MotoGP: Lucky escape for Marquez as Lorenzo leads the way in Mugello

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo went fastest in a dramatic day of free practices at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM in Mugello ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, as Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez escaped serious injury in a high-speed accident at the end of the fast start/finish straight.

Marquez had led a topsy-turvy opening practice in the morning, but lost control of his bike in the afternoon session on one of the fastest parts of any racetrack in the world. Having slid down the grass verge on the left-hand side of the track towards Turn 1, the 20-year-old was treated in the circuit Medical Centre, where he was confirmed to have escaped serious injury. He did however end up with a very swollen chin. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith also crashed, landing on his left arm at Turn 7, suffering a left wrist scaphoid fracture and a wound to the 5th finger on his left hand. He has however been declared fit for tomorrow.

Back on track Lorenzo set the pace with a lap time of 1’48.375, beating teammate and multiple Mugello winner Rossi by just 34 thousandths of a second. Both Yamaha men were relieved to be back on the pace following difficult weekends for both last time out in Le Mans. Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow was third, continuing his good run of form, whilst Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden finished a credible fourth, despite not being completely happy with the bike. Repsol Honda’s championship-leading Dani Pedrosa, who is aiming for a hat-trick of 2013 victories this weekend, came fifth, citing a lack of grip.

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone did well to finish in sixth position, whilst Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was suffering with a neck issue following a crash in the morning. He stated that he cannot bend his head backwards, making it very tough on the straights, and even in the bends. He will assess his condition in the morning and will then decide if he is fit to ride.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl will be looking for an improvement from eighth on his satellite Honda, whilst Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet was the leading CRT runner in ninth, beating Ducati Test Team’s wildcard entry Michele Pirro riding the GP13 ‘lab bike’.