Friday Practice at Le Mans

Moto GP 2015

maddix park mx  Byron Wilson Friday 15th May 2015

Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith grabbed the top spot on the timesheet in MotoGP Friday practice at Le Mans in the waning minutes of the second session. He dropped Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo to second-position, followed by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in third. 

Rain the previous day gave way to dry conditions for both Friday practice sessions. Smith was 10th overall after the cooler morning stint but was able to pick up his pace considerably in the afternoon, cutting more than one and a half seconds off his previous best time. The Yamaha rider’s day was not without incident however, Smith taking a tumble in the final minutes of FP2 after setting the top lap. 

“Today was a great start to the weekend and I’m delighted to finish in first on the opening day in Le Mans at the Tech3 team’s home Grand Prix, which is also sponsored by Monster Energy,” said Smith. “The team and I did a top job in the Jerez test where we made considerable steps forward with the front forks and the electronic settings. Moreover, we made consistent progress from the word go today and I must say that I feel much more comfortable here when compared to last year which was a tough weekend for me. I unfortunately fell in the final moments of the session but I don’t consider it to be my fault. Aleix went down in front of me so I got distracted and ran wide and then went onto the dirt and rode over a rock which caused the crash. This is annoying, but nevertheless it’s certainly super to finish the opening day at the top of the field and I’m fired up for the rest of the weekend." 

Lorenzo mentioned after the second practice session that he and the team are still searching for an optimal set-up at the French circuit, and is hopeful that he will be able to up his pace further as the weekend goes on. Dovi cites improvements found during the team’s recent test at Mugello as contributing to his positive feeling with the GP15 at Le Mans, but says there’s still room to advance in terms of the bike’s stability. 

CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow finished fourth-fastest followed by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in fifth. Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, claimed sixth-position. Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, returns to action after missing a number of rounds to recover from surgery aimed at addressing arm pump. 

"The first day after a long time without riding has been a little difficult, as was finding a good feel for the track and getting used to the speed and the tires,” said Pedrosa. “In addition, this track is not easy to tackle when it’s a little cold. However, gradually we have made progress and by the afternoon things were going better, even if I still lacked a bit of pace. Tonight I will try to relax as much as I can, in order to regain energy for tomorrow." 

Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro finished in eighth ahead of his brother Aleix of Team Suzuki Ecstar in ninth. Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez rounded out the top-10. Dovi’s teammate, Andrea Iannone, continues to suffer shoulder pain thanks to a prior crash in testing at Mugello. The incident left the Italian with a dislocated left shoulder. During practice at Le Mans, Iannone tried riding without and then with painkillers, saying later that “the situation did not improve, the pain remained virtually the same.” He placed 11th in combined practice time and has a hard weekend of work still ahead. 

MotoGP Le Mans Friday Combined Practice Results 2015
1. Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 1’33.179 
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’33.369 
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 1’33.553 
4. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 1’33.652 
5. Marc Marquez (Honda) 1’33.670 
6. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’33.686 
7. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’33.725 
8. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 1’33.903 
9. Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) 1’33.944 
10. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati) 1’33.953 
11. Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 1’34.092 
12. Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) 1’34.110 
13. Jack Miller (Honda) 1’34.253 
14. Scott Redding (Honda) 1’34.371 
15. Stefan Bradl (Forward Yamaha) 1’34.543 
16. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 1’34.568 
17. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1’34.663 
18. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 
19. Loris Baz (Forward Yamaha) 1’35.002 
20. Mike Di Meglio (Ducati) 1’35.067 
21. Karel Abraham (Honda) 1’35.090 
22. Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) 1’35.137 
23. Eugene Laverty (Honda) 1’35.182 
24. Alex De Angelis (ART) 1’35.802 
25. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 1’36.056

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