Lorenzo quickest in San Marino practice
Championship leader Casey Stoner had to make do with second best on Friday as defending champion Jorge Lorenzo laid down the fastest free practice time for Sunday’s San Marino Grand Prix.
Stoner topped the first session but Lorenzo, who was only sixth fastest in the morning, came through in the second session to clock one minute 33.929 seconds on his Yamaha.
It left him 0.076secs clear of the Australian whose Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa was third fastest.
“I feel much more comfortable on the bike with the changes we made,” said Lorenzo.
“The setting we made is very similar to the Mugello one and there I won the race. To be honest I didn’t expect so much change because we improved more than one second.
“We are now quite close to a victory I think. Casey and Dani are still so fast but at least we are there with them.”
Stoner, who leads Lorenzo by 44 points in the championship after winning seven of the first 11 races, was left to wonder about his set-up for Sunday’s race at Misano.
“We tried some things but not everything worked as I really wanted them to,” he said.
“We’ll go away tonight and work in preparation for tomorrow (Saturday). We still need to get the bike feeling a little more comfortable in the middle of the corner and on the exit, with traction as well as turning.
“If we can improve these areas then I’m confident we can also improve the lap time quite a lot.”
Stoner is followed by Pedrosa and another Honda teammate Marco Simoncelli, while Lorenzo’s stablemate Ben Spies was fifth fastest, half a second down on the Spaniard.
“Not bad, it wasn’t a great second session but we had to try a lot of things,” said the American who was the only rider not to improve in session two.
“Overall a positive day, we tried some stuff that worked and some stuff that didn’t. We need to work harder and improve some grip levels but the overall feel and speed I’m happy with.”
Valentino Rossi, a two-time winner here, finished back in 11th place.