Repsol Honda’s Jorge Lorenzo finally found some pace with the 2019 RC213V in the opening free practice at Jerez this morning, trailing team-mate Marc Marquez by just a tenth of second with Maverick Vinales in third place.
Lorenzo went fastest with only a minute left to run, putting in a 1’38.045 with medium Michelins all round but Marquez was having none of it, going under the 1’38s barrier with a used hard rear to top the sheets with a 1’37.921 after following Andrea Dovizioso for a brace of laps.
Fortunes in the Monster Yamaha camp could not have been more polarised, however, with Vinales only 0.067s behind Lorenzo but Valentino Rossi, complete with new swingarm downforce device (see below) down in 18th and 1.459s off the pace.
Taka Nakagami made it three Hondas in the top four, setting a 1’38.134 with his final lap of the session on his LCR 213V with Dovizioso in fifth place and two-tenths in arrears with a used medium rear.
Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo made a late charge into sixth place with a new medium ear to set a 1’38.109 which was enough to demote Jack Miller who looked like his Pramac Ducati was giving him some arm pump problems.
The Australian had been right at the sharp end for most of the session but elected to stay out on a used medium rear for his best lap of 1’38.464.
By contrast, Danilo Petrucci - whose job Miller wants next year - could only find a 1’38.474 on a new medium rear for eighth place.
Franco Morbidelli opted for a soft rear on his Petronas Yamaha and set a 1’38.478 for ninth place. Conversely, Austin winner Alex Rins joined Marquez on the hard rear and put in a 1’38.534 after it had done six laps.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow was 11th and almost nine-tenths off the pace while Johann Zarco managed to grab 12th before crashing at the fast Criville corner.
Joan Mir, Aleix Espargaro and and Stefan Bradl completed the top 15 while Aprilia test rider Bradley Smith, in his second wildcard outing of the year, finished 19th.
Times for free practice one on the surface-patched Jerez are around a second faster than the corresponding period in 2018.