Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the second day of practice at Qatar:
PASINI IMPROVES IN THE SECOND AND THIRD FREE PRACTICE IN QATAR
The MotoGP class was busy with two sessions on track today at the circuit of Losail.
Mattia Pasini and his crew took advantage of today’s practice to refine the set-up of the ART machine, trying out some modifications to reduce the chattering that they had to deal with during the FP1 of yesterday.
The Italian improved his lap times session after session, getting a better control on the electronics of his bike and achieving a positive feeling step by step in overall.
Mattia Pasini #54 - 20th with 2'00.226
“I’m not completely satisfied with today’s result. I thought we could have done better, but this doesn’t mean that I’m not staying positive. Now we’ll sit down and analyze the session of today. We’ll try to understand what worked and what didn’t, and we’ll do our best to put together a good job tomorrow. Today we made some steps forwards, but we have the potentiality to do better. We know this is a tough category, but we keep working, step by step, and we’ll put in our best commitment to be fast.”
Repsol Honda Team continue set-up work for first race of 2012
The Repsol Honda Team finished the second day of practice at Losail circuit with Casey Stoner in third position and Dani Pedrosa fifth.
The Australian World Champion set the fastest time in FP2 and was leading in FP3 until others put on a new soft rear to take the fastest time of the day. Casey improved his lap time by 0.3 in the evening even though he remained on hard tyres until the end.
Dani Pedrosa crashed in FP2, without sustaining any injury, and was only able to use one bike in the second session of the evening, whilst his mechanics worked hard to build up the damaged machine. Nevertheless, Dani also improved his lap time by half a second from one session to the other.
The Repsol Honda riders return on track tomorrow night for the first qualifying session of the season, which will decide the starting grid for the Grand Prix of Qatar.
CASEY STONER 3rd. 1'55.674
"Today has been pretty good for us in general, we has some issues in the first two sessions but we've fixed them slightly in last one which is definitely positive. We've been able to turn down the electronics a lot more and now I have more feeling and connection with the rear tyre which gave me a lot more confidence. This allowed me to do some good lap times with some pretty old tyres. A few people got in our way throughout the session so we were unable to show what we were really capable of, but we know how we feel and we're confident for qualifying tomorrow".
DANI PEDROSA 5th. 1'56.114
"The day wasn't as good for us as we would have liked. I had some problems with the electronics and I couldn't ride at a hundred percent, especially in the exits of the corners where we have more issues. Let's hope the mechanics can find a solution and we can have a good qualifying session tomorrow. The crash in the first session was totally unexpected; it was on my first lap of the second exit and I was not pushing at all. But I escaped unhurt and do it's ok".
Lorenzo Sets the Pace in Qatar
The final free practice this evening ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix of Qatar saw Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo set the MotoGP pace. The Mallorcan finished in second place in the penultimate practice session earlier in the evening, 0.214 seconds behind leader Casey Stoner as he continued to develop his set up. A strong final session on hard tyres was then delivered before a softer rear option at the end provided the extra speed to take the top spot, 0.154 seconds ahead of fellow Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow in second.
Ben Spies experienced a less fortunate final practice session this evening. The Texan had embarked on a race simulation but lost the front end early on, possibly due to a cold front tyre. Spies was unhurt and returned to the garage to continue the session. Unfortunately his second bike then experienced a technical problem, preventing him from continuing.
Position : 1st Time: 1'55.302 Laps: 17
“I am very happy with today because we improved a lot on yesterday’s lap time. I’m also happy for Cal in second, the bike seems much better than last year for us. I think we have even more potential for improvement tomorrow. We still have a few issues to solve, especially corner entry, but we manage to keep a good pace. I’m going to try my hardest for qualifying tomorrow and see what we can do.”
Position : 11th Time: 1'57.030 Laps: 8
“It was a rough session tonight, we’ve had a good weekend up to now, unfortunately tonight was the most important session for us. I went out to do a race simulation and I think I didn’t let the front tyre heat up properly. I need to check the data to confirm it but I put the blame firmly on myself for it. Unfortunately the second bike just didn’t run right so a wasted session for us.”
Wilco Zeelenberg Team Manager
“A very good final free practice, the speed is good and we solved some issues from yesterday. We went the wrong way initially then found the right path to go in. We know exactly what we have to do for tomorrow, if the track improves and we can get the corner entry better then we are ready to race.”
Massimo Meregalli Team Director
“Definitely the third practice didn’t go how we expected. Unfortunately Ben crashed and we couldn’t test a different set up. When he jumped on the second bike it had an electrical problem that didn’t permit us to continue with the session. We tried to fix it but it wasn’t possible within the time so we have missed a session. The guys are going to have a long night to be ready for tomorrow. Ben will push hard in qualifying to get a good position. Jorge did a great job, pushing hard and consistently to set the pace.”
Lorenzo fights back to finish on top in Friday practice
Round 1: Qatar MotoGP - Free Practice Two and Three
Losail International Circuit, Friday 6 April 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Extra-Hard; Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 28-26°C; Track 30-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
On the second day of practice at the Qatar MotoGP, Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Monster Tech3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow combined forces to lock out the top two positions on the timing sheets.
Utilising the combination of the harder front and softer rear tyre, both Lorenzo and Crutchlow clocked impressive times, with Lorenzo’s time of 1:55.302 good enough to edge out Crutchlow by just over a tenth of a second. Yesterday’s pace-setter Casey Stoner continued to run with the harder rear tyre on his Honda and his FP3 time of 1:55.674 placed the Australian third overall. Randy de Puniet was the quickest CRT rider during Friday practice, with his best lap of 1:58.261 placing him ahead of the BMW-Suter of Colin Edwards by just 0.049 of a second.
With the circuit in better condition than it was for FP1, teams opted out of using the soft front tyre option, instead focusing on getting the best out of the medium and extra-hard front compounds in tandem with using both the medium and hard rear tyres. The asymmetric rear tyres that have been brought to Qatar were well received by riders, with the extra durability afforded by the harder rubber on the right hand shoulder helping to maintain good grip levels on the longer runs.
The riders will be back on track tomorrow for the first MotoGP qualifying session of 2012 which starts at 1955 local time (GMT+3).
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today we saw improved track conditions and this was reflected in the quicker lap times compared to yesterday. Teams were able to take advantage of this to find a good setup with most teams testing softer and harder rear options and the medium and extra-hard front options. All of these compounds worked well and I expect teams will use part of the qualifying session tomorrow to find the front and rear combination that will work best for them during the race.
“I am pleased with how our tyres are performing here at Qatar as conditions here are always variable. Due to the improved warm-up performance of the 2012 specification tyres, riders are feeling confident from the first lap which is of benefit to their safety.”
Ducati Team continues working with race setup in Qatar
The opening round of the 2012 MotoGP season continued this evening, with the second and third free practice sessions taking place at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit. Although the area was buffeted by fairly strong winds for much of the day, the surface grip improved compared to last night’s dusty conditions, forcing the riders and their teams to adapt their setups accordingly.
Both Nicky Hayden, seventh at the end, and Valentino Rossi improved their performances, with the Italian in particular working with the hard tyre, consistently lowering his times with the race setup. Only in the final exit did he mount a softer tyre, with which he posted the eighth-best time of the day.
Qualifying is scheduled for tomorrow evening, with the first race of the season to take place on Sunday night.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th (1:56.402)
“As the track is cleaning up, we’re getting more grip, but in a way that’s hurting us since I’m also getting more chatter. When that happens, I can’t keep my lean angle, and I run wide, especially in the flat corners. We tried some different springs but haven’t found the right solution yet. Chatter is so strange and inconsistent sometimes, but we’ll have a look at the data and do our best to sort it out. My pace isn’t great, but although I’m not thrilled with how the day went, the bike is certainly doing well on top speed, which is going to be important in the race.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 8th (1:56.535)
“Today went pretty well, and I’d say that the last session was the best. The position is nothing fantastic, but on the positive side, I’m very consistent with the hard tyre. The front of the bike is giving more feedback, so I can push more, which is very important, and the bike is very fast at the end of the straight. The understeer is still there, but now I think we have a place from which to work. We hope to improve two or three small things with the setting for tomorrow, and we’ll try to qualify on the second row.”
POSITIVE OUTCOME FOR HECTOR AND THE PRAMAC RACING TEAM
Today, the Pramac Racing Team, has had a strongly positive two free practice sessions.
Hèctor Barberà kicked off his first full MotoGp campaign in Qatar, with a promising ride to 6th position in 1.56.163 and he was the first Ducati’s rider overall as well.
The good result of the day is been made thanks to a tirelessly team’s work during the winter tests and these last 2 days.
The Green Team’s work is improving step by step with a constant swap of informations between the Spanish rider and his crew.
Tomorrow at 19.55pm local time, 18.55pm in Italy, the qualifying session valid for the starting grid of the first 2012 MotoGP Grand Prix will start.
Hèctor Barberà - Pramac Racing Team Rider - 6th best lap time in 1.56.163
“I’m very happy about the work we have done. The feeling with my Ducati GP12 is getting better lap by lap and we had a good strategy with work on.
Today we began the second free pratice session, looking for a fast lap time and we caught it. We had some issues with the rear tyre that, after some laps, it started to slide a lot.
We still have a few things on the bike that we need to work on, but we have made two good sessions today.
i’m very satisfied to be the first Ducati’s rider .”
Francesco Guidotti - Pramac Racing Team Manager -
“We are very happy with the response of the day. We worked on few small adjustements to be pretty fast and consistent.
We tried to ride for some outing using hard tyres, the same that we will use for the race, to understand how the bike’s behaviour.
We have to concentrate about our work also tomorrow.”
Crutchlow and Dovizioso dazzle under Qatar floodlights
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso produced dazzling performances under the spectacular Losail International Circuit floodlights in Qatar tonight to finish practice in second and fourth respectively.
British rider Crutchlow was in sparkling form on the new Yamaha YZR-M1 1000cc machine and a best lap of 1.55.456 came tantalisingly close to claiming top spot in this evening's third and final free practice session.
The former World Supersport champion was only 0.154s behind 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenz o on a fantastic night for Yamaha, with three YZR-M1 machines occupying the top four places.
Crutchlow's brilliant display has given him confidence that he can be in contention for a maiden front row start when qualifying takes place tomorrow night.
Italian Dovizioso also demonstrated the rapid progress he is making in getting the best out of the impressive YZR-M1 machine after he finished third quickest in the earlier second session, which took place in blustery conditions. A lap of 1.56.648 put him in the top three behind Casey Stoner and Lorenzo and he was able to improve his pace by 0.7s as grip levels improved after the strong winds decreased ahead of the third and final session.
Dovizioso ended with a best lap of 1.55.905 to finish fourth quickest and he too will start tomorrow's all-important q ualifying session optimistic that he can battle for a place on the front row of the grid for Sunday night's season opening 22-lap race.
Cal Crutchlow 2nd 1.55.456 - 18 laps:
“I'm really happy to be second quickest but I'm not going to get carried away and say I will be on the front row tomorrow night. I think we can certainly be challenging for it but my expectations for the race on Sunday are to be battling for the top six and being closer to the leaders than last year. The start of the session wasn't that great because we went the wrong way with the chassis setting and once we went back to the previous set-up, I was much more comfortable. At the end I used the soft tyre but I had an old hard compound front on. I was pushing the front but I am really happy with the lap time. I got held up a little bit too on my fastest lap coming out of the last corner by one of the CRT bikes. It just meant I changed from third to fourth gear a bit later than normal and I lost a bit of drive. I'm not going to say that would have put my quickest, but it would have been very close. But to be second and just over one-tenth behind Jorge is great for my confidence. My Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew have done an awesome job, so hopefully we can battling for a similar position tomorrow night in qualifying.”
Andrea Dovizioso 4th 1.55.905 - 18 laps:
“I am really satisfied again with our performance tonight. Each session I go out on the bike my feeling with the Yamaha improves and I am gaining a lot of confidence. Even during a race weekend like this when you don't have so many laps, we have made some very big improvements and this is very positive. We didn't make any sp ecial changes to the bike but the improvement comes from me having a better understanding of how to use the Yamaha's potential and now I am really confident for qualifying. Maybe the front row will be difficult but I will be trying my best. I am convinced our times will be faster because the track condition will be better and I know in myself where I can be faster on the track. Tonight was very positive for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and I've no doubt that we will be as fast and competitive in qualifying.”
BRADL CONTENT WITH HIS IMPROVEMENTS ON DAY TWO
Losail, 6th of April: the premier class riders undertook their second day of practices beneath the floodlights of Losail circuit with two night session continuing to familiarize themselves with the new prototypes ahead tomorrow’s first qualifying session at 19:55 local time.
Rookie Stefan Bradl's integration to the premier class continued to gather impressive pace as the LCR Honda rider timed in ninth fastest producing a lap time of 1’56.571. After yesterday’s first run the German rider concentrated on adjusting front-end feeling slightly improving his pace throughout today’s two sessions.
Stefan: “Today I rode the bike: yesterday the bike was riding me! We made a big improvement compared to yesterday. Already after few laps I was capable to improve my pace and I immediately had a good balance. We improved the bike handling and the front feeling using new tyres and being more precise in every corner but I am still missing some confidence in the fast corners. Today we are also closer to the front and this is the place where we like to be”.
POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR COUPLE CONTINUES IMPROVING AT LOSAIL
Randy Puniet and Aleix Espargaró ready for qualifying after shaving 1.5 seconds off practice times
The MotoGP class took a leading role at the Losail Circuit tonight, opening the track action with the first of their two free practice sessions scheduled for the evening, with the two minor categories enjoying just one each. Whilst the wind and surface dust proved no obstacle to the riders improving on their times from last night the pace is still some way off track records as the 1000cc bikes gradually overcome their 800cc predecessors. Cal Crutchlow looked to have stolen a surprise top spot in the closing moments of the session but Jorge Lorenzo produced a late lap and the race looks certain to be a battle between the Spaniard and yesterday's pacesetter Casey Stoner.
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders Randy De Puniet - again the fastest CRT rider on track - and Aleix Espargaró worked hard to find front and rear stability after struggling somewhat yesterday. De Puniet suffered a crash in turn seven as the chequered flag beckoned in the second session, which limited him to thirteenth place, some three seconds off the fastest time of the night. Espargaró made notable progress with his set-up and clocked a 1'59.169 in the second session to end the evening 17th fastest.
13th Randy De Puniet 1.58.261 (31 laps): "We have improved over the two sessions tonight and done a lot of work but I still don't have the feeling I want. The track doesn't feel to have much grip, maybe because of the wind, but I struggled to make progress. We played around with the suspension stiffness and with a softer setting I feel safer but slower. A harder setting means I can improve my speed but then I don't have the feel mid-turn. I crashed towards the end of the session but luckily it was nothing serious. Tomorrow we need to find a compromise with the suspension but overall I am satisfied so far because we have put some decent laps together and I know we can go faster."
17th Aleix Espargaró 1.59.169 (27 laps): "We have improved the feeling a little from yesterday but we are still some way off where we want to be. We have worked hard tonight over the two sessions to improve some of the problems we had yesterday and we are on the right track now, so we need to work hard to stay on it. We need more grip in the fast sections and even though we took a step forward in this aspect tonight we can't afford to stop working on it. I expected to be higher up at this stage but at the end of the day it is a long race and we need to work hard. If we can make the same strides tomorrow that we made today we'll be ready for the race."
Edwards competitive at Losail
Friday of free practices for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team in which Colin Edwards and the team have had two sessions of 45 minutes of free practice at their disposal to develop their Suter-BMW prototype at the Losail International Circuit of Qatar.
Yesterday’s free practice session already provided a good feeling to the American champion, that today he has made good use of the hour and a half at his disposal to solve the chattering problems on he front wheel of the bike.
The change of weather conditions compared to yesterdays with both more wind and slightly lower temperatures lead to improvements. Edwards ended the FP2
in 1´58.801 to latter make a huge step forward in FP3 to improve in more than half a second.
Colin Edwards - 5
“It’s been an interesting weekend. We came here not knowing really where we were, or knowing exactly what was going to happen. Everybody has been a little interested to see what was going to happen. Yesterday was ok, it was the first day, and we didn’t do anything special and we were still right behind De Puniet. Today we made a big step on setting: a little bit on the electronics, a lot more on chassis so far. I’m feeling really happy for the first time on this bike. I am not going to change anything from tonight to tomorrow; I’m not changing anything on the setting. I need more time, I want to adapt myself a little bit more and find the limits.
As far as the first qualifying session, I’m feeling confident. It should be interesting. You know I’ve always thought that the race is the race and qualifying is for show…We would definitely like to get our bike as the first CRT bike, if we could mix it up with the back of the prototypes that would be fantastic. Thanks to my team, this weekend they have done an incredible job.”
Kornelis Vldeman - Crew Chief
“This morning in the early afternoon there was a lot of wind which made us have a lot of sand on the track but I think that all and all I felt it was not a big issue. We started of with the hard tires; in terms of the grip level it was perfect, it did not affect the setting of the bike.
We can face the qualifying session tomorrow in a very positive way. We have made really big steps in these last two days in terms of the setting. Colin is really confident with the bike at the memento and hopefully tomorrow morning we can do some minor adjustments, but we are pretty much set.”
Giovanni Cuzari - Team Owner
“We face the first qualifying session of the season and for the CRT´s in a very positive way. So far every time the bike has tested it has improved and this make us be confident for tomorrow’s qualifying session. We are aware of the gap with the factory bikes, and us as for the CRTs we would like to be within the first ones.”
SECOND FREE PRACTICE DAY IN QATAR FOR CAME IODARACING TEAM
Second day of free practice of the Gran Prix of Qatar, inaugural race of the season 2012. The strong wind that blown on the Losail circuit has not worsened the grip of the track and all the riders had improved yesterday's performances.
Danilo Petrucci and his TR002 continues to grow, and he gets the eighteenth time with 1'59.517 to 4.215 from Lorenzo. The young rider of Came Iodaracing Team continues to study the ideal line of the wide track of losail, also decreasing his gap from the first ones of the class. Also the problems to the right arm of yesterday seems to give him less problems, allowing him to drive the TR003 as he prefers and for more consecutive laps.
Also the other rider of the Came Iodaracing Team, Simone Corsi continues to grow in Moto2 where today he has closed to the sixth place with 2'01.335 with a separation of 0.856 from Luthi. The Roman rider seems to have found a good feeling with his FTR and in today's session he has tried different tires for the race of Sunday.
Some small problem still the walk of the TR002 riders. Luigi Morciano has been forced to stop after seven laps for a problem to the engine, already resolved by the technicians of the Emir, while Jonas Folger has been victim of a problem of electronics.
"I feel me better with the TR003 and now I know better the layout of this track - Petrucci has declared - we have found a good base and we are doing only small changes at the suspensions. Unfortunately we have less power than our most direct rivals and this penalizes us especially in the long straight where we take the whole gap. We are trying to make something to solve this situation especially looking at tomorrow's qualifications”.
"I am quite satisfied for the today's result - Corsi said - we have worked a lot on the tyres both for tomorrow's qualifications, because it will be very important to depart from the first two rows, both for the race. My feeling with the bike is good and tomorrow we will still do some small change to try to improve”.
MICHELE PIRRO MAKES CRT PROGRESS BUT BAUTISTA DISAPPOINTED
Michele Pirro continues to surprise on board the Honda CBR 1000R powered FTR CRT machine despite it having on a few hundred kilometres on the clock. The Italian rookie shaved a second and a half off his best time from yesterday in tonight's second and third free practice sessions and could have gone even faster but for a small technical setback with the bike. Alvaro Bautista struggled for front feel on the RC213V tonight and has work to do ahead of tomorrow night's qualifying session.
Alvaro Bautista (10th 1’ 56” 771) “Today wasn't a good day for us - we tried to improve the feeling with the bike from yesterday but didn't manage it. My feeling with the front just doesn't allow me to push although when we changed to the soft tyre it improved so maybe we should have done that from the start and we'd be in better shape right now. Anyway, it's important to try these things because we need to make our tyre choice for the race. After 11 laps we had more grip than we'd had with the hard so I think the soft has good potential for the race. Now we need to look at the data and try to improve the front.”
Michele Pirro (15th 1’ 58” 800) “We have taken another big step and improved by a second and a half from yesterday, closing the gap to the top CRT bike, so that gives us reason to be satisfied. Obviously we have a lot still to do but we are staying positive. Our priority is to work on the electronics because they play such a big part. We are trying to work without making mistakes, I have a great team around me so I think we just need to keep working in the same direction and we will get our rewards.”
Fausto Gresini “It wasn't an easy night for Alvaro. He struggled more than yesterday and we need to know why. There is one particular section of track that he's having difficulty with so we need to have a close look at the data and try to get more out of the bike. I should say that apart from the top guys everybody else is very close so it looks like it could be a tight race from fourth place back. Like yesterday Michele and the CRT bike were a pleasant surprise. Even though the bike is so young it is improving every time and that's great for me and all the guys in the team because this first part of the season was never going to be easy.”