PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia: Spain’s defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo topped both practice sessions yesterday as title challenger Marc Marquez struck trouble ahead of this weekend’s Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island.
Yamaha’s Lorenzo clocked one minute 28.961 seconds for the fastest lap in second practice to hold a gap of 0.294secs over compatriot Marquez on a Honda.
But Marquez, who can claim the world title in his debut premier class season if he beats Lorenzo by sufficient points in Sunday’s third-last race of the season, came heavily off his bike during the afternoon run.
The 20-year-old Spanish rookie high-sided his Repsol Honda and landed heavily on the newly-laid asphalt surface before getting to his feet.
Appearing to have escaped injury, Marquez was back out on the track less than 20 minutes later.
“It’s a pity about the crash right at the start of the afternoon run but we went back out with the second bike, which had a totally different geometry and we had no time in which to change things,” Marquez said.
“So we used the initial setup for the entire session. We shall see if tomorrow we can regain the feeling that we had in the morning session, as I felt very good.”
Lorenzo, who clinched his world title in last year’s race, went within 0.304secs of Australian Casey Stoner’s lap record of 1:28.665 set in the 2008 Phillip Island race.
“I feel that here we are much more competitive than in Malaysia,” Lorenzo said.
“There are some problems with the wind in some corners where we cannot keep the front wheel on the ground so we need to improve that for tomorrow. afp