Jorge Lorenzo continued to pile the pressure on champion-elect Marc Marquez in the second free practice today at Phillip Island in Australia. While the defending World Champion was able to increase his pace to lead the way again, Marquez showed a little chink in his armor as he suffered a third-gear crash at Lukey Heights that he was fortunate to escape without injury.
Lorenzo and his factory Yamaha bettered his best from this morning, the Spaniard lapping at 1:28.961 – the only rider to crack the 1:29 barrier. Marquez, who crashed very early in the session, wasn’t able to improve his best. Although he finished the day with the second best time, he slipped down the order in the afternoon session – some .744 of a second slower than his morning best.
Second best this afternoon was Alvaro Bautista, the Go & Fun Honda rider also bouncing back from a crash with his coming in the high-speed turn two. Still, he was almost half a second slower than Lorenzo with his 1:29.438.
Dani Pedrosa was third best in the afternoon session and any chance he had of improving late was thwarted by a mechanical problem at the end of the session. Pedrosa got a ride back to the paddock on a scooter, but elected not to go out on his back-up RC213V.
Valentino Rossi was fourth best - .576 of a second behind his teammate Lorenzo when the day was complete. Rossi, in turn, was just .130 of a second faster than Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow.
Then came Marquez in sixth, just a fraction quicker than Crutchlow’s teammate Bradley Smith, the young Brit having a good day in his MotoGP debut at the picturesque island circuit.
Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet had his best practice effort of the season, the Frenchman ending up eighth and ahead of the two Marlboro Ducatis – headed by Nicky Hayden over his teammate Andrea Dovizioso. De Puniet was easily the best of the CRT bikes with Aleix Espargaro 13th best on the second Aspar bike.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who suffered a broken ankle last weekend in Malaysia, won’t be racing this weekend at Phillip Island. The German tried to give it a go in the morning session, but elected to sit out the afternoon session after announcing that he was finished for the weekend. He will try again in Motegi, Japan next weekend.
Texan Colin Edwards finished the afternoon session in 12th on his NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki.
Free Practice 2
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:28.961
2. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) 1:29.438
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:29.478
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:29.537
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1:29.667
6. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1:29.989
7. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1:30.165
8. Randy de Puniet (ART) 1:30.215
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:30.609
10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1:30.754