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Qatar MotoGP: Lorenzo leads Crutchlow and Rossi in first practice

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha, Qatar MotoGP 2013Jorge Lorenzo came out on top of a battle with fellow Yamaha men Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi to head the first practice session of the 2013 MotoGP season in Qatar.

Rossi had looked set to announce his return to Yamaha with a superb fastest time of the evening for much of the session.

He set the early pace with a 1m57.256s, and though Lorenzo deposed him mid-session, it was mere seconds until Rossi was back in front.

A further improvement with 13 minutes to go took Rossi three tenths clear, before Tech 3 rider Crutchlow slipped ahead going into the last five minutes.

Both were to be upstaged by Lorenzo. Two 1m56.6s laps from the world champion gave him first place by 0.058s over Crutchlow and 0.071s over Rossi.

2013 MotoGP grid guide

Marc Marquez was the leading Honda in fourth, half a second down.

His factory team-mate Dani Pedrosa was four places further back and slowest of the Hondas as he struggled with the handling on corner entry.

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati, Qatar MotoGP 2013Andrea Dovizioso gave Ducati early encouragement with fifth position, achieved despite sticking to hard tyres - unlike all those ahead.

Aleix Espargaro surged to the fastest CRT time in ninth overall, ahead of Nicky Hayden's factory Ducati prototype and nearly 2s clear of his peers.

The dubious honour of the season's first crash went to Yonny Hernandez.

The Colombian lost the front of Paul Bird's Aprilia into Turn 12 just 10 minutes in.

But Hernandez was far from the only man to make a mistake in the very dusty conditions.

Pedrosa, Stefan Bradl, Bradley Smith, Andrea Iannone and Espargaro all slithered over run-off areas or gravel traps, in some cases several times.

Pos  Rider             Team/Bike             Time       Gap
 1.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha                1m56.685s
 2.  Cal Crutchlow     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m56.743s  + 0.058s
 3.  Valentino Rossi   Yamaha                1m56.756s  + 0.071s
 4.  Marc Marquez      Honda                 1m57.276s  + 0.591s
 5.  Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati                1m57.538s  + 0.853s
 6.  Alvaro Bautista   Gresini Honda         1m57.601s  + 0.916s
 7.  Stefan Bradl      LCR Honda             1m57.670s  + 0.985s
 8.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda                 1m57.749s  + 1.064s
 9.  Aleix Espargaro   Aspar Aprilia         1m57.843s  + 1.158s
10.  Nicky Hayden      Ducati                1m57.926s  + 1.241s
11.  Bradley Smith     Tech 3 Yamaha         1m58.369s  + 1.684s
12.  Andrea Iannone    Pramac Ducati         1m58.559s  + 1.874s
13.  Ben Spies         Pramac Ducati         1m58.575s  + 1.890s
14.  Hector Barbera    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  1m59.608s  + 2.923s
15.  Randy de Puniet   Aspar Aprilia         1m59.633s  + 2.948s
16.  Karel Abraham     Cardion Aprilia       1m59.758s  + 3.073s
17.  Colin Edwards     Forward FTR-Kawasaki  2m00.341s  + 3.656s
18.  Yonny Hernandez   PBM Aprilia           2m00.426s  + 3.741s
19.  Hiroshi Aoyama    Avintia FTR-Kawasaki  2m00.563s  + 3.878s
20.  Claudio Corti     Forward FTR-Kawasaki  2m01.227s  + 4.542s
21.  Danilo Petrucci   Ioda-Suter-BMW        2m01.438s  + 4.753s
22.  Bryan Staring     Gresini FTR-Honda     2m01.942s  + 5.257s
23.  Lukas Pesek       Ioda-Suter-BMW        2m02.079s  + 5.394s
24.  Michael Laverty   PBM-Aprilia           2m02.135s  + 5.450s
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