Lorenzo edges Marquez in FP1

Lorenzo edges Marquez in FP1

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Lorenzo edges Marquez in FP1

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Jorge Lorenzo edged Marc Marquez as this year’s two MotoGP title contenders set a blazing pace in first practice at Phillip Island.

Just 0.088 seconds separated the pair at the checkered flag, with Lorenzo eventually prevailing when he dipped down to a 1m29.167s. The pair had taken turns at the top before Lorenzo’s late effort.

Marquez can mathematically wrap up a rookie championship this weekend in Australia, although he needs to outscore Lorenzo by at least eight points. The two championship rivals were in a class of their own throughout, and were set to finish nearly one second clear of the entire field until several riders improved in the final minutes.

Chief among them was Gresini Honda rider Alvaro Bautista, who produced a 1m29.831s – still some six tenths down on Lorenzo – to steal into third ahead of works counterpart and Sepang winner Dani Pedrosa.

Valentino Rossi meanwhile edged Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow in the fight for fifth, with the Briton in turn less than a quarter of a second clear of team-mate Bradley Smith.

Nicky Hayden, who will join the Aspar squad and ride Honda’s production racer next season, was eighth fastest.

Randy de Puniet claimed top CRT honors in ninth, finishing fractions ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Pramac’s Andrea Iannone.

Stefan Bradl, riding less than a week after fracturing and then having surgery on his right ankle, managed 11 laps and wound up 20th overall. He was declared fit to start first practice at Phillip Island, but will need to undergo further medical checks in order to continue competing.

Pos  Rider             Team/Bike             Time       Gap      Laps 1.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                1m29.167s           20 2.  Marc Marquez      Honda                 1m29.255s  +0.088s  20 3.  Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda         1m29.831s  +0.664s  21 4.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda                 1m30.008s  +0.841s  19 5.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha                1m30.053s  +0.886s  22 6.  Cal Crutchlow     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m30.130s  +0.963s  22 7.  Bradley Smith     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m30.361s  +1.194s  22 8.  Nicky Hayden      Ducati                1m30.666s  +1.499s  20 9.  Randy de Puniet   Aspar Aprilia         1m31.280s  +2.113s  2210.  Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati                1m31.295s  +2.128s  1711.  Andrea Iannone    Pramac Ducati         1m31.295s  +2.128s  2012.  Alex Espargaro    Aspar Aprilia         1m31.458s  +2.291s  1813.  Colin Edwards     Forward FTR-Kawasaki  1m31.557s  +2.390s  1814.  Hiroshi Aoyama    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m31.637s  +2.470s  1915.  Hector Barbera    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m31.766s  +2.599s  1816.  Danilo Petrucci   Ioda-Suter-BMW        1m31.803s  +2.636s  2417.  Claudio Corti     Forward FTR-Kawasaki  1m32.300s  +3.133s  1718.  Yonny Hernandez   Pramac Ducati         1m32.341s  +3.174s  1819.  Bryan Staring     Gresini FTR-Honda     1m32.741s  +3.574s  2020.  Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda             1m33.165s  +3.998s  1121.  Luca Scassa       Cardion Aprilia       1m33.234s  +4.067s  1822.  Lucas Pesek       Ioda-Suter-BMW        1m33.797s  +4.630s  1623.  Michael Laverty   PBM-Aprilia           1m33.875s  +4.708s  2324.  Damian Cudlin     PBM Aprilia           1m35.906s  +6.739s  20

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