Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Jerez:
Press releases after the first day of practice at Jerez:
Jonas Folger ended Tito Rabat's dominant FP2 run with a 1'43.413 lap near the end of the second session at the Jerez circuit Friday in Spain. Rabat -- whose fast lap from FP1 still stand as the fastest lap overall by three tenths of a second -- held on for second as tempertures climbed. Johan Zarco, eighth-place finisher last year here and winner at the prior race in Argentina, claimed third. In all, the top three laps from FP1 -- Rabat, Simon Corsi and Sam Lowes -- bettered Folger's fast lap from FP2.
Jorge Lorenzo has topped the second session of free practice for the MotoGP class, the Movistar Yamaha rider finding a turn of speed towards the end of the scorching session. Lorenzo bumped Marc Marquez from the top slot, the Repsol Honda rider having been fastest for most of FP2, the Honda clearly handling the heat better. The two Ducatis ended the day in 3rd and 4th, Iannone slipping on a soft tire to post a quick lap at the end, Dovizioso having been quick throughout. Aleix Espargaro took 5th spot on the Suzuki, with Danilo Petrucci putting the Pramac Ducati into 6th, ahead of the LCR Honda of Cal Crutchlow.
Valentino Rossi ended the session in 13th, but the Movistar Yamaha rider spent the day working on race set up, a wise choice given that the temperature in FP2 is closer to what it will be during the race. The time he set this morning was already good enough to put him through to Q2.
Jorge Lorenzo is to remain with Yamaha for the 2016 season. The Spaniard had an option to leave the Movistar Yamaha team at the end of 2015, but has decided not to exercise it, and will stay with Yamaha for next year. The Movistar Yamaha team also had an option to end the two-year deal a year early, but Yamaha Racing director Lin Jarvis told the MotoGP.com website that both the team and Lorenzo and decided to see the contract through to the end.
The decision to continue the partnership will put an end to speculation which had arisen in the paddock in the past few weeks. Rumors had started that Lorenzo was considering a switch to Ducati for next season. The newly competitive GP15 has made the Ducati a much more attractive option for riders looking to switch, and Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna is known to be an admirer of Lorenzo. Dall'Igna worked with Lorenzo extensively when the Spaniard was riding for Aprilia in 250s.
Accommodating Lorenzo would have been difficult. Both Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone have a contract with Ducati for next season, with no option to terminate the deals early. Given the competitiveness of both riders, there is little reason for Ducati to go searching elsewhere for riders.
Jorge Lorenzo set out his intentions in the first session of free practice for the MotoGP class this morning, by dominating the session from the outset. Lorenzo lapped consistently in the low 1'39s, the other riders only getting down that low once they started chasing times at the end of the session. Aleix Espargaro ended the session in second, using the soft tire to set a hot lap at the end. The Suzuki rider nearly took top slot, but lost out when he had a big moment through the last two left handers before the stadium section.
Cal Crutchlow ended the session in 3rd, and fastest Honda, sneaking ahead of Andrea Dovizioso on the Ducati. The question of whether the Desmosedici GP15 would be quick round Jerez, traditionally Ducati's bogey track, has been answered, Dovizioso running in second for most fo the session. Pol Espargaro ended the session in 5th, just ahead of Valentino Rossi, both Yamaha men impressing with a solid pace.
Marc Marquez rode, using a specially adapted handlebar grip, and ended the session in eighth. Marquez did not seem to be suffering any particular problems, and is due to have his injured finger checked at the end of each session today.
Jerez is always a very special weekend. When Valentino Rossi described the first race back in Europe using those words, he spoke for everyone in the MotoGP paddock. Everyone loves being back in Europe, because the atmosphere changes, the hospitality units fill the paddock, the catering staff, hospitality managers, runners, cleaners, general dogsbodies – in other words, the people who actually do any real work – return to fill the paddock, and old friends are reunited after a long winter away, often doing something else to subsidize the meager pay they take for the privilege of working in Grand Prix during the summer. The paddock becomes a village once again, awaking from the long winter slumber.
The setting helps. The charming old city of Jerez is showing the first shoots of economic recovery, not yet enough to match the full bloom of spring happening on the surrounding hillsides, the slopes covered with wild flowers, but there is a much more positive vibe than there has been for some years. There is a sense of optimism. That sense of optimism flows into the paddock, already buzzing after a sizzling and surprising start to the 2015 MotoGP season. With over 100,000 people expected to pack the stands on Sunday, Jerez feels like the right way to kick off the long European leg of the championship.
The weather helps too. It is hot and sunny, with a long, dry weekend ahead of us. That will please everyone, giving them all a chance to actually work on set up. The track is short enough for them all to go out, test a set up, come back in and try something else, and with the weather holding, they can repeat that process until Sunday's race. For Andrea Dovizioso, this was key: with so much still to figure out with the brand new GP15, the factory Ducati men want as much dry weather and stable conditions as they can get. The bike has worked at every track they have been at so far, and Jerez was always a particular bugbear of the Ducati. Both Andreas, Dovizioso and Iannone are keen to see how the new bike will actually go around the track here. "I have a good feeling for this weekend, because the agility has improved a lot," said Iannone. Agility is key at this track, because of the many changes of direction. "I think this bike is ready to fight with the best," the Italian said.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's race at Jerez:
Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams, as well as Dunlop:
Dani Pedrosa will not be racing at the Jerez round of MotoGP. Despite the optimism displayed by Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo earlier this week, a test ride on a supermoto bike showed that Pedrosa's arm is not recovered sufficiently for him to be able to ride.
The Spaniard announced the news on his blog on the Repsol website. He wrote there that he had ridden a supermoto bike to test his arm, and that though the riding had gone well, it gave problems after riding, Pedrosa describing it as "not 100%". Having already missed two races, Pedrosa believes it is better to miss this race as well, and try to come back fully fit at Le Mans, two weeks after Jerez. The priority is to make a full recovery and come back competitive for the rest of the season, rather than trying to race at any cost, and risk creating a bigger problem.
The Jerez race was always going to be a big ask. The recovery period for the surgery Pedrosa had - a fasciectomy of the right arm, to cure arm pump - was estimated at five weeks, and Jerez comes just a week too early.
It appears that both Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa will attempt to ride at Jerez this weekend. Dani Pedrosa will get his first chance to ride a MotoGP bike after having radical surgery to cure a persistent arm pump problem, while Marc Marquez has just had surgery to plate a broken proximal phalanx in the little finger of his left hand. Speaking to the Italian website GPOne.com, HRC Team Principal Livio Suppo said that he expected both riders to be present at Jerez, and to test their fitness during practice on Friday.
Marc Marquez has broken a finger in his left hand in a dirt track training crash. The reigning world champion fell heavily, suffering a displaced fracture of the proximal phalange in the little finger of his left hand. This means that the bone between the hand and the first knuckle was broken, and the two parts of the bone moved.
Marquez was taken immediately to the Dexeus Institute in Barcelona, where Dr Xavier Mir, who performs surgery on many of the top MotoGP and WSBK riders, operated on the Spaniard. The bone was put together again and then fixed with a titanium plate. Marquez is due to start functional recovery within 24 hours.
The press release issued by Honda is strangely hesitant about Marquez' prospects of racing at Jerez. The press release says, in rather unconventional wording, that Marquez participation at Jerez "has not been ruled out." The aim for Marquez will be to ride, but the injury sustained is a particularly difficult one. Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics describes fractures of the proximal phalange as "potentially the most disabling fractures in the hand". Full recovery for normal patients is 4 to 6 weeks. In motorcycle racer terms, that's 2 to 3 weeks.