Lorenzo Leading the FP1 at Jerez, Barbera Puts Ducati in Second

The 2016 MotoGP Championship arrives in Europe for the first time since the start of the season, for the first Spanish round at the iconic Jerez de la Frontera circuit. Valentino Rossi led most of the session, but he had to put up with strong opposition.
Jorge Lorenzo, Jerez FP1, 2016 7 photos
Jerez 2016Jerez 2016, LorenzoJerez 2016Jerez 2016Jerez 2016Jerez 2016 FP1
The first rider to lead the time sheets was, surprisingly (or maybe not), Hector Barbera, riding a customer Ducati for team Avintia. What some believed to be only a fluke turned out to be Barbera's exceptional form in the opening of this weekend's race.

After Rossi topped Barbera's early lap time, it was the Spaniard's turn to respond, climbing back at the top of the list. Barbera ended FP1 in an incredible second position, after Lorenzo set a 1'40.270 lap time near the end of the outing, in his 14th lap from a total of 16, subsequently pushing Rossi in third.

Lorenzo looked as strong and focused as ever, despite making the news this week with his move to Ducati in 2017. As we reported, he confirmed that he has all the motivation to work hard with Yamaha until the end of this championship, and even chase his fourth MotoGP world title.

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez followed, but in FP1, it appeared that their teams were not seeking the fastest lap times, but rather testing out generic setups. MM93 debuted a new winglet design for his bike, too.

Vinales continued his strong presence in MotoGP putting in the sixth-fastest lap of the morning session, getting the better of his teammate Aleix Espargaro. Yonny Hernandez, Andrea Dovizioso, and Cal Crutchlow rounded up the top ten.

FP1 saw Ducati's Andrea Iannone only 11th this morning, while Yamaha Tech 3 riders seemed to struggle, with Pol Espargaro 12th and Bradley Smith 18th. Aprilia also added some upgrades to their bikes, but is still a long way from the top, with Bradl and Bautista 15th and 16th, respectively.

Octo Pramac Yakhnich's Danilo Petrucci is still sidelined and substituted by Ducati's test rider Michele Pirro, whereas Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS' Aussie Jack Miller returned on the bike. Still, his ankle is far from being 100% alright. He was last in FP1, more than 2.8s adrift Jorge Lorenzo.

It will be interesting to see how things evolve this weekend, and for a lot of reasons. For starters, this is one of Lorenzo's strong tracks, but we should also remember that Dani Pedrosa has always been on the podium here as well.

Even more, with the contracts of many riders expiring at the end of the season, it's easy to understand that those who don't have their seats assured for 2017 and beyond are trying to look as good as possible, so things are only becoming more and more interesting...
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