MOTOGP: Wounded Warrior; Lorenzo Overcomes Shoulder Injury to Lead Motegi Practice

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MOTEGI, Japan – official series release — Yamaha photo —

Overcoming a shoulder injury he suffered earlier in the week, Jorge Lorenzo topped the combined MotoGP practice charts Friday at Twin Ring Motegi.

Movistar Yamaha’s Lorenzo took advantage of ideal conditions to set a 1:44.731 in the second practice to top the overall practice charts. Lorenzo showed no ill effects from the shoulder injury he picked up earlier in the week as he completely dominated proceedings on Friday.

Lorenzo’s time was less than three-tenths off Andrea Dovizioso’s qualifying record from last year (1:44.502) as the Spaniard looks to close the 14-point gap to his teammate Valentino Rossi in the standings.

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa seemed buoyed by his podium finish at Aragon and ended the day in second overall after improving by more than a second from the first practice to the second practice. Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone was third fastest on a day that saw .312 of a second separate the provisional front row. The Italian finished ahead of his teammate Andrea Dovizioso in fourth as just .016 of a second separated the two, despite Iannone also carrying a shoulder injury. The Ducati Team GP15’s made use of special cooling ducts to keep the front brakes cool, as did both the Movistar Yamaha team and Team Suzuki Ecstar.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith impressed as the leading Satellite rider in fifth overall, after he had finished fourth fastest in the first practice. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro was sixth fastest with Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in seventh. The reigning MotoGP champion was using a modified handlebar to accommodate the broken fifth metacarpal on his left hand and at one point pulled off a remarkable save at turn eight to stop him from doing any further damage.

Championship leader Rossi found himself down in eighth overall at the end of the day, after ending the first practice in third. Rossi was .823 of a second off the pace of Lorenzo and will have work to do on Saturday to try and maintain his 14-point lead.

CREDIT: MotoGP Communications

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