September 12th, 2015
The first qualifying session would determine the last two riders to start from the first four grid rows. With both Suzukis in this session able to use the softer tyres unavailable to the other fast riders, would they be able to progress to the faster session?
Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez, as they have in every session this weekend, share the top spots, with Lorenzo recording a slightly slower 1'33.063, a mere hundredth of a second quicker than Marquez.
Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi and Pol Espagaro were all within four tenths of a second of Lorenzo's time.
Tito Rabat's reign in Moto2 continues, the 2014 Moto2 champion ending the final session of free practice for Moto2 on top of the timesheets. Rabat's advantage was marginal, however. Championship leader Johann Zarco finished less than a tenth of a second behind Rabat, with Alex Rins another hundredth of a second behind him. Moto2's Asian contingent followed, Hafizh Syahrin took 4th spot, ahead of Takaaki Nakagami.
Jorge Lorenzo once again set a new qualifying record lap, two tenths quicker than Marc marquez, only without the wings seen yesterday on his Yamaha M1. Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa were the only other riders within seven tenths of Lorenzo's quick time.
After a slower than expected start yesterday, the new surface at Misano is starting to come good. As the final session of free practice for the Moto3 class kicked off, the outright lap record tumbled, Danny Kent taking half a second off Jonas Folger's best time from 2013. Brad Binder ended the session in 2nd, the South African having been quick throughout FP3, ending ahead of a brace of Italians, Niccolo Antonelli leading Romano Fenati.
2015 Misano MotoGP Friday Round Up: Disappointingly Fast Times, And Tweaking The Nut Between The Handlebars
The trouble with raised expectations is that they are so often trumped by reality. After all the hype about Misano's new surface, there was much puzzlement among the MotoGP riders, and among the teams. Danny Kent's reaction after Moto3 practice was typical. "Having heard so many people say that it's two seconds a lap quicker than last year... I'd love to know where I can find two seconds!" So much had been expected that it could only ever end in disappointment.
That's not to say the surface was poor. Praise for the new track was universal, and the times were definitely quick. In Moto3, Danny Kent beat the race lap record. In Moto2, Tito Rabat was over a tenth quicker than the existing pole record. And Jorge Lorenzo managed the same feat in MotoGP, breaking the existing pole record by a few hundredths. To do so on a Friday, when the track is still relatively dusty, and fairly green (new and not yet worn in), means the track really is a lot quicker, and times will probably drop quickly on Saturday, once the riders start to turn up the wick.
But teams and riders had been caught off guard. Several teams tried something a bit different on Friday morning, partly with an eye to a much grippier surface. With temperatures much cooler than during the MotoGP tests here in July, the reasoning went, the track should be faster, and so bikes were set up to deal with that. Such experiments were quickly abandoned in favor of the base setting which worked at other circuits, and this provided an instant improvement. It turns out that a solid base setting is the best starting point for just about any circuit, no matter what you might hope to encounter.
Tito Rabat set a new quickest Moto2 time on his way to the top spot, holding off Dominique Aegerter, Lorenzo Baldassarri and Sam Lowes to within two tenths of a second.
The top nine riders all set times quicker than their morning times.
Using Ducati-like wings on his Yamaha M1, Jorge Lorenzo set a new quickest time around Misano, with a 1'32.871, a twentieth of a second quicker than Marc Marquez. Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso were both under a half a second behind Lorenzo's new record time.
Championship leader Danny Kent posted a late fast lap to go quickest on his last lap of the afternoon session, beating the morning's quickest times set by Enea Bastianini and Romano Fenati, and the afternoon times from Niccolò Antonelli and Miguel Antonelli, neither of whom could match the times set in the first session.
The FIM today released a provisional calendar for MotoGP in 2016, featuring much that was expected and a few surprises. The calendar will once again have 18 races, with Indianapolis dropped and Austria taking its place. The biggest change in the calendar is the moving of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which vacates its late August slot for the middle of July.
That move, and the scheduling of Austria and Brno back to back, will not be popular with the circuits. The British MotoGP round comes just three weeks after the F1 race at Silverstone, due to be held at the end of June. Silverstone will fear that having the two biggest events of the year in the space of a month will mean that they cannibalize attendance, with spectators choosing to attend either F1 or MotoGP. When there were two months between the two races, the chances of fans attending both were greater.
As for Brno and Austria, the Brno circuit feared that having Austria a week before their race would see German fans choosing to go to Austria rather than Brno, with an impact on attendance. So far, though, Dorna has prevailed in discussions.
Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo ended the session within a tenth of a second of each other while Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, in his second race of the year, was third quickest, showing the advantage of Ducati's frequent testing at this track.
The top ten riders were within one second of Marquez's time.
Enea Bastianini and Romano Fenati got the Misano Moto3 weekend off to a good start, leading the way on the new asphalt to top the first session of free practice. Brad Binder ended the session in 3rd, while championship leader Danny Kent ended the first session in 7th, a second off the pace of Bastianini.
The session was red-flagged after a horrific crash involving Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Jorge Navarro, with Navarro falling from his bike and being hit by Dalla Porta down the back straight, where Shoya Tomizawa was struck in a fatal incident in 2010. Fortunately, Navarro came away much better, remaining conscious and suffering a shoulder injury. He was transported to a local hospital for further check ups and a CAT scan.