Jorge Lorenzo has gotten the defence of his 2012 MotoGP title off to a strong start, topping the first session of free practice for the class at Qatar. The Spaniard leapt to the top of the timesheets with a late charge, after his teammate Valentino Rossi led for much of FP1. Lorenzo took over from Cal Crutchlow, after the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider briefly led the session. Rossi completed a Yamaha clean sweep of the top three spots, the three bikes separated by just 0.071 seconds.
Marc Marquez took 4th place, the Spanish rookie living up to expectations on the Repsol Honda, though Marquez was over half a second slower than Rossi. Andrea Dovizioso gave hope to Ducati, putting the factory machine into 5th, just over eight tenths behind Lorenzo, and just ahead of Alvaro Bautista on the Gresini Honda. Stefan Bradl finished a fraction behind Bautista on the LCR Honda, and ahead of Dani Pedrosa, the Repsol Honda man clearly struggling with grip, running off the track a number of times during the session.
Aleix Espargaro put in a strong performance to take 9th, ending just 1.1 seconds behind Lorenzo, and ahead of three factory protoypes. Nicky Hayden rounded out the top ten, 1.2 seconds behind Lorenzo.
Pedrosa was not the only rider to run off the track. The dust which has been blown onto the track from a nearby construction site made the track treacherous once off line, causing a lot of riders trouble. Only Yonny Hernandez crashed, though, binning his Aprilia ART but walking away unhurt.
|15||14||Randy DE PUNIET||ART||1'59.633||2.948||0.025|
|17||5||Colin EDWARDS||FTR Kawasaki||2'00.341||3.656||0.583|
|20||71||Claudio CORTI||FTR Kawasaki||2'01.227||4.542||0.664|
|22||67||Bryan STARING||FTR Honda||2'01.942||5.257||0.504|