June 6th, 2015
In the untimed session before Superpole, Leon Haslam recorded the quickest time of the weekend with both him and Tom Sykes beating Jonathan Rea's provisional pole time from earlier.
Jules Cluzel leads Kenan Sofuoglu while PJ Jacobsen settles in on the Honda, outqualifying Kyle Smith and Gino Rea on similar machinery.
In the final timed session, Jonathan Rea only just kept Davide Giugliano from the top spot, with his Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes also under a twentieth second off the quickest time. The Ducatis of Giugliano and Chaz Davies, sixth quickest behind the Aprilias of Jordi Torres and Leon Haslam, were the fastest bikes through the speed trap, regularly posting speeds of 308km/h.
Everyone but Alex Lowes was able to improve on their times from yesterday, and once again the only bikes not in Superpole are the Toth BMWs.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice at Portimao:
In a session dominated by the Kawasakis of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, Davide Giugliano set the quickest time on his fifteenth of sixteen laps in the dying monutes of the session. Chaz Davies on the other factory Ducati was fourth quickest, with Ayrton Badovini and Alex Lowes maintaining their competetive qualifying pace.
Kenan Sofuoglu sets the quickest time, ahead of PJ Jacobsen on only his second outing on the Honda with Jules Cluzel, Gino Rea and Roberto Rolfo within a second of Sofuoglu's time.
Jonathan Rea was over seven tenths quicker than Davide Giugliano, Alex Lowes and Chaz Davies, recording the only lap under 1'44. Rea's teammate Tom Sykes was over a second back in fifth place.
The MV Agustas of Jules Cluzel and Lorenzo Zanetti topped the timing, with Kenan Sofuoglu within striking distance. Over a second off the quickest time, Kyle Smith and PJ Jacobsen rounded out the top five, with Jacobsen leaving the Intermoto Kawasaki team to ride the CORE Honda, replacing the sacked Film Wilairot. Following the mysterious disappearance of Josef Kubicek, the boss of the Intermoto squad, Lucas Mahias and Aiden Wagner, Jacobsen's former team mates, have been left without a ride for this weekend.
Press release previews of this weekend's World Superbike round at Portimao:
MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Into the Lorenzo zone
It’s not easy finding out much about a rider in the 15-minute interview slots that are the norm in MotoGP now. Unless something interesting happens.
On one of the first occasions I interviewed Jorge Lorenzo, our brief time together was blighted by a malfunctioning automatic door. We were sat right by the door in the lounge area of Yamaha’s hospitality truck, with team staff coming and going as we chatted.
At first the door obediently swooshed open and shut like we were on the Starship Enterprise, but then it developed a fault, and each time it jammed Lorenzo became more infuriated, until I was certain I could see steam coming out of his ears.
Bridgestone issued their customary press release after the Mugello round of MotoGP. This week, Masao Azuma discusses the changing grip levels at Mugello, consistent weather conditions and the different compounds for the front tire.
Italian MotoGP™ debrief with Masao Azuma
Tuesday, June 2 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric) & Hard (Symmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Hard (Main) & Soft (Alternative)
The Italian Grand Prix was won by Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo who secured a third successive MotoGP victory at Mugello ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone and fellow factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi who finished in second and third place respectively.
Conditions were fine and sunny for the entire race weekend, with track temperatures reaching their maximum during the twenty-three lap race on Sunday, when a recording of 49°C was made. During qualifying on Saturday, Iannone was able to set a new Mugello Circuit Best Lap record of 1’46.489, beating the old record by over half a second.
There is more to Mugello than just MotoGP. Being so large and so fast, the track makes for great racing in all classes, though each with a decidedly different character. While the MotoGP race saw one rider escape and a tense game of cat-and-mouse behind, the Moto2 race was a game of chess with riders gaining and losing over twenty-one laps, and the Moto3 race turned into a spectacular battle, with the outcome uncertain to the end.
The first race of the day was probably the best. Polesitter Danny Kent had made his intentions clear, trying to make an early break and grind out laps which were simply too fast for the rest to follow. That worked at Austin and Argentina, where he could hold his advantage down the long, fast straights, but not at Mugello. The fast exit of Bucine means that a group always has an advantage, the lightweight Moto3 bikes slingshotting out of each other's slipstreams to hit speeds which would otherwise be impossible. At other tracks, a gap of half a second is sufficient to keep ahead in Moto3. At Mugello, you can lose that and much more down the fiercely fast straight.
Kent abandoned his attempt to make a break almost immediately, and switched tactics, dropping to the back of the group, which ebbed and flowed into two groups, then one, containing up to fifteen riders. The lead changed hands more times than there were fans in the stands, a new rider taking over every corner almost. Being Mugello, the front was replete with Italian riders. Romano Fenati, sporting a rather stunning special livery for his home round, Niccolo Antonelli, the youngsters Pecco Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini, all had their sights set on the podium, and most especially the top step.
On the day after the Italian Grand Prix, the MotoGP riders were back testing at Mugello. This time, however, it was only the factory riders who remained, to give the Michelin tires another run out. The last time they took to the track on the Michelins was at Sepang, and Michelin had brought the latest iteration of their tires to test.
Due to the commercial sensitivities involved, there was no official timing, and the riders were not allowed to speak to the media about the test. Unsurprisingly: Bridgestone hold the single tire contract for the 2015 season, having spent a lot of money for the privilege, so they do not want Michelin stealing their PR thunder. Nor do Michelin really want to be subject the intense scrutiny which official timing would impose while they are still in the middle of their development program.
That does not mean that the small band of journalists who stayed at the test did not learn anything, however. Michelin had brought four front tires to the test, and the factory men spent the morning and the early afternoon selecting their favorite from the four. The plan was for the riders to then try that tire in a full race simulation, to see how the tire stood up to a race distance of 23 laps.
That plan was quickly canceled. There had been no falls during the morning and early afternoon, but on the first laps of his long run, Jorge Lorenzo crashed out at Materassi. Once the track was cleared, it was the turn of Marc Márquez to go out, but on the second lap of his run, he too crashed, this time at Arrabbiata 1. With the debris of the Repsol Honda out of the way, Valentino Rossi followed, the Italian falling at Correntaio. At that point, the plan was abandoned.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's race at Mugello: