Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at the Brno round of MotoGP:
Crutchlow and Edwards make positive return to action in Brno
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team returned to action in Brno today and the opening two practice sessions saw Cal Crutchlow and Colin Edwards make a solid start to their preparations for Sunday's Czech Republic MotoGP round.
After a well deserved two-week summer break, Crutchlow was instantly back in the groove in cloudy conditions this morning, the British rider setting the ninth quickest time.
The 25-year-old was able to dedicate all his time on improving the set-up of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine having previously raced at the Brno circuit in the World Superbike Championship.
And he put that previous track knowledge to good use in this afternoon's second session, which was run in hotter and brighter conditions that saw temperatures increase to 23 degrees. Crutchlow improved his pace by more than half-a-second this afternoon and a time of 1.57.859 put him sixth at one stage. He eventually finished ninth but giving his confidence a major boost, he finished just over 0.3s away from fifth position on combined times.
American Colin Edwards worked hard to improve rear grip with his YZR-M1 machine in both sessions and he was almost 0.2s faster in the second 45-minute practice. The Texan though is still searching for a more comfortable setting to show more of his true potential after he had to settle for 12th on the timesheets with a best lap of 1.58.313.
Cal Crutchlow 9th 1.57.859 – 34 laps:
"Today was a positive day and we made a good improveme nt with the bike and I feel like the front-end feeling I've been missing in the last few races is definitely better. We tried a new handlebar position, bringing them closer to me and it was a positive step. It is still not as good as I'd like it to be but we'll try and change the set-up of the bike for tomorrow to gain some more turning performance. I should have been a little bit quicker but I made a mistake on the last lap and I'm sure I could have been in the top seven. Valentino (Rossi) and (Alvaro) Bautista just got me at the end but I'm confident I can be battling for around seventh place in the race on Sunday. Not having to learn the circuit today has been a big help and I've proved with some track knowledge I can finish in front of some guys with a lot more experience than me in MotoGP. Maybe I've been pushing too hard in the last few weeks without the track knowledge on new circuits, but today my pace was pretty consistent and it was a solid start and gives me a pl atform to build on now for the rest of the weekend."
Colin Edwards 12th 1.58.313 – 34 laps:
"Today has been a bit of a struggle to be honest and I was hoping to be a bit higher up the timesheets than 12th. We are working hard to find a solution but right now we're still missing something in the set-up of the bike that allows me to push at a level I feel comfortable and confident at. My biggest problem is the rear grip and it doesn't feel like the tyre is getting the force into the ground I need and I'm riding on a small contact patch. As a consequence that also has an impact on front feeling and that is not the formula for setting fast lap times. I'm running wide a lot and to make sure I can get the bike turned I have to slow the corner speed right down. But losing a lot of corner speed kills the lap time, so I've got have a sit down tonight with my crew and come up wi th a plan to change the bike for tomorrow to see if we can make it better."
Yamaha Factory Racing Get Back to Business in Brno
As the short summer break comes to an end the MotoGP paddock got back to business today in Brno with the first and second free practice sessions of the Czech Republic Grand Prix.
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies blew off the cobwebs after their holidays and spent the morning and afternoon sessions making the first steps in set up for the Brno circuit. World Champion Lorenzo and his crew were focused on improving the stopping ability and turning ability going into corners over the two sessions. He finished the morning session in fourth, 1.259 seconds from first and improved in the afternoon, remaining fourth but reducing the gap to first to 0.720 seconds.
Spies performance echoed his fellow Factory Yamaha team mate, finishing the morning session in sixth 1.575 seconds from first and improving in the afternoon. He retained sixth position but reduced the gap to first to 1.177 seconds. The Texan rider's performance was hampered by a numbness in his left arm caused by a trapped nerve in his neck which is being treated by Clinica Mobile after each session.
Position : 4th Time: 1'57.174 Laps: 37
"Today's sessions have not been exactly as we expected. We are struggling a bit on braking and we lose too much time over the lap. Tomorrow we will work hard to improve the bike in the morning to be ready for qualifying because at this moment we are pretty far from the front."
Position : 6th Time: 1'57.631 Laps: 35
"It was an ok day for us, I'm actually pretty happy with the results. I've got a little bit of a pinched nerve in my neck and I'm struggling a little bit on the bike but I'm still giving it 100%. Lap times aren't too bad I'm just not able to put too many laps together in a row. We're going to do a lot of physio over the next couple of days to get it where it's comfortable for the race and I'm pretty optimistic about how we can turn things around for Sunday."
"The afternoon free practice went a bit better than the morning but still we are lacking a bit of confidence in the front. It's difficult to say why but it looks like a lack of grip over the front. Turning ability has improved a bit but not enough from the morning so we need another step for the next session. For tomorrow we need to find a clearer direction to improve. P4 is not so bad to start but we have three bikes in front of us and some work to do."
"The bike set up is working quite well for Ben at the moment but he has a problem with his left arm which is preventing him from pushing hard. Apart from this he is reasonably happy with the tyres and set up and progress. He is going to have some therapy tonight and tomorrow with the Clinica Mobile and we will see how much he can push on Sunday. Jorge has made a good start to the weekend, but is still looking to resolve some front end issues to improve his set up for Sunday."
Pedrosa sets the early pace in Brno as new tyre rules come into effect
Round 11: Czech Republic GP – Free Practice One & Two
Automotodrom Brno, Friday 12 August 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Hard, Extra Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium
Dani Pedrosa led the way in both of today's free practice sessions, finishing 0.377seconds ahead of Repsol Honda teammate Casey Stoner. In both 45-minute sessions, Pedrosa was the only rider to dip below the existing lap record and actually went faster in the morning; impressive on just the first day of running for the Czech Grand Prix.
Whilst this was the first event at which the new tyre regulations come into effect, offering riders a third and softer compound of front slick for increased safety in the case of colder than expected conditions, the weather today was warm enough for the vast majority of riders to use the original allocation of the hard and extra hard fronts.
Despite very light drizzle that fell at midday, both sessions today were dry and the conditions were good, hence Pedrosa's lap record pace that came on the extra hard front slick and the soft rear. With the forecast weather being warm and mostly dry, the third option of front slick isn't likely to be heavily used this weekend with riders favouring the harder compounds instead. Indeed, it is only the third time this season, after Qatar and Germany, that the extra hard fronts have been used such are the demands of this circuit on the front tyres because of the abrasiveness of the tarmac and the elevation changes.
Rear tyre allocation has changed too with riders now able to choose their split of the two available compounds after today's free practice sessions; either five of the harder and five of the softer, or six of one and four of the other for a total of ten rear tyres. Judging by today's running, riders are likely to opt for more of the soft compound rear slicks as they were favoured in both sessions.
Behind Stoner, San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli was third fastest this afternoon ahead of the Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies. Running resumes tomorrow with another 45 minutes of free practice in the morning before the hour-long qualifying session in the afternoon.
Tohru Ubukata – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"Dani's laptimes today have been very impressive so it is clear that conditions and tyre performance are good here in Brno. We are now bringing the third spec of front tyre specifically for cold weather to improve safety and warm-up performance following rider comments, but today the conditions were as warm as we expected, and very similar to last year, so our original allocation of hard and extra hard was suitable and riders didn't need to use the softer third spec. I can say so far that the new allocation procedure is working well and rider feedback of the changes is positive."
SIMONCELLI SETS FRONT ROW PACE AT BRNO
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncell made a positive return from the summer break at Brno today, lapping amongst the pack chasing pacesetter Dani Pedrosa. "Super Sic" is satisfied with his performance today and confident that he and the team know how to improve the handling of his RC212V still further. Hiroshi Aoyama rode the Czech circuit for the first time on a MotoGP bike today and although his position is not the best his feeling is good and everything is in place for improved performance tomorrow.
Marco Simoncelli (3rd 1' 57" 136) "I am happy with the two sessions today because we have come back from the holidays immediately on the pace. Pedrosa's speed is impressive but right now the priority for me is to improve my confidence with the bike and not think about him. We are working on my position on the bike and the general set-up and I am sure we can have a great weekend. We need to improve on corner entry to give me more confidence on the brakes and try to create a bike that allows me to hold my line through the corner. Overall I am feeling confident and with this small adjustment we can only improve."
Hiroshi Aoyama (16th 1' 58" 607 ) "I am happy to be back on track here at Brno after the summer break. I have found a positive feeling with the bike even though this is the first time I have ridden it at this circuit. The team is working well and I am sure we can improve our position tomorrow. My confidence with the bike is good and I think we should easily move up the order with more time on track."
Fausto Gresini "This isn't a bad start. Third place with a good feeling and good pace is positive although obviously we need to work more on giving Marco a set-up that allows him to hold his line better. Overall the team has done a good job and Marco looks calm. We are confident we are on the right track. Hiroshi's MotoGP debut at this track hasn't gone badly and after improving throughout today I am sure he can make more progress tomorrow."
Strong start from Rizla Suzuki boys at Brno
Publish Date: Friday, August 12, 2011
Rizla Suzuki's twin attack of Álvaro Bautista and John Hopkins got off to an impressive start in the Czech Republic today, with both riders inside the top-10.
Bautista completed 32 laps of the 5,403m Brno circuit to record a best time of 1'57.857 and eighth place on the leader-board. Bautista was regularly in touch with the top six throughout both of today's practices and is confident that with a few more adjustments to his GSV-R tomorrow he can make further steps forward.
Hopkins is appearing as a wild-card at Brno and acquitted himself well in both practice sessions. This morning he signalled his intentions by finishing in seventh place and followed that up this afternoon with an equally impressive 10th. His best time of 1'57.880 from his 33 laps was only .023 seconds behind his team-mate and just over three-tenths-of-a-second away from a top five finish. Hopkins knows he still has a lot of work to do, but is convinced there is still more to come from him and his machine.
Today's sessions were both held in bright and sunny conditions with track temperatures reaching 32ºC. Honda's Dani Pedrosa set the fastest time of the day, with current championship leader Casey Stoner second.
The Rizla Suzuki duo will have one more free practice session tomorrow morning, before an hour of qualifying in the afternoon will determine grid positions for Sunday's race. The 11th round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) on Sunday 14th August.
"Today was my first full MotoGP day at Brno when fully fit, so I am pleased to have done that. Last year I crashed in the second free practice and the rest of the weekend was quite hard for me. The first thing today was to get a good feeling with the bike, but this morning I felt the bike slide a bit in the corners, this might have been because the track was a bit dirty, but we made a change that also helped to improve the problem. I can do a long run with used tyres and after 26 laps my rhythm was good and I could do low 58s. We then put in a new front and rear tyre and I was able to push a bit more, but I found some traffic on the last laps and I couldn't improve my time. I am happy with today because I have done the fastest lap I've ever done at Brno, my previous best was 59.1 and today I did 57.8 so that is a good improvement. I have a good feeling with the bike and I'm sure we can improve the rhythm and the lap-time, so on Saturday we will work on a couple of things to do that. I am really looking forward to tomorrow because I think we can make a good position in qualifying to get a good start in Sunday's race."
"First of all I want to give a massive thanks to Suzuki, Paul Denning, Rizla, Fixi and all the other sponsors that have made this possible. The have all helped to ensure that the team has two bikes here at Brno, so once again thanks to all concerned. It's been a big culture shock today, the most elite riders in the world are all packed in the MotoGP field, but it has still been a good day for us. When I rode in Jerez my mindset was still with prototype racing, because I hadn't quite got into Superbike riding, but all this year I've got very comfortable with a Superbike and so coming into this weekend I was a bit afraid it would all feel totally different and I couldn't ride a GP bike anymore – luckily that wasn't the case! I tried to get comfortable this morning and follow as many people as possible, because to be honest I need as much help as I can get at the moment! I was well within the top-10 this morning and I managed to follow Álvaro and he showed me some lines – which was really cool – I was very happy with that, and the fact that he didn't get upset and just let me follow. This afternoon we tried a few things with the bike to see where we could improve, but we never really went too far away from the set-up we had this morning. We used a couple of tyre variations to see how they worked and that gives us something to go on for the rest of the weekend. I did a quicker lap today than my best lap here before, which was in the race in 2007, so that was a good thing. I'll now sleep with the track on my mind and come back a lot better tomorrow morning, I'm sure if I can get more comfortable on the bike and find a rhythm, then I can get at least half-of-a-second of my time from today."
HÉCTOR BARBERÁ MAKES PROGRESS ON DAY ONE AT BRNO
MAPFRE Aspar rider improves to just 1.7 off day's best time at one of calendar's longest circuits
The MotoGP World Championship roared back into life after two free summer weekends today, with the Czech Republic Grand Prix marking the start of the season run-in. Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner picked up where they left off before the break and although Lorenzo was the winner of the race here last year today was dominated comfortably by Pedrosa. Even though this is one of the longest circuits on the calendar the lap times were relatively close today, Pedrosa aside. The Spaniard's best lap of 1'.56.328 compares to the pole record of 1'56.145 set by Valentino Rossi in 2009.
The target for MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá was to make constant improvements and although he struggled to do so in this morning's opening session he made good progress in the afternoon. A slight geometrical change to the ride height and suspension settings of his Ducati gave the Spaniard more confidence and he was able to set a consistent rhythm in the 1'58s, with a best effort of 1'58.120 - eight tenths quicker than his best effort this morning and 1.7 seconds off Pedrosa's lap record pace.
11th Héctor Barberá 1.58.120 (28 laps): "We did a good job today because this morning I was struggling to improve my lap times, I just kept hitting a ceiling. In the afternoon we made some set-up changes to my Ducati and things improved considerably. We dropped the ride height and change the front and rear shock settings, which instantly gave us more confidence and pace. We still need another six or seven tenths to be where we want but tomorrow we will look to find this by working on power delivery and handling. Overall it has been a positive first day and the team has done a great job."
ELIAS MAKES HIS FIRST RUN OUT AT BRNO RACE TRACK AFTER THE SUMMER BREAK
Brno, 12 August: LCR Honda MotoGP Team was back to work this week in the Czech Grand Prix at Brno after a well-earned summer break and today's first free practice was held in partly sunny conditions with Pedrosa on the top of the timesheet.
LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V racer Toni Elias is hopeful that his win last year in the Moto2 race in Brno and two premier class podiums in 2008 and 2009 will be an omen of better times ahead. The Spaniard has found the transition back to the premier class to be challenging but the team has been behind him 100% and continues to try to find solutions to the problems he's had getting heat into the rear tyre. Elias has posted the 18th lap time of the day (1'59.157).
Elias: "Well... after the summer break I am happy to ride here in Brno. It's one of my favourite race tracks and in 2008 and 2009 I experienced the podium in the major class. Unfortunately we have started the week end with the same issues but we had some small improvements in the afternoon session. Now we must work on that to take another step forward ahead the qualifying session. Despite this difficult situation I am very motivated and the team is doing a good job to help me".
Pedrosa leads a Repsol Honda 1-2 in Brno Free Practice
The Repsol Honda Team went back on track today for the first day of practice at Brno circuit, in preparation for the Grand Prix of Czech Republic, eleventh round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.
The riders proved to be fresh after the summer break, especially Dani Pedrosa, who set the top time in both practice sessions today with a best lap of 1'56.328, just two tenths off the pole position record of Rossi in 2009 (1'56.145) and already under the circuit lap record (Lorenzo 2009, 1'56.670). Casey Stoner, the current leader of the Championship, finished the day in second, and Andrea Dovizioso, fifth.
Pedrosa was immediately on the pace, from his first round out in the morning session, and was the only rider to lap in the 1'56's this morning. The Spaniard had a good base to start working with from last year's set up and his improved physical condition helped him to start the weekend very strongly.
In FP2, Casey Stoner also managed to ride in the 1'56's after some issues in the morning session. He will continue working with his team looking to find more grip and better corner entry to improve his feeling in Brno with the RC212V.
Andrea Dovizioso's day was hampered by set up issues with his engine braking. He and his team will study the data tonight and make full use of FP3 to prepare his bike in the best way possible for Qualifying tomorrow at 13.55 local time.
DANI PEDROSA – 1st - 1'56.328
"The feeling was very good today from the beginning. The bike was working well from the first round and we could move ahead, improving little by little in both practice sessions. I think the main difference I felt is that I'm fresh after the summer break, the rest I had has helped me a lot, I can feel the energy I didn't have in the races before the break, so I hope I can keep the pace for Saturday and Sunday and be strong for the race. I'm very happy with the job we did in both sessions and I think we can still improve and be ready for both the qualifying practice and the race. I guess the other rivals will also do the same, so we have to keep focused. Today I rode alone all the time, maybe tomorrow I can compare a little with other riders to see where are they stronger or weaker than me".
CASEY STONER – 2nd - 1'56.831
"Today hasn't been that positive to be honest, we seem to be having a similar start to our weekend in Laguna and aren't sure which direction to take at the moment. The feeling in the front is very vague, our corner entry and mid-turn isn't that great. We also need to find a lot more grip in the rear as I'm struggling on the edge of the tyre and exit of the corner. We have a long way to go before I feel happy with the set up and there are many areas we can improve, so tomorrow we will be trying a lot of different things on both bikes and prepare as best we can for Qualifying".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 5th - 1'57.535
"Today we struggled a lot with engine braking. This is a new engine brake that we used for the first time on Monday in Mugello after the Grand Prix, and that we have been using since. It's very helpful but it's difficult to set up and today we struggled a lot to get the correct set up. We lost time and we couldn't do many laps. In the last lap I tried to push even if I was not so comfortable with the setting. I'm a little angry because I could be faster and I'm not satisfied with the fifth fastest time. Now we will study the data and then we will decide the direction to take. I hope that tomorrow we will continue with dry conditions as today and I'm confident we can improve".
THIRTEENTH PLACE FOR RANDY DE PUNIET, FIFTEENTH FOR CAPIROSSI
The first two free practice sessions were completed at Brno, site of the eleventh Grand Prix of the world championship. Randy De Puniet posted the thirteenth-best time (1:58.454) upon returning to the track after missing the race at Laguna Seca. Using the new frame provided by the Ducati factory, the Frenchman used the afternoon session to lower his time by nearly five tenths compared to that of the morning. Loris Capirossi, still dealing with a painful shoulder, finished the day with the fifteenth-best time (1:58.573), just behind factory Ducati rider Nicky Hayden.
Marco Rigamonti - Randy De Puniet Track Engineer
"We compared the old frame with the new one, and Randy found the latest version from the mother company much more to his liking. He crashed while using the old one in the afternoon, and we were only able to gather limited useful information. The new one is notably better. Now we have to keep improving the bike; we have some ideas, and we'll try to put them in practice tomorrow morning. Maybe we'll use two bikes so that we can test different solutions."
Randy De Puniet – Pramac Racing Rider – 13th best time in 1:58.454
"In the end, it was a bad day if I consider that my physical condition isn't allowing me to be at 100%. We didn't change many things between this morning and this afternoon. However, we did decide to see which of the two frames we have available to us could better reward our work. The new one gave us a somewhat better impression considering that with the other one, the one we used for the first part of the season, I lost the front and fell. I think and I hope that with the small changes we'll try tomorrow, I'll be able to reduce the gap to the riders who tend to be in the top ten."
Loris Capirossi - Pramac Racing Rider – 15th best time in 1:58.573
"Compared to this morning, we're more satisfied because we were able to solve some problems with the front. I'm able to ride better, but now we must concentrate on our work on the rear of the bike. I'm a realist. We have some ideas that we'll try out tomorrow. We could take a nice step forward. We're very close to the others, and although I'm not in my top form, I can improve upon today."
ROSSI AND HAYDEN START WORK ON BRNO SETUP
In the first day of free practice for the Czech Republic Grand Prix, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden started working on the setups for the GP11.1 and the GP11, respectively. At the end of the second session, the Italian rider had posted a promising seventh-best time, steadily improving his feeling with the bike. Tomorrow he'll try to continue in this direction.
The American rider, on the other hand, was slowed by a lack of rear grip in corners, and he finished with the fourteenth-best time.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th (1:57.745)
"Today we started better than we had at recent races. Although I'm seventh, our time isn't bad, and Spies and Dovizioso are ahead but close. This is positive, but the really important thing will be whether we can continue improving like this tomorrow as well, cutting more tenths from my time, session by session. Today I went pretty well on the second part of the track, while I lost time in T1 and T2, so we have to try to work on those sections. We had a hard time at the start of this afternoon's session, because the hard tyre, which we thought we could work well for the race, was really sliding a lot. When we put on the soft, the situation improved, also because we made some additional changes with the front that helped us improve the feeling. We hope to be able to do the race with the soft, and tomorrow we'll try to do enough laps to verify that as well."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 14th (1:58.568)
"It was a frustrating day, really. You have two weeks off, and you work hard and do all the little things that will help you when you come back. Then to have your first day back be probably your worst day of the year is pretty frustrating. The main thing is I don't have much grip from the rear, even on corner entry, and I'm spinning a lot on exit. There are a lot of long, fast corners here, and if you're slow there, you lose time. We tried a couple things to improve certain areas, but really we didn't find a big step forward. It was a pretty difficult day for me. I'm not happy with my performance, or with anything, so hopefully we can put this behind us tomorrow."
Difficult start for Karel Abraham on his home soil
Problems with the breaking points went along with Karel Abraham in the first and second free practice at the Brno Circuit.
Riding in front of several thousand spectators from the Czech Republic, Karel Abraham completed 24 laps and set a best time of 1:58,999 which placed him in seventeenth place, just 0,158 seconds ahead of Toni Elias.
"We have to change a lot of things now," said Karel Abraham, who had a problem with the rear tire of the Ducati Desmosedici GP11. "Racing line, which I used during the first and second free practice, was the same as the line I used at the Brno Circuit in recent years, but it wasn't ideal and I lost a lot of time," he admitted.
Gap 2,671 seconds to the fastest rider Dani Pedrosa was caused due to problems which Karel Abraham had during the braking. "I braked earlier than other riders in some corners and lost a lot of time."
Cardion AB Grand Prix of the Czech Republic continues tomorrow by the third free practice and qualifying practice.
"We know where we make mistakes and we want to eliminate them," Karel Abraham added, hoping for significant progress in the upcoming sessions.