Lorenzo sets practice pace at Mugello

Sunny yet windy conditions greeted the MotoGP™ classes as they embarked on their first day of practice for this weekend’s Gran Premio d’Italia TIM at Mugello, and it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who laid down the marker for the premier-class as he set the fastest time of the day in the afternoon session ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden.

Despite an early excursion into the gravel, a lap in low 1.48s by Lorenzo relegated Repsol Honda Team’s Pedrosa into second place, who yesterday announced he had signed a two-year extension with the Japanese factory. In third, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden put in a tremendous performance to finish third, posting a time within one hundredth of Lorenzo.

Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá did tremendously well to recover from a big crash half way through the session, which briefly saw the practice red-flagged, to set the fourth fastest time of the day. Fifth spot went to Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who is looking for his fourth podium finish this season at his home race. Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner had a subdued session for his standards, ending the day in sixth, yet did encounter some traffic on his final hot laps in the afternoon. He sighted problems with getting his harder option tyres up to temperature as the main problem.

Seventh place was occupied by Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies, who will be aiming to put in a good showing this weekend, after narrowly missing out on the podium in Germany. Spies himself had a slight run-off into the gravel in the morning where he dropped his bike, but suffered no damage. In eighth, Dovizioso’s teammate Cal Crutchlow, who encountered a technical glitch in the morning, was just over half a second off the front, showing just how tightly the group was bunched at the Italian track.

Ninth spot went to Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, who will be disappointed he could not match the pace of Hayden or Barberá in front of his home fans. Completing the top ten was LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, while top CRT spot went to Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista had a day to forget as he crashed out at turn one in both practice sessions, while Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez also crashed out of the afternoon session with just over 20 minutes remaining. None of the riders were hurt in the incidents.

One of the significant changes this weekend is that Bridgestone has provided the MotoGP grid with a special construction hard rear slick tyre for the Mugello circuit, which can cause exceptionally high tyre temperatures. Yet with an allocation of only four per rider, they will be used sparingly throughout the weekend, and only should track temperatures rise significantly. Today, the majority of riders tested the regular hard compound tyre for use in the race on Sunday.


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