Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Barcelona:
Crutchlow fourth after fast start in Catalunya
Cal Crutchlow’s sky high confidence was once again reflected on the MotoGP timesheets after the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider challenged for the top three in both free practice sessions at the Circuit de Catalunya today.
The British rider wasted no time in establishing a fast rhythm this morning when he stormed into the top three in FP1, a personal best lap of 1.42.492 only 0.070s off reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo’s best pace.
With air and track temperatures soaring under gloriously sunny skies this afternoon, Crutchlow logged a best time of 1.42.776 in FP2 to clinch fifth spot on the leaderboard. Rather than use a soft Bridgestone rear tyre to improve his pace, the 27-year-old preferred to check endurance with the harder option to give the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team as much information as possible on tyre wear ahead of Sunday’s 25-lap race.
Crutchlow was fourth fastest on the combined rankings with his faster pace in FP1 this morning meaning he was only 0.047s outside of the top three and less than 0.2s away from Valentino Rossi’s best pace of 1.42.297.
Today’s action proved to be another tough and painful learning experience for Bradley Smith, the rookie finishing 14th after a fast fall in the second session.
After heavy falls during preparations for the previous round in Mugello left him with left hand and wrist injuries, Smith made a positive start to then Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya today when he set the 12th fastest time in FP1.
As temperatures soared to a gruelling 28 degrees this afternoon, Smith had already dropped his pace to a 1.44.247 when he suffered a tumble at Turn 3 shortly after the halfway stage.
Fortunately he was uninjured in the spill and he will now work closely with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew to find some improvements with his YZR-M1 ahead of tomorrow’s final practice and qualifying sessions.
Cal Crutchlow 4th 1.42.492 – 36 laps
“I am really happy with today’s practice because we experimented a lot with the bike and found some very positive things that will help me for the rest of the weekend. This afternoon when the temperature really came hot I didn’t use a soft tyre and we can see from the timesheets how much of an advantage that was. I am sure if I had used the soft tyre I’d have been inside the top three but I preferred to do a long run with the hard tyre and it was positive. I need to improve a bit in the first sector but we have some changes planned for tomorrow that should help make me stronger and overall today I am really happy. I am convinced it is going to be a big fight on Sunday with the Spanish boys obviously wanting to put on a show here but I am looking forward to being part of the battle.”
Bradley Smith 14th 1.44.247 – 30 laps
“Today was another tough day. I am not feeling so confident with the setting and I am missing some confidence myself. I am lucky I didn’t damage my body in the crash because it was another big fall. I lost the front and as I tried to save it the rear tyre gripped and threw me off. The bike hit my left knee and that’s why I was limping in the gravel but luckily I am fine. Right now I need to work hard and sit down with my crew to find where I am loosing most of the time. I don’t really know what is missing but we will find something tonight and approach it at 100% again tomorrow.”
Rossi Takes Charge in Catalunya
Montmelo' Circuit (Barcelona, Spain), 14th June 2013
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi wrapped up the first day of practice for the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya at the top of the time sheets as the fastest rider in sweltering conditions and a track temperature that topped 50 degrees.
Having named the track as one of his top three favourites, the nine-time champion was clearly enjoying being back at the Circuit de Catalunya on his YZR-M1. Rossi wrapped up the morning first practice in fifth position, just under half a second from the front. He upped the pace in the afternoon, diving under the circuit record in the last three minutes with a 1’42.297 lap on a fresh soft tyre to go top.
Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo was on typical form in front of his home crowd today and was quick to find his trademark blistering pace. Lorenzo wrapped up the morning session in first, 0.023 seconds ahead of fellow Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa. The afternoon saw a repeat performance as he led for the majority of the session, only passed by his teammate in the final minutes to leave him in second place, 0.049 seconds from Rossi in first.
1st / 1'42.297 / 26 laps
“I love this track; it is one of the best. The M1 is always great here in Catalunya. It is just Friday but I am very happy to be in front, although we have still a lot of work to do. We have to decide which tyre to use and we have some corners and sections where we have to improve for tomorrow. Anyway, it is great to be back on top.”
2nd / 1'42.346 / 12 laps
“We started very well but we tried two settings that didn’t work so well. We stayed with the same tyres for the whole practice to understand why they are dropping in this weather so we could solve this problem that I think all the riders are having. We have to try and improve the bike in order to let me have more confidence, then I can stay in the middle of the 42 second mark which is my target. We don’t focus so much on the classification because not all the riders kept on the same tyres during the practice, a new tyre can give you half a second or more. We have to trust the pace and the pace is good, one of the best of the grid."
“A very good first day in very hot conditions. It was important to see how the bike behaved this afternoon. Jorge was not really pleased with the performance but I was actually pleased as we have a clear direction for tomorrow, this is what counts. It’s the first day, we are still second and Vale was fast with the soft tyre at the end. We found our direction to work in for tomorrow which is good.”
“A really good starting point; having both bikes in the top two is a good result. We still have a lot of work to do. We have to perfect the set up and decide which tyre to use in the race. So far we’ve done a good job so let’s see what we can do to make it even better tomorrow.”
GP of Catalunya begins under scorching Spanish sun
Round six of the 2013 Championship began today with the first two free practice sessions in preparation for Sunday's race in Montmelò, Catalunya, and Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez had a productive day aboard their Honda RC213V machines in very hot conditions.
In the morning session, with a track temperature of 33ºC and air temperature of 25ºC, both riders opted the soft front and soft rear Bridgestone tyres to take the first feelings from the 4.727km Spanish circuit. Dani completed 18 laps and was 2nd fastest with a lap of 1'42.445 and Marc was 9th fastest with 1'43.641 after 19 laps in his first appearance here on a MotoGP machine.
In the afternoon, temperatures rose to 49ºC on the track with an ambient temperature of 28ºC. Dani went out early in the session with a new hard front, keeping the soft rear from the morning session, but before long he changed for a fresh hard rear and although he was unable to improve his lap time from the morning, it was crucial to test how the hard tyre performed. He completed a total of 17 laps taking his fastest (with the hard rear) on lap 12 with 1'42.557, placing him 3rd in the combined times for the day.
Marc started the FP2 session as he left FP1, with soft rear and soft front, but he also changed for both hard option tyres and improved from the morning session by 0.784 with a time of 1'42.857 on lap 10 of 18, placing him 6th for the day.
Dani Pedrosa 3rd 1'42.445
"Above all today, we focused on testing tyres. We were able to ride some laps with the soft tyres and also the hards, in order to see which are best suited to the track. Getting the choice right is very important at this circuit, because it is always hot in the race and it is usually a key to managing this. The tyres suffer a little when we lean the bike over, but we are working on this issue. We still haven't decided which compounds we will use, so we will see what tomorrow brings and then go from there"
Marc Marquez 6th 1'42.857
"I am pretty happy with how the day went. We followed the normal Friday agenda; in the first session we were ninth, over one second from the top, then in the second session we cut the gap to half a second and finished sixth in the combined times. I am very happy with the work that we have done, but we still have things to improve and there are points on the track where I am still not comfortable. I have to improve my adaptation to the circuit and some details with the setup but the most important thing is that we have cut the gap and are working in the right direction"
STEFAN 9th FASTEST AT THE “TROPICAL” MONTEMELÓ CIRCUIT
Montmeló, 14 June: the opening day of the Gran Premi de Catalunya got underway with tropical temperatures with premier class riders facing a physically demanding first outing at the Catalan circuit. LCR racer Stefan Bradl, who had a very productive weekend in Mugello, is aiming to continue his progression and he finished the day in 9th (1’43.005) despite a fall at La Caixa Curve.
“Actually it was a difficult first day for us as I suffered a small crash in FP2 but it was also a very productive day. We have tried two different settings gathering a lot of information in order to find the best set up ahead the race. I am quite happy about the adjustments but we need some small improvements to make the bike more stable in the corner entry. I have been a bit aggressive when I crashed but I went out with the same bike later and the feeling was still okay so I am convinced we can set a good lap time tomorrow”.
Warm conditions for free practice at Catalan GP
The first free-practice sessions from the second MotoGP round of the year to be held on Spanish soil ended today with Andrea Iannone holding a best time of 1:43.272. The Italian, who had spent last night fighting a problem with his ear, sat in eleventh place in the combined times, having improved his best lap from the morning session by nearly a second.
Iannone remains determined, his goal for this weekend being to continue developing the new ideas that emerged from the recent test at Mugello, in order to increase his competitiveness. His gaps to the two Ducati Team riders—a bit more than three tenths from Nicky Hayden and two tenths from Andrea Dovizioso—help provide reason for optimism as the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team continues its work.
Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“It seems like everything is happening to me this year! Fortunately, Claudio [Dr Costa] is always at the track, and when my ear began tormenting me last night, he helped me to finally get some rest. Apart from that, I can say that the day didn’t go so badly in the end. The gap to Nicky and Dovi on this track is smaller than usual, and we’re a second faster compared to the first session. Of course I still have some problems. I’m struggling in the faster sections in the last part of the track, and on corner entry, where I tend to go wide. We’re still working though, and after some updates, things went better today. This morning I immediately went out with the hard tyre, and it didn’t go badly, but the pace was better with the soft in the afternoon session. I was able to ride better, but I’m not sure for the race. We’ll see how things go tomorrow.”
Pirro back in the Ignite Pramac Racing Team garage
Michele Pirro was back with the Ignite Pramac Racing Team today as a temporary substitute for American Ben Spies at the Catalan Grand Prix. The Italian is riding the ‘laboratory’ version of the Desmosedici GP13 in order to continue the bike’s development.
The first day of free practice concluded today with Michele Pirro occupying thirteenth place, having lowered his best time from FP1 by nearly a second.
His goal for tomorrow will be to limit rear-suspension pumping as much as possible.
Michele Pirro – Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“Well, we’re outside the top ten. This morning I had a small problem with the bike I used at Mugello, so we weren’t able to take advantage of the setting that we had found there. We’re having many problems with the rear; the bike moves a lot, and the track certainly isn’t the easiest from that point of view. There are so many fast corners where you have to open the throttle with the bike leaned over. We’ll work tomorrow to see what we can do to improve, because it’s really limiting us at the moment since I’m not fast on corner exits. Things were different at Mugello. Anyway, it’s just the first day, and although we knew that it wouldn’t be easy, we still have another day to prepare for the race. In the end, the gap to Dovi is six tenths, so I think there’s still room to improve.”
Hayden, Dovizioso seventh and eighth in Barcelona free practice
Day one of the Catalan Grand Prix concluded with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso occupying the seventh and eight positions, respectively in the combined times from the first two MotoGP free-practice sessions.
Conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya were warmer today than has been the case at the previous rounds, and the two Ducati Team riders are doing their best to find the ideal settings for their Desmosedici GP13 race machines.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 7th (1:42.890)
“It wasn’t a spectacular day, but the team has worked well and made some good improvements between exits, which helped us to increase our pace in the afternoon. With a new tyre, the bike is working well, but it becomes a problem when the grip goes away. I got into the 42s twice, and the gap to the next couple of guys is pretty small, but we’ve got to do anything we can to improve the longevity of the tyres.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 8th (1:42.988)
“I think we’ve still got a lot of work to do, as I’m not feeling comfortable on the bike in a number of ways. We must re-evaluate the riding position because this track is quite different from Mugello and requires different solutions. We’re not sure about the moved-back position, which had worked well at the test last week in Italy. For this reason, we tried a number of different setups. Pace-wise, we’re not so bad, but we definitely must improve because the pace always increases in the race, and those who are best prepared do better.”
Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista hit the ground running at one of his four home Grands Prix today, lapping fourth fastest in this afternoon's second free practice session in Barcelona. The Spaniard showed good pace around the Circ uit de Catalunya from the morning session and despite a crash he came back stronger in the afternoon and stepped up his pace. It was a contrasting situation for Australia's Bryan Staring, who is riding here for the first time and struggled for front grip and corner speed.
Alvaro Bautista (4th 1’ 42” 752) “Today was a positive start to the weekend. I felt good with the bike and the track right from the start of the first session and was able to get started on the set-up. The crash was a shame but luckily I wasn't hurt. In the afternoon we went out with the hard front and rear tyres but the rear was sliding a lot and I couldn't get a good feeling. We went back to the soft and even though it had some laps on it I was able to go fast. Tomorrow we will work with the electronics to try and get the bike working well when the tyres go off, as they will in the race. It has been a great day but we still have work to do tomorrow to try and get a good grip position for Sunday.”
Bryan Staring (23rd 1’ 46” 577) “It's a great track but I struggled to get used to it today. It's not easy for me to have to learn new tracks every weekend and today we also struggled to keep our corner speed up. The guys will make some changes to the bike tomorrow and try to find the best possible solution before Sunday's race.”
Fausto Gresini “Alvaro did a good job and was quick from the start, which allowed him to work on the set-up. His pace was good in conditions that we expect to see for the race so we are confident that he can get a good result on Sunday and put the disappointment from Mugello behind us. For Bryan it's another new track and he is struggling for feeling with the bike but we will try our best to help him and reward his constant effort.”
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ TOPS CRT CHALLENGE AND LAPS INSIDE TOP TEN
Randy De Puniet is the second fastest CRT and twelfth overall on the opening day
The Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona welcomed the MotoGP teams and riders to the scorching Spanish summer today, signalling day intense work on set-up and tyre choice as the sixth round of the season got underway. Jorge Lorenzo dominated the opening free practice session this morning and was on course to do so again in the afternoon until Valentino Rossi produced a fast lap at the end of the day to leave himself on top of the timesheets overnight by just 0.049 seconds.
Aleix Espargaró kicked off his home Grand Prix in the kind of fine form that is typical of him this season, the Barcelona boy dominating the CRT field in both sessions. He was tenth fastest overall in each and finished the day less than a second shy of Rossi's benchmark, thanks largely to his new front suspension package. Randy De Puniet also enjoyed the feel from the new front forks, overcoming the front grip problems that dogged his weekend in Mugello and recovering his confidence in the bike. The Frenchman improved significantly from the morning to the afternoon sessions and ended the day twelfth fastest overall and second only to his team-mate amongst the CRTs.
10th Aleix Espargaró 1.43.204 (33 laps): “I struggled right to the end of the session to get my pace together because the track was quite slippery and I couldn't find amy grip. To be honest I left it a little too late to come in and change bikes to the one with the new front forks but when I did I knocked half a second off within the first lap. Unfortunately we only had time for one lap but it was on used tyres so that means the new suspension is a big step forward and I am really happy with it. Anything new we can get to help us improve is always welcome! To finish inside a second of the fastest guy after testing so many things is a massive achievement. We'll keep working in the same way tomorrow, when as well as the new suspension we'll also have a new engine to try.”
12th Randy De Puniet 1.43.644 (33 laps): “We tried the new suspension today and the feeling was excellent. We had to work hard to set the bike up but we gathered a lot of data this morning and even though we had a problem with the engine braking the guys did a great job to fix it for the afternoon. The new fork gave me a lot of confidence and it has massive potential so I think we'll see more positive steps very soon. The biggest thing is that we know we have room to improve now and I feel much more confident with the front, which is exactly what we needed.”
Resurgent Rossi leads Friday practice at Montmeló
Round 6: Catalan MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two
Montmeló, Friday 14 June 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 25-28°C; Track 15-16°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 18-19°C; Track 28-29°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi lapped under the race lap record at the Circuit de Catalunya today to lead the field in a scorching day of action.
Having set impressive times on the harder rear slick option earlier in the FP2 session, Rossi switched to the softer rear slick, paired with the harder front slick option to set a time of 1’42.297 to end the day 0.049 seconds ahead of teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Third quickest overall today was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, the Spaniard setting his best time of the day – a 1’42.445 - in Free Practice 1. Clearly revelling in the conditions at his home circuit, Power Electronics Aspar rider Aleix Espargaro was the top CRT rider in today’s sessions, finishing tenth fastest with a time of 1’43.204.
Track temperatures soared today under a blazing Spanish sun, with a peak of 54°C recorded during the afternoon FP2 session. The hot tarmac resulted in many teams evaluating the harder option rear slick, with some riders able to set their best lap time of the day on this option. Front tyre choice today was also varied, with the softer front slick preferred in the morning FP1 session as the riders evaluated the condition of the track, before the trend shifted towards the harder front slick in the hot afternoon session. The warm track temperatures enabled riders to get up to pace quickly in FP1 and despite the very hot conditions in the afternoon, the pace quickened even more on what was reported by riders to be a good track surface.
Hot conditions are also expected for the rest of the race weekend, with the next session, FP3, scheduled for 0955 local time tomorrow (GMT +2).
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today’s very hot weather helped the riders set a good pace almost right away, and considering the conditions I believe our decision on Wednesday to change our original tyre allocation and provide harder front slick options was the right choice, as these handled the high track temperatures excellently. The riders tried all the slick options available to them today, though further evaluation tomorrow is needed until decisions about race tyre choice can be made. The good thing is that this weekend it looks like we will have similar conditions in each session, so the riders will have a lot of opportunities to test each tyre option. Today we saw that the pace for the top riders with both the soft and hard rear slick tyre options was very good, so the signs are promising for an exciting qualifying session tomorrow.”