STILL PUSHING: Jorge Lorenzo clocked the fasest time during the two practice sessions ahead of the Valencia MotoGP. Image: AFP / Jose Jordan
Valencia, Spain - Three-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo posted the fastest lap during Friday's opening two practice sessions ahead of Sunday's season-ending Grand Prix of Valencia (Nov 13).
The Spaniard clocked a best time of 1min 30.463sec at the Ricardo Tormo circuit to edge out compatriot and world champion Marc Marquez as he looks to sign off with a victory before leaving Yamaha for Ducati in 2017.
Lorenzo can finish no higher than third in the championship which has already been wrapped by Marquez who claimed his third title in four years earlier in October in Japan.
3rd world title
"For the moment we have started the last weekend with Yamaha in the best way possible," said Lorenzo, who led the world championship standings earlier in the season before falling badly off the pace.
Marquez, 23, won his third world title with three races to spare and he comes into the Valencia race with five wins in 2016 - Argentina, Grand Prix of the Americas, Germany, Aragon and Japan.
The title may be sewn up but on Sunday he still has another target - securing a record 22nd constructors' championship for Honda.
"We ended the day happy with the work we had done, and tomorrow we'll try to continue in the same way, because I think that along with Lorenzo, (Valentino) Rossi and (Maverick) Vinales, we're all at a very similar level," said Marquez.
Lorenzo's team mate Rossi, who has already locked up second place in the championship, was only eighth fastest on Friday.
Dani Pedrosa, the Honda stablemate of Marquez, was 10th as the Spaniard returns for the season finale having missed the last two races after breaking his collarbone and left leg in a horror crash in practice in Japan.
Results after first two free practice sessions for Valencia MotoGP:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Yamaha) 1:30.463,
2. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) at 0.247,
3. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Suzuki) 0.312,
4. Pol Espargaro (ESP/Yamaha Tech3) 0.537,
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 0.603,
6. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Suzuki) 0.723,
7. Andrea Iannone (ITA/Ducati) 0.726,
8. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 0.794,
9. Danilo Petrucci (ITA/Ducati Pramac) 0.832,
10. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) 0.895