Jorge Lorenzo leads the way in Portugal practice
Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo capitalised on improved weather conditions in the afternoon to set the fastest time in Friday MotorGP practice at the bwin Grande Premio de Portugal, ahead of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi.
World Champion and race winner at Estoril for the past two seasons, Lorenzo was the fastest rider round the track in the 45-minute run, as he posted a best lap of 1:48.522 on his factory M1 to get his weekend off to a solid start.
Ducati rider Nicky Hayden was also on form as he finished just 0.135s behind the Spaniard, with Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) completing the top three and the final rider to get under the 1:49” barrier on day one.
Casey Stoner, who is going for a fourth win in five races this weekend, was fourth with an effort of 1:49.061, which made the Ducati man the last to get within a second of Lorenzo.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Ben Spies and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Melandri were separated by just six-hundredths of a second as they rounded out the session and day one as the fifth and sixth fastest riders respectively.
LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet had led the session early on and his final time of 1:50.043 placed him seventh in the order, with Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) setting top-ten times.
Despite the appearance of the sun late in the session the track remained wet due to the constant earlier rain, and as such there were four crashers in the session. Héctor Barberá (Paginas Amarillas Aspar), Dovizioso, Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) all had falls on a surface that continued to cause some problems.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) was on track as he continues his recovery from injury and he placed 13th, with Carlos Checa 17th as he started his two-race stint with the Pramac Racing Team. Aleix Espargaró (Pramac Racing) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) – who along with Checa was the only rider to complete a lap in the morning – completed the session 14th and 15th fastest respectively.