Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Brno:
Positive start for Ducati Team at Brno
The Ducati Team today began its preparations for Sunday’s Czech Republic Grand Prix, with Valentino Rossi posting the sixth-best time in the first two free-practice sessions.
On a sunny day with mild temperatures, the Italian rode at a good, consistent pace. On his fastest lap, his gap to the front was under half a second.
In the meantime, Nicky Hayden reported from the U.S. that the hand he injured in Indianapolis is improving and that he is confident he’ll be able to return for the Misano Grand Prix.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 6th (1:57.315)
“I’m happy because we went pretty well today, and in particular, the gap to the front makes us fairly optimistic. This is a beautiful track that I like a lot. It’s where I got my first win and my first world title, and we were also pretty strong here last year on the Ducati. Both of today’s sessions were good. We worked well, trying to find the best setup compromise for this circuit, and when we put on the soft tyre, we were finally able to improve the performance and to do a number of laps not too far from the leaders’ times. The pace is also decent. The riders ahead certainly still have some margin, so tomorrow, in addition to choosing which tyre to use in the race, we’ll have to try to improve a bit ourselves as well. At the moment, the soft is performing better, but we’ll see.”
Pedrosa continues momentum on Day 1 in Brno
Fresh from his fantastic win in Indianapolis just five days ago, Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa continued his fine form in Brno today topping the time sheets on the first day of Free Practice.
Dani, fastest in the morning was victim of a strange incident when a rider in front of him strayed slightly off track kicking some stones into his path. Such was the impact that the stones smashed Dani's front screen on his Honda and stones also hit his helmet and left foot which left the Spanish rider limping after the impact, nevertheless he finished FP1 in first position.
Dani managed to shake of the pain in time for FP2 and traded fastest laps throughout the session with Jorge Lorenzo. Dani eventually came out on top with a 1'56.858 time on lap 11 of 17.
DANI PEDROSA 1st 1'56.858
"Today we spent time working on the tyres and set up of the bike. We were trying to get the maximum time on the track as tomorrow we don't know how the weather will be so it was important to have a lot of time in the dry. The feelings were improving but we still have some work to do especially with electronics and suspension. I was pretty lucky with the incident this morning as it could have been a lot worse. There were two massive rocks that flew up, one hit my left foot hard and the other one hit my screen and chin. At the beginning I thought I had broken something in my foot but fortunately it's ok, just a lot of swelling, anyway the pain is going down from this morning so that's a good thing".
Yamaha Get Back on Track in Brno
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies were back on track today in Brno for the first sessions of the Grand Prix of Czech Republic. After a very difficult weekend in Indianapolis both riders were enjoying the fast flowing Brno circuit and were quick to find pace in the morning. Both were unfortunate to crash in the afternoon session but no injuries were sustained and both were able to continue. Spies crashed on his preferred bike set up, compromising the remainder of the second session riding with less ideal bike settings whilst Lorenzo was able to continue dueling with Dani Pedrosa for the top two positions.
Position : 2nd Time: 1'56.911 Laps: 19
“Today was much better than Indianapolis, we tried to improve the bike but we still need to find some solutions for more grip in the corners. I had a small crash in a slow corner, I tried to lean a little more and found the limit of the grip. I’m quite satisfied overall, we are there with Dani fighting for the best lap time every practice which is good.”
Position : 7th Time: 1'57.446 Laps: 14
“The second session wasn’t great for us but the first session was really good. We went out in the afternoon and the bike was working really well but we had an older front tyre from the morning on. I just think I might have been pushing a little too hard at that point with the track temperature being a little hotter and we had a small low side crash. Unfortunately the second bike had a very different setting on it which I wasn’t comfortable on. It was too far off to really make a step forward. We know the pace is good with the original setting so we’ll work on improving that tomorrow.”
“An ok first day today, the small crash was a pity but nothing really damaged and no injuries. It’s very tight at the top; it looks like they are trying to get maximum grip out of the tyre and everyone seems to be struggling a little with similar issues. Let’s see for tomorrow if it can be a bit smoother and we can improve the lap time.”
“Ben had a little crash in the afternoon which compromised the second practice. Unfortunately we were trying two different set ups and the one he crashed with was the one that he was more comfortable with. The feeling he had with the other was not perfect. This morning he ran really well and is confident with the set up and the tyres. We’ll work on some improvements tonight and tomorrow I don’t think we’ll be far from the best set up.”
Dovizioso and Crutchlow impress in Brno practice
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team enjoyed a positive start to the bwin Grand Prix Ceske Republiky today after Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow both mounted a strong challenge for the top three in hot and sunny conditions at the Brno circuit.
Dovizioso arrived back in Europe brimming with confidence after scoring his fifth podium in seven races at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend. And his impressive form continued today after a lap of 1.57.189 put the Italian in third position in this morning's opening practice session.
With temperatures soaring to a demanding 28 degrees, Dovizioso improved his pace to a 1.57.055 this afternoon to finish third quickest again and his time was just 0.144s behind World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo in second position.
British rider Crutchlow was also satisfied with his fast pace after he finished fourth fastest in both sessions. The 26-year-old made a confident start this morning with a lap of 1.57.418 and in the second session he was able to lower his pace to a 1.57.215.
Just 0.160s split Dovizioso and Crutchlow on the combined timesheets and both are optimistic that overnight tweaks to improve the set-up of their YZR-M1 machines they can fight for a front row start in tomorrow's qualifying session ahead of Sunday's 22-lap race.
Andrea Dovizioso 3rd 1.57.055 – 35 laps:
“I am really satisfied with the work we have done today. Obviously we arrive here in great shape after the fantastic podium in Indianapolis and immediately I was comfortable with the bike and the big positive is in both sessions I was very close to the front. I was only 0.186s behind Dani this morning and 0.197s behind him this afternoon and it is great to start the weekend being so competitive. In every race I have been on the podium this season I have not started this strongly, so hopefully this is a good indication that we will be very strong in the race on Sunday. The good thing about today is we can start to work immediately on improving the set-up of the bike because unlike in Indianapolis, the Brno track isn't dirty and there was a lot of grip. I'd like it to be a little easier to make the lap time beca use it feels I am quite close to the limit on the front. But we have a plan for tomorrow that should help us in that area.”
Cal Crutchlow 4th 1.57.215 – 37 laps:
“Today wasn't a bad start to the weekend because I was fourth in both sessions and very close to Andrea. But we can definitely make some improvements to the bike. This afternoon I struggled quite a lot with the hard tyre and we need to have a look at the data closely to get more of an understanding why. I've got good pace on the soft tyre and I'm convinced I can be a bit quicker because I didn't put in a soft tyre until right at the end of this afternoon's session. I feel confident for tomorrow and am sure we can challenge for a decent grid position for Sunday.”
PASINI SETS THE FIFTEENTH TIME ON THE BRNO TRACK IN FP2
The twelfth round of the 2012 season for the MotoGP class kicked off today, at the circuit of Brno.
During the first free practice session, Mattia Pasini and his technicians mainly worked on the electronics and on the suspensions of the ART bike, verifying some solutions that were thought for the Czech track.
In the afternoon, Pasini confirmed a smilar pace to the first session of the day: with his crew, he focused on reducing the chattering on the front, arranging some changes to the set-up. The best final time that the Italian set is of 2'00.258 (fifteenth position).
Mattia Pasini #54 - 15th with 2'00.258
“We knew this was a track that is a little more difficult for us, after the last few GP rounds. Today, what’s more, we had to deal with some chattering on the front, and therefore we preferred to focus on that, trying to improve the performance of my ART machine. Now we’ll work to achieve a good feeling with the bike and to be stronger in tomorrow’s sessions, once we sort out the data we put together today.”
SATISFACTORY START AT BRNO
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini made a solid start to the Czech Republic Grand Prix today, despite a crash this afternoon for Alvaro Bautista. Other than that the Spaniard was on the pace of the leading riders in free practice and he ended the day with the seventh quickest time overall. Michele Pirro was thirteenth fastest and a short gap behind the leading CRT in the class today. With a few small improvements to some areas he struggled with today the Italian is confident he can put up an even stronger challenge in tomorrow afternoon's qualifying session.
Alvaro Bautista (7th 1' 57” 573) “The day didn't finish how we would have liked with the crash near the end of the second session and even though there was no damage to the bike or myself I wasn't able to improve my lap time. We have been working on the set-up of the bike, looking for better stability in corner entry and we worked hard with the rear tyre but it didn't give us the grip we need. So the choice will be to run a hard tyre on the front and a soft on the rear, which will give us better stability and allow us to work on other areas of the bike tomorrow. We made a slight change to the swingarm setting and the feeling was positive so I am confident that we are close to where we need to be and we'll be in a position to challenge for a good grid position tomorrow.”
Michele Pirro (13th 1' 59” 883) “We managed to set a decent time and we are not far behind the best CRT in terms of lap time and position but we still have to work on a few technical problems that prevented me from being able to push consistently today. We'll work on that tomorrow and try our best to obtain a good starting position for the race on Sunday.”
Fausto Gresini “Alvaro had a good day today despite the crash. His pace is good and can be improved further. He is close to the others and he has the potential to make up two or three positions with relative ease. Michele didn't have a bad day either today and his lap time is close to the best CRT. We are trying some new technical solutions for him and above all crossing our fingers for the race because he hasn't had much luck lately.”
REAL IMPROVEMENTS FOR TONI ELIAS ABOARD HIS DUCATI MACHINE AT BRNO CIRCUIT
The Pramac Ducati Racing Team returned to action in Brno today with the substitute rider Toni Elias, who during the opening two practice sessions, made a positive start to his preparation for Sunday’s Czech Republic Grand Prix.
Toni was able to improve his best lap time from the morning session to the afternoon free practice, working hard with the White and Green Team to find a good setup and to improve his feeling with the bike as a consequence.
Tomorrow the weather forecast could shuffle the cards, due to a light rain predicted for the last free practice as well as the qualifying session.
Toni Elias – Pramac Racing Team Rider – FP1 13th place in 1’59.881; FP2 10th place in 1’59.228
“I’m quite satisfied. My feeling, both with the bike and the team, is improving a lot compared to the Laguna Seca and Indy races.
Today’s goal was to beat the time of 1’58, but I was not able to achieve that time. Tomorrow I’ll grit my teeth, to decrease my lap times by one second or more. I’m confident that we can do a steady step forward.”
Marco Rigamonti - Track Engineer Pramac Racing Team –
“Lap after lap Toni begins to have the right feeling with the bike and now we aren't as far from the other MotoGP machines, compared to the two American rounds. So we have positive confirmations today.
Now we have to refine to gain a few tenths of a second, working on a variety of aspects on our bike and trying to capture a good grid position during tomorrow's qualifying.”
Pedrosa leads Friday practice in Czech Republic
Round 12: Czech Republic Grand Prix – Free Practice One and Two
Brno, Friday 23 August 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 26-26°C; Track 34-34°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 29-29°C; Track 42-43°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Dani Pedrosa was fastest in both practice sessions today as the Repsol Honda rider topped yet another session in this year’s MotoGP™ championship.
After setting the best time in the morning FP1 session, Pedrosa set a time of 1’56.858 in FP2 to end the session and the day as the quickest rider, just 0.053 seconds ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, while Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Andrea Dovizioso was third fastest overall with a time of 1’57.055.
Almost every rider set their best lap time of the day on the combination of the softer rear and harder front slicks at a circuit where having good rear grip for drive out of corners, and the highest amount of front-end stability for confidence under braking and in high-speed corners is of utmost importance. Some riders performed long runs on the softer rear slick in FP2 with feedback suggesting good levels of durability with this option for both the works and CRT bikes, with widespread evaluation of the harder option rear slick - which was seldom used today - expected to take place tomorrow.
Weather forecasts indicate a good chance of rain tomorrow with Bridgestone’s main wet tyre for this weekend being the soft compound, although every rider will also have access to a limited number of the alternative hard compound wet tyre. If rain does occur in between sessions tomorrow causing track conditions to deteriorate without leaving the tarmac fully wet, the superior warm-up performance and edge grip of the softer slick compounds will make these options more suitable to riders heading out on a damp but drying track.
The MotoGP™ riders will next take to the Brno circuit for FP3 at 1010 local time (GMT +2) before the one hour qualifying session begins at 1355.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today we had warm and dry weather with most riders preferring the combination of the harder front and softer rear slick. Rider feedback from both the works and CRT riders indicates that the softer rear option is working well, with good levels of grip being maintained over longer runs, though testing of the harder rear slick tomorrow will help teams decide which is the better race option for them. At this stage it looks like we could have rain tomorrow and perhaps Sunday, in which case we will have both the soft compound as well as a limited number of hard compound wet tyres on standby for riders to use. The top eight riders today set personal best lap times within six-tenths of a second of each other, so this bodes well for a closely fought qualifying session tomorrow.”
BRADL TARGETS FRONT ROW START AFTER BRNO GP OPENING DAY
Brno, 24th August: riders were back out on track for the bwin Grand Prix České Republiky opening day at the popular Brno track. After a little time to rest this week even Stefan Bradl moved from Indy to Europe to contest the Czech track setting the 5th fastest lap time of the day (1’57.250).
The German considers Brno one of his favourite circuits having collected his first victory in 125cc and the third place in last year’s Moto2 race so his first outing riding the RCV looked very promising as Bradl even set the fastest time in the first sector of the 5.403km track.
Stefan: “The first free session this morning was a bit strange but I knew we had a better potential and finally we made a good practice in the afternoon. I am happy about the 5th position but there’s something to adjust in the overall package especially in the front because it seemed that we overheat the tyre at the end of the session causing some movements. That issue stopped me a bit in recording a good average lap time but at the end the pace was quite consistent. I am in good form and very motivated but we must improve the bike even in the rear because we are not at 100% right now”.
Edwards in 16th place at the Brno free practice
First day of free practices at Brno and first impressions at the Czeck circuit for Colin Edwards and the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team. The American rider had the 16th best time this afternoon in the MotoGP free practice with his Suter – BMW, with a gap of 3,428 seconds from Dani Pedrosa.
Tomorrow the Texan rider and his team will continue to work on the setting of the bike and the electronics in search of a faster lap time.
Colin Edwards - 5
“The morning started out alright, the feeling was ok. We made some changes and obviously made it better than this morning. With the gearing, we didn’t know what the gearing here so we played around with different gears trying to figure out what works best. This afternoon, what we thought was going to be good is basically the same. Our main concern is still the electronics, they are not yet consistent enough.”
Sergio Verbena – Crew Chief
“This morning we decided to work in another direction in terms of the setting of the bike compared to the one used in previous races and Colin seems to like it. The gap right now is about three and a half seconds from the best lap time, which at a long racetrack such as this one seems reasonable. We will be making modifications on the setting of the bike for tomorrow and we hope to find the solution to the electronics problems we have encountered.”
POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR PAIR IN TOP TEN AT BRNO
De Puniet and Espargaró dominate CRT field in Czech Republic
After a crash-strewn GP in Indianapolis last weekend red flag fever continued in MotoGP today, free practice being brought to a temporary halt in both the morning an the afternoon after first Valentino Rossi dragged gravel onto the track and then Yonny Hernandez crashed and burst an air fence. Ben Spies, Jorge Lorenzo and Aleix Espargaró also hit the deck on a day that saw Dani Pedrosa clock the fastest time as he looks to strengthen his title challenge in the absence of his injured team-mate Casey Stoner.
It was largely a day of experimentation for POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders Espargaró and Randy De Puniet although both were satisfied with their performances by the close of play. De Puniet clocked an impressive 1'58.667 this morning but was unable to match his pace in the afternoon whilst the reverse was true of Espargaró, who struggled with his set-up in the opening session but later found his feet after changing back to the base setting that served him so well at Mugello last month. The pair continue to set the pace amongst the CRT bikes on track and again outpaced several factory prototypes today on their way to ninth and tenth place.
9th Randy De Puniet 1.58.667 (33 laps): "We had a good session this morning when we put the soft tyre in and had a lot of grip mid-corner. We changed a few things with the gearbox setting this afternoon and it didn't work so we'll have to take a step backwards tomorrow. We have also done some tyre testing and again the feeling wasn't the same as this morning but it is important to try these things in practice so you can rule certain things out. At the end of the session we got back into the groove we had this morning so we'll use those same settings tomorrow."
10th Aleix Espargaró 1.59.185 (30 laps): "I am happy with this afternoon;s session because we improved a lot from this morning. I wasn't feeling comfortable with the bike but we made some big changes on my second bike and went back to the setting we had at Mugello. Like Brno it is a fast track and quite similar in a few other ways so we were able to make some big improvements quite quickly and my lap time was dropping further when we ran into some traffic at the end. Anyway this afternoon's session has given me confidence for the rest of the weekend. Everything we tried worked so we know what we need to do tomorrow."