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October 16, 2018

Lorenzo leads MotoGP practice at Phillip Island

PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia (AP) — Despite a late crash, Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo set the fastest time in Friday afternoon’s MotoGP practice for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix, edging ahead of the morning time posted by his Spanish countryman Aleix Espargaro.

Lorenzo had a lap time of 1 minute, 29.602 seconds Friday, faster than Espargaro’s morning 1:29.749 effort in his Forward Racing Yamaha around the 4.5 kilometer (2.7-mile) Phillip Island circuit.

With his quickest times achieved early in his run, two-time champion Lorenzo came off his bike around the turn four hairpin, ending his session but causing no injuries.

Marc Marquez, also of Spain, was third-fastest with 1:29.752. Marquez is looking to win his first Australian GP and a season-record 12th victory to add to his second consecutive MotoGP title.

While Marquez sealed the 2014 title by winning in Japan last weekend, Lorenzo had won the previous two races and is the defending champion in Australia.

Lorenzo is in a three-way fight for second place overall with his factory Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi and Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, with the trio separated by just three points. Rossi was sixth fastest on Friday and Pedrosa 10th.

Spain’s Esteve Rabat, on his Marc VDS Kamex, was fastest in both sessions of Moto2, which produced a series of accidents. Finnish rider Mika Kallio walked away from a crash into a tire wall, somersaulting onto his feet.

British rider Danny Kent was quickest in Moto3 morning practice with a 1:36.906 on his Ajo Motorsport Husqvarna, while Australian Jack Miller led the afternoon groups in 137.033 for Red Bull KTM.

Qualifying will be held on Saturday.

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Lorenzo leads MotoGP practice at Phillip Island