PHILLIP ISLAND: Stricken world champion Marc Marquez edged Jorge Lorenzo to finish fastest rider in Friday’s free practice for this weekend’s Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island.
Marquez, who broke his left hand in training last month and cannot successfully defend his world title, clocked the fastest lap of one minute 29.383sec to shade fellow Spaniard Lorenzo by 0.050sec.
Only Lorenzo and his Italian Movistar Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi can win this year’s MotoGP crown heading into the final three races of the season.
World championship leader Rossi, who was third quickest behind Lorenzo in morning practice, slipped down the time charts to finish ninth quickest overall, 0.658sec down on Marquez.
Read: Pedrosa wins Japan GP, Rossi extends title lead
Championship leader Rossi trailed in ninth, but the “Doctor” did not switch to a fresh set of tyres at the end of FP2 as did the majority of the riders.
The Italian, who will equal the all-time record of 328 Grand Prix starts on Sunday, preferred to work on his pace on used tyres.
“The feeling was not so bad, my pace this afternoon was especially quite good and I was also able to do some good lap times with a used tyre,” said Rossi. “We have to work a little bit on the bike, but it’s OK. We will wait for the good conditions tomorrow and will try to work on improving in some places and try to be stronger.”
Eighteen points separate Rossi and Lorenzo in the championship standings.
Rossi, 36, the seven-time world champion in the premier class, is chasing his first world title since 2009.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2015.
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