MOTOGP: Lorenzo Draws First Blood; Tops Opening Grand Finale Practice at Valencia

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VALENCIA, Spain – official series release — Yamaha photo —

Jorge Lorenzo drew first blood against MotoGP title rival and teammate Valentino Rossi during Friday’s practice sessions for #TheGrandFinale at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Lorenzo finished on top of the combined timesheets after two practice sessions with a lap of 1:31.111, putting him ahead of defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez. Lorenzo enters the season finale trailing Rossi by seven points.

“The day started positively and we improved the bike a lot in the afternoon,” said Lorenzo. “The bike is working really well and I feel strong, with good concentration. I’m riding well, but the bike, to be honest, is working very well for me to keep a high pace, even with old tires, so I‘m very happy about the beginning of the weekend.”

Rossi, who will be forced to start at the back of the grid because of a penalty during the Malaysian Grand Prix, was fifth-fastest on the combined time sheets.

“When I‘m riding I’m more relaxed and I’m quite happy about these two first practices, because already this morning my pace was not so bad and I was also quite competitive with the used tire, which is very important for the race,” said Rossi. “I’m also happy that in the afternoon we tried something different that made me increase my rhythm and improve my lap times. I used the hard tires and it wasn‘t so bad and after I tried the soft to make a comparison and make the right choice for Sunday. It’s true that we have to decide our strategy now, because I think it will be difficult to use the 15 minutes of qualifying like a free practice, so I think maybe I can do the normal procedure anyway.”

Dani Pedrosa, who has won two of the last three races and has six wins overall in Valencia, was third fastest overall as he attempts to become just the second rider in history to score his 100th career MotoGP podium on Sunday. Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone improved by more than seven-tenths throughout the day to finish in fourth.

CREDIT: MotoGP Communications

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