Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at the Sachsenring:
Edwards and Crutchlow target big improvements in Germany
Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow are confident they can make major improvements after the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders experienced a difficult start to the German MotoGP round today.
Edwards was 10th and Crutchlow 13th in cold and blustery conditions this morning, and while they were able to improve their lap times in more favourable conditions in this afternoon's second session, both slipped down the rankings by one position.
Experienced American spent the majority of the opening day working on trying to improve rear grip with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine and he set a personal best time of 1.23.431 to f inish 11th on the combined timesheets. Edwards was less than 0.5s away from the top eight and he is confident overnight set-up changes will help him lap at a significantly faster pace tomorrow.
With track temperatures only reaching 21 degrees this morning, British rookie Crutchlow adopted a steady approach to learning the Sachsenring track, which is the second shortest on the MotoGP World Championship calendar at 2.281 miles.
He concentrated on improving his confidence with the front-end of his YZR-M1 machine, the former World Supersport champion trying a range of different set-up options to gain more turning performance on the undulating, tight and twisty Sachsenring track.
Crutchlow was able to lap 0.4s faster than his best pace from this morning as the track temperature increased by 15 degrees and the strong wind eased slightly. But a small crash with just over 15 minutes remai ning prevented him from bettering his time of 1.23.760. The 25-year-old finished in 14th position but he was less than 0.5s from the top ten and with more track experience he is aiming for a strong performance in tomorrow's final practice and qualifying sessions.
This weekend's 30-lap race marks the halfway point of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship and comes before a trip across the Atlantic for next weekend's US Grand Prix at the spectacular Laguna Seca circuit.
Colin Edwards 1.23.431- 41 laps:
"I've definitely had easier Friday's than this that's for sure. I don't really know why but I never seem to get on with this track. My relationship with this track didn't exactly get the best start back in 2003 with the barbecue at the bottom of the hill, and since then I've always found it difficult here. I always seem to have to end up turning the bike inside out to get a setting that works. This morning was pretty difficult because I couldn't generate enough heat in the right side of the front tyre and I guess I just wasn't willing to push that hard and risk crashing. We saw what happened to the likes of Valentino and Dani and I felt that was going to happen to me with the way the right side of the front felt. But it was cold and windy and definitely not ideal conditions. I used the hard front and rear compound this afternoon for the whole session and we made the bike better. But I still need more rear traction. That's been my biggest struggle. It feels like I'm just skating on top of the tarmac but we've got some ideas to try tomorrow and I know we are going in the right direction to be closer to the front guys."
Cal Crutchlow 1.23.760 – 43 laps:
"It doesn't look good at all on paper but it is a lot better than it looks and I'm not too concerned. The times are pretty close and I was consistent at the end of the session when I was running a really old rear tyre after the crash. I lost precious time with the crash, which I can't really afford when I'm trying to learn the track. I went slow at the start of the lap and then I saw Stoner in the distance and tried to follow his line but just ran a bit wide in Turn 9. It is pretty fast and I ran onto the grass but hit the biggest pothole I've ever seen and I couldn't hold on. At least I tested the left shoulder out that I broke at Silverstone and it survived with no issues. This track is really tight and twisty and not that easy to learn, even though it is one of the shortest on the calendar. We worked a lot on improving the front-end feel today and we are making some progress but you always want more. Finishing 14th is not our usual position because normally I've been around eighth to sixth, but I know with some more improvements we can move higher up the timesheets."
Simoncelli leads the field on opening day in Germany
Round 9: German GP – Free Practice One & Two
Sachsenring Circuit, Friday 15 July 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
After the opening two free practice sessions of the German Grand Prix, it is San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli who sits at the top of the timesheets just 0.095seconds ahead of Jorge Lorenzo as the pair traded the top spot for much of the afternoon's 45 minutes of track time. Simoncelli recorded his best time on his final lap of the session using the softer front and rear slicks.
The morning session was cool and windy and several riders fell foul of the conditions through turns one and eleven, two of only three right-handers in a lap of the anticlockwise circuit. By the afternoon, the air temperature had risen by five degrees Celsius and the circuit condition improved so both grip and laptimes were better, with many riders opting to use the harder compound option slicks right from the start.
Around the 3.67km circuit, the top five riders were split by just 0.429seconds with the Repsol Honda Team trio of Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso finished third, fourth and fifth fastest respectively.
Bridgestone have selected softer rear slick tyre compound options for this weekend in Germany compared to last year, and both specs use the extra soft compound rubber in the right shoulders for the first time at the Sachsenring. This extra soft compound has been selected specifically for its improved ability to warm-up faster, which with only three right-handers in a lap is very important.
By contrast, the hard and extra hard compound front slicks are the same as were used here last year and are required for their added braking stability and wear and graining resistance through the many fast lefts. Germany is an abrasive circuit so wear resistance is important over race distance.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
"This morning the conditions were cold and windy, both of which were crucial factors in performance. Riders mostly used the softer spec slick tyres this morning because of the temperature, but in the afternoon when the track warmed the harder option fronts and rears were also used so I am happy with our tyre compound selection for this circuit. Tyre wear appearance is good, and feedback of our softer rear slicks is also positive so I am happy that we made this change to our tyre allocation for this race and that we have provided the riders with something they are happier with. Our front slick options remain the same as last year, when Dani set a new lap record and feedback was good, so I am happy they are the right choices again this season. Marco finished the session just 0.4seconds from the lap record, so if the conditions improve slightly tomorrow, I am confident that with our softer rear slicks the laptimes can be faster this year."
Positive first day for Bautista and Rizla Suzuki in Germany
Publish Date: Friday, July 15, 2011
Rizla Suzuki's Álvaro Bautista produced a strong first day's performance to put him inside the top-10 at Sachsenring today.
Bautista recorded a quickest time of 1'23.261 from his 46 laps around the 3,671m German circuit, to put him in ninth place in the overall standings and just over one second off the provisional pole position. Bautista tried both compounds of Bridgestone race tyre today to find the construction best suited to his Suzuki GSV-R. He is sure that if conditions improve, he will be able to reduce his lap-times significantly and move up the leader-board as he prepares for Sunday's race.
Both of today's practice sessions were held in dry conditions, but with cool air temperatures and a strong wind blowing over the Sachsenring circuit, track temperatures were kept down at only 36ºC. Marco Simoncelli on a Honda took today's honours by recording the fastest lap in both sessions to head the timesheets after day one
Bautista will have one more practice session tomorrow morning before the hour of qualifying in the afternoon gives him the chance of his final preparations in readiness for Sunday 30-lap race, which is scheduled to start at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
"Today has been a good day, because finally the rain didn't make an appearance! This morning it was quite difficult because the track was cold and grip was at a minimum. I took it careful and just got the feel of the bike because I didn't want to crash like some of the other guys did. This afternoon we tried different combinations of tyres to get the best mix for the bike. I started with a used set of soft ones from this morning's session and then changed to harder ones on the front and rear. These didn't give me such a good feeling and I swapped the front for a soft and this was better. The rear worked well, but I still had some sliding from the left side and found it difficult to get a good line through the corners. I felt I had a good rhythm throughout the whole practice and I think that I can certainly improve quite a bit tomorrow, especially if the conditions are better as this will give us more grip from the rear and we will have a good opportunity to move forward."
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
"It's a Grand Prix weekend and the weather looks changeable, so nothing at all new there! That said, today was probably our best first day of the season so far. Álvaro showed solid pace in both sessions and he had a particularly strong final run in FP2 using the harder of the two rear tyres. There's no doubt that for our bike, and Álvaro, the soft rear tyre will produce a better lap-time, so we've got a good base to work on. Álvaro looks very confident throwing the bike around this tight circuit and without question the latest generation GSV-R is quite a big improvement here at Sachsenring compared to previous seasons."
Satisfied Karel Abraham completes top ten
Grand Prix of Germany had a successful start for Karel Abraham who set a best time 1:23,352 and finished tenth in the combined timesheet of the first and the second free practice, just 1,127 seconds behind the fastest rider Marco Simoncelli.
"I think that we can be satisfied with this result," said Karel Abraham who completed 16 laps in the first and 15 laps in the second free practice.
Mechanics of the team Cardion AB Motoracing worked on the set-up of the Ducati Desmosedici GP11, especially on the grip of the tires.
"When the heat increased, the tires began to be more and more slippery," admitted twenty-one years old rider. "Tomorrow we will try to make some changes on the set-up of the motorcycle and then we will see," added.
SIMONCELLI ROARS AT THE 'RING
Marco Simoncelli stated his clear intentions for the German Grand Prix with a display of dominance on the opening day of free practice at Sachsenring. The Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider was on the pace at a circuit that he loves from the opening stages of the morning session, when track temperatures were particularly cool and claimed several crash victims. 'Super Sic' is happy with his performance today although not completely satisfied with grip levels through the numerous left-hand corners. That will be the main focus of his and the team's work tomorrow. Hiroshi Aoyama is still searching for confidence and full fitness following his crash at Assen last month and the Japanese will also be looking for more grip tomorrow.
Marco Simoncelli (1st 1' 22" 225) "Everything is going well although I am not totally happy because we have some rear traction problems on the left side that we are struggling to resolve. It seems everybody is in the same boat but we will be working mainly on this area tomorrow to try and improve the situation. Our other main aim is to get a clear idea about tyre choice for Sunday's race. Thirty laps is a lot here, especially because there is barely a single straight for you to relax on."
Hiroshi Aoyama (15th 1' 23" 906 ) "I had never ridden a MotoGP bike at Sachsenring before but I quite like the track. Unfortunately I am still in quite a lot of pain from the Assen crash but little by little I am gaining confidence. Grip levels are not high so we will have to try and work in this area as much as possible to make up ground and positions tomorrow. "
Fausto Gresini "We have started out at a good pace and we have had two very good free practice sessions. Marco has once again demonstrated outstanding potential. We have a few small set-up issues to solve tomorrow but Marco is happy and we know he is constantly trying his best to improve. I am happy with today's performance and confident for the rest of the weekend. "
HÉCTOR BARBERÁ TWELFTH FASTEST DESPITE LATE CRASH
MAPFRE Aspar rider escapes unhurt after last lap spill
The first day of the German Grand Prix saw dominant performances from Simoncelli and Lorenzo with Pedrosa and Stoner in close attendance although with such small differences in the lap times that could all change tomorrow. The day will be remembered for a series of ugly crashes (Stoner, Valentino, Elías, Pedrosa, etc.) caused by particularly low track temperatures this morning although thankfully all of them were able to continue working this afternoon.
Héctor Barberá made a positive start with the seventh fastest time this morning although he lost some time tyre testing in the afternoon and then a crash on his final lap, when he was on course to improve his best time, put paid to further progress. Thankfully the Spaniard's spill in the final corner had no serious consequences and he ended the day just 1.2 seconds off Simoncelli and satisfied with his first day overall.
12th Héctor Barberá 1.23.433 (36 laps): "We started out quite well this morning but we did some tyre tests this afternoon and lost a little time. Once we had the bike sorted and I was ready to push at the end of the session I crashed, which was the first time in quite a while. I think we are doing a good job and can improve. I am struggling in two points within the opening half of the lap but I am sure that together with the team we can fix it. I was only 0.8 seconds off the fastest time when I crashed so it looks like things are in place and we have started well. The Ducati is working well at this track so I I hope we can confirm our progress tomorrow."
The Repsol Honda Trio in top five after the first day of free practices
The Repsol Honda Team has placed its three riders in the top five in a sunny but windy first day of free practices at the Sachsenring circuit.
Dani Pedrosa, last year's winner of the Grand Prix of Germany, was third on the timing sheets just two tenths of a second off the provisional pole position; Casey Stoner finished fourth and Andrea Dovizioso, fifth in one of the shortest but also most technical circuits of the MotoGP calendar. After an hour and a half of practice time, less than half a second separates the top five riders.
In the afternoon, the conditions of the track improved a little compared to this morning's free practice, when both Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa (along with Valentino Rossi and Toni Elias) suffered crashes due to the cold track temperatures in a circuit where it is especially difficult to warm up the tyres on the right hand corners. All four riders fell at the same place, in Turn 11, the long right hand corner after seven consecutive left hand corners.
Fortunately Dani and Casey avoided serious injury and both riders returned back on track in FP1. After the first session, the Australian had a precautionary X-ray on his right arm which confirmed there was no fracture, just a small bone contusion.
In the afternoon session, all three Repsol Honda riders consistently improved their times from FP1. Dani recorded his fastest lap in the last minute improving by 1.2 seconds, Casey by 0.5 seconds and Andrea by 0.7 seconds.
Andrea was in a good shape after his recent podium in Italy, he felt comfortable from the beginning in Sachsenring where he has decided to use, as has team mate Casey Stoner, the new swing arm that they tested in the post race test in Mugello. Dani didn't use it today, but will probably do so tomorrow.
DANI PEDROSA – 3rd 1'22.320
"We had a quite positive start despite the accident I had in the morning practice session. I crashed in the fast downhill right hand corner, like everyone else because the tyre was very cold and I had no warning. Fortunately I did not hurt myself which is good and in the afternoon I was able to improve my lap times because in the morning, after the crash, we didn't have much time on track. In the second practice, with sunshine and a little more temperature on the track, we had better grip especially in these critical turns on the right, although the track conditions are not great. Anyway, times are pretty good compared to last year although the track conditions are worse. We will keep working on the bike tomorrow and I will probably try the new swing arm I tested in Mugello on Monday".
CASEY STONER – 4th 1'22.542
"I'm not too happy with how today has gone, we had a crash second lap out in FP1 and this affected us quite a lot, we lost a lot of time coming in and changing leathers and then I had to go out on a bike that I wasn't quite as comfortable with, so apart from the last few laps, this morning's session was a bit of a waste for us. Then this afternoon we tried the bike from this mornings crash but something wasn't quite right with it so we had to come back in and get on the other bike. We definitely made some progress, we started using hard tyres front and rear and made some positive steps but we still need to take a big step forward tomorrow. Our confidence was knocked today and I'm feeling a little sore still but we remain positive for tomorrow and hopefully we'll be able to close the gap a little more".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 5th 1'22.654
"I'm happy with how we worked in both sessions today. This is a complicated track as there are only three right corners and it's difficult to get the right side of the tyre into temperature and there is not so much grip. This morning it was colder than expected and we saw many crashes. We focused on riding constantly at a good pace without being too much on the limit. In this circuit you spend most of the time on the edge of the tyre so we tried to maintain a good rhythm to avoid stressing the tyres too much. We started well this morning and we improved in the afternoon session. We tried to ride consistently with race tyres as it's hard to maintain a good rhythm for the 30 laps of the GP on Sunday."
Strong Start for Lorenzo in Germany
Day one of the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring circuit started with an incident fuelled free practice this morning as four riders crashed out on turn 11 of the twisty circuit. Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies managed to avoid the mayhem and spent the morning getting reacquainted with the track.
Lorenzo picked up speed quickly in the morning session, rising to second midway and holding in the top three for the duration of the heat. As the track temperatures rose for the afternoon session so did the Mallorcan's speed; only being denied the top spot at the end of the second practice by a gap of 0.095 seconds.
Team mate Spies was still looking for the best set up for the Sachsenring track by the end of the afternoon session. The American was fighting off a head cold and struggled to find a perfect pace in either the morning or afternoon practices. He made an improvement of over half a second from the morning but will be looking for a bigger step in the third practice session tomorrow morning.
Position : 2nd Time: 1'22.320 Laps: 45
"I am pretty satisfied because I have improved my lap times today. I am almost faster than last year and I look forward to making another step tomorrow. We have made some changes and I feel much better on my M1; faster and more competitive! The slow corners are tough, but in the faster ones I take some tenths, especially T3 and T4. I hope tomorrow the temperature can be even hotter and we can fight for the first row."
Position : 7th Time: 1'22.894 Laps: 42
"I didn't get my best shot at the track today, I've got a head cold which has left me a little fuzzy and makes it kind of hard to give it 100% and be on top form. The changing temperature from the morning to the afternoon also meant the track conditions were pretty different to set up for. I'm aiming for lots of sleep tonight and I'll be ready to come back stronger in the morning."
"This afternoon went quite well compared to this morning. The track temperature was much higher and that helped set up and especially the tyres. Jorge was very consistent and we managed to improve stability and turning so we are quite satisfied. We did everything on the hard tyre so let's see if tomorrow we are able to make another step."
"We are not so satisfied on Ben's side today, the set up is not perfect and the different temperatures from this morning to the afternoon didn't give us enough opportunity to work as we wanted. We did improve a little this afternoon and now we will check and understand what we need to make it better for tomorrow. Jorge rode very well in both sessions; he seems very confident and has found a good set up quite quickly for the circuit."
EIGHTH PLACE FOR DE PUNIET IN FREE PRACTICE. GUINTOLI TAKES PLACE OF CAPIREX
The first two free-practice sessions have been completed at the Sachsenring, site of the ninth Grand Prix in the MotoGP series. Loris Capirossi didn't take to the track in the afternoon, due to severe pain in his right shoulder: after the morning session, the Italian gave up his spot to Sylvain Guintoli, who had tested the Desmosedici during the official test at Mugello. The Frenchman stopped the clock at 1:25.964,while his compatriot, Randy De Puniet, registered the eighth-best time (1:23.037).
Marco Rigamonti - Randy De Puniet Track Engineer
"It seems that the bike works well at this circuit. We mainly worked on the electronics setup, and we also compared the old frame with the new one. The difference between the two doesn't seem big, but we should really try it on a track where the bike has problems. Surprisingly, we didn't have many today. We'll work on our consistency for the race, also trying to sneak a few more tenths off the time, which makes a difference when times are so close."
Randy De Puniet – Pramac Racing Rider – 8th best time in 1:23.037
"I'm pretty satisfied with this first day, as it's been since Jerez that we haven't had such a good position in the results. In the afternoon, we worked even better than we did in the morning. The feeling with the bike has improved, and we also finally had some good weather. Tomorrow we'll work on other areas, and we hope that the whole weekend will be positive. For me, it's a pleasure to be in the group of riders who are currently going faster than the rest."
Sylvain Guintoli - Pramac Racing Rider – 17th best time in 1:25.964
"Apart from my lap time, I can't complain. The goal for this weekend is to improve session by session in order to find the right feeling with the bike heading into the race. I had some difficulties, of course, but I'm happy to be here and to be racing in MotoGP. It was fun, and I'm sure that tomorrow I'll improve my time and position."
INTENSE GERMAN GP OPENING DAY FOR ELIAS AND HIS CREW
Sachsenring, 15 July: The German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring this week end marks the halfway point in the 18-round MotoGP World Championship and premier class riders joined the 3.671km track for a first "animated" day of practices which saw several riders crashing in free practice 1.
LCR Honda MotoGP racer Toni Elias won last year's race at the Sachsenring but this morning only completed a total of seven laps after crashing twice, first in turn 11 and then in turn 1. Luckily the Spaniard escaped unhurt to line up in the afternoon practices proceeding his work to fine tune his RCV at the twisty German surface.
Elias – 16th – 1'24.304: "First I feel very lucky because I am in a good shape after this morning crashes. Both accidents have been heavy as I was lapping at over 200km/h but I have only suffered a small abrasion in the right arm. I love this track but I am starting to hate that turn (11) because I crashed many times there in the past. Anyway in the afternoon we could continue with our planning but I had some little issues about the front feeling and the rear edge grip. It's important to improve the turning of the bike following the twisty nature of this track and this is our main target for tomorrow".
GOOD START FOR HAYDEN IN GERMANY, ROSSI EXPECTS TO IMPROVE
Nicky Hayden started the weekend well at the German Grand Prix, posting the sixth-best time in the first day of free practice. The American was quick from the start and then improved his rhythm with every outing.
Valentino Rossi is optimistic about improving upon his twelfth-best time, which was due in part to the effects of a crash in the first forty-five-minute session that forced him to make a quick trip to the mobile clinic to treat a deep abrasion on his right arm and a blow to his chin.
In the afternoon, he was forced to leave his bike at the side of the track after it automatically shut off due to a small pebble that remained stuck from the crash, and he had to finish the session on his second bike.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 6th (1:22.882)
We had good, stable weather all day for the first time in a long time, which makes testing things quite a bit easier. This morning we had a really good session. I came out of the gate strong like you're supposed to and stayed in the top five for most of the time. It wasn't a bad day overall. In both sessions, we went faster with every little change, using the same set of tyres through the whole session. We improved the lap time this afternoon, but it seemed like the improvements were a little bit harder to make. We tried a couple things at the end that felt good but maybe need a little more time and adjustments. We'll see what we can do overnight and where we are tomorrow.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 12th (1:23.533)
"This morning's crash caused a hole in my right arm that looks like a little anatomy lesson because you can see ‘inside' as far as the muscle, but I also took a hit on my shoulder—the right one, which was operated on, and which now hurts a little. It's nothing too bad, and I wasn't really affected much today. Let's hope that's also true for tomorrow, especially the shoulder. We did lose some time for working on the bike's setup, also because I got stranded in the second session. It wasn't due to technical troubles but rather to a small bit of debris that was stuck, causing a precautionary engine shutdown. I think that tomorrow we'll be able to improve because we're working on a setting that's halfway between the Mugello one and the standard one, and we think it will be good for this track. At the moment we're losing a lot of time in some sections because although the rear of the GP11.1 is much more stable under acceleration, which is important, we still haven't found a good balance with the front. If we manage to find a compromise, I'll be able to do much better."