Lorenzo to the Top

Henny Ray Abrams | July 4, 2009

Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo set the fastest lap time of the weekend with his final tour of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, site of Sunday’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.The Majorcan was in the top three for most the session, but it was at the end that he excelled. His penultimate lap moved him to second and his final lap of 1:21.799 moved him past Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner to the top.The lap was also faster than the Friday best 1:21.981 of teammate Valentino Rossi, who finished Saturday morning’s session with the third fastest time of 1:22.177.The session began in a cool 60 degree overcast, which, Lorenzo said, made it “a little bit more difficult to ride fast” because of less rear grip. The hourlong session ended under a warming sun and higher temperatures.”For sure now the temperature is more higher so I think for this afternoon, the tires both, the hard and the soft will work better,” he said.Lorenzo was also briefed by a former world champion. Kenny Roberts Jr. watched Lorenzo in turns one and two and “he say that I ride very well.”For the afternoon “we try some things and now we have more clearly what is the best setting to use.”San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Toni Elias was fourth fastest, less than two-tenth off Rossi’s time, with Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso fifth, despite having a mechanical problem that forced him to abandon his RC212V. Teammate Dani Pedrosa was a very close sixth.The session was filled with action, with a number of riders crashing and others suffering mechanical ills. Among the fallers was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards. The Texan high-sided on his fourth lap, but returned to record the seventh fastest time. Eighth fastest Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) had a scary crash entering the fast downhill turn ten right with less than three minutes to go. He limped awayDucati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden had a promising session going until crashing with about 12 minutes to go in turn five. Earlier, he’d held the fifth fastest time, with the 11th of his 30 laps, but couldn’t improve and slowly slipped down the order. He was ninth fastest when he crashed.Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s James Toseland was 10th in front of San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alex De Angelis and LCR Honda’s Randy De Puniet. De Puniet had an early off-track excursion, but didn’t crash.Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi, who finished with the 15th fastest time, had a mechanical issue on the track that forced him to return to the pits for his spare GSV-R800.

Saturday Practice:

1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha) 1:21.799

2. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:21.835

3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:22.177

4. Toni Elias (Honda) 1:22.367

5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:22.552

6. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:22.561

7. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:22.781

8. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 1:22.917

9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:22.935

10. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:23.127

11. Alex De Angelis (Honda) 1:23.368

12. Randy De Puniet (Honda) 1:23.451

13. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki) 1:23.452

14. Sete Gibernau (Ducati) 1:23.849

15. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:23.951

16. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda) 1:24.114

17. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1:24.202

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.