Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after a wet first day of practice at Aragon:
Confident start for Dovizioso and Crutchlow at rain-hit Aragon
Heavy rain and tricky track conditions meant the start of the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon was a challenging experience for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow today.
Dovizioso and Crutchlow were fifth and seventh fastest on the timesheets after wet weather conditions once again played a pivotal role in proceedings.
The pair didn't even leave the sanctuary of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage in this morning's first sessio n. Oil dropped on the track in the earlier Moto3 practice meant the session was delayed by one hour while track staff took part in a huge clean-up operation.
And when the session did finally commence, track conditions were neither full wet or dry to allow Dovizioso and Crutchlow to carry out any meaningful set-up work with their YZR-M1 machinery.
This afternoon's session started with heavy rain falling on the technically challenging and undulating Motorland Aragon track, which gave Dovizioso and Crutchlow the opportunity to work on wet weather settings.
Both were able to log competitive times throughout the session that kept them firmly in contention for the top three, with Dovizioso eventually finishing in fifth position. The Italian rider posted a best time of 2.01.3 79s
Crutchlow briefly led the session in the early stages as he expertly calculated how hard he could push in treacherous conditions right from the off. The British rider ended with a quickest pace of 2.01.665 and while he would have hoped to be closer to the pace of the top three, the 26-year-old is confident that if the adverse weather conditions continue tomorrow that he will be strong challenger for a position on the front row of the grid.
Andrea Dovizioso 5th 2.01.379 – 17 laps:
“I am happy with the set-up of the bike because there are no obvious problems to fix, although I'd like to improve the rear traction. I felt good when I tried to take some risks and push at the end of the session. The bike reacted h ow I wanted, so I am confident I have some margin to improve. I am close to the top and it is a good start to the weekend, even if we did lose another session this morning. The only thing I hope for the rest of the weekend is some dry track time before the race. I don't want to arrive in the race with no dry time to work on the set-up because then you are not fully prepared, so I hope whatever the conditions are tomorrow will be the same on Sunday.”
Cal Crutchlow 7th 2.01.665 – 15 laps:
“I am pleased with my pace in the full wet conditions as I was right near the top and confident I could have finished inside the top three. I had a small problem with the steering damper right at the end and without that I am sure I would have been much higher than seventh. We have to take another step tomorrow if the conditions are the same but I am confident I can be very competitive in the wet. The set-up of the bike is good and with some improvements if we have more rain tomorrow, I'll be looking to be back on the front row again. I hope the rest of the weekend though is dry and the fans can see a good race.”
Rain affects free practice at Aragon GP
The first two free practice sessions at the Aragon Grand Prix were affected by bad weather. The first, which was postponed by one hour in order to clean up an oil spill that had occurred during the Moto3 session, was rendered useless by mixed conditions, which were neither entirely wet nor entirely dry. The second, which was completely wet, could prove to be important if the forecasts calling for rain in tomorrow’s qualifying session are correct.
Taking advantage of the situation was Nicky Hayden, who was fourth overall at the end of this first day, while Valentino Rossi, eighth, was slowed by a gearbox problem that kept him in the garage with his bike toward the end of the afternoon session.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 4th (2:00.996)
“More rain, but you can’t change the weather. This morning we did a couple of laps just to get a feel for things, but we waited once it dried out. It was wet in the afternoon, but I didn’t enjoy riding in the rain as much as I usually do. The track itself was pretty grippy, as we were about ten seconds off my dry time here, which isn’t bad on a track this long, but I was missing some rear grip on corner entry and at the first touch of the throttle. We’ve got to improve that. I only rode with the new chassis today, but with the rain, I’m not really able to give an impression. They’re calling for more rain tomorrow, so we might have to manage the rain tyres. When it dries, this track can chew them up quickly, so we might need to make sure we save enough for qualifying. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 8th (2:02.412)
“We had a problem with the gearbox on the bike we were using, and I lost a bit of time in the garage. We had to prepare the second one in a hurry, and then I rode with that. It’s a shame because with these conditions, the tyres only get up to temperature after a few laps, so when I was able to go back out, I didn’t have time to push hard. Our potential is certainly better than this. We can be more competitive, and we’ll try tomorrow in qualifying which, according to the forecasts, could be wet like today. We’ll try to get a good starting position and then we’ll see for Sunday, because it looks as if the race might be dry.”
Dani second as tricky weather conditions continue to plague MotoGP in Aragón
The Repsol Honda Team went back on track today for the first day of free practice for the Aragón Grand Prix, with Dani Pedrosa setting the second fastest time in the combined classification and Jonathan Rea placed in eleventh position.
In the morning, the first free practice saw a repetition of the conditions in Misano with bad weather marking the start of the fourteenth round at Motorland Aragón. After a 1 hour delay to the session, caused by oil on track from the previous Moto3 session, Dani did not complete any flying laps and Jonathan failed to go out at all, deciding nothing could be learnt from the 50/50 track conditions.
Dani, the quickest bike on track with a top speed of 330.5, was just 0.066 off the fastest time in FP2 this afternoon with cold temperatures and full wet conditions, while the British rider finished 11th, 3.8 seconds behind Ben Spies.
DANI PEDROSA 2nd 2'00.285
"At least we had a full wet session this afternoon to work with the bike and I felt quite good. I was catching the pace step by step, even though the grip was not very high in the rear, and we still have to adjust the setting a little more to improve in some corners. It looks like the weather forecast is also bad for tomorrow, so it will be important to take advantage of the morning practice to be well prepared for qualifying".
JONATHAN REA 11th 2'04.046
"It's been pretty frustrating because I feel like we've lost another day, it's the same story as Misano! It was the first fully wet session we've had and the big difference for me was with the tyres and when they lose traction you can play with the rear grip slightly. I was riding a little too cautious today and I feel I need to push the tyres more and be more comfortable with the bike moving around. I wasn't too happy with myself as in the last few laps this afternoon I was on personal best sectors and I made a few mistakes as the front tyre didn't feel very stable on the carcass. I guess we need to be thankful we were able to test here a few weeks ago and we completed over a hundred laps so for the dry we should be ok, but in the wet my feeling is still not 100%. Let's see what the conditions bring tomorrow".
Spies Fastest in Wet Aragon Practice
The Grand Prix of Aragon got off to a slow start today with mixed weather and half wet, half dry track conditions resulting in few riders venturing out in the morning session. Yamaha Factory rider Ben Spies waited until the afternoon’s fully wet second practice to venture out, a key protagonist in an early flurry of fastest riders he then became the man to beat. The Texan was clearly comfortable on a good wet set up, completing the day 0.066 seconds ahead of Dani Pedrosa.
Team mate Jorge Lorenzo also sat out the morning session but was one of the riders challenging Spies for the top spot in the second practice, the two trading fastest times in the last quarter of the session. A last minute hot lap by title rival Pedrosa saw him drop to third, 0.527 seconds behind Spies in first.
In recognition of Iveco's award of 'Truck of the Year 2013' for the new Stralis Hi-Way, the YZR-M1s of both Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will carry the Iveco and 'Truck of the Year' logos for the remaining five races of the season.
Position : 1st Time: 2'00.219 Laps: 16
“It was a good wet session so we’re happy with it, the bike feels good and we’re quick. We got a good setting with the bike sorted and we got some new information with the electronics so we’ll see what happens tomorrow with the weather. As long as everything keeps going smoothly then that’s all we need!”
Position : 3rd Time: 2'00.746 Laps: 13
“In the morning we could have practiced but we preferred to stay in the box and save the engine life a little. This afternoon with full wet conditions we could go out and see what the feeling is with the bike in the rain in case we have a wet race on Sunday. The track is very slippery, we did a lot of laps trying to find the pace but we didn’t try to do one hot lap. Ben and Dani were very fast but the important thing is we made a good comfortable pace.”
“It was a very wet second practice! The pace was good and third position is very acceptable. We are looking for things to improve for the next wet session but we were one of the fastest guys out there and we were consistent so we’re pleased with the result.”
“Today wasn’t completely useless, this afternoon we were able to get good information and put a good wet set up together. The pace is really good in the wet and we have a good set up in the dry from our test recently so we are ready for both conditions.”
WEATHER TAKES CENTRE STAGE AT ARAGON
After four months of virtual drought in Aragon the rainclouds finally arrived today and it had to be on the opening day of the MotoGP World Championship's third visit to Spain this season. Barely any riders bothered to ride in mixed conditions this morning although heavier rainfall this afternoon at least afforded them the opportunity to gather confidence with their bikes in the wet. It was a frustrating day for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini but it served to provide important set-up information should the rainy conditions persist tomorrow.
Alvaro Bautista (10th 2’ 03” 263) “Another wet day! This morning we weren't able to ride because the conditions were half wet and half dry and it would have been useless. In the afternoon the rain got heavier and with the track completely wet it was a good opportunity to ride. We had two settings to try and we did two runs. On the first one I just got into my rhythm and then on the second I tried to build my confidence in the wet conditions but if anything I lost it because my feeling with the front was not good. There is more rain forecast for tomorrow so we need to work hard on the suspension setting because I'm also lacking some grip on the rear.”
Michele Pirro (17th 2’ 06” 030) “Unfortunately the first session was a total waste of time because of the mixed conditions whilst in the second session we were able to get some work done. I am struggling to get a feeling with this bike in the wet so it was important to get some laps in with more rain forecast for tomorrow. Luckily we found out what things we need to change and hopefully tomorrow we can have a bike that will allow me to push harder and close the gap to the top CRT. ”
Fausto Gresini “We have always had a few problems in the rain but I think today was better than usual even if the lap times suggest otherwise. It was important to get some laps in because we gathered information about where we can improve and we're confident about tomorrow. Unfortunately there is more rain forecast for tomorrow but we are making progress and I am sure we can improve further with both Alvaro and Michele.”
BRADL FEELS OKAY ON WET ARAGON SURFACE
Aragon, 28th September: the Aragón GP opening day got underway in similar conditions to Misano last time out with a damp track hindering the riders’ preparations and an intense track cleaning procedure with LCR racer Stefan Bradl sitting out the first morning session like the majority of his colleagues.
Then premier class riders were greeted with rain for their second run out and the 22-year-old ended the day in sixth, after looking strong all session on his RC213V machine completing 14 laps (2’01.626).
Stefan: “This second outing in the wet was not that bad for us. Since the beginning I had a good feeling with my bike in the wet and the whole package was functioning in the right way. We have tried to improve a bit my front feeling because I was struggling a bit in the downhill corners and after that we made a little suspension modification and it worked well. When the surface started to dry up a little bit I felt too much pressure on the tyres but at the end I think we are in a good shape and well prepared for another rainy day on track”.
Spies on top in rain affected Aragon practice
Round 14: Aragon Grand Prix – Free Practice One and Two
Aragon, Friday 28 September 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 - Wet. Ambient 17-17°C; Track 18-18°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Wet. Ambient 18-18°C; Track 19-20°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies was quickest on a rain-riddled Friday at Aragon, with the American rider setting a lap time of 2'00.219 in FP2 to finish the day 0.066 seconds ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.
Spies’ benchmark time came towards the end of FP2 and capped off a solid start for the Yamaha Factory Racing team at Aragon with Jorge Lorenzo posting the third best time of the day. In similar circumstances to the last race at Misano, FP1 was run in variable track conditions on tarmac that was neither fully wet nor fully dry. Only nine riders elected to go out in the morning session, with the remaining riders hoping for more consistent conditions in FP2. Steady rainfall leading up to second free practice meant a fully wet track greeted riders for the afternoon session, and all riders ventured out on track in search of a wet setup.
All riders used the soft compound wet tyre today which is the main wet tyre for this weekend, with no riders electing to fit the alternative hard option in today’s cool conditions. The current weather forecast indicates that rain is a strong possibility for tomorrow’s FP3 and Qualifying Practice sessions, while the race could also be run in damp conditions with rain predicted for Sunday morning.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Free Practice Two provided consistent track conditions for riders and teams to start work on a wet setup as this morning’s in-between conditions meant many riders chose not to go out of their box. Even when the rain stopped falling in this afternoon, there was still a lot of standing water on the track so the wet tyres stayed in their ideal operating window for the duration of the session. Overall, tyre performance in the cool and wet conditions at Aragon today was positive with riders reporting good grip levels and warm-up performance.”
POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR RIDERS START STEADILY AT MOTORLAND
Randy De Puniet and Aleix Espargaró place twelfth and thirteenth overall and are once again top CRT riders
In similar circumstances to the first day of the San Marino GP two weeks ago, the Aragón GP began with another wet day to kick off the weekend. The MotoGP riders were barely able to put in laps in the morning, owing to an oil spill from a Moto3 rider in the previous session that left turns seven, eight and nine treacherously slippery. Only eight premier class riders took to the track in that particular session, and for the most part they put in no more than ten laps. In the afternoon, rain fell to leave the MotorLand track completely wet -more favourable conditions for getting accustomed to the circuit. The best time of the second session went to Ben Spies.
In top form and with a great feel for their machinery, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar duo continue to lead the way for the CRT riders -whatever the weather. In the morning, Aleix Espargaró was more intrepid than his teammate and put in eight laps in tricky conditions. Randy De Puniet stayed in the garage in order to avoid unnecessary risks. In the afternoon, the Frenchman was the fastest of the CRT competitors, followed by his teammate 70 thousandths of a second behind. Tomorrow both will be pushing for the best grid position possible, come rain or shine.
12th Randy De Puniet 2.04.353 (15 laps): "Today was another strange day. In the morning I didn't go out, because a rider had left oil on the track and it was dangerous -I preferred to wait until the afternoon. The asphalt was completely dry then and it was raining non-stop. We got to work and in the end made three runs. In the first one we made a few changes, which were positive. In the second run I had problems with my helmet visor and in the last I made some big improvements. I am satisfied, because we never took a step back. We were the top CRT and can also be happy with this, because there is still room for improvement that we will look for tomorrow. I think that we made a good start today and are prepared for a wet race on Sunday if it turns out that way."
13th Aleix Espargaró 2.04.423 (23 laps): "The day went well, despite the rain. In the morning we were unable to ride much, because the track was partially damp. I put in a couple of laps but couldn't get a good feel for things, because at some points the bike was sliding around a lot. In the afternoon I felt very much at ease in the wet. I am very happy, because I was awful in the wet at the start of the year; at Le Mans I had a nightmare and I was lapped, but I've improved and now I feel excellent on a wet track. I'm having a lot of fun in the conditions, which I didn't expect, so I am satisfied with that and we shall have to work hard tomorrow in order to be as fast as possible in qualifying."
FIFTEENTH TIME FOR PASINI IN THE FIRST DAY AT THE CIRCUIT OF ARAGÓN
The fourteenth round of the 2012 season kicked in today for the MotoGP class, at Motorland of Aragón.
The first session of the weekend was delayed in order to clean up the track, as some oil fell during the practice of the Moto3 class. Most of the riders, however, decided to stay inside their pit boxes, because of the damp condition of the track itself, once FP1 was started. Therefore Mattia Pasini chose, together with his crew, to postpone any program to the session of the afternoon.
In free practice n. 2, Mattia and his crew had the chance to start working on the ART setting. On wet track, Mattia completed fourteen laps, putting together some good times, ending the session very close to the top CRT machines.
Mattia Pasini #54 - 15th with 2'04.722
“I’m quite happy with how things went in this afternoon practice. We didn’t really get to complete many laps when the track was totally wet, but the bike was working well. If the weather was to stay the same, we already have a few ideas for some changes we could try in order to improve a little. I hope we’ll have the chance to work on dry track for a while during the sessions of tomorrow, so that we can have some useful data in case it’s sunny on Sunday.”
Friday on wet Aragon track: Top ten for Karel Abraham
9th best lap time achieved Czech MotoGP rider Karel Abraham in Friday´s practice session for Grand Prix of Aragon. Abraham made his fastest lap in the end of afternoon session making 2:02,814, which is 2,413 second behind fastest Ben Spies.
“First session was affected by Danny Webb´s crash in Moto3. There was lot of oil on the track and it should be pretty risky to ride on it. Afternoon was completely different. I did seventeen laps almost without entering garage. Bike set up isn´t bad, we have only one problem with the rear, we are not able to warm the tyre enough. We are looking forward to tomorrow hoping that weather will be better.“
Marco Grana, Cardion AB Motoracing chief mechanic
„Today was quite positive for us. We didn´t ride in the morning session because of two reasons: at first, it was some oil on the track and after that, there were very tricky „not wet, no dry“ conditions. Afternoon session was completely wet and we were able to do good lap times in the end of the session. It´s positive to be in Top ten, even we got some problems with rear suspension, which limits us in acceleration. We hope to have better weather tomorrow which allow us to improve „dry“ set up of the bike.“
WET FIRST DAY AT MOTORLAND ARAGON
The opening day at the MotorLand Aragon took place on a wet circuit and all the MotoGP riders took the track to test their set-up in these tricky weather conditions.
In particular, the Pramac Racing Team rider, Héctor Barberà, used the first free practice sessions to re-acquaint himself both with the bike and the wet track, following a long summer break due to his injury and the difficult weekend in Misano, two weeks ago.
Héctor worked with the Pramac Racing Team today, not looking for the best race set up, but only trying to improve his confidence with the Ducati machine.
Tomorrow’s final practice and qualifying sessions are expected to be run in wet conditions, but dry conditions have been forecast for Sunday’s race.
Héctor Barberà – Pramac Racing Team Rider – 18th place in 2’06.182
“Getting back to the track with these poor conditions is the most difficult thing to do. In Misano, two weeks ago, I had a painful weekend after more than a six-week absence through injury so today I tried only to regain the confidence with my bike.
I’m sure that tomorrow we will have a much more productive day and I will able to make a big step forward.”
Marco Rigamonti – Track Engineer Pramac Racing Team
“Today Héctor struggled a little to find the right confidence with the bike, it was not easy with these tricky asphalt conditions.
We decided to make progressive steps, without looking for the best lap time. But I know that tomorrow we can achieve a good place on the grid.”
Rain strikes the free practices at Aragon
Colin Edwards completes a total of seventeen laps at the Motorland circuit in both morning and afternoon free practices today at the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón.
The unstable morning weather conditions and the pouring rain in the afternoon did not allow much working continuity for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing.
Nonetheless, the lap times of the American are among the ones from the majority of the CRTs. There is still a lot of work to be done in order to be ready for the race on Sunday.
Colin Edwards – 5-
“This morning we went out and did a few laps, did a shake down and got a couple laps in and found out that we had a connection problem, we will have to do some work on the bike tonight to see if we can fix it. This afternoon it was all about finding the setting of the electronics. We have to figure out how to make the new electronics package work similarly to the one we had in Sachsenring, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but trying to fix that in one day is a challenge. We are working in the right direction, I feel comfortable on the track, tires work great, and the bike balance is almost there. We just need to get the electronics sorted and we should be good.”
Sergio Verbena – Crew Chief
“The bad weather seems to be a constant factor this season, almost like a curse. With this morning’s the delay of the first free practice session and the dangerous conditions. Today with a completely wet track we managed to make some improvements but we still have some work ahead of us. Tomorrow we expect rain so we will continue working in the same direction we have today.”