With the weather a little more settled in Jerez on Saturday morning - it rained for most of the night, and the track is now fully wet - practice returned to some semblance of normality. Miguel Oliveira's dominance of Moto3 in the wet continued, topping the FP3 session by over a second with a fast flying lap at the very end. The Portuguese rider deposed former Red Bull Rookie Arthur Sissis from top spot, the young Australian being demoted to 2nd, just ahead of Danny Kent, though Kent could have gone faster if he hadn't got engaged in an altercation with RW Racing's Luis Salom.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Jerez:
RW Racing GP happy with wet practice results
A wet practice session for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuito de Jerez turned out to be pretty fascinating, with unusual names topping the time sheets for a while. Only at the end of the second practice the more usual names turned up.
There were plenty of big names to watch out for at Jerez, but the real star of the show was the weather. She turned out to be such a prima donna that she almost completely halted on-track action for the first session of MotoGP, though not so much through her ferocity as by her fickleness. A rain shower at the end of the previous Moto3 made the track just greasy enough for it to be no use for slick tires, and nowhere near wet enough to get any useful information from wets, and so the vast majority of the MotoGP grid spent all of FP1 suited up but twiddling their thumbs.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after a wet first day of practice at Jerez:
Solid start for Dovizioso and Crutchlow at rain-hit Jerez
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow began their preparations for the start of the European phase of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship in challenging and unpredictable conditions at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain today.
After a dismal weekend at Qatar three weeks ago, Valentino Rossi got Jerez off to a good start by seizing control of the second session of free practice and leading for much of it. The Italian held a clear lead until the final minutes of practice, when he was deposed by Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, who dived under Rossi's time by nearly two thirds of a second. The factory Ducati man took 2nd, ahead of Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, and Pedrosa's Repsol teammate Casey Stoner.
Miguel Oliveira topped the wet second session of free practice for the Moto3 class at Jerez, the Portuguese rider taking the lead as the times dropped towards the end of the session. Red Bull KTM's Sandro Cortese ended up in 2nd spot, just a few thousandths ahead of Maverick Vinales on the Blusens Avintia FTR Honda.
Johann Zarco has ended the first session of free practice for the Moto2 class on top of the timesheets. The French JiR rider dominated the session from the halfway point onwards, leading by over 1.6 seconds at one point. Towards the end of FP1, the pack started to close in, Speed Up's Andrea Iannone finishing up in 2nd, nearly nine tenths behind Zarco, and just a fraction ahead of Xavier Simeon, the Belgian Tech 3 rider impressive in the wet.
The weather moved in to disrupt the first session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Jerez, causing almost the entire session to be lost. The session started with just a few drops of rain, making the track greasy, but not really wet. The conditions meant that there was nothing to be learned going out, and much to be lost: too dry to get any useful wet setup data, too wet to get any useful dry setup data, and just slick enough to increase the risk of crashing and injuring yourself.
Romano Fenati continues to impress on his debut in the Moto3 class, the European 125cc champion topping the first session of free practice at Jerez. Fenati led throughout, leaving title favorite Maverick Vinales to settle for the 2nd fastest time, a quarter of a second behind Fenati. Sandro Cortese was the first of the KTMs, taking 3rd, some half a second off the time of the FTR Honda of Fenati, while Miguel Oliveira ended the session in 4th.
Though the night race at Qatar is spectacular, the paddock at Jerez feels like a proper paddock. There is a bustle missing from Qatar, and the return of the hospitality units means that it is an altogether more colorful place.
The final round of press release previews from the MotoGP teams ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez:
POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR TEAM READY FOR CRT'S EUROPEAN DEBUT
MotoGP begins continental road trip as Jerez hosts second round of season
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's race at Jerez:
Top five the target for Redding and Kallio in Jerez
Gosselies, Belgium - 24 April 2012: The Marc VDS Racing Team return to Jerez this weekend, the scene of two extremely successful preseason tests for both Scott Redding and Mike Kallio and the venue for the second round of the 2012 Moto2 World Championship.
After the opening of hostilities in the black of the desert night in Qatar, the 2012 MotoGP season gets underway for real - or at least, what feels like for real - this weekend in Jerez. The paddock finally full, not of Nissen huts, but of sleek and shiny hospitality units and race trucks; the stands full of fans, and spread all around the track, not huddled together at one end of Qatar's single grandstand; the bikes displaying their natural glory in daylight, not the fluorescent glare of Qatar's admittedly spectacular floodlit goldfish bowl.