Stefan Bradl edged Jorge Lorenzo for the fastest time in MotoGP practice. Stefan Bradl edged Jorge Lorenzo for the fastest time in MotoGP practice. Photo courtesy motogp.com

Bradl tops opening day at Brno

Written by  on Friday, 23 August 2013 14:54

A late lap from Stefan Bradl saw the LCR Honda MotoGP rider demote Jorge Lorenzo to second place in Friday afternoon practice ahead of the bwin Grand Prix České republiky. Behind the reigning World Champion, the top three was completed by last year’s winner Dani Pedrosa.

Although he beat Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo to the top spot in Free Practice 2 at Brno, Bradl stressed that the result should be taken with a pinch of salt.

"It’s nice to be first on Friday but, to be honest, it looks a bit better on paper than it does in reality," the German explained to motogp.com during a video interview. "I am not really super happy with this first position today because we are still missing some confidence with the front of the bike – the front fork is not working as well as I would like. The times are really close together and it won’t be easy for us tomorrow."

Last year, Bradl finished fifth in the Czech Republic from seventh on the grid.

Lorenzo was fastest in both practice sessions as the Brno weekend began, but only until Bradl delivered his final 1:56.500 effort to snatch the top spot by three hundredths of a second. Pedrosa trailed Lorenzo by only a further six hundredths, following on from their last-lap battle in 2012.

“I started in a very good way in the morning and also in the beginning of the second practice,” Lorenzo said. “Then we started to try some things on the bike that weren’t as good as we expected. We spent all the practice trying things so I wasn't very fast at the end of the session. Anyway, the positive thing is tomorrow we have a clear direction so we can go more quickly to a better lap time. We can improve tomorrow on braking, and the smoothness of the bike at the beginning of the corner.”

Pedrosa continues to recover from the broken left collarbone he sustained at the Sachsenring, but did not expect to remain in quite so much discomfort at Brno.

"We have two good sessions today," Pedrosa explained. "I didn’t feel as physically perfect as I expected but hope I am able to recover a little (tonight) – have a massage and have a better feeling tomorrow. We only worked with the softer rear; it doesn’t look like the conditions are really good for the harder one at the moment, so we will see how track conditions are tomorrow."

Valentino Rossi was fourth on the second Yamaha Factory Racing machine, pushing championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) down to fifth ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith. Completing the top 10 were Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Ducati Team partners Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden.

The Ignite Pramac Racing bike was ridden by Michele Pirro, covering for Ben Spies who suffered new injuries in a crash last Saturday.

In Moto2, Mika Kallio set the pace in Friday afternoon practice ahead of the bwin Grand Prix České republiky. The Marc VDS Racing Team rider led the way from Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami and Tuenti HP 40’s Pol Espargaro, although it was Espargaro’s morning time that established the overall pace for the day.

Recovering from a crash in the morning, Nakagami looked set to go quickest in the afternoon, only for Kallio to top the timesheets with his last effort. As the Finn led the way, Nakagami and Espargaro were separated by fractions while Indianapolis winner Tito Rabat (Tuenti HP 40) and Johann Zarco (Came Iodaracing Project) rounded out the top five. Espargaro set the fastest overall lap time with 2:03.125 in the morning.

Maverick Viñales set the pace in both Moto3™ practice sessions on Friday. The Team Calvo rider led Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom.

--From motogp.com

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John Hopkins

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