Results and summary of qualifying for Moto3:
Esteve Rabat led an all-Spanish top three in Moto2 FP3 at Jerez with a time of 1'42.967. Pol Espargaro, just two-tenths down, placed second and Nicolas Terol was third. Scott Redding, fastest in the previous test, placed fourth with final qualifying just ahead.
Cal Crutchlow made good on the promise of fast pre season tests at Jerez by setting the quickest time of FP3. Spaniards Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo placed second and third respectively with Rossi in fourth -- a position he's held through most of practice. Stefan Bradl and Bradley Smith both failed to make Q2 initially and must first attempt to set a top-two time in Q1 to earn the right for the final qualifying round.
Alex Rins, for the second race in succession set the dominant time in the practice before qualifying with a 1'46.938; He was the only Moto3 rider to dip into the 1'46s. Jonas Folger clocked second fastest with Jack Miller in third at four-tenths back. Rins, within the first 10 minutes of FP3, dropped six-tenths of a second from Luis Salom's lead time from FP2. Then late in the session, Rins and Folger began slugging it out, trading the top spot a handful of times before Rins had the emphatic last word. Last year's winner, Romano Fenati, sat 21st on the timesheet.
2013 Jerez MotoGP Friday Round Up: Yamaha vs Honda, Or Going Just As Fast In Two Very Different Ways
For the past couple of years, it has seemed as if there is some kind of unwritten law which states that any MotoGP weekend must be accompanied by rain. The weekends without the threat of rain or some other form of ill weather have been few and far between, so it is both a relief and a joy to come to Jerez and have the prospect of a full weekend of stable and dry weather. That's not to say that no rain has fallen: this morning, as we walked to the car, we felt three or four large drops, but that was all. From the forecast, this looks like the entire quota of rain for the weekend, and the paddock is duly grateful for small mercies.
A consistently dry track still posed problems for the riders, however. The last time MotoGP was here, back in March, conditions were far from ideal. It rained, every day, with plenty of sunshine in between, leaving the track treacherous and difficult, with low grip levels and a patchy surface. Though the teams collected plenty of data at that test, very little of it is usable this weekend, with much higher temperatures and better grip. Until the afternoon, that is, when the warmer temperatures meant that grip levels started to drop again, a perennial problem at Jerez. The bumps, too, are an issue, with many riders running wide after hitting them as they braked for the hairpins at the circuit.
Despite the fact that the conditions are better, times so far have not been faster than at the test. Quickest man on the first day of practice was Jorge Lorenzo, the reigning champion picking up where he left off at Qatar before the rude interruption of Austin. His advantage is small - just over a tenth over Dani Pedrosa, a fraction more over Cal Crutchlow - but his race pace is impressive so far. Lorenzo put a lot of laps on a single set of tires, testing tire wear, and getting ready for the race.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Jerez:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Jerez:
Briton Scott Redding grabbed the top spot in Moto2 qualifying Friday but his grip on number one is anything but firm. Esteve Rabat finished just .037 seconds behind and more importantly, still holds the fastest time from FP1 of 1'43.227. Takaaki Nakagami took third to round out an all-Kalex top three. COTA winner Nicolas Terol finished FP2 in sixth place, half a second adrift.
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo dominated FP2 in hot conditions at Jerez Friday, setting the fast time early and holding the top spot for most of the session. But it wasn't for lack of trying by the others as the top five riders finished separated only by three-tenths of a second. Cal Crutchlow, nearly mirroring his performance at tests here earlier in the year, set the second-fastest time with Dani Pedrosa in third as the top Honda. Valentino Rossi (fourth) and Marc Marquez (fifth) finished only three-tenths back. Stephan Bradl crashed out with more than five minutes remaining. Both Hector Barbera (FTR) and Aleix Espargaro (ART) put CRT bikes in front of the factory Ducatis of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso.
Yamaha today issued a press release containing an interview with Wilco Zeelenberg, the team manager for Jorge Lorenzo. Zeelenberg plays a pivotal role in Lorenzo's success, advising Lorenzo and crew chief Ramon Forcada on where the 2012 World Champion is gaining or losing time at a circuit. He acts as both a rider advisor, as well as providing key set up input for Forcada. He is always worth listening to, and the press release interview, shown below, is no exception:
Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager Wilco Zeleenberg Q&A
Yamaha Racing caught up with Yamaha Factory Racing's Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg recently at Assen to ask a few questions about the current season in MotoGP and his continuing role alongside reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo...
Has your season started as you expected?
“Well, I would say better! After the first two races we’re leading on points tied with Marquez which is a bit of a surprise as we expected Dani to be there, closer anyway than Marc. For the Championship it’s great to have another guy instead of Casey up there which is what was needed.”
Jorge is a very accomplished rider, is there another step forward in his learning this season?
Jonas Folger beat the best FP1 time by nearly a full second to top the FP2 timesheets with a lap of 1'47.660. Alex Rins (second) and Maverick Vinales (third) clocked well within a second of Folger as practice wrapped up for the day for Moto3. A power failure in the pits midway through practice forced teams to use starting-grid tire warmers until power was restored toward the end of the session. Luis Salom, fast man in FP1, finished fourth, seven-tenths out.
Spaniard Esteve Rabat finished Moto2 FP1 at 1'43.227, nearly three-tenths clear of the field. Rival Scott Redding slotted into second and Pol Espargaro, who was mid-pack early, came on strong at the end for third. Former MotoGP race winner and Moto2 champion Toni Elias climbed into the fifth spot, just behind Jordi Torres who was the only Suter rider in the top six. Note: Rabat's time would have put him 22nd on the MotoGP FP1 timesheet, ahead of three CRT riders.
Jorge Lorenzo, on his final lap of the first Jerez free practice, nipped Honda's Dani Pedrosa by .003 for the top spot. Pedrosa, who led most of the session, was relegated to second. Valentino Rossi finished third, a little less than three-tenths off the pace. Cal Crutchlow, who held a top-three spot for most of FP1, finished fourth and COTA winner Marc Marquez came in at fifth, nearly eight-tenths from the top time. Actually, fifth marked a dramatic improvement for the rookie who appeared to struggle early in practice. None of the riders managed to reach Crutchlow's top time from the test here earlier in the year of 1'39.511. Expect times to continue to drop in the warming conditions.
Luis Salom waited until the end to show his hand and it was a winner with a time of 1'48.443 -- two-and-a-half tenths in front of second-place Jonas Folger. Niccolo Antonelli filled out the top three. Perhaps the big surprise of FP1 was Finnish rider Niklas Ajo who led most of the session, eventually putting his KTM into fourth on the timesheet. Overall, times were quick Friday. By the middle of the first practice session, the top 13 riders all had eclipsed the previous lap record of 1'49.760 set last year by Romano Fenati (who placed 16th in today's first practice).
The MotoGP paddock is assembled in all its splendor at Jerez, and it is positively bulging at the seams. Shiny new hospitality units (very shiny, in the case of the Go&Fun Gresini unit) now pack the paddock, the existing units larger and new units added, causing the paddock to loosen its belt and expand into the adjacent car park, sequestering part of the area previously reserved for team and media cars. Under a bright blue Andalusian sky, it really is looking at its most appealing.
The expanded paddock makes you understand why IRTA decided to ban Moto2 and Moto3 riders from having their motorhomes in the paddock, all of them now expelled. The riders themselves are less impressed. "It was nice to have somewhere you could zone out during the day, and relax," Scott Redding said of the change. Sitting in the hospitality and watching the world go by was very pleasant, but still left him on his guard, he explained. Private quiet time was gone.
And it also removes part of the socialization process which young riders used to undergo, with the Moto2 and Moto3 men wandering around the paddock chatting to team members and other riders, everyone getting to know each other, and catching up on the latest news and gossip. It was part of what made the paddock feel like a village; a small Italian village, high in the mountains, with an inexplicably male-dominated population. The Moto2 and Moto3 riders added much to the fun of the place, spending most of their evenings challenging each other to wheelie competitions on mountain bikes and scooters. The paddock loses much with the change, feeling more like a workplace than a community.