It's Friday, the bikes have been out on track, and very much as expected, the Repsol Hondas are a class apart. Or rather, two of them are, Casey Stoner going fastest in the morning, while Dani Pedrosa topped the timesheets in the afternoon. The third member of the Repsol Honda team had a day to forget: after a crash in the morning, Andrea Dovizioso lost all confidence in the front end of his RC212V, and struggled for the rest of the day. "We don't need to study what happened," Dovizioso said, "we just need to stop and forget all about it."
Press releases from the 125 and Moto2 teams after practice on Friday at Jerez:
Strong wind doesn't hold Luis Salom (4th) back in Jerez
The second Grand Prix of the season is traditionally held on the beautiful Spanish circuit of Jerez. During the first two free practice sessions of the Gran Premio bwin De España RW Racing GP rider Luis Salom rode to a respectable fourth place.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Jerez:
Edwards and Crutchlow make promising start in Jerez
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team kicked off the European phase of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship in Jerez today, with Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow both posting competitive times on the opening day of practice.
In warm but windy conditions at the 2.748 miles circuit, Edwards set a best time of 1.41.063 to finish tenth overall on combined times.
Dani Pedrosa took his turn at the front in the second session of free practice at Jerez, the Repsol Honda rider finishing a couple of tenths ahead of his teammate Casey Stoner. Jorge Lorenzo ended the session in 3rd, just edging Marco Simoncelli. Valentino Rossi headed up a close group in 5th, the Marlboro Ducati rider ending just a few hundredths ahead of Randy de Puniet, Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden.
For the first time during the 2011 season, somebody has finished ahead of Nico Terol. Sandro Cortese, the man who has been closest to the Bankia Aspar rider, finally took top spot ahead of Terol, and by a respectable margin. Cortese got into the 1'48s, while Terol, Hector Faubel and a surprising Luis Salom could only manage 1'49s. The gaps are large, however, with Cortese half a second ahead of Terol, who is in turn six tenths quicker than Faubel.
Thomas Luthi led the way after the first session of free practice for the Moto2 class at Jerez, posting a blistering lap early on that took the rest of the field most of the session to get close to. Luthi's advantage was 1.5 seconds for most of the 45-minute practice, with riders only closing the gap towards the end. Stefan Bradl took 2nd in the end, finishing ahead of Alex de Angelis and Simone Corsi.
Casey Stoner topped the first session of practice for the MotoGP class at Jerez, just edging ahead of his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa. The two Repsols were a cut above the rest of the field, led by a surprisingly strong Valentino Rossi, the Italian putting his Ducati into 3rd half a second behind Stoner and Pedrosa. Two more Hondas filled out the top six, with Marco Simoncelli in 4th and Andrea Dovizioso in 6th, while Jorge Lorenzo could only manage the 5th fastest spot.
Nico Terol once again blitzed the 125s, putting six tenths of a second on the rest of the field during the first session of free practice for the 125cc class. Sandro Cortese, Efren Vazquez and Hector Faubel followed, in an all too familiar pattern.
In the heart of Spain, all talk is naturally of Spanish riders, and the man who has been at the center of a veritable media - and medical - whirlwind is Dani Pedrosa. Since the numbness and weakness in his arm reappeared at the race in Qatar, a result of the broken collarbone he suffered at Motegi last year, the Spaniard has undergone a series of tests and examinations to try and get to the root cause of the problem. And as a result, has faced enormous media scrutiny about the issue as well.
The recurrence of arm numbness and weakness which Dani Pedrosa suffered at the MotoGP season opener at Qatar was cause for much concern in the Repsol Honda camp. The problem came about after Pedrosa broke his collarbone at Motegi, when the throttle stuck open on his RC212V during practice. After the injury, Pedrosa was flown home to Spain, where he had a titanium plate fitted to fix the collarbone.
There is something unreal about the first race of the year at Qatar. The combination of the dazzling lights illuminating the desert, the strange, vampire-like day-night rhythm imposed by the night race, and the absence of crowds at the track makes the whole affair feel like it must have been a dream.
How different, then, is the event at Jerez? Hot Spanish sunshine, a paddock full of trucks, teams and hospitality, and 120,000 screaming, passionate fans. It is a heady mix, and feels like the real start to the season. MotoGP truly gets kickstarted at Jerez.
The official press release of the Repsol launch at Repsol's Puertollano plant in central Spain:
Repsol presented in Puertollano its sporting assets for 2011
Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Casey Stoner, Marc Márquez, Toni Bou, Laia Sanz, Takahisa Fujinami and Nani Roma took part in a day full of activities linked to the competition that culminated with the Repsol Honda Team launch
More preview press releases of the Jerez MotoGP round, this time from Pramac and Repsol Honda:
PRAMAC RACING TEAM PREVIEW JEREZ