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.
Edwards continued his excellent start to 2011 in this morning's opening practice session, the experienced American once again the leading non-factory rider in eighth position as he concentrated on refining the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine to gain more turning performance.
With track temperatures a lmost 20 degrees hotter for this afternoon's session, further set-up experiments gave Edwards and his crew valuable information to make further adjustments ahead of tomorrow's final practice and qualifying session.
Today presented Crutchlow with his first opportunity to acquaint himself with the challenging Jerez circuit. The British rider applied himself to the task with typical determination and enthusiasm and he posted a best lap of 1.41.854 to finish 15th on the timesheets.
Despite his minimal experience of the Jerez circuit, the 2009 World Supersport champion was able to demonstrate his undoubted potential by lapping faster than circuit specialists Hector Barbera and Toni Elias for the majority of the morning and afternoon session. He was one of only seven riders to lap faster in hotter conditions this afternoon and is confident overnight set-up tweaks will help him take another step forward tomorrow. < /p>
Jerez kicks off the long-awaited European leg of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship with a large and partisan crowd of over 100,000 expected to flock to the Andalucía venue.
Colin Edwards 10th 1.41.063 – 39 laps:
"We tried a bit of an experimental set-up with one bike we thought would work to help with the turning performance but it didn't quite give us the result we were anticipating. It worked in some areas but it created some other issues, so we'll go back to more of a similar set-up to what we ran in Qatar for tomorrow and we know that works. I was actually faster using the different setting but I just don't feel I can run that pace consistently over a race distance. What made it really difficult today was the wind. It was really gusting hard in some places, so you just had to be pretty careful because it wa s easy to get caught out. You just had to pay attention and get a feel for which way the wind was blowing because at least it was consistent in one direction."
Cal Crutchlow 15th 1.41.854 – 36 laps:
"I felt like I learned the circuit pretty quickly and I was happy with my performance this morning. But this afternoon I didn't really make the improvement I was looking for and that was a lot to do with the track temperature being much higher. You only have to look at the times of the fast guys to see the hotter conditions made it hard because nobody in the top seven was faster this afternoon. I was a little bit quicker, so I've improved and gained some time, but I needed to make a bigger jump than I did. With the track temperature a lot higher it made the bike feel quite a bit different compared to this morning. I'm sure I can improve the front-end feel becau se the wind was so strong it was blowing me off line. The front needs to be more planted so we've got some ideas to improve tomorrow. Considering my lack of experience at this track, I'm satisfied because the times are pretty close and I know we can improve."
Stoner finishes day one fastest overall, already under Jerez lap record
Round 2: Spanish GP – Free Practice One & Two
Jerez Circuit, Friday 1 April 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium
It was once again a Repsol Honda Team one-two after the first day of running for the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend with Casey Stoner setting the fastest combined time from the two practice sessions ahead of Dani Pedrosa.
In the morning session, Stoner and Pedrosa were the only two riders to lap faster than the existing lap record, set by Pedrosa in 2010, and after only 45 minutes on track the pair were just 0.3seconds from last year's pole time. In the cooler morning session, almost all riders tried both the softer and harder option slicks but in the afternoon, as the temperature rose, it was the harder option slicks that were preferred.
Track conditions were good today, although a strong wind hit the region in the afternoon which was a factor in making the afternoon laptimes a little slower.
Third fastest for the Ducati Team was a resurgent Valentino Rossi ahead of fellow countryman Marco Simoncelli of San Carlo Honda Gresini, with Factory Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo in fifth. The top seven riders all set their fastest lap of the day in the morning session, but Randy de Puniet and Nicky Hayden, who were eighth and ninth respectively, went faster during free practice two.
The final free practice session gets underway at 10:10hrs local time tomorrow, Saturday 2 April, before an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. Whilst conditions today were fine and warm, the weather is expected to deteriorate over the weekend.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport
"Track conditions were good today, especially this morning, and the times at the front were already very fast. Riders got the chance to try both the softer and harder option front and rear slicks today in assessment for the race, although tyre choice on Sunday could be more affected by the weather conditions with the current forecasts. The times were a little slower this afternoon because the wind got considerably stronger, but throughout today we have seen that consistency and durability are good.
"This morning the air was warm but the track was still quite cool, yet we could see that the harder option slicks were working well despite the temperature and the laptimes were very fast. Many riders tried both specs in the morning and performance of each was good. As the track temperature rose by the afternoon, almost all riders chose the harder specs for FP2. I can also say that braking stability of both front tyre specs is adequate, so in general I am happy with tyre performance here today."
FRUSTRATION ON HOME SOIL FOR ELIAS
Jerez, 01 April: premier class riders are back on track for the first of four races in Spain and at one of the highlight venues of the season in Jerez de la Frontera. LCR Honda MotoGP Team racer Toni Elias returns to the track where he took the first of the seven wins that carried him to the inaugural Moto2 World Championship in 2010. Sunny skies and air temperature of 28 degrees have welcomed the 800cc riders today for both free practice sessions but the Iberian racer is still struggling to find his pace aboard the RC212V.
The race will give Elias a chance to re-start his championship season, which began with a crash in the opening race in Qatar, but at the moment the Spaniard does not feel much better posting the 17th lap time of the day.
Elias – 17th – 1'42.690
Elias: "In Qatar I was trying to override a bike which hadn't been fully developed and I crashed. That accident provided a valuable lesson and I came here with high motivation because I like this track and the atmosphere. But at the moment we have got the same issues... I can not load the rear and I do not feel comfortable especially in the middle of the corner. I can not lap in these conditions and it's very frustrating. The only thing we can do is to keep on working to find a solution..."
SIMONCELLI FOURTH ON FIRST DAY AT JEREZ AND CONFIDENT FOR SUNDAY'S RACE
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli again confirmed his increasing competitiveness today at Jerez, lapping amongst the fastest riders on track in the opening free practice sessions. The Italian was fourth fastest, just a few tenths shy of the pacesetters Pedrosa and Stoner. Winds of almost 40km/h affected the afternoon session although "SuperSic" was able to pinpoint the areas he needs to work on tomorrow. Hiroshi Aoyama also had a good day working on his race set-up, giving Team San Carlo Honda Gresini plenty of reasons for optimism ahead of Sunday's race.
Marco Simoncelli (4th 1' 40" 701) "Today went well despite the windy conditions this afternoon, which made things quite difficult. We also used the same hard tyre this afternoon that we used this morning and by the end it had thirty laps on it so that also made it difficult. However, apart from Pedrosa and Stoner who are three or four tenths clear at the moment it looks like I can run with Rossi and Lorenzo. We have to try and improve in certain areas but overall I am happy. Mainly it is under braking in certain areas of the track where we are lacking and we need to find more grip on a worn tyre. Jerez is a circuit I like, I have won here twice in 125 and 250 so on paper I should do well. I've also won in wet and dry conditions here so I feel I can be competitive in any conditions. Tomorrow we will turn our attention to securing a good place on the starting grid."
Hiroshi Aoyama (9th 1'' 41" 292) "This afternoon went better than this morning and we were able to make progress on the set-up of the bike. The wind was a bit of a pain because there were a few areas of the track where you couldn't push to the maximum. Anyway, we think we have found the right way to improve the bike based on the data we gathered today. Tomorrow we will continue to work hard to make sure we can be competitive on Sunday."
Fausto Gresini "It has been another positive day for Marco, who set a consistent fast pace and found the bike to his liking. Obviously we are still trying a few things to improve in certain areas of the track but I think he will be in good shape to be competitive in the race. He looks confident and the important thing is that he is not suffering the same problems with fuel consumption that he had in Qatar. Hiroshi was also solid today and he improved on his performance from the morning, when he only used one tyre. He has a lot of potential and he is trying some different solutions that should ensure he is competitive tomorrow and on Sunday."
Lorenzo and Spies Complete First Day of Practice at Jerez
Round two of the 2011 MotoGP Championship got underway at Jerez today with Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies getting their first European track time of the season. Reigning World Champion Lorenzo spent the two free practice sessions testing a new set up for the circuit, improving from the morning's fifth place finish to wrap up the afternoon's final session in third, 0.522 seconds from the front. The combined times placed him fifth today ahead of tomorrow's qualifying heat.
Jorge's teammate Spies spent the two sessions working on different set ups between bikes, focusing on front end feel and differing electronic set ups. The Texan finished in seventh place for both sessions, unable to improve on his morning time of 1'40.887 in the afternoon as a windier session slowed all riders a little. Both Spies and Lorenzo will start tomorrow looking to find a set up that delivers better traction for the fast corners and rapid direction changes of the circuit.
Position : 5th Time: 1'40.420 Laps: 23
"This morning the track was perfect with no wind but in the afternoon it came so the riding was more difficult. Finally we finished third, the gap to the front is less than before and we hope to improve the bike more for tomorrow. After the good race at Qatar we are more motivated and this is one of the special rounds of the year so we hope to have a great race on Sunday."
Position : 7th Time: 1'40.887 Laps: 34
"It's not been the best day today, I'm not very happy. We need to make some changes and I'm confident we can improve. Having said that, the feeling I'm having with the bike right now with the speed we're doing is not too bad. I'm not feeling very comfortable with how the bike is handling but it's only Friday. We have tomorrow and we have Sunday morning and I'm confident we can get the bike working better. I think this track can be good for the M1, we just need to change the setting and see how tomorrow goes. Well work on it and come back in the morning and go faster."
"Jorge finished in third position this afternoon finally and which was an ok result. We need to do more work for sure to make the next step up so we are not happy with it. We have a couple of ideas we want to try, especially for traction and turnability, both areas where we need to improve for tomorrow's qualifying session."
"On Ben's side of the garage we are still trying to find the best bike set up, we tried some different solutions but after two practice sessions we are still not satisfied. We are going to check the data from both of his bikes and see what solutions we can try tomorrow morning to see if they will work and help him improve.
Jorge had a better session this afternoon and moved closer to the front guys, the team are still not satisfied though and need to make another step forward. I'm confident that both sides can make the necessary changes to give our riders the best opportunity in tomorrow's qualifying."
Hopkins enjoys first day back
Publish Date: Friday, April 01, 2011
Rizla Suzuki's replacement rider John Hopkins acquitted himself well at Jerez today on his first day back as a MotoGP rider.
Hopkins is making his first appearance on a MotoGP bike since 2008 and was quickly up to a decent pace as he began his weekend as a substitute rider for the injured Álvaro Bautista. His main target today was to learn the characteristics of the Bridgestone control tyres and re-acquaint himself with the Suzuki GSV-R prototype. Hopkins made gradual steps throughout the day and - despite the strong winds that hampered all riders in the afternoon - he managed to finish the second session just over two seconds behind the fastest rider of the day Casey Stoner.
In the morning session most riders recorded their best lap-time and Hopkins was one of only a handful of riders that bettered their time during the afternoon, pointing towards him becoming more comfortable and confident on the machine. He is already looking forward to taking the next step and pushing for better times to make him more competitive.
Hopkins will have another practice session tomorrow morning, before he tackles an hour of qualifying in the afternoon to secure his grid position for Sunday's 27-lap race.
"Today was basically just about getting a feel for the bike and getting used to being back in the team. I wanted to get comfortable today and I didn't want to go out and do anything stupid – that's for sure! Since I was last in MotoGP they've changed to 45-minute sessions so that was a bit different, I would have liked a lot longer on the bike to get a better feeling, but that was not possible. In the two sessions we altered some of the electronics, but we haven't changed anything on the chassis because it felt great, there was no need to change the geometry because the base setting was so good. Obviously it's where I expected to be position wise, it's a tall order from not riding a MotoGP bike for so long and only having ridden about 150 to 200 laps on a superbike in the last seven months, there was certainly a lot to learn on the first day. I am actually quite confident that we can improve a lot tomorrow after I've had the chance to sit back, relax and think about things. I followed some people at the end of the day and I realised there are a lot of places where I need to change my lines, but that's normal really.
"I am just extremely pleased to be in the MotoGP paddock again and out there with the best riders in the world. There is a huge sense of gratitude from me because I never thought I'd be in this position so soon again in my career, so I want to say a big thanks to everyone at Rizla Suzuki for giving me this opportunity. I just want to be able to improve my position a bit more over the weekend and pay everyone back for giving me this chance."
Tom O'Kane – Crew Chief:
"Everybody in the team is really happy with the way John has ridden today. Our target was for him to come here, learn about the tyres, learn about the bike again and have fun. In the afternoon session he closed the gap on the leaders – compared to this morning – and although the wind affected everyone this afternoon and John wasn't 100% comfortable in the conditions, he still did a very good job. I think that once John has had a chance to sleep on things tonight, the corners won't come up on him so quickly and he'll be able to react better and find the lines to improve on his times."
Pedrosa and Stoner share the lead at Jerez on Friday
Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner had a positive start in Jerez, with both riders sharing the top positions on the time sheets on the first day of practice for the Grand Prix of Spain.
They were the only riders capable to set 1'39 which was also under the Circuit Record of 1'39.731 set by Pedrosa in 2010. The Australian was the fastest rider in the morning session with 1'39.551, followed by Pedrosa with a marginal gap of 0.028, then the Spaniard took the top spot in the afternoon with a lap time of 1'40.101 this time followed by Stoner in second with 1'40.289. The strong wind preventing improved times in the second session.
The Repsol Honda pair were dealing with their own issues in a good way: Dani concentrated on riding fast even with his injured shoulder, and Casey focused to improve his feeling in a circuit that has proved tricky for him in the past. Andrea Dovisioso, who had a crash in the morning practice in a very fast corner, escaped without physical consequences, he was sixth on the combined free practice times, with a best lap of 1'40.429.
This weekend in Jerez the three Repsol Honda RC212V bikes are displaying the 'Honda Safety' logo on the fairings, an action that will be extended in the other three Grand Prix held in Spain this season. The logo, designed by Honda Montesa SA reflects graphically Honda's support in this area.
DANI PEDROSA – 1st - 1'40.101
"I think we are doing a good job. The bike was working OK, it was moving a little but maybe because the grip was not so good today; other riders were also struggling with it and we saw some crashes in all the categories. Also the strong wind played a part in the afternoon, it was more difficult to control the bike especially on fast corners and we couldn't improve the lap times. Let's see if the track conditions improve tomorrow and if we can do better. Regarding my physical condition, I'm struggling in the same way I did in the Qatar race because the situation has not changed, but I cannot do anything to feel better, so I'm just focused on riding as best as I can. I'm doing short runs because it's better for me and working on the bike to prepare for the race. We hope to improve tomorrow and do a good qualifying practice".
CASEY STONER – 2nd - 1'40.289
"The first session went well and I had a good feeling with the bike, we tried to repeat this in the afternoon session but the conditions weren't perfect - it was quite windy. It seems to be a little smoother to ride here than in the past, but it's a shame the weather wasn't better so we could spend some time working on the settings. In general both bikes we tried seemed to work pretty well and we'll pick up from there tomorrow to concentrate on the set-up. The grip level doesn't seem to be so good here, I think everyone is struggling with this so that's another element we need to work on tomorrow in time for qualifying".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 12th - 1'41.407
"It was a difficult day. This morning I crashed on the very last lap because I lost the front, without any warning at Turn 11. The crash in itself was not too bad but then the wind in the afternoon made things worse. I think the second practice suffered due to these things put together and as a result I lost the feeling with the front. I couldn't ride as I am able to do and it's not a nice feeling but it's useless to complain, we have to continue working. I hope tomorrow there will be less wind so that we can focus on the set up of my RC212V".
BARBERÁ THIRTEENTH BUT CONFIDENT OF IMPROVEMENTS
MAPFRE Aspar rider two seconds off the top but optimistic of set-up improvements tomorrow
The Spanish Grand Prix got underway at Jerez today but it wasn't a local rider who set the pace in the opening practice sessions. Dani Pedrosa did his best to please the home crowd but finished 0.028 shy of his team-mate Casey Stoner, who continued with his dominant performance from Qatar. The MotoGP field had two sessions today, one in perfect weather this morning and a second one in the afternoon when 30km/h winds led to slower times and more than the odd crash.
Like most riders Héctor Barberá set his fastest lap of the day, a 1'41.601, in the morning although he came close to it in the afternoon with a 1'41.665. The MAPFRE Aspar rider finished the day thirteenth fastest overall but some way off finding his best level of performance and that of his Ducati. Stability under acceleration is his main focus for tomorrow although he has a clear idea of how it can be found.
13th Héctor Barberá 1.41.601 (36 laps): "Today didn't go as I had hoped, we struggled to find the right set-up for the bike. In Qatar everything was more simple because apart from the free practice sessions at the Grand Prix we had also had two days of prior testing there. Here we're starting from scratch and I am seven tenths off the position where I think I should be, so there is no need to panic. It was a decent shakedown today. Our main objective was to get some laps in on used tyres and get a better idea for the race. We struggled for stability under acceleration but tomorrow we'll try a new swingarm and play around with the geometry of the Ducati to try and get more grip."
ROSSI THIRD IN JEREZ FREE PRACTICE, HAYDEN NINTH
Valentino Rossi posted the third-fastest time overall during the first day of practice in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez. Like the top seven in the results, he did it in the morning session, when conditions were slightly cooler and not as windy.
Nicky Hayden, on the other hand, was among the riders who improved in the afternoon, when he finished ninth, a little less than a second off his teammate in the combined results from both sessions.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 3RD, 1:40.077
"I'm happy because this morning I did the third-fastest time, and in the afternoon, when the higher temperature hurt us a little, I was fifth. Anyway, most of the riders went a bit slower in the second session. Apart from the two Hondas at the front, we're closer to everyone else, which was our goal. It was a good day. There's still work to do; we're trying to find the right balance, and that's why we're trying two settings that are a little different from each other as we work on weight distribution. We have to improve the front feeling a little; the bike that I prefer still doesn't turn like we want it to, which means we'll have to find a compromise between the two setups. As for my shoulder, I don't have much strength, but in terms of endurance, it's a little better."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th, 1:41.058
"We're basically riding the same bike as in Qatar, obviously with a couple of small tweaks for this track; you need a stiffer front spring and a few other little differences. We feel closer than we were in Qatar. We made a little step forward this afternoon and it's good because only a few riders improved in the afternoon session, though the wind was a lot worse. It's the same for everybody, but the wind was really brutal today, especially around here where you're leaned over in a lot of long corners. We're still almost a second off of the front riders, but at least we're inside a second, which wasn't the case at Round 1. We're not over here jumping up and down with joy, but we're positive, and we'll keep improving. There's a few places I'm lacking, but we're trying to just make small gains and not make too many big changes."
AN EXCELLENT DE PUNIET ENDS FREE PRACTICE WITH THE SIXTH FASTEST LAP TIME. CAPIROSSI FOURTEENTH
Sunny and windy day in Jerez de la Frontera for the first European MotoGP Race. The Pramac Racing Team is not fully satisfied after the first two free practices. A significant improvement from the Frenchman Randy De Puniet who improved his best lap time after the morning session, ended with the sixth fastest lap time of 1'40 .982, just 26 thousandths of a second from Valentino Rossi. Loris Capirossi, on the other hand, still have some pain at the right shoulder. The infiltration made this morning was not useful enough to reduce pain. For him the 14th fastest time in 1'41.810. Tomorrow at 2pm the official qualifying session will kick off at Jerez de la Frontera.
Marco Rigamonti - Randy De Puniet Track Engineer
"We are pleased with the work we did today. As in Qatar, we improve after every session. The sixth best time of this afternoon is a good result and we hope to keep up these levels throughout in the weekend. We need to refine some details on traction control to give even a greater confidence to Randy".
Randy De Puniet – Pramac Racing Rider – 6th best time in 1'40.982
"I'm quite happy about the work we have done. We changed many little things compared to the morning and the results can be seen. The feeling with the bike is good on this track. We can do well if we remain consistent with the work done today. It remains to improve a bit with the traction control; we'll do it tomorrow. The wind was strong, it is not easy to run in this condition".
Loris Capirossi – Pramac Racing Rider – 16th best time in 1'41.810
"Compared to this morning we went a little bit better. I continue to struggle with the front of the bike, I don't feel the right feeling with this part. We are trying different solutions, but we are not yet where we would like to be. The shoulder problems persist, even worst despite the infiltration that I did. I hope tomorrow the situation will change. We need to improve, we have everything to do so".