Results of the Qualifying Practice for the 250cc class for the Qatar Grand Prix:
Results of the MotoGP Qualifying Practice for the Qatar Grand Prix:
Marco Simoncelli's season got off to a bad start before it even began, when the reigning 250cc World Champion broke his wrist last Sunday riding a motocross bike. Determined to defend his title, he had the fractured scaphoid pinned in an operation on Tuesday, before flying out to take part in the first free practice session at the season opener at Qatar. It was a very short time for the wrist to heal, and was going to be an uphill struggle for Simoncelli to take part in the first race.
Full results of Qualifying Practice for the 125cc class for the Qatar Grand Prix:
Results of the 250cc Free Practice 2 session at Qatar:
|4||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||APRILIA||2'01.486||0.380||0.317|
|8||35||Raffaele DE ROSA||HONDA||2'02.037||0.931||0.319|
Casey Stoner continued to top the timesheets at Qatar on Saturday, but his domination started to look less complete. Although the Australian increased his lead to over 0.7 seconds over the man in second spot, Valentino Rossi, on multiple occasions, Rossi kept coming back to within a couple of tenths. By the time the flag dropped for the end of the session, Rossi had been joined by a brace of other riders within half a second of Stoner.
Result 125cc Free Practice 2 session at Qatar:
As you have surely already noticed, MotoGPMatters.com photographer Scott Jones is at Qatar (funded in part by your generous donations and the support of our carefully selected advertisers), sending back interviews and the fantastic photos which make him our favorite shooter. He's starting to send us some of his fantastic photos, which we have shared with you below.
One of the biggest mysteries of the past few years in MotoGP has been Honda's fall from grace. Throughout the 990 era, the Honda RC211V was the motorcycle to beat, with only Valentino Rossi capable of achieving that feat. Since the switch to the 800s - a move believed to have been made under pressure from Honda - HRC has struggled to produce a bike that is even competitive, the RC212V outclassed by Yamaha's 800cc M1 and Ducati's Desmosedici. This failure has had knowledgeable people both inside and outside scratching their heads in incomprehension.
The waiting really is over for MotoGP fans, as the MotoGP bikes finally took to the track at Qatar to compete in earnest. First blood in the 2009 campaign went to Casey Stoner on the Marlboro (and at Qatar, it really is a Marlboro) Ducati, a fact that shocked absolutely nobody. As ever, Stoner was fast from the moment he rolled out onto the track, getting down into 1'57 territory within ten minutes, and slashing a further 0.8 seconds off his time with 12 minutes of the session left.
For a long time, Stoner's advantage seemed insurmountable, but in his final run, Valentino Rossi closed the gap from a second to get to within 0.4 of a second, with the potential for more if he hadn't run into traffic on a very fast lap. Though four tenths is a sizable gap, Rossi will feel he is at least in touch with Stoner, and with two more sessions to go, and no qualifying tires to distort the grid, the reigning world champion will be confident of staying with Stoner away from the line.
Third fastest man in the opening session of 2009 was Colin Edwards, the only other rider capable of getting within a second of Stoner, and looking as strong here as he looked last year during practice. Rossi's Fiat Yamaha team mate Jorge Lorenzo makes it three Yamahas in the top four, Lorenzo 1.2 seconds behind but with more likely to come.
The session threw up plenty of surprises. Such as Alex de Angelis in 5th, for example, but de Angelis also showed his Mr Hyde by running wide into the gravel during the session, a harbinger of what is to come, perhaps. An even bigger suprise was Mika Kallio finishing 7th, after having been as high as 5th earlier in the session. Though we've only had one 45 minute session of practice to judge him by, Kallio's single fast lap at the IRTA test at Jerez could possible be the rule rather than the exception.
Results of Free Practice 1 for the MotoGP class at Qatar:
|5||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||1'58.452||1.399||0.180|
|10||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||1'58.771||1.718||0.014|
Results of Free Practice 1 for the 250 class at Qatar:
|11||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||APRILIA||2'02.836||0.934||0.054|
|13||35||Raffaele DE ROSA||HONDA||2'03.159||1.257||0.311|
Results of Free Practice 1 for the 125cc class at Qatar
Times from the second day of the World Superbike test at Monza:
On Thursday afternoon as the teams were setting up their garages, MotoGPMatters spoke for a few minutes with Colin Edwards’ Monster Tech 3 Yamaha crew chief, Guy Coulon about some of the challenges presented in the 2009 MotoGP season.
MGPM: My first question is about the switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tires. Has Rossi’s team shared much of their data from last year?
Guy Coulon: Yes, of course, because Yamaha already had good experience last year with Bridgestone, and quite early last year we knew that Bridgestone would be used by everyone in 2009. So Yamaha designed the 2009 bike with the Bridgestone specification. Last year Valentino used a bike at first mostly designed for Michelin, and as the season went on, his team started to understand how to modify his bike to suit the new tires. So I believe at the end of last season they had designed a proper chassis for Bridgestone tires. It’s not so different than before. It’s only some small details. So for all Yamaha riders, it’s easier to start on Bridgestone tires this year because Valentino already used them last year.
MGPM: Given that all teams are on Bridgestone this year, how will this affect your approach at Tech 3?
GC: It’s difficult to say, because this year we have regulation changes in addition to one tire maker: Tire allocation has also changed. We have only two kinds of front tires and two kinds of rear tires for each race. Last year there was much more difference between front tires and also between rear tires, and there were two brands of both. Valentino is able to compare both makers because he used Michelin when they brought many kinds of tires, and Bridgestone also before the new rules. But for Tech 3, we can only compare last year with Michelin’s many kinds of tires, and this year, with Bridgestone’s two fronts and two rears. So it’s difficult for us to compare.