Lorenzo To The Top

Cycle News Staff | October 2, 2009

All was right in the MotoGP world today as the big four dominated the first practice session for Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix in Estoril. At the end of the session it was Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo lapping .219 of a second under his lap record from last year to grab the top spot with a 1:37.185.Lorenzo held the lead for the majority of the session while those below him battled over second. Although the Spaniard was at the top, he continued to lower his lap times and his best came in the waning moments of the session. And it held up despite the best efforts of his rivals.Second best today was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, the Spaniard taking over the spot from Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi with just under eight minutes to go in the session. At that point his 1:37.544 lap was just .087 slower than Lorenzo’s best, but Lorenzo had one more good lap in him right at the end and he opened the gap to .219 of a second.Rossi held on to third, moving past Marlboro Ducati’s Casey Stoner with some 14 and a half minutes to go in the session. Rossi jumped to second five minutes later, but was relegated to third again when Pedrosa did his quick lap near the end. When all was said and done, the World Championship leader was .421 of a second off Lorenzo’s best lap with those two going into Sunday’s race with Rossi holding a 30-point lead in the title chase.It didn’t take Stoner long to shake off the rust from missing the last three races and he was at his normal spot in the top four straight away. He would end up fourth quickest – .781 of a second behind Lorenzo.Then came Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards, the Texan armed with a new contract to stay with the team. Edwards improved his time to 1:38.103 right at the very end to hold off Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizisio. Then came Randy de Puniet and James Toseland, the Brit seemingingly inspired after getting the word that he will be moving to World Superbike next year and replaced by Ben Spies in the Yamaha MotoGP satellite team.Alex de Angelis and Mika Kallio rounded out the top 10. Marlboro Ducati’s Nicky Hayden ended up 11th after getting as high as eighth with 15 minutes to go.

Friday Practice

1.                  Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:37.185

2.                  Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:37.544

3.                  Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:37.606

4.                  Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:37.966

5.                  Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:38.103

6.                  Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:38.244

7.                  Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:38.385

8.                  James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:38.591

9.                  Alex de Angelis (Honda) 1:38.629

10.                  Mika Kallio (Ducati) 1:38.661

11.                  Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:38.850