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New surface, same Lorenzo

New surface, same Lorenzo

Ahead of the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini all the talk was about the new track surface.

The Misano World Circuit ‘Marco Simoncelli’ underwent a full track resurfacing during the off-season and riders from all three classes were eager to see how far times would drop. In 2014 many riders complained about the lack of grip and the bumps around the circuit, Valentino Rossi and the safety commission pushed for a resurfacing: “Last year after the GP we tried get new asphalt in the safety commission because it was very slippery and they did a very good job. They also improved the bumps that were quite bad in the past and it looks like there’s more grip,” he said during the pre-race press conference. Several MotoGP™ had held private tests and were excited to see what they could do during a race weekend.

Free Practice 1 during the 2014 edition of the San Marino GP was held in wet conditions, making for an imperfect comparison. However, Free Practice 1 during 2013 was held in almost identical conditions to 2015, with air and track temperature only a few degrees different. It was Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who led both FP1 sessions, in 2013 he set a 1’34.476 and in 2015 he led with a  1’33.328. Even in FP1 we’ve seen an improvement of almost a second.

Comparing Free Practice 2 times from the same period provides a similar story, with Jorge Lorenzo’s (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) 2015 time over 1.4 seconds faster than the 1’34.200 that Marquez led the 2013 session with. Lorenzo set a 1’32.871 to not only lead Friday but also set a new circuit best lap around Misano. Already the Mallorcan has bested the 2014 pole time half a second and was under Marquez’s 2013 pole record.

It was not just the top riders that were able to improve their times, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) has already gone 0.2s quicker than his time from Qualifying in 2014. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith was also 0.2s quicker than his 2014 Qualifying time. At this early stage it seems 0.2s is the average improvement for most riders, gaining the most from the increased grip will be critical in the 2015 title battle.

As in Silverstone, Lorenzo appears to have the early edge over his Movistar Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi. The Italian ended the day in fifth but he was a worrying 0.598s slower than Lorenzo. At the end of FP2 in Silverstone Rossi was a staggering 0.989s behind, the situation in Misano is less dire but it seems the new surface is suiting Lorenzo better than Rossi.

Regardless of surface Lorenzo gets on well with Misano, since he joined the MotoGP™ World Championship in 2008 he has never finished lower than second at the San Marino GP. Rossi has work to do: “The new track surface was quite difficult and I suffered in the morning, but we worked a lot on the bike and fortunately we improved in the afternoon. During the practice we were able to make a step forward, which is good, but it‘s not enough because I still don‘t feel a 100 per cent and can‘t ride at the maximum, so we have to improve for tomorrow.” He set seven 1’33s in FP2 but Lorenzo managed a staggering eleven 1’33s and a 1’32s. Perhaps most impressive about Lorenzo’s run was that his 1’32 was followed by five 1’33s, it’s not just Rossi that should be worried as Lorenzo looks to claim yet more territory for Lorenzo Land.

MotoGP, 2015, GRAN PREMIO TIM DI SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI, FP2, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

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