MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo has hailed the new Circuit of Americas in Austin, Texas, as a 'beautiful' track during the first day of a private three-day shakedown on Tuesday.
Both Lorenzo and team-mate Valentino Rossi are joined at the test by Repsol Honda pair Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez, and it was the young rookie who topped the times at 3pm local time with a lap in 2m 05.620s followed by Pedrosa in 2m 06.140s.
LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl was next (2m 07.307s) followed by Lorenzo (2m 07.388s) and Rossi (2m 07.924s).
The complex 5.5km circuit has 20 corners and an elevation change of over 41 metres and Lorenzo is determined to master its challenges over the coming days.
“I think it's very important to come here and learn the track,” Lorenzo said. “I haven't learnt 100% of it, I need more laps to learn my lines, but for the moment it's a very beautiful track which is very complete with every kind of corner.
“In the beginning it was difficult to understand the lines but I have improved 22 seconds from the first lap today, that means it's a hard track to learn and a difficult track to go to the maximum on.
“I think it helps more than some other places to have this extra time,” added Lorenzo. “I think three or four practices before the race will not be enough to understand it so some of the riders who didn't come here will have a little disadvantage.
“We have to change the setting a bit to make it better. The tarmac is not perfect with only four bikes on it to clean it so it's difficult to understand if it's very grippy or not. It's hard to know if it will be much better at the race weekend or just a little bit.”
By the close of day one, Lorenzo had risen to third fastest, behind Marquez (+0.672s) and Pedrosa (+0.428s), with a best lap time of 2m 5.291s.
“We are suffering a bit compared to the top two Hondas. We are a little bit behind, so we need to work hard to catch them,” he said.