the winglets until after the race on Monday but insisted, although he feels his “impressions are very rough” and that they need to “test them in more depth” that he considers them to be “a positive improvement”.
Barbera remained strong on his Ducati finished fourth fastest just 0.674 seconds behind Lorenzo. He finished ahead of Rossi who is a fan of this track, and Vinales who was sixth fastest and the last Spaniard within the top six.
Ducati riders may need results to determine their future
Dovizioso was the fastest factory Ducati with a time of 1:40.737, although he was able to improve on his time from the previous session he still remained 1.182 seconds slower than Lorenzo. Redding followed in eighth ahead of Pedrosa who was just over a second slower than his teammate in second.
Aspar Team MotoGP rider Eugene Laverty continued to look strong this season; the Irishman could not overcome the sensation of almost crashing because of the front end at the Circuit of the Americas however he still gained four points after finishing twelfth. After FP2 his time he had improved by 1.370 .
Andrea Iannone finished eleventh fastest ahead of Laverty’s teammate Yonny Hernandez. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was thirteenth ahead of Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammates Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith who were split by Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider Stefan Bradl.
Baz finished in seventeenth compared to his teammates success (Barbera in fourth); Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) finished eighteenth ahead of Michele Pirro who is still standing in for injured Danilo Petrucci on the Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati. The two Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda riders completed the field with rehabilitated Jack Miller finished ahead of rookie Tito Rabat.