From the GP Office:
The spectacular Phillip Island circuit was at its sparkling best today as Jorge Lorenzo led the way in the first two free practice sessions of the 2013 Tissot Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
With the sun shining and the temperature heating up, an estimated 20,200 fans made their way to Phillip Island to see the world’s best battle it out to become the first rider outside of Casey Stoner to win at the track since 2006 in MotoGP.
Yamaha ace Jorge Lorenzo saw Honda rivals Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa both come to grief during the second 45-minute free practice session for Sunday’s Grand Prix and promptly fired in his fastest laps of the day to top the times for the second session running.
Marquez, 43 points shy of the world title, came off the RC213V just six minutes into the session when the back wheel stepped out on the crest at Lukey Heights
Unhurt, Marquez returned to the pits and was able to get out on track and finish the session in sixth place overall but over a second off Lorenzo’s pace.
Pedrosa, meanwhile, had a bizarre moment after half an hour when he pulled the Honda off-track on the inside of Turn 2 with what looked like a bolt or linkage trailing out of the bike’s left-hand side.
Pedrosa was third-quickest behind Alvaro Bautista, who had a crash of his own at Turn 2 on the Gresini Honda but put in another impressive session with a best lap of 1:28.961 and the top speed of 343.9 km/h to boot.
The track resurface proved to quicken the pace across all categories and there is no question that lap records will be broken this weekend.
With the world title up for grabs and further sunshine predicted, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO, Andrew Westacott, was excited about the turnout for the weekend.
“The weather really turned it on today and we are expecting similar conditions tomorrow and Sunday, so I encourage fans to come and see the new era of MotoGP in action,” he said.
“Tickets are still available for the weekend and with great racing and exciting entertainment, on and off the track including the Australian Supercross Championship and a cameo appearance from Casey Stoner, it should make for a bumper weekend.”