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MotoGP: Lorenzo sets the pace in Misano practice

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Jorge Lorenzo kicked off his San Marino Grand Prix weekend in style by recording the fastest ever lap on a motorcycle at Misano during practice on Friday.

In perfect conditions and on a newly resurfaced track, Lorenzo posted a fastest lap of 1:32.871 on his Yamaha bike in the second practice session on Friday afternoon, beating Marc Marquez’s existing record by four-hundredths of a second.

Lorenzo arrives at Misano second in the riders’ championship behind teammate Valentino Rossi, but could be poised to recover the lead should he continue his practice form throughout the weekend.

However, Lorenzo still felt that there was more time to gain as Yamaha trialled some new winglets on his bike during second practice on Friday.

“We have been fast since the beginning of this morning‘s session and I like the new surface of the track, I think it suits my riding style,” Lorenzo said.

“We tried some different settings in the afternoon that I wasn‘t quite satisfied with, but even with a less than perfect set-up we still managed to have a fast and constant pace with both tires. We first rode with the hard rear and used the soft at the end and finished in first place.

“I think that, if we can improve the bike and try the hard tyre, we can make another step forward tomorrow. We are still trying out the winglets to understand the benefit.”

Lorenzo shared top honors in practice with defending champion Marquez, who topped FP1 for Honda earlier in the day before trailing his compatriot in FP2.

“I think it has been a very positive day,” Marquez said. “The track has changed quite a lot from when we came here for the test, because it has much less grip and we have had some problems arise that we didn’t have back then.

“We can be happy, because we obtained a lot of data today and we tried a new swingarm that has helped Honda to understand the direction to take next year. We will not use it because there are some negatives, but there were also some positives to take from it.”

To see the complete classification from practice at Misano, click here.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.