Jorge Lorenzo leads Valentino Rossi in first Qatar GP practice

World champion Jorge Lorenzo led Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi in the first MotoGP practice session of 2016 in Qatar

Jorge Lorenzo leads Valentino Rossi in first Qatar GP practice

Lorenzo spent the bulk of the 40 minutes at the top of the timesheets, with a lap of 1m55.693s set on his first run, which was longer than most of his leading rivals'.

With one minute left on the clock, he improved to a 1m55.515s lap, then bettered it again to 1m55.440s as he greeted the chequered flag at the end of the session.

Rossi was in the top five for the duration and then got within 0.156 seconds of top spot with his 1m55.707s, before Lorenzo's final improvement rebuilt the margin to 0.267s.

SEASON PREVIEW: Why MotoGP 2016 doesn't need Stoner

Andrea Iannone was third for Ducati, having set his best time early in the session, ahead of Avintia Ducati rider Hector Barbera, who starred to take fourth.

Suzuki's Maverick Vinales was among the late improvers and finished fifth, 0.407s off Lorenzo, ahead of Tech3 Yamaha's Pol Espargaro.

Espargaro's team-mate Bradley Smith fell at Turn 13 with two minutes remaining and finished 11th, a day after announcing he is set to leave the Tech3 Yamaha squad at the end of this year.

Honda had a low-key start to its campaign, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez seventh and eighth, two-time champion Marquez 0.818s off Lorenzo's fastest time.

Andrea Dovizioso and Scott Redding completed the top 10, ahead of Smith and Cal Crutchlow.

On his return from a broken hand sustained during the Phillip Island test last month, Pramac Ducati's Danilo Petrucci set the 15th-fastest time.

Alvaro Bautista was 17th for Aprilia in the first official session with its new RS-GP, with team-mate Stefan Bradl 21st and last.

Practice continues on Friday, with a pair of sessions.

Follow qualifying for the Qatar GP and Sunday's race on Autosport Race Centre Live this weekend

PRACTICE ONE RESULTS

Pos Rider Team Bike Time Gap Laps
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Yamaha 1m55.440s - 15
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 1m55.707s 0.267s 17
3 Andrea Iannone Ducati Ducati 1m55.736s 0.296s 16
4 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m55.810s 0.370s 16
5 Maverick Vinales Suzuki Suzuki 1m55.847s 0.407s 16
6 Pol Espargaro Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m56.051s 0.611s 18
7 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 1m56.098s 0.658s 16
8 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 1m56.258s 0.818s 15
9 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 1m56.387s 0.947s 14
10 Scott Redding Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m56.412s 0.972s 16
11 Bradley Smith Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 1m56.524s 1.084s 17
12 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 1m56.596s 1.156s 16
13 Loris Baz Avintia Ducati Ducati 1m56.783s 1.343s 14
14 Jack Miller Marc VDS Honda Honda 1m56.939s 1.499s 16
15 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati Ducati 1m56.981s 1.541s 17
16 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki Suzuki 1m57.096s 1.656s 16
17 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia Aprilia 1m57.129s 1.689s 16
18 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m57.192s 1.752s 14
19 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati Ducati 1m57.421s 1.981s 14
20 Tito Rabat Marc VDS Honda Honda 1m57.916s 2.476s 18
21 Stefan Bradl Aprilia Aprilia 1m57.989s 2.549s 15


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MotoGP 2016 will be as close as Moto2 - Ducati's Andrea Iannone
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