Press releases from the MotoGP teams and the single tire supplier after the first day of practice at Motegi:
Dovizioso makes impressive start in Yamaha's home race
Andrea Dovizioso made a flying start to Yamaha's all-important home race in Japan today, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider finishing third fastest in both practice sessions at the Twin Ring Motegi.
With the stop and go nature of the 2.983 miles circuit perfectly suited to Dovizioso's hard braking style, he wasted no time in showing his potential in gloriously sunny conditions this morning.
A best lap of 1.46.919 put him third behind Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa and he continued that impre ssive form into the second session. Once again he was able to finish the fastest non-factory rider in third position to boost his hopes of recording a seventh podium of the campaign on Sunday.
Dovizioso improved his pace by almost 0.7s in FP2 and his best time of 1.46.282 was only 0.092s behind World Championship leader Lorenzo in second place and 0.194s away from Pedrosa's quickest pace.
The opening day turned out to be the difficult challenge Cal Crutchlow had predicted, with the hard braking nature of the Twin Ring Motegi not best suited to his braking and cornering style.
Crutchlow dedicated the majority of his time on track today to improve his feeling in the hard braking zones, but he was never able to find a comfortabe set-up with his YZR-M1 machine and he finished ninth on the combined leaderboard.
Crutchlow remains confident he can make big progress tomorrow and his best time of 1.46.984 was less than 0.1s away from a top six position.
Andrea Dovizioso 3rd 1.46.282 - 34laps:
“It has been a really good start to the weekend because I did my time with the hard tyre and that looks like being a probable choice for the race. The good thing is I am very competitive already but I know we can improve on the last part of the entry to the corner. I don't feel comfortable in that area, but even if I don't feel 100% confident with the bike and ready to push as hard as I know I can, I am very close to the fastest two. I believe I will be able to follow Dani and Jorge on Sunday and that is basically my aim for the weekend. It will be difficult to fight with them for the victory but I am certainly looking to be battling for the podium again on a track that I really like.”
Cal Crutchlow 9th 1.46.984 - 36 laps:
“Today wasn't the start I was hoping for at all because we worked very hard to improve the bike but I was unable to find a comfortable setting. I am way down on the timesheets and a long way behind Andrea and we are both on the same bike and the same tyres, so it is clear that we have a lot of work to do to improve tomorrow. Nothing we tried seemed to work and give me the feeling I wanted and I certainly need to improve and be faster with the hard tyre because that might be the tyre I need to race with. There isn't one particular place where I am struggling. We have quite a few issues but I will sit down with my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew tonight and see if we can come up with a solution to help me be more competitive tomorrow.”
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies made a strong start to the Grand Prix of Japan today in the first free practice sessions. Championship leader Lorenzo was straight to the top of the time sheets as the morning session began and was unchallenged for the duration. Team mate Spies was also quickly up to speed, initially running in second behind his team mate before dropping slightly to fifth, 0.7 seconds from the front at the end.
The afternoon session saw more of the same class leading pace from Lorenzo, topping the session from the start and only surpassed by Championship rival Pedrosa towards the end by 0.102 seconds. Spies also continued to improve from the morning session, making steps in the set up to bring his time down by nearly half a second. The Texan completed day one in sixth in the combined times with a 1’46.912.
Position : 2nd Time: 1'46.190 Laps: 33
“We started in a very good way here, much better than in Aragon where we had issues with the life of the rear tyre. We have a very good pace and with a little change in the electronics were able to go a bit faster. We tried with the hard tyre, for me it’s not better than the soft although we can go fast on it. For tomorrow I think the soft one will be better. The Hondas are very good here but our bike is also so I think we can fight with them for the victory.”
Position : 6th Time: 1'46.912 Laps: 27
“Today wasn’t bad, the second session was a bit slow in the beginning but we got going pretty well in the end. We didn’t try the soft rear but focused on trying to make the hard tyre work in case it’s the race tyre. I think it’s unlikely as everyone who went out faster than us at the end was on the softer option, so to be eight tenths off on the hard is not so bad. I think with the soft we’ll see a true result of where we can be and what the bike is capable of.”
“A very good two practice sessions today, Jorge was first this morning and second in the afternoon and very close to Dani. He has a good feeling with the bike but obviously we need to improve a little and the track will also get better over the weekend I think. Overall a good first day.”
“A good start, we still have to figure out some balance for the bike but the set up is not that far. Hopefully tomorrow we will decide on the rear tyre for the race, we found the right front option today. Jorge delivered very consistent lap times with both the hard and soft tyres; the soft especially was really used so his first day is very promising.”
Dani starts on top at Motegi with Casey in seventh
The Repsol Honda Team has indicated the reference on the first day of free practice for the Grand Prix of Japan, with Dani Pedrosa on top and Casey Stoner in seventh position.
Dani maintained his recent momentum and set the fastest time of the day with 1'46.088 in FP2 where he tested both hard and soft compound Bridgestone rear tyres in a perfect day at Motegi, with temperatures reaching 23 degrees. Dani already lapped within the circuit record that he set last year with 1'46.090.
Casey, on return to competition after his injury that has kept him inactive since Indianapolis, had a difficult morning after an unusual failure left him with only one bike from the beginning of the session. The Australian also experienced issues in the afternoon session and lost valuable track time as he reacquainted himself with his Honda RC213V and adapted to riding with his healing ankle. He finished the day in seventh position, 0.890 off his team mate, hoping his ankle will ease slightly for tomorrow's qualifying.
DANI PEDROSA 1st 1'46.088
"Today was a perfect day for practice. The track conditions were very good, the warm temperatures helped as did the new surface, so we were able to do the job we wanted. The main target today was to test the tyres and we completed some good laps on both hard and soft compounds. The asphalt is new and the grip is quite good, so the lap times are pretty fast from the beginning. We also did some work on the suspension and the mapping to will keep improving on this tomorrow".
CASEY STONER 7th 1'46.978
"Today was a little disappointing, this morning we had our first bike fail on us so we lost valuable time, then in the second session we had a brake issue and spent a lot of time in the garage fixing that also. We spent the two sessions trying to find a nice balance with the bike, of course I'm not feeling 100% as it is, so I wanted to get a reasonable feeling with it before I start pushing. At the moment the acceleration points are causing me most difficulty as there are many areas at this circuit where the bike wants to wheelie and you need to keep your body and weight over the front of the bike. Unfortunately my foot doesn't want to bend far enough to help me move forward so I'm having to pull myself forwa rd which is giving me issues with my arms as they are working a lot harder than usual. We'll keep working tomorrow and see what we can do".
Fifth-best for Rossi in Motegi free practice, Hayden tenth
The Ducati Team got the Japanese Grand Prix weekend off to a good start, with Valentino Rossi fifth at the end of the first two free-practice sessions. Tomorrow the Italian will work on the Desmosedici’s settings in an effort to also improve his pace with a race setup.
Nicky Hayden, whose reduced strength in his right hand is hindering him on the Japanese circuit’s hard-braking zones, finished the day in tenth place.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 5th (1:46.687)
“Today went pretty well, especially in the afternoon because we made a setup change that helped us to improve grip on acceleration. When I open the gas I’m able to exit the turns better, without spinning too much, and that’s why I went pretty fast. I’m especially happy because the gap isn’t too big. Tomorrow, though, we’ll have to improve our pace as well, because for now I’m able to ride well for some laps, and then the tyre starts to slide a bit too much. The rear-tyre choice will be very important because the performance of the soft and the hard are very similar. The soft works a little better but we have to understand if it can last the race distance. Tomorrow we’ll try some more changes and then we’ll also consider the temperature for Sunday when making a decision.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 10th (1:47.551)
“It was good to have a full day of dry weather on a Friday, but it was a difficult day. This morning we weren’t so far off, but I didn’t improve in the afternoon. I’m not getting the feedback from the bike that I’d like under braking. Also, my hand is giving me some pain and I don’t have a lot of strength, especially into the right-handers. There’s lots of hard braking on this track, so I’m losing time mainly on the corner entry, and it’s hard to recover on the exits. We need to have a re-think tonight and try to do a good step tomorrow.”
SUN SHINES ON OPENING DAY AT MOTEGI
Sunshine and ideal track temperatures welcomed the MotoGP paddock to Japan today as the action got underway at Motegi. Unfortunately for Alvaro Bautista he was unable to make the most of the conditions and solve a recurring front-end problem, a lack of confidence under braking not making life any easier around this particular circuit. Michele Pirro suffered similar problems today and like Alvaro he needs to work with his engineers to find a more stable set-up for the many hard-braking points at this track.
Alvaro Bautista (8th 1’ 46” 983) “We haven't found what we are looking for here yet. This morning we tried a different shock and forks but the problem with the front vibrating under heavy braking remains. We went a different way this afternoon to try and improve stability but the solution didn't come. Unfortunately it means that I don't have the confidence I need to push the bike into the corners as I would like at this track. Today we used the hard tyre and the grip wasn't great so we'll evaluate the soft tomorrow and make our choice. The main focus though will be to improve the vibrations on the front.”
Michele Pirro (18th 1’ 49” 770) “This is a track where you need good stability under braking and we need to improve in this area. Two dry sessions today has given us a lot of data to work from so we will try to improve the situation and be more competitive tomorrow.”
Fausto Gresini “Alvaro rode well but is still struggling with the bike 'jumping' on the front. It was still a positive session for him because unlike the other riders he didn't use the soft tyre. We have started out better here than at some other tracks so I think that if we can solve the problem Alvaro is having under braking we can do well here. Michele is struggling with a similar problem so we need to work hard with him too to solve it.”
BRADL IMMEDIATELY FAST AT MOTEGI DAY ONE
Motegi, 12th October: the MotoGP contingent has been pleased with a sunny and dry first practice day at Motegi race track for the first time in many weeks with LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl posting another promising 4th lap time (1’46.428).
The German is keen to make amends for his DNF last time out in Aragón and he is a fan of Honda’s home track so the fourth fastest time of the day came out easily as the 22-year-old immediately lapped consinstently fast aboard his RC213V.
Stefan: “Actually it’s a really good Friday for us. As we already started with a good base set up this morning I immediately felt comfortable on the bike and everything was working pretty good. In this afternoon session we made a little step forward but we need to improve the braking performance because we are pretty fast and stable in the first initial braking but as soon as we start to lean I do not feel very comfortable. This our biggest issue today: we have tried both rear tyres options and they are both working properly. Let’s try to maintain this good level even tomorrow and the same gap in tomorrow’s qualifying”.
Pedrosa leads tightly packed field in Motegi practice
Round 15: Japanese Grand Prix – Free Practice One and Two
Motegi, Friday 12 October 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 19-20°C; Track 32-35°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 23-22°C; Track 36-35°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Dani Pedrosa was fastest on day one of action at Motegi as the Repsol Honda rider cut a lap quicker than his circuit lap record he set on the way to winning last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Pedrosa set a time of 1’46.088 towards the end of FP2 to relegate championship rival Jorge Lorenzo on the Yamaha Factory Racing M1 to second quickest overall by 0.190 seconds. Third quickest today was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso who set a time of 1’46.282. The top nine riders in free practice today set personal best lap times within one second of each other.
Tyre selection today comprised almost all the slick options brought to Motegi, with the medium and hard front and soft and medium rear slicks being used in today’s sessions. All riders started this morning’s first free practice with softer slicks front and rear to evaluate grip levels before many riders switched to the harder slick options in FP2, the harder front slick was used extensively due to its greater cornering and braking stability. The current weather forecast indicates fine weather over the rest of the weekend so riders should have two whole sessions of dry track time tomorrow to hone a race setup.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today we had good conditions with warm dry weather for both sessions. Most riders started in FP1 with the combination of the softer slicks front and rear to assess the grip levels of the circuit, though some riders switched to the harder front slick at the end of FP1 and for FP2 for greater front-end stability. Many riders also performed longer runs on the harder rear slick in FP2. We can expect fine weather conditions for the rest of the weekend and with the top nine riders setting a best lap within one second of each other, qualifying could prove quite exciting.”
Friday´s sessions at Motegi: Karel Abraham finished on 14th position
Czech MotoGP rider Karel Abraham finished fourteenth after first two practice sessions for Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi. With 1:48,757 Cardion AB Motoracing rider lose 2,669 to the fastest Dani Pedrosa.
“We have had lot of problems in the morning practice, I couldn´t rely on the front nor on the rear. Rear wheel had lost contact with surface during hard braking, which is very uncomfortable. The positive thing is that we found a solution for the afternoon session. Unfortunately, despite the bike was much better, we cannot achieve better lap times. I still have some kind of „mental block“, and even I really push hard, I can´t be faster. I´m still missing a confidence to the bike and I need to come over this, feel better and trust my Ducati.”
Marco Grana, Cardion AB Motoracing chief mechanic
“We can´t be happy at all after Friday. Karel doesn´t trust his bike, he´s not familiar with the track and he cannot brake hard after long straights. Tomorrow we will try to change the set up only to help Karel to find a confidence to the bike. Compared to other riders we have problem with braking points. Karel brakes too soon and we are losing lot of time in the corners. We will try other tyres and we must hope, that together with set up changes it will help.“
STRONG PACE FROM ESPARGARÓ AND DE PUNIET DESPITE TURN NINE TROUBLES
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar pair both crash in same corner but still set the CRT pace
The GP of Japan got underway at Motegi today with current World Champion Casey Stoner making his return to action from injury. The first race of an Asia-Oceana three week triple-header saw ideal conditions on track and another battle for supremacy between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, who set the pace in the first and second free practices respectively. Lap times are already inside the 2011 record and with barely a fraction of a second covering the top five riders there could be an entertaining battle for the podium on Sunday.
There were mixed fortunes for the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders, who both recorded positive results but also crashed in the same corner. Aleix and Randy both lost the front in turn nine, the Spaniard in the morning and the Frenchman in the afternoon. However, they led the CRT charge once again, Espargaró finishing thirteenth and fastest of the new concept MotoGP machines with De Puniet closing out the top fifteen.
13th Aleix Espargaró 1.48.470 (27 laps): "I am happy with our performance today and the bike worked very well. We made a few chances and it improved quite a lot from one session to the next. I crashed this morning because I didn't have a feel for the front but thanks to the mechanic we were able to improve the situation for the second session. I am satisfied with this for a first day but we need to keep working to improve the rear traction. We have to keep going in the same way as the last race to close down the points gap to Randy in the championship on Sunday."
15th Randy De Puniet 1.48.770 (29 laps): "To crash at the start of the second session was a real shame because it broke our rhythm. I didn't feel anything at the time but now my ankle is starting to hurt because it got caught under the bike. I went back out on the second bike and usually I struggle to get on the pace with it but today my lap time was positive. This morning the feeling wasn't as good as I'd hoped so we'll have a look over everything and see where we can improve. I also want to find out why I had such a stupid crash."
GREAT FEELING FOR ROLFO ON TOP OF HIS ART MACHINE IN THE FIRST TWO SESSIONS OF THE MOTEGI GP
Today’s sessions set the beginning of the Grand Prix of Motegi, the fifteenth round of the season for the MotoGP class.
The free practices were essential for Roberto Rolfo, who had the chance to get on top of the ART machine for the first time. In the session of the morning, Roberto tried to complete as many laps as possible, to get to know the reactions of his CRT on the Japanese track.
The afternoon was important to arrange the first changes, together with the crew, in order to make some progress. The italian set the time of 1'50.292, about one second faster than in FP1, maintaining a consistent pace.
Roberto Rolfo #84 - 19th with 1'50.292
“Today’s sessions were very positive and I had a lot of fun. I’m happy with the performance of my ART, I had never dealt with such a powerful bike before. Once the session started, my impression was great, I had a good feeling since the beginning and generally speaking I was happy with the bike’s behaviour since the first laps. We started pushing regularly in order to understand the CRT reactios and its performance when entering and exiting the turns. In the afternoon we worked to improve and know better the Bridgestone tyres, which are something new for me: we managed to make some progress, even on top of used tyres. In the last few minutes at disposal we wanted to make a further step, but we chose a setting that didn’t help us in making a big difference. I get along very well with the team and I’m really happy, tomorrow we’ll work to keep improving.”
GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN STARTS FOR CAME IODARACING TEAM
Grand Prix of Japan is the first of three races in a row which take place far from Europe. A warm sunny day permits to all the rider to work in the best conditions after the rain of the last races.
Danilo Petrucci, with his new IODA-SUTER BMW, has finished the first free practice day in 22nd position with the time of 1’52.270. The Came Iodaracing Team rider has test different regulation for the suspension of his bike and many electronic configuration thank to the dry conditions of the track.
Simone Corsi has got the 12th place with 1’52.642. The Roman rider was very fast with his FTR since the beginning of the morning free practice, while during the afternoon he tested some different tyres.
Armando Pontone debuts on the Japanese track with his TR002 getting the 33rd position with 2’03.836. The Iodaracing Project young rider spent his time to learn this technique track showing to improve a lot his lap times during the second free practice.
"We have worked hard for all the practices because is the first time that it doesn’t rain the first day of a GP – Petrucci said – and we tested different settings and electronic maps for my new IODA-SUTER. I don’t know this track and this gave me some problems in some corners where I have to improve, but Tomorrow we will continue to develope the bike looking to the race”.
"This morning we got a quite good result – Corsi declared – where I found a good feeling with my FTR. During the afternoon we have tested the hard tyre that I felt more sliding, so tomorrow we will work hard to improve the bike because on this track is hard to overtake and it is very important to start in the front rows”.
"It wasn’t an easy debut – Pontone said – the track in some points in very difficult and I have to improve there. The feeling with my TR002 is good and I’m confident for a good result for tomorrow”.
Promising beginning at Motegi for Edwards
Scoring the third fastest lap time of all CRTs this morning during FP1 and the afternoon session, Colin Edwards and the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team can be satisfied with their results on this first day at Motegi.
The weather has been particularly good, allowing it to rain only by night and not letting it interfere with the setup work done in dry conditions for this weekend’s race. The American rider’s Sutter – BMW today has proven to be fast and tomorrow’s objective will be to make it to work and get a good position on the starting grid.
Colin Edwards - 5
“Went out this morning and the bike felt pretty good right off the bat. Some quick changes just to get the chassis feeling right, getting the balance right, play with the electronics a little bit this morning. That hour of practice in the morning did us good, we pin pointed what we wanted to fix on the electronics and chassis, we went back to what we had, lowered it and raised it back up. We have so much time out there, obviously the last time I was here I was on a prototype, I know break markers and lines and I know where we are struggling, entry and breaking, getting the bike to turn in instead of going straight, brake late and turn in, that’s our goal.”
Sergio Verbena – Crew Chief
“Colin had a good feeling with the bike straight away during the morning practice and with a few modifications the bike seemed to feel even better during the afternoon session. We are 16th today; with six other CRTs behind us and the only CRTs in front of ours are those of Espargaro and De Puniet. We will seek to close the gap with them tomorrow.”