Lorenzo shows pace, tops 3rd free practice
YAMAHA’S 2010 world crown winner Jorge Lorenzo dented the domination of the Losail International Circuit by reigning champion Casey Stoner of Repsol Honda and topped the third and final free practice on Friday. At the Losail International Circuit, as the conditions improved, so did the pace and the Spanish rider, in search of his first MotoGP victory in Qatar, produced a flying lap of 1:55.302 in a late but hot battle to wrest the top spot from former World Supersport champion Cal Crutchlow of Britain, who clocked 1:55.456. Stoner had to settle for the third spot, though narrowly. The Australian double world champion bettered the fastest time of the second FP in the fourth lap, clocking 1:55.674 and then waited for others to pick up the gauntlet. Late into the 45-minute session, it was first Lorenzo who overtook Stoner with 1:55.536. Soon Crutchlow put in 1:55.456 to push Lorenzo down. But with a little over two minutes left, Lorenzo, who holds the fastest lap record at Losail, clocked 1:55.302 to get back to the top and suggest he was more than ready ahead of Saturday’s qualifying race. Crutchlow’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso was timed in the fourth quickest lap at 1:55.905. Dani Pedrosa of Repsol Honda leapt to top five with a last-gasp dash of 1:56.114. Sixth best was Pramac Racing Team’s Hector Barbera on Ducati. Ex-world champion Nicky Hayden also found a good pace to place the factory Ducati in the seventh place. He was followed by teammate and seven times MotoGP/500cc champion Valentino Rossi. German debutant Stefan Bradl was ninth on a satellite Honda team and the top 10 was completed by another Honda rider, Alvaro Bautista. Yamaha’s Ben Spies, who was fourth in the first two FPs, got the 11th best time, after his bike crashed. He returned to the track but could not improve his timing. At the end of the session, Randy de Puniet of Power Electronics Aspar suffered a crash and was seen limping off the track.
Earlier, Stoner held off a Yamaha trio by finishing at the head of the second free practice time-sheets as well.
After clocking 1:56.474 in the first one, the Australian upped the pace and emerged as the lone rider to get a sub 1:56 time. His 1:55.960 was achieved in the 12th out of 14 laps that he did.
His teammate Dani Pedrosa overcame a fall to get the sixth quickest lap. But Yamaha, spearheaded by Lorenzo, continued to be the biggest challenger to Stoner. Despite leading most of the session, Lorenzo finished just 0.214 adrift of Stoner in the second place. Dovizioso, on a satellite Yahama team, clocked the third fastest time, being 0.688 of a second off Stoner’s pace. Lorenzo’s teammate Spies was in the fourth spot with 1:56.671.
Barbera was the leading Ducati rider. He was fifth in 1:56.678.
Thomas Luthi beat off a strong challenge from Kalex quartet to complete his sweep of the Moto2 FPs. The Interwetten-Paddock rider kept improving his lap pace and topped the chart with the fastest time of the week of 2:00.479. He was just one of the two riders who could dip in under 2.01-min and his quickest lap came off in the 14th visit to the track.
Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Spanish pair of Pol Espargaro and Esteve Rabat were the second and third. Eapargaro, who was the third fastest in the earlier two FPs, improved his pace, being the second to get below 2:01 time.
Scott Redding of Marc VDS Racing Team and Claudio Cortis were other Kalex users to be among the top five.
Steve Cortese of Red Bull KTM Ajo and two others knocked Maverick Vinales off the top in the third and final free practice. The German found the quickest lap of the night in his 12th and final round of the track, clocking 2:08.342.
Romano Fenati of Team Italia FMI was the second fastest rider on FTR Honda, being only 0.034 of a second away from the leader. Luis Salomo of RW Racing GP took the third spot with 2:08443.
Vinales, who led the first two FPs, had to settle for the fourth best time of 2:08.477, which was a shade slower than what he got to top the second FP – 2:08.160. It was only in the second half of the session that Vinales of Blusens Avintia began rising on the sheet.
His best time was clocked in the 16th and last lap. But his consistency of having more laps of 2:08 than anybody on the track would hand him a good advantage for rest of the weekend.
The fifth fastest in the third FP was Mighuel Oliveira on Honda. He clocked 2:08.904.
The Moto3 has replaced the 125cc class this year. The 125cc category had been the part of the MotoGP since its beginning in 1949.
The new category had 250cc four-stroke engine. Dunlop is the tyre supplier but there is no engine control in this class.