2011 Silverstone MotoGP Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Friday at Silverstone:


Crutchlow impresses in front of home fans at Silverstone

Cal Crutchlow thrilled an expectant home crowd at the Silverstone circuit today, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider mastering unpredictable weather to finish inside the top six in dry and wet conditions.

This morning's session was held in cool but dry conditions and it didn't take long for Crutchlow to settle into a fast and consistent rhythm, the 25-year-old finishing sixth quickest with a best time of 2.05.007.

Crutchlow was confident of making further big improvements this afternoon, but forecast rain showers duly arrived in the earlier 125cc session. The second MotoGP session got underway on a wet track, but with some sections drying quickly, Crutchlow was presented wi th unpredictable riding conditions.

Despite minimal experience of riding his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 in the wet, Crutchlow displayed all his skills and versatility to produce an outstanding performance on his way to setting the fourth quickest time. He ended with a best time of 2.18.109 and was only behind Casey Stoner, Marco Simoncelli and Nicky Hayden at the end of the session.

Colin Edwards understandably adopted a cautious approach to proceedings today, the American riding just a week after he broke his right collarbone in a practice crash for the Catalunya round.

This morning's session was a physically demanding exercise for the 37-year-old and he rode at a steady pace to gauge the strength in his right shoulder and build up his confidence again after last week's heavy crash at the Montmelo circuit.

Edwards welcomed the arrival of the rai n more than anyone else, with wet conditions easing the physical demands of tackling the super fast and technical Silverstone track. He finished 16th in both sessions but is confident in wet or dry conditions that he can fight for a points scoring finish in Sunday's race, which is the sixth round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.

Cal Crutchlow 6th 2.05.007 - 30 laps:

"I wasn't too happy with this morning even though I was in the top six. I had some stability issues with the bike and without that I felt I could have been in the top four this morning as well. We had a few issues to solve and it would have been good to have a dry session this afternoon to work on improving the bike. At least we got an opportunity to do some laps in the wet, so we'll have some experience of the track in those conditions if we get rain on Sunday. I'd li ke it to be a dry race so I can show what I can do, but I feel we're competitive in the wet as well. The conditions this afternoon were unbelievable. It was soaking wet in parts but in other parts, how quickly it dried out was incredible. One corner would be wet and then the next dry, so it was a case of understanding when and where you could push to gain time. The Bridgestone rain tyres held up brilliantly on the drier parts but going from dry to wet conditions is not easy because there is so much heat being generated in the tyres, it is easy to make a mistake. The support from the British crowd has been fantastic so far and I've been making solid progress, so I want to aim for the front row tomorrow."

Colin Edwards 16th 2.09.310 – 25-laps:

"Today was all about getting back on the bike and building up some confidence after last week's crash. I wasn't going to do any thing too crazy but the shoulder definitely hurts a bit. I'm in a bit of pain in the braking zone for right-handers and unfortunately this a right-handed track. Honestly speaking though the shoulder feels better than I thought it would. In the dry and the wet I was just riding really timid, particularly this afternoon on the wet track. The conditions were just about the worst imaginable because one corner would be dry and the next wet. Some parts were drying really quick while others it was still soaking wet. I had nothing to prove but at least with that wet session we've got a feel for the track if it rains on Sunday. Right now, I certainly won't be upset if the race is wet on Sunday. I'll take a wet race right now because the stress on the shoulder is a lot less than in the dry, but we'llhave to wait and see what happens with the weather."


TISSOT – THE PIONEERING SPIRIT CELEBRATED AT SILVERSTONE

A cherished photograph and a much loved watch are the very proof of Tissot's affinity with the roots of grand prix motorcycle racing. Nearly four decades before Tissot revolutionised grand prix timing when they became the official timekeepers of the MotoGP World Championship, the Swiss watchmakers were one of the pioneer sponsors of the fledgling World Championship.

A chance meeting with the widow of grand prix rider Bill Doran resulted not only in an amazing family story but also offered an insight into Tissot's early involvement in a major sporting event that now circumnavigates the globe.

The meeting with Peggy Doran, widow of two times grand prix winner Bill, instantly unveiled an insight into grand prix motorcycle racing in the early fifties. She was accompanied by her daughter Jayne and granddaughter Emilie. When Jayne proudly displayed her late father's Tissot watch on her wrist the pioneering story of both her Father and Tissot was revealed.

British rider Bill Doran was a ‘Continental Circus' regular when grand prix racing started in 1949. Riding the AJS he won two 500cc grands prix at Assen in Holland and Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. He finished second in the 1951 350 cc World Championship behind the legendary Geoff Duke and had a bend named after him on the TT Mountain circuit in the Isle of Man after he crashed and broke his leg there in 1950.

Fifty nine years ago Tissot presented watches to the first three finishers at their home grand prix firing a passion for the Championship that has never died. The engraving on the back of Bills daughter's Tissot watch also revealed that her father had finished second in the opening round of the 1952 500cc World Championship around the 7.280 kms circuit at Berne in Switzerland.

Tissot has continued this tradition with pride and today present each of the three pole setting riders at each grand prix with a T Race MotoGP watch. A photograph of Bill Doran on the grid before the start of the 1952 Berne Grand Prix which was won by his AJS team-mate Jack Brett, was duly sourced by Eurosport commentator Julian Ryder, and presented to a very proud family along with new Tissot watches.

Peggy, Jayne and Emilie are the special guests of Tissot at this weekend's AirAsia British Grand Prix at Silverstone re enforcing Tissot's appreciation of the 63 year history and confidence in the future of the MotoGP World Championship.

As always Jayne are wearing her father's watch at Silverstone. In similar style to the MotoGP World Championships it still keeps perfect time after 59 years. Some things never change.


Stoner leads the way in both wet and dry sessions at Silverstone

Round 6: British GP – Free Practice One & Two

Silverstone Circuit, Friday 10 June 2011

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard

Wet compounds available: Front: Soft. Rear: Soft

The opening day of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone was punctuated by mixed conditions. The morning's free practice was dry whilst the afternoon's was wet following a rain shower just before it started, giving riders the chance to use both Bridgestone's slick and wet tyres.

In the morning the times were obviously faster on the dry track and it was once again Casey Stoner at the top of the timesheets ahead of Marco Simoncelli and Jorge Lorenzo. Nicky Hayden was fourth in a strong showing for the Ducati Team, whilst Brit Cal Crutchlow was sixth. Track and ambient temperature was low so all riders favoured the softer option slicks, which means the medium rear and the soft front that Bridgestone have brought to Silverstone for the first time this year. By the end of the session Stoner's best was just 0.2seonds off last year's record.

In the afternoon, the entire session was run on Bridgestone's soft wet tyres. The rain stopped at the beginning of the 45minute session, and although a dry line emerged in places much of the lap was still greasy. Stoner was also fastest in the wet ahead of Simoncelli in second, but it was Hayden third and Crutchlow fourth ahead of Lorenzo.

There are no intermediate tyres in the MotoGP class and Bridgestone only offer riders slick or wet tyres. Whilst two options of slick tyre compound are available, only a single compound of wet tyres is provided as per the rules and in the case of Silverstone, where the temperature is low, the wets are soft compound. Even as a dry line formed during the session the riders used only one set of wet tyres for the duration, which for many was ¾ race distance, and consistency and durability were good.

Whilst two dry sessions may have been more valuable to the teams and riders in terms of development and setup, today's wet track-time may become beneficial on race-day given the changeable weather forecast for Sunday.

Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division

"From this morning's session I can say that I am happy we revised our front slick tyre compounds for Silverstone this year as it was clear that riders favoured the soft compound front tyre for its extra performance in the cold conditions. Despite the cold this morning Casey was only 0.2seconds from last year's record, set by Jorge, so I think that if it hadn't rained this afternoon the frontrunners would be under the existing lap record already on the first day. Nevertheless, in the afternoon our wets performed reasonably, even as the track started drying. All riders used just one set and performance was reasonable even on such a high speed circuit. Now with the benefit of last year's race data, I am confident in our tyre selection this year."


Bautista inside the top-10 at a wet and dry Silverstone

Publish Date: Friday, June 10, 2011

Rizla Suzuki's Álvaro Bautista finished the first day's practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in ninth place on overall times after two very contrasting sessions.

This morning's first free practice was held in dry, but very windy and cold conditions and saw Suzuki's Spanish star perform solidly to record the ninth fastest lap with a time of 2'06.274 from his 18 laps around the 5,902m English circuit. This afternoon saw a completely different surface as heavy rain shortly before the start of the practise soaked the track. Bautista quickly got to grips with the wet conditions and was consistently well placed within the top-10, before ending the second free practice with a best lap of 2'20.337 and eleventh place on the timesheets.

Bautista completed one long run of 17 laps during the afternoon session to test the durability of the Bridgestone race tyres on the abrasive Silverstone surface and gather as much information as possible should the conditions repeat themselves on race-day. He had to finish the session slightly early as his Suzuki GSV-R became low on fuel. Without doing this he would surely have been pushing for a top-five slot as other riders did their quickest laps right at the end of the session. With such differing weather conditions today all the fastest times were set in this morning's dry session, with Honda's Casey Stoner recording the quickest time of the day.

Bautista and Rizla Suzuki have one more free session tomorrow morning before the afternoon assault on qualifying to get the best grid position for Sunday's 20-lap race, which is scheduled to get underway at 13.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).

Álvaro Bautista:

"Today has been a good day to test in the wet and the dry. I felt very good right from the beginning of this morning's session and tried a different setting in one of the bikes, but it didn't quite work so we went back to the other bike to try and get less movement in the bumps. We decided that this afternoon we would start with the standard setting, but it started to rain so we began the session with what we had in the wet warm-up in Barcelona, because there I had good grip and feeling. This was the first time I have ridden here in the wet and step-by-step I was getting more confident as the time progressed. Each lap my time was improving by about half-of-a-second or more, but at the end - as the track started to get quicker - I had to stop because I didn't have enough fuel, so I lost a few positions. This doesn't matter though because I am happy and during the practice I was always in fifth or sixth position and I know we have a good wet set-up. We will have to see what the weather will do for the rest of the weekend and I think we are well prepared for any type of conditions."

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

"Despite the weather's best efforts it hasn't been a bad day here at the new-look Silverstone. The dry practice this morning was cold and the grip levels were down, but the bike seemed to perform quite well and Álvaro got good feedback. This allowed him to be reasonably competitive and get a good starting point for the weekend. The wet performance was very encouraging, he was consistently in the top five or six, but unfortunately we had to bring the GSV-R in for fuel with only a couple of minutes of the session remaining. This meant he lost the opportunity to better his time when the track was obviously getting a lot faster right at the end. The position today really isn't important and we've made a solid start to the weekend and if it's wet or dry we're all looking forward to tomorrow."


Silverstone Grand Prix Practice Hampered by Rain

Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies experienced the famed English weather today as they took to the Silverstone circuit for the Grand Prix of Great Britain's first day of practice. The day started well with the morning's session run on a dry track but the rain soon made an appearance, making all but the last 10 minutes of the afternoon's heat wet. The sun came out for the final few minutes and created some dry patches which allowed the times to start to come down.

Both riders ended the day with good base wet and dry set ups but looking for more dry time tomorrow for further changes ahead of the afternoon's qualifying session. Lorenzo was less satisfied than his team mate having struggled to match his pace of last year.

Jorge Lorenzo

Position : 3rd Time: 2'04.756 Laps: 30

"I'm not so satisfied with the day. In the morning I tried to ride the same pace as last year but I was one second slower. In the afternoon I wanted to ride in dry conditions but it started to rain so we had to ride on that. I made so many laps with the rain tyre that it was destroyed whereas some of the other riders switched to a fresh tyre so were faster than us. I think we have a good set up for wet conditions now. We must focus on improving both myself and the bike, I will try to be on the front row tomorrow."

Ben Spies

Position : 7th Time: 2'05.130 Laps: 30

"It was a good first day, very productive. We were quick in both sessions. I've never had a really good feeling with the bike in the rain before but here we didn't have to push too hard and were up close to the front guys. There is a couple of things we wanted to test in the dry which we didn't get a chance to do but we still ended up with good consistent fast times. We need to be a bit quicker but we'll get there. We need to be on the first two rows tomorrow to be able to fight for the race."

Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

"The first free practice went ok, it was quite cool this morning with no big problems. We took some comments from Jorge to improve the rear grip a little. The afternoon was tough with a half dry and half wet track. Jorge stayed out to get a rhythm and find a good feel for those conditions. In the end his feeling is ok so we are quite satisfied with the package we have at the moment."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"Due to the weather conditions we couldn't do a final dry race set up on either side but we are not so far off and Ben is quite satisfied in both dry and wet conditions. Tomorrow the weather forecast is good, it should be dry so we can finalise the job we couldn't do today and I'm confident both our riders will be ready to challenge for the best possible qualifying positions."


The Repsol Honda Team leads the way at Silverstone

The British Grand Prix got underway today at the revamped Silverstone circuit with the Repsol Honda Team leading the way in the first day of free practice.

Complete with new pit boxes and fresh asphalt in some areas, FP1 was held under dry conditions which helped the riders to better understand the new conditions of the track and start working on the set-up with less risks.

Casey Stoner continued his dominance over his rivals and finished the morning session at the top of the time sheets, 0.7 tenths ahead. He recorded the fastest lap in both sessions with a best time, in FP1, of 2'03.748 which places him only 0.2 off the circuit record (Jorge Lorenzo recording 2'03.526 last season) and 0.4 off the best pole position (also set by Lorenzo in 2010 with 2.03.308).

The Australian rider could not have hoped for a better start to the weekend, where he will celebrate his 150th career GP.

Andrea Dovizioso, with the fifth fastest time of the day, felt much more comfortable in the dry conditions in FP1 this morning compared to FP2 which began wet and dried out for the end of the session but still with a lot of water on track.

CASEY STONER – 1st 2'03.748

"I'm pretty happy with how the day has gone after mixed conditions, we've seen a dry track, a wet track and then a 50/50 track so it's been interesting to have these variants throughout the day, but in general the bike has worked well. We used both bikes today and in the wet one set up seems to work pretty well, but with wet weather forecast for the rest of the weekend we still have some things we want to improve to make the bike work better giving us some more edge grip and traction. The track seems pretty good but some of the older sections are retaining a lot more water which is causing difficulties as in some areas you could be out on slicks but other parts are drenched. Looking at the way the wet tyres are working at the moment we shouldn't have too much of a problem though, the track seems to be kind on the Bridgestone tyres and not destroying them and even after this afternoon's session we didn't have a too big a problem with them".

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 5th 2'04.910

"This afternoon the track conditions were difficult especially because there are different types of tarmac which drain differently. For example, T1 and T4 were draining very well, whilst it was wet in T2 and T3. It took me a while to find the feeling and we struggled with the traction control set up. We worked on the different settings and I think that we can improve tomorrow. It will be important to practice again in dry conditions tomorrow as we did this morning in FP1, but all in all FP2 was also important because we may find similar conditions in the race".


WEATHER AFFECTS SILVERSTONE FREE PRACTICE. DE PUNIET TENTH, CAPIREX SEARCH THE GOOD SETUP

Round 6 of the MotoGP world championship at Silverstone has begun. As is often the case in England, the weather shuffled the cards between the first and second free practice, as rain and cold temperatures radically affected the afternoon session and made the times slower compared to the morning. Having crashed 17 minutes from the end of FP1, Loris Capirossi turned in a best time of 2:08.225 for the day, putting him fifteenth for the day. His teammate Randy De Puniet did better with a 2:06.573, ending the day tenth ahead of the Ducatis of Abraham and Rossi.

Marco Rigamonti - Ingegnere di pista Randy De Puniet

"Normally Randy is at home in the wet, but today the bike was much better at the end of the afternoon session, when the track was drying. Still, we experienced the same problems with the front that we've been dealing with for some time. We'll work on the bike tomorrow, but we'll keep the same setup that we used in the dry. In the wet, we still have to make some adjustments."

Randy De Puniet - Pramac Racing Team rider

"Today's weather conditions weren't good at all. The track was half-dry and half-wet, so it was difficult to push the bike to the limit. At the end of the afternoon session, I tried lowering my time because the track conditions were improving and I was getting a better feeling with the bike. Tomorrow we must work to improve the bike's setup in the wet, as the situation is already much better in the dry. I hope tomorrow's weather will help us to get a good qualifying time."

Loris Capirossi - Pramac Racing Team rider

"This morning's session was pretty terrible! We had started well, but then I had a fall like the one in Barcelona, although today's was hard enough to cause significant damage to the bike. The boys gave it 110% to get the bike ready for the afternoon. In the second session, the track conditions were terrible—wet in some spots, dry in others, and that's not even mentioning the cold. We weren't able to carry out the developments that we had intended to. We started with a similar setup to Barcelona, but the results we got are making us think we should once again change our way of working."


POSITIVE FIRST OUTING FOR ELIAS AT SILVERSTONE GP OPENING DAY

Silverstone, 10 June: LCR Honda MotoGP rider Toni Elias clocked the 10th fastest lap time (2'19.612) at today's first outing at redeveloped Silverstone race track which host the sixth round of the calendar. The Iberian racer riding the RCV went about his business in dry conditions this morning but in the afternoon session the typical English weather affected the riders' performances at the 5.902km circuit.

Elias, who had another difficult race at his home circuit last week, is a big fan of the English track and has worked hard with his crew to increase his pace adjusting chassis and suspension regulations. Today's pacesetter Stoner set a best lap time of 2'15.666.

Elias: "We have done important changes on the bike moving more weight on the rear adjusting the triple clump and the front fork including the suspensions regulations. All these radical changes gave me a better feeling though the surface conditions were not very clear. I mean... it was not totally wet and I hope to test this package in the dry. Anyway I feel more confident now because in the same conditions of full rain in Jerez I was in bigger troubles: apparently we have found a good direction in the wet".


Successful start for Karel Abraham at Silverstone

Trying to find the right set-up of the Ducati Desmosedici GP11, Karel Abraham started the Grand Prix of Great Britain in good form.

Especially when the rain began to fall at the Silverstone circuit the Czech motorcycle rider showed his quality and set a best time of 2.19,009 which placed him in eight place in the results of the second free practice.

In the combined timesheet of the both free practice Karel Abraham finished eleventh.

"Today we tried a lot of things on the set-up of the motorcycle," said a satisfied Karel Abraham who finished ahead of nine times world champion Valentino Rossi in both dry and wet free practice, but he pointed out: "Of course I am delighted by this fact but it doesn't mean anything."

"In tomorrow's free practice we have to try to improve the set-up of the motorcycle," added Karel Abraham, refferering to the third free practice and qualifying.


SIMONCELLI SECOND BEHIND STONER IN WET AND DRY

Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli spent another day of practice at the sharp end of the time sheets today, setting fast laps in wet and dry conditions at Silverstone. The Italian and pacesetter Casey Stoner held a significant gap over the rest of the field today, with "Super Sic" receiving applause from the British fans on every lap. Overall it has been a positive opening day at the British Grand Prix as the Italian targets his first MotoGP podium. Hiroshi Aoyama, on the other hand, was unable to find a comfortable setting for either conditions at a circuit where he suffered serious injury one year ago.

Marco Simoncelli (2° 2' 04" 407 – 2' 16" 463) "I am happy but at the moment Stoner is faster than us in wet and dry so we have to work to close the gap. In both cases I am losing the most time in the final sector so we need to work out why that is before making changes to the set-up. It is good to be on the pace again and I hope it continues because the most important day is Sunday, when we need to be fast in the race. I am also really happy with the support I have had from the British fans, who have been cheering for me in both sessions, and for the welcome I got yesterday. It's really nice."

Hiroshi Aoyama (13° 2' 07" 459 – 2' 21" 026 ) "Today was hard and we struggled to get confident with the bike in both sessions. I don't have any feeling and tomorrow we need to work to make up time. I will do my best."

Fausto Gresini "It has been a really positive day for us in both the wet and the dry conditions. Marco was strong throughout and overall we look ready, we just have to try and work out where we can make up time in the last section because that is where Stoner is faster. Marco and his crew will work out what they need to do and I am sure we'll be more competitive tomorrow. For now we are happy and confident that Marco can have a great race at a track he loves. Aoyama struggled today but I am sure he can make up ground tomorrow."


SILVERSTONE WELCOMES MOTOGP WITH MIXED WEATHER CONDITIONS

MAPFRE Aspar rider, Héctor Barberá, made improvements during the dry morning session, then tested wet set-up in the afternoon

Less than a week after the last round in Barcelona, the MotoGP World Championship today made a quick turnaround with the first practices for the British GP, and things remain pretty much the same as they were left in Catalonia. Stoner leads the way once more, with Simoncelli and Lorenzo giving chase. Today saw two very different sessions however, the first with a dry track, the second in the wet. The rain had stopped by the time the MotoGP riders were ready to go out on track, but the asphalt remained wet throughout. It was important for the riders to put in some solid test laps today, with forecasts looking gloomy for the rest of the weekend. With the water, the cold and the longest track on the calendar in Silverstone, the differences between the first and last riders (5.5 seconds) was accentuated more than at other events.

Well aware of the task ahead of him before his arrival in Silverstone, Héctor Barberá today worked on settings to improve the grip levels on his bike. It was 'mission accomplished' this morning, as the MAPFRE Aspar rider concluded the morning session with the eighth quickest time, and remarked how comfortable he felt with the improvements. Unfortunately the rain came in the afternoon and he was unable to continue the tests. During that second session Héctor preferred to ride more cautiously as he felt his way around the track in the wet in preparation for tomorrow, where more mixed weather is forecast.

8th Héctor Barberá 2.06.158 (32 laps): "This morning I went much better than in Montmeló, we made lots of successful modifications. There were improvements in several areas and so I felt much more comfortable than on other occasions. In the afternoon it all changed a bit due to the rain. We tried to use the set-up improvements from the dry, but it didn't work in the wet. The bike became quite aggressive and I could really feel the bumps. In any case, my main worry was my feeling in the dry, so I think today we have found the right way to go with this. We've finally seen the light. Although we weren't that quick on the wet track I think we have a lot more things to try out and I am sure we will improve tomorrow. At the end of the second session it looked as if the track might dry, but that wasn't the case."


UNPREDICTABLE WEATHER BOOSTS HAYDEN, AFFECTS ROSSI

Cold temperatures in the morning and rain in the afternoon made life difficult for Valentino Rossi on the first day of practice at the British Grand Prix, as he rode the complicated Silverstone circuit for the first time on a MotoGP bike in conditions that were far from perfect. Twelfth at the end of the first session, the Italian improved slightly during the wet afternoon session, but much of the setup work for the GP11 remains to be carried out tomorrow, weather permitting.

On the other hand, Rossi's teammate Nicky Hayden put his experience from last year to good use on the English circuit, posting the fourth-best time in the dry, third-best in the wet.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 4th (2:04.778)

"This was our best Friday of the season so far. The conditions were difficult, especially this afternoon, with different surfaces and different amounts of water, but the bike worked quite well. We know it's great in the wet, but we were also competitive in the dry this morning. We had to be careful not to destroy the rain tyres this afternoon, because we only have four sets for the whole weekend. You really need to save two for qualifying and one for the race, so this might be the only set we have for practice. I hope today sets us up for a good weekend. The team expects better than what we've been doing, and so do I. There's a long way to go until Sunday, but we're off to a good start. I'm very happy with the bike and the team today."

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 12th (2:07.075)

"Today was a bit difficult. The weather was bad for the most part, and that didn't help us. We knew we were beginning with a handicap, because compared to the others I lack the experience of last year. We're a little bit behind. We're currently trying to find a good balance for the bike, but considering that we still take time on the tracks that we know well, of course it's even more challenging in these conditions. We even had trouble in the wet, where normally we're immediately quite strong, so there's obviously still much work to be done. We know that the bike can go well because today Nicky was fast in both conditions, and that's positive. I like Silverstone a lot. It's a great track—a little old-school, beautiful and fast. We hope we can have more fun riding here tomorrow."


2011

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