Lorenzo fastest in prac­tice, Pe­drosa breaks col­lar­bone

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Jorge Lorenzo pro­duced a blis­ter­ing late lap to knock An­drea Dovizioso off the top spot at Motegi in Ja­pan to head the times in a dra­matic FP2, which saw Dani Pe­drosa suf­fer a bro­ken col­lar­bone in a late spill.

Mo­vis­tar Yamaha rider Lorenzo set a time of 1m 45.151s on his fac­tory M1 with one minute re­main­ing on the clock to take over from Ital­ian rider Dovizioso, who had ear­lier led the way in open­ing free prac­tice on the Des­mosedici GP16.

Dovizioso was only 0.053 sec­onds be­hind the reign­ing cham­pion in sec­ond place, with Mav­er­ick Vi­nales hot on his heels in third on the Ec­star Suzuki.

Young Spa­niard Vi­nales im­pressed on the GSX-RR with a lap in 1m 45.248s, which put him in front of top Honda rider Marc Mar­quez, who slid out un­hurt in FP2.

Mo­toGP World Cham­pi­onship leader Mar­quez saved a mo­ment a Turn 1 but was un­able to stay up­right af­ter grace­fully slid­ing off at Turn 10.

How­ever, his Rep­sol Honda team-mate Dani Pe­drosa was not so lucky and was in­volved in a huge high-side at Turn 11 in the clos­ing min­utes. Pe­drosa was taken to the med­i­cal cen­tre for ex­am­i­na­tion and it was later re­vealed that he had sus­tained a bro­ken right col­lar­bone.

Bri­tish rider Cal Crutchlow slot­ted into fifth on the LCR Honda be­hind Mar­quez, 0.350s down on Lorenzo, while Aleix Es­par­garo on the sec­ond of the Ec­star Suzuki ma­chines com­pleted the top six.

Valentino Rossi, who lies sec­ond in the cham­pi­onship stand­ings head­ing into the fi­nal four races, was sev­enth fastest with a lap in 1m 45.532s. The Ital­ian rider was 0.381 sec­onds adrift of team-mate Lorenzo's bench­mark time in FP2, but only three hun­dredths of a sec­ond off Crutchlow in fifth.

Pra­mac Du­cati's Danilo Petrucci was next up in eighth ahead of the un­for­tu­nate Pe­drosa, who took ninth in the ses­sion fol­low­ing his big off on the Rep­sol Honda.

Pol Es­par­garo, who was among the fall­ers, rounded out the top 10 on the Mon­ster Tech 3 Yamaha (1m 46.245s).

Ire­land's Eu­gene Laverty also came off af­ter a big high-side on the As­par Du­cati. Af­ter be­ing stretchered away, Laverty was able to walk un­aided into the med­i­cal cen­tre.

Aussie Jack Miller, mak­ing his re­turn from in­jury on the Marc VDS Honda, was another rider who slid out in the fi­nal min­utes.

Aprilia duo Stefan Bradl and Al­varo Bautista were 11th and 12th re­spec­tively ahead of Laverty, with Hec­tor Bar­bera in 14th place on the sec­ond of the fac­tory Du­cati GP16s. Av­in­tia Rac­ing rider Bar­bera has been handed the op­por­tu­nity to re­place An­drea Ian­none at Motegi, who is still not ready to make his come­back from in­jury.

Laverty's team-mate Yonny Her­nan­dez fin­ished 15th ahead of Bri­tain's Scott Red­ding (Pra­mac Du­cati), with Yamaha test rider Kat­suyuki Naka­suga end­ing FP2 in 17th on the fac­tory Ya­malube Yamaha M1.

Bradley Smith, also back in ac­tion this week­end fol­low­ing an in­jury lay-off, was 21st on the Mon­ster Tech 3 Yamaha be­hind Aus­tralian Miller and his team­mate Tito Ra­bat, plus French­man Loris Baz (Av­in­tia Rac­ing) in 20th.

F1 driver Hulken­berg leav­ing Force In­dia to join Re­nault

Ger­man driver Nico Hulken­berg will leave the Force In­dia team at the end of the For­mula One sea­son to join French man­u­fac­turer Re­nault.

Af­ter Force In­dia an­nounced ear­lier yes­ter­day that the 29-yearold Hulken­berg was go­ing, Re­nault con­firmed he will be ar­riv­ing next sea­son on a "mul­ti­year" deal. Re­nault did not elab­o­rate.

Ei­ther Dane Kevin Mag­nussen or Bri­tish driver Jolyon Palmer — Re­nault's cur­rent F1 pair — will have to make way for Hulken­berg, who thanked Force In­dia for not block­ing his move.

There are four races left, and Hulken­berg sits in ninth place in the driv­ers' stand­ings, one place be­hind team­mate Ser­gio Perez of Mex­ico.

Force In­dia, mean­while, is vy­ing with Williams for fourth in the con­struc­tors' cham­pi­onship and has a 10-point lead. Both have Mercedes en­gines, while Re­nault pro­vides its own.

Dani Pe­drosa (top right) is helped away from his mo­tor­bike af­ter the crash yes­ter­day

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