Jorge Lorenzo fastest at cold and wet Jerez

Jorge Lorenzo topped the timesheets at the end of a cool, wet and windy start to the final pre-season MotoGP test in Jerez yesterday.

Heavy rain and cold temperatures dominated the action but reigning world champion Lorenzo was able to set a best time of 1.47.423 on his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 to finish 1.051s clear of Repsol Honda rival Dani Pedrosa.

Lorenzo completed just 39 laps with each rider restricted to just four sets of rain tyres from Bridgestone for the entire test.

With further poor weather predicted for Sunday, most riders were limiting the number of laps completed to keep back fresh wet rubber.

Pedrosa had led most of the day with a lap of 1.48.474 as he continued to impress in wet conditions. The Spaniard enjoyed a breakthrough victory in the rain in Malaysia last October and he also triumphed in treacherous conditions in the last round in Valencia.

Pedrosa edged out factory Honda teammate Marc Marquez, who took third with a time of 1.48.524.

Ducati’s Desmosedici once again showed competitive pace in the rain after Italian rookie Andrea Iannone set the fourth best time. His pace of 1.48.984 was still over 1.5s behind Lorenzo but he headed Ducati test rider Michele Pirro in fifth and nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi in sixth.

Rossi set a best time of 1.49.443 to finish ahead of 2006 world champion Nicky Hayden and British rider Cal Crutchlow.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Crutchlow was eighth fastest with a best pace of 1.49.692 but he only completed 19 laps, which was the least of anybody inside the top 10.

Teammate Bradley Smith was 16th quickest and he only opted to complete 14 laps on his YZR-M1 machine. He set a best time of 1.52.047.

Irish CRT rider Michael Laverty was 23rd on the rankings having only completed 12 laps. It was his first chance to ride the new British-built PBM chassis in the rain.

Aspar Aprilia duo Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaro were the only two riders that didn’t venture out on track today.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt