News 4 Jun 2016

Lorenzo leads tragic opening day at Catalunya

Friday practice marred by death of Moto2 racer Luis Salom.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Conditions continued to be ideal as Free Practice 2 at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya began for round seven of the MotoGP World Championship.

Times remained steady for most of the session, the final 10 minutes seeing riders fit new tyres for a couple of flying laps.

Home hero Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) began his quest for three straight wins in a near perfect way, setting a 1m41.712s to top Friday overall.

There were no signs of Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) slowing down after topping Free Practice 1, the Suzuki man the first rider into the 1m41s.

A best time of 1m41.954s would see him end the day 0.242s behind Lorenzo. Suzuki’s work back at the factory is clearly working, Viñales ending ahead of all the Yamaha riders in terms of top speed, hitting 336.6km/h during the session.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) proved he still has the speed despite a tough start to the year, wrapping up Friday in third and as the fastest Honda rider. The Brit was 0.299s back on Lorenzo and only 0.057s behind Viñales.

Fourth was a dramatic improvement for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) who had ended FP1 down in 14th place, his time improving by over a second. Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) ended fifth overall, 0.570s off Lorenzo.

Redding was also the leading Ducati rider, both Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) taking a while to get up to speed as they ended eighth and 10th respectively.

Behind Redding was Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), ‘The Doctor’ unconcerned by his position as the times were so close. In contrast, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) ended the day down in ninth and 0.773s off the championship leader.

Australian Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) had his second fall of the day, crashing at turn three and eventually setting a 1m43.621s for 20th overall.

Tragedy struck in Moto2 with just over 24 minutes remaining in session two, the red flag was brought out due to a crash involving Luis Salom (SAG Team) at turn 12.

He received medical treatment trackside before being taken to the Hospital Universitari General de Catalunya for further treatment. This brought an early end to the session on safety grounds, however Salom unfortunately passed away soon after.

Takaaki Nakagami’s (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) 1m46.537s from Free Practice 1 stood as the fastest time of the day, only a handful of riders able to improve their times in the shortened second session.

In Moto3 it was Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) who led both sessions, trailed by Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo).