Casey Stoner ended the first session of practice at Misano for the MotoGP class on top of the timesheets, and on course to set lap records, the Australian ending the session with a time 0.160 under the existing race lap record. Though Stoner and his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa had led for much of qualifying, it looked like Ben Spies would end the session ahead of them, the factory Yamaha rider taking the lead in the final minutes of FP1, only to see Stoner blitz his time on the Australian's final flying lap. Spies was demoted to 2nd spot, just ahead of Pedrosa.
Andrea Dovizioso made it three Repsol Hondas in the top four, just sneaking ahead of his rival for HRC's affections Marco Simoncelli on the San Carlo Gresini Honda. The Italians ended the session ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, the defending World Champion getting off to a difficult start at Misano and managing to set only the 6th fastest time nearly a second behind his rival for the 2011 crown Casey Stoner.
Nico Terol has carried his momentum from Indianapolis into Misano, topping the first session of practice for the 125cc class. The Spaniard ended the session an eighth of a second ahead of Efren Vazquez, the Avant AirAsia Ajo rider also carrying his form over from last weekend. Maverick Viñales ended the session in 3rd, impressive for the Blusens rider's first visit to the Misano circuit, while Terol's title rival Johann Zarco ended the session in 4th.
2011 Misano MotoGP Thursday Round Up: A Legend Retires, Motegi Is On, And Ducati Sort Of Denies Building A Twin Spar Chassis
Coming to Misano always feels like a vacation, but then that's hardly a surprise given that Misano lies on Italy's Adriatic coast, and the stretch of coast from Gabbice Mare just south of Misano to Trieste on the Slovenian border is Italy's vacation heartland, and is lined with restaurants, hotels, and seafront stores selling the most incredibly gaudy junk imaginable. It is truly a magical place.
And for so many riders, teams and crew, Misano is not so much a holiday as a homecoming. Andrea Dovizioso is from Forli, 30 minutes' drive away, Mattia Pasini is from Rimini, Alex de Angelis is from San Marino, and Marco Simoncelli is from Cattolica, though as our waiter pointed out to us yesterday, he actually lives in Coriano, a few miles back from the coast.
The laid-back atmosphere may also be a side-effect of both the scorching Italian weather - the mercury barely drops below 30ºC during the day, and only a little cooler during the evening - and of a latent jet lag, the teams, riders and assembled hangers on barely off the plane from the Indianapolis round of MotoGP last weekend.
Loris Capirossi has announced that he will retire from racing at the end of the 2011 season. The 38-year-old Italian, a veteran of 22 seasons of Grand Prix racing, said that the difficulty in finding a competitive bike for next season and the strength of the current crop of young riders - with more fast young men on the way - made it time to retire.
The decision had clearly been a difficult one - Capirossi struggled to fight back his emotions as he made the announcement - but now that he had taken it he was sure it was the righ one. "I am 100% sure this is the correct decision," he told a packed press conference at Misano, ahead of this weekend's MotoGP round at the Italian circuit. "When you go and you don't to is worse, but I want to retire."
The Italian underlined that he would be retiring from racing altogether as opposed to switching to another class or another series, despite having offers. "I had an opportunity to ride a CRT bike, but I don't want to ride that kind of bike," Capirossi said. "I also had a chance to ride a good bike in World Superbike, but I didn't want to. I was not forced to stop because I didn't have any opportunities."
Press release previews of the upcoming round at Misano from most of the MotoGP teams:
The saga of the CRT teams continues to drag on. The full list of accepted entries was due to be published at last weekend's Barcelona MotoGP round, but last-minute haggling over rule changes has held back the announcement. More meetings were held over the Silverstone weekend, with the factories (assembled in the MSMA) meeting with Dorna on Thursday, and Dorna and IRTA meeting on Friday to discuss the outcome, leading to publication of the entry list being held back until coming Wednesday, June 15th.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the races at Misano:
Results of World Superbike race two from Misano:
Results of the World Supersport race at Misano:
Results of WSBK race 1 at Misano:
There is plenty to talk about after qualifying on Saturday - both here in Silverstone and over in Misano in Italy - but there is only one topic of conversation throughout the paddock. The magic number being bandied about is 3.761, the gap from Valentino Rossi - in 13th (yes, you heard that right, 13th) place on the grid - to the polesitter for Sunday's race Casey Stoner. A quick straw poll of the media center suggested this was the largest gap between Rossi and pole in recent history, with most journalists saying it is probably his biggest deficit ever in Grand Prix, and maybe even of his racing career.
So what is a nine-time World Champion doing so very far off the pace? Rossi knows exactly what the problem is - the Italian is struggling on corner entry, can't carry the corner speed he wants to and can't get the bike to to turn - but finding a solution is a completely different matter. Jeremy Burgess and his pit crew tried a bunch of solutions throughout practice and not one of them appeared to work. Whatever they did, Rossi stayed resolutely stuck near the bottom of the timesheets, and many, many seconds off the pace.
The rain fell during QP2 for the World Supersport class at Misano, meaning that many riders elected to stay in the pits, as improving their time was not possible. Florian Marino was the fastest of the riders who did go out, but his time was 23 seconds off the best time in the dry.
Combined results of both qualifying sessions:
Results of Superpole:
Out after Superpole 1: Michel Fabrizio, Maxime Berger, Ruben Xaus, Leon Camier