Jorge Lorenzo, who missed one of the three pre-season tests after fracturing his hand in a training accident, caused an upset when he outpaced team-mate and reigning world champion Valentino Rossi in Friday practice for the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.

Riding without any additional hand protection inside his glove, the 22-year-old was back looking comfortable and confident on his factory M1.

After sitting third in the times for most of the one-hour session, a late improvement saw Lorenzo beat Rossi's time by two thousandths of a second, before a mistake at turn 14 sent the Spaniard sliding into the gravel trap.

"I'm quite happy about tonight and about my hand; I tried riding for the first time without the extra hand protection and I was okay," said Lorenzo, the 2009 title runner-up. "I felt good on the bike and my thumb didn't really hurt, it was a lot better than at the test. We still have a few things on the bike that we need to work on but we have made a good start.

"It was a pity to crash, I was pushing hard at the time and I just made a small mistake, touching the white line; these things happen and luckily I didn't hurt myself. Tomorrow we'll continue our work and try to improve more."

Fastest man Casey Stoner, winner at Qatar for the past three seasons, lapped 0.526sec quicker than Lorenzo.

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment