2011 Mugello MotoGP Friday Press Release Round Up

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Mugello:


Contrasting conditions halt Edwards and Crutchlow's progress

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow battled the elements once again today to finish a rain disrupted opening day of practice at the spectacular Mugello circuit in sixth and 11th places respectively.

After rain dominated the recent Silverstone and Assen races, there was welcome respite when Edwards and Crutchlow took to the track this morning to begin their preparations for the Gran Premio D'Italia TIM in gloriously hot and sunny conditions.

But during the build-up to this afternoon's second session, dark clouds had gathered ominously above the spectacular 5.245km track, and when the ses sion commenced the track was being covered by light rainfall.

A new surface was too damp for slicks but not sufficiently wet enough to conduct any meaningful laps on Bridgestone's rain tyre for the majority of the 45-minute session. And with light drizzle falling intermittently throughout, Edwards and Crutchlow only ventured outside of their garage in the final five minutes to complete four laps between them.

This morning, Edwards set a best lap of 1.49.810 in near perfect conditions that saw air temperatures hit 26 degrees to finish top non-factory rider in sixth position. The American praised significantly increased grip levels offered by the new tarmac and is confident with more dry track time tomorrow he'll be able to compete for a second row position on the grid.

The rain disruption meant today was far from ideal preparations for Crutchlow as the British rider attempts to qu ickly learn the fast and flowing Mugello circuit, which is one of the most technically challenging on the 2011 MotoGP World Championship calendar.

He set a best time of 1.50.683 this morning and was looking to improve his feeling with the front-end of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine this afternoon before the rain halted his plans.

Colin Edwards 6th 1.49.810 – 21 laps:

"This morning was great and the new surface here is phenomenal. They've done an unbelievable job because the grip is awesome and all the bumps that really upset the bike have all gone too. We know the spring rates on the suspension we normally need to use for this track but we've got to go harder for tomorrow because I've got so much traction the bike is set too soft and its sitting down in the middle of the corner. The only p roblem I had again today was my ribs that are still causing me a lot of pain after the crash in Catalunya. With the few days rest after Assen I was starting to think the muscle damage was on the mend and I could at least sneeze without bursting into tears with the pain. But this morning I felt back to square one and to be honest this afternoon wasn't great for the TV or for the fans, but that rest will probably help me out for the rest of the weekend."

Cal Crutchlow 11th 1.50.683 – 21 laps:

"Without doubt, this is the most difficult track I've had to learn so far this year, but I think 11th position is still a good result and I think with a few more laps under my belt I'd have been into the top ten. The track is so technical and there is a lot of undulation, a lot of blind corner entries and you can't see the exit of the fast chicanes. So it is a difficult track to go fast o n and it is also a very physically demanding track, though the left collarbone I broke at Silverstone isn't too uncomfortable. I'm just upset because I've lost another session because of the rain and that is the last thing I need when I'm trying to learn the track and set some competitive times. When you miss a session it makes the rest of the weekend difficult, but I'll do my best to get a good grid position in qualifying tomorrow. I'm also looking to improve the front-end feeling tomorrow. The front this morning was too vague and we had some ideas to improve it this afternoon but the weather was no good."


Simoncelli leads the way after mixed opening day at Mugello

Round 8: Italian GP – Free Practice One & Two

Mugello Circuit, Friday 1 July 2011

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

Wet compounds available: Front: Soft. Rear: Soft

Marco Simoncelli was fastest overall today, setting the pace in the dry this morning at the newly resurfaced Mugello circuit. His last-lap effort saw him leapfrog Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso who were second and third respectively. Compound choices were mixed today with all specifications being used to good effect.

For free practice one the conditions were fine and some of the hottest of the season so far with an air temperature that reached 27 degrees Celsius and 47 degrees Celsius on track.

Riders started the first session assessing the level of grip of the new tarmac, and throughout the 45-minute session the times tumbled, clearly demonstrating that the track is now grippier as well as smoother. Using Bridgestone's asymmetric rear slicks, which have been brought to Mugello for the first time this year, and on the improved track surface the top five riders all lapped under the existing circuit lap record, set by Dani Pedrosa last year. Simoncelli's fastest lap was an impressive 0.6seconds faster than the previous best, and if conditions are fine for the rest of the weekend the times are bound to get faster still.

MotoGP seems cursed by rain this year however, and the afternoon's session was affected by light rain that fell just before the start and continued for most of the second practice. A handful of riders ventured out in the early stages using Bridgestone's soft compound wet tyres, but many opted to remain in their garages whilst the conditions meant that there was little useful data to be gained.

By the half way point, only three riders had completed flying laps, with only a few more completing a sighting lap to judge grip levels before returning to their pit garages. By the end of the session the track had dried and riders were lapping on the softer option slicks again with Dovizioso topping the pile, but the morning's times were faster.

This weekend is the sixth to be affected by rain this season out of eight grands prix so far, counting this Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, but the current forecast for the rest of the weekend is fine and dry.

Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division

"This morning the conditions were very good and the laptimes were fast. I am happy with the performance of our asymmetric slicks here and combined with the new track surface, which seems very smooth and grippy, the top five riders are already under the lap record which is encouraging. Both options of front and rear slick have been used today and I am happy that performance of all specs seems good here. This afternoon the conditions were not great with many riders deciding there was nothing to be gained from venturing out in the light rain so much of the session was lost, so tomorrow it will be very important to check race-distance durability of each option."


Upbeat first day for Bautista despite more weather disruptions

Publish Date: Friday, July 01, 2011

Rizla Suzuki's Álvaro Bautista took full advantage of the favourable weather this morning to post a competitive time and put him in a position to make further advances at Mugello this weekend.

Bautista (P10, 1'50.658, 20 laps) was regularly in the top-10 during the morning free practice session that was held in bright sunshine and temperatures of 26ºC – stark contrast to the last two races at Silverstone and Assen. Unfortunately this afternoon's practise was heavily influenced by a short, sharp downpour of rain that dampened the whole of the 5,245m Italian circuit just before the session began. The damp, but drying track made conditions very difficult and most riders chose not to venture out until very late in the session.

After the chilly conditions of the previous two races it a pleasure for all concerned to be greeted with much warmer weather here in Italy. The new surface on the Mugello track was praised by all riders as many of the bumps that hampered stability have now been removed, making the track much smoother. Marco Simoncelli on a Honda was the quickest rider today, with championship leader Casey Stoner second.

Rizla Suzuki has one more free practice session tomorrow morning followed by qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday's 23-lap race is scheduled to get underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) on the 3rd of July.

Álvaro Bautista:

"It was a bit like my first time at a MotoGP at Mugello here today because I could not ride like I wanted to last year as I was still recovering from the injury to my shoulder. This morning I felt quite good on the bike and I think the track is much better now as well! It is a lot flatter and most of the bumps have gone, the grip is still as good, but without the bumps it makes it more fun to ride. We tried to get a better feeling in the front this morning because I didn't quite have the stability I wanted in the corners and for this afternoon we wanted to try something else, but that was impossible because of the rain. I did a couple of laps in the afternoon session, but it was very difficult out there, because the track was not completely dry. We will have to work hard tomorrow morning to get the best setting for Sunday's race, but I'm sure we can do a decent job here."

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

"The newly resurfaced Mugello circuit has gained rave reviews from all riders and it looks like a real pleasure to ride a Grand Prix bike around this fantastic race-track. The GSV-R immediately worked reasonably well this morning and Álvaro's a lot closer to the front group than we were at Assen last week. That said, there were still some issues this morning that were holding him back. We will hope to get those dialled out tomorrow and that – added hopefully to good conditions on-track after the wasted session this afternoon – will help us to keep chipping away and get closer to the front."


Excellent Start to Mugello Grand Prix for Lorenzo and Spies

The Grand Prix of Italy at Mugello began well for Yamaha Factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies this morning with a promising first free practice session. Both riders were quickly up to pace on what is a newly resurfaced track, swapping places within the top four. The session wrapped up with Lorenzo in fourth just 0.264 from provisional pole and team mate Spies just behind in fifth, 0.377 from the front.

The weather which has played such a big part in the 2011 season so far was back this afternoon, spoiling the Tuscan sunshine with a burst of rain which rendered the afternoon's second session useless. Lorenzo did not ride at all, Spies ventured out in the last two minutes to practice starts.

Jorge Lorenzo

Position : 4th Time: 1'49.251 Laps: 15

"In the afternoon the track was not perfect so we decided to stay in the garage. I am feeling confident because I like Mugello; I feel very comfortable riding on the new asphalt and this morning everything was good; all of us in the team have done a fantastic job so far. In my opinion we are now the closest we have been this season to the competition. Even with that, to win here will be tough, but we can! It is still too soon to say, but we have improved."

Ben Spies

Position : 5th Time: 1'49.364 Laps: 18

"This afternoon became one of those sessions we've had all year, rain came and so you don't want to take any risks. With the conditions the way they were we didn't want to risk the bike or me so we just went out on the last lap to do a couple of practice starts. The morning session was good; the bike is working really well. We tried some different tyre combinations and I think we can make the bike even better. I think we have the pace to battle for top five and contend for the podium so that's our goal."

Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

"We didn't go out this afternoon as track conditions were not useful for us. We wanted to test some things but we needed good conditions to do so. We saved a tyre and we saved engine mileage and it's also safer for the rider not having to push in these conditions. This morning went well; Jorge was pleased with his position, feeling, turning and stopping. We tried two different set ups, one was clearly better which we had planned to progress this afternoon but will instead save for tomorrow morning."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"We made a good start today; both riders are close to the front with just a little gap. We are quite confident as we are working to make the set up better to make them more comfortable on the bike. As a first day it is a promising beginning."


Excellent Start to Mugello Grand Prix for Lorenzo and Spies

The Grand Prix of Italy at Mugello began well for Yamaha Factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies this morning with a promising first free practice session. Both riders were quickly up to pace on what is a newly resurfaced track, swapping places within the top four. The session wrapped up with Lorenzo in fourth just 0.264 from provisional pole and team mate Spies just behind in fifth, 0.377 from the front.

The weather which has played such a big part in the 2011 season so far was back this afternoon, spoiling the Tuscan sunshine with a burst of rain which rendered the afternoon's second session useless. Lorenzo did not ride at all, Spies ventured out in the last two minutes to practice starts.

Jorge Lorenzo

Position : 4th Time: 1'49.251 Laps: 15

"In the afternoon the track was not perfect so we decided to stay in the garage. I am feeling confident because I like Mugello; I feel very comfortable riding on the new asphalt and this morning everything was good; all of us in the team have done a fantastic job so far. In my opinion we are now the closest we have been this season to the competition. Even with that, to win here will be tough, but we can! It is still too soon to say, but we have improved."

Ben Spies

Position : 5th Time: 1'49.364 Laps: 18

"This afternoon became one of those sessions we've had all year, rain came and so you don't want to take any risks. With the conditions the way they were we didn't want to risk the bike or me so we just went out on the last lap to do a couple of practice starts. The morning session was good; the bike is working really well. We tried some different tyre combinations and I think we can make the bike even better. I think we have the pace to battle for top five and contend for the podium so that's our goal."

Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

"We didn't go out this afternoon as track conditions were not useful for us. We wanted to test some things but we needed good conditions to do so. We saved a tyre and we saved engine mileage and it's also safer for the rider not having to push in these conditions. This morning went well; Jorge was pleased with his position, feeling, turning and stopping. We tried two different set ups, one was clearly better which we had planned to progress this afternoon but will instead save for tomorrow morning."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"We made a good start today; both riders are close to the front with just a little gap. We are quite confident as we are working to make the set up better to make them more comfortable on the bike. As a first day it is a promising beginning."


Weather affects Abraham's performance

Grand Prix of Italy had a difficult start for Karel Abraham who finished in sixteenth place in the combined timesheet of the first and the second free practice.

"Today's sessions weren't very good, especially during the afternoon," said Karel Abraham, who set a best time of 1:51,876 and finished 16th, just 2,889 seconds behind the fastest rider Marco Simoncelli. "In the morning session we had problems with the front end which was very unstable."

The second free practice was affected by rain which caused that the Cardion AB Motoracing rider completed only two laps on board his Ducati Desmosedici GP11.

"Those riders, who went on the track early, completed some laps, but I spent only a few minutes on the track. It's a shame because we wanted to try some changes on the set-up," added Abraham.


RAIN FOLLOWS MOTOGP PACK TO ITALY

Héctor Barberá fourteenth on a day of major changes to his Ducati

The wishes of the MotoGP riders for a dry Grand Prix after two wet weekends at Silverstone and Assen were not met today as a sunny Tuscan morning turned to rain at the recently resurfaced Mugello. Marco Simoncelli led the way in a dry opening session but intermittent showers in the afternoon interrupted the work of the entire field, with many riders opting to stay in the pits and for the second successive Grand Prix the second free practice session was virtually useless.

MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá knew that he had to make the most of every minute on track regardless of the weather after making major changes to his bike set-up in search of more comfort and confidence. Comparing the data he gathered on track the team were able to make comparisons to previous races and winter testing but were denied the opportunity to complete more tests in the afternoon when they only managed ten minutes on track.

14th Héctor Barberá 1.51.153 (26 laps): "This morning's session was quite positive. The objective was to compare the setting we have used over the past two races to what we used at the preseason tests in Malaysia and in the end we went for a lower ride height, which is what we had in the winter. Now we will focus on working with this set-up and completing a lot of laps to get a consistent rhythm without changing things. Maybe we have tried to be too precise with the set-up in recent races and it has put us off. The important thing is that we are more clear, we are back on the right path and little by little we will improve from here. We didn't get to test anything this afternoon so hopefully we can have sunshine and more productivity tomorrow."


Wet weather continues to disrupt proceedings in Mugello

This morning the MotoGP World Championship rolled out at the beautiful Mugello circuit in Tuscany.

The first free practice session was held under sunny conditions which was a welcome break from the wet weather encountered in the past few races. Championship leader Casey Stoner experienced a difficult first practice session, with his neck injury sustained during a fall on Friday in Assen causing him discomfort on the long straights. Nevertheless, on lap nine of sixteen he posted a 1'49.027 lap, half a second quicker than the Circuit Record lap recorded by Pedrosa here in 2010. This remained the fastest time of the session until the last moment, when HRC rider Marco Simoncelli managed a 1'48.987 on his last lap of the session aboard his San Carlo Honda Gresini.

Andrea Dovizioso, fresh from his fantastic podium in Assen, enjoyed a positive first practice session and also recorded his fastest lap on his final run, just six hundredths behind Stoner, finishing the session in third position.

For the first time since Le Mans, the Repsol Honda Team was back to full strength with Dani Pedrosa returning from his shoulder injury that has sidelined him for the past three races. The Spanish rider took his time to reacquaint himself with his RC212V and completed an impressive 19 laps in the morning session, where he ended seventh fastest. His shoulder was sore after the session but this was to be expected and Dani will receive treatment over the course of the weekend to ease the pain.

FP2 saw the return of the rain that has been following the Championship since Jerez. The track was neither wet enough to run on wet tyres, nor dry enough to risk slicks, so both Stoner and Pedrosa opted to sit the session out but Dovizioso decided to make use of the time and completed 6 laps in the forty-five minute session.

CASEY STONER – 2nd 1'49.027

"This morning we had a pretty tough session, my injuries from Assen aren't completely healed and it seems there is a slightly deeper problem with my neck. On the main straights the wind was knocking my head around quite a lot and we struggled with this and weren't able to get enough time on track to find something decent with set up or complete as many laps as I would have liked to. That said, in general the bike worked very well straight out of the box so I'm very grateful for this and cannot complain too much. There are a few things we would like to improve with how the bike turns, but we didn't get any time on track this afternoon to try anything. At the beginning of FP2 it wasn't wet enough for wet tyres, we would have destroyed them, then when it finally was dry there wasn't enough time out there to do a lap or to get any information so it's better we wait until tomorrow and contin ue from there".

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 3rd 1'49.088

"I was curious to ride at Mugello with the new asphalt and I have to say that the expectations have been met. It's great fun to ride here and the track is beautiful. The new tarmac is really smooth and some of the reference points we used to have are now gone and some lines have changed, so this morning we studied the track with fresh eyes. The feeling with the base of the machine is good, but we need to work because here with my riding style the front gets too hot so we need more laps to improve this situation. In the afternoon, light rain spoilt the session, nevertheless I'm happy with how easy I achieved the lap time of 1'49.272 on used tyres, one tenth from this morning's lap time. We have started the race weekend at my home GP fast and competitive, I'm happy".

DANI PEDROSA – 7th 1'50.104

"It's good to be back on the bike again and regain some feeling. I have pain, of course, especially in hard braking and in the right hand corners is where I suffer more, but it's normal. Considering that it's been one month and a half without touching the bike, I did not do so bad this morning. I know that the race is going to be very tough and it will hurt because there are 23 laps and this circuit is physically very demanding, with constant changes of direction, but we have the whole day tomorrow to work and I hope I can get a more or less good grid position in qualifying. The pain will increase with the effort, but I will try to prepare myself between practices with some treatment, have a good rest and make the most of the laps I can do tomorrow, I remain positive. I was lucky this afternoon with the drops of rain as it meant I could rest a little more. I know tomorrow will be tougher because everybody will improve their lap times and I will need to make a bigger effort".


RAIN DISRUPTS MUGELLO GP OPENING DAY

Mugello, 1 July: mixed weather conditions welcomed the MotoGP riders at Mugello GP opening day as the first free session was conducted in the dry with stifling temperature of 26 degrees whilst only 5 riders joined the 5.245 km race track in the 40-minute afternoon session.

The Tuscan circuit was marred by a light rain which was not good enough for wet tyres and too slippery for slick tyres. However LCR Honda MotoGP racer Toni Elias completed 10 laps setting the 2nd quickest lap time (1'51.937) behind Dovizioso.

Elias – 2nd: "Well... this is like a "fake session" because the track conditions were weird: not enough wet for wet tyres and too humid for slick tyres. At the end the majority of my colleagues have preferred to sit out the session because it was too risky. I made the same in the first part of the practice but then we have decided to go out for a couple of laps as the asphalt was drying up. Our lap time was pretty good but we could not proceed with our TO DO list in the dry. We'll see what we can do tomorrow to increase our pace: it depends on the weather again".


POSITIVE START FOR SIMONCELLI AT MUGELLO

Just as he has in the last few Grands Prix Marco Simoncelli made a great start to the Italian round at Mugello today. The Team San Carlo Honda Gresini attacked the newly resurfaced track with great motivation this morning, setting a solid rhythm and the fastest lap time. Strange conditions in the afternoon caused by light rain meant that only a few riders actually took to the track, "Super Sic" one of many who practically stayed in the pits. However, it was a good start to the weekend for the Italian, who recovered confidence with his RC212V after a crash at Assen.

Marco Simoncelli (1st 1'48.987) "It has been a very positive day because we were fast from the start this morning. The bike is working well and I can't wait to get back on it tomorrow. It is a shame about the conditions this afternoon because it was hard to tell if it was wet or dry and there was absolutely no point taking unnecessary risks. Hopefully it will be dry tomorrow because riding at Mugello on this new surface is a joy. The bike is set up virtually the same as Assen and I found a good feeling immediately. Obviously we have a little work to do on the electronics but in general I am happy."

Hiroshi Aoyama (9th 1'50.629 ) "Little by little this morning I rediscovered my feeling for my own bike after riding the factory Repsol Honda RC212V at Assen and by the end I had my confidence back. Unfortunately the conditions this afternoon were not good and we didn't get enough laps in to fully evaluate my physical condition after the crash at Assen. I hope we can ride in the dry tomorrow."

Fausto Gresini "It is a shame about this afternoon because it would have been a good opportunity to work more on the set-up. Marco and the team did a good job this morning though and he was on the pace straight away. We have some adjustments to make but we are calm and happy. We have started well and that is a good sign. Hiroshi Aoyama is back with us and gradually he regained his feeling with this bike. He is still in a little pain from the Assen crash but I am sure he can recover tomorrow because he is motivated to do well at a track that suits his riding style."


LIMITED TRACK TIME FOR ROSSI AT MUGELLO, HAYDEN WORKS ON SETUP

Turning fewer than ten laps on the first day of practice at Mugello prevented Valentino Rossi from doing better than thirteenth-best, but there are nonetheless promising signs. In the first session, some technical problems forced the Italian to return to the garage after a positive first outing. The afternoon weather was erratic once again, rendering the second practice session useless.

Rossi's teammate Nicky Hayden began working on a setup for the step 2 frame in the morning, but the rain forced the postponement further tests.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 8th (1:50.203)

"We were pretty strong in our first run this morning. We didn't improve much from there, but I used the same hard tyre the whole session, and it worked well here on both sides. We made a couple little changes with the bike that felt like they were in a good direction. I did my fastest lap on the step 1 chassis, but the data showed that the step 2 had some pluses. This afternoon was wet one minute and dry the next. It looked like guys were destroying their wet tyres quick, and there was no point in putting on engine mileage and taking risks. We just went out to check a power setting on a practice start. We'll see what tomorrow brings."

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 13th (1:50.780)

"It's almost as if we didn't have practice today. This morning we only had one complete outing, which went pretty well. Then we had problems with both of the bikes, and I was left with the time that I did on my fourth lap. They were really just minor problems, but the fact is that we didn't ride anymore after the early minutes: on the first bike, a wire touched a hot part and the bike stopped. On the other bike, there was a separate electrical problem, and the result was the same. The afternoon session was halfway between wet and dry, so it was useless. Only in the final minutes were we able to do three laps to check some changes we had made, and the results seemed interesting. We hope we can try them more thoroughly tomorrow to see how competitive we are in normal conditions. Having tested the GP12 here gives us a starting point, but we still have to adapt the 800's setup, as it requires different lines in order to maintain corner speed. Tomorrow we'll continue to test, and we hope to get close to the others."


2011

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