Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Motorland Aragon:
Honda riders on fire in the Aragón heat
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez, who currently leads the World Championship, has come flying out of the gates at a hot Motorland Aragón circuit. With an ambient temperature of 29ºC and a track temperature of 39ºC, Marc set the fastest time of the day with 1'48.987 on lap 4 of 17 in this afternoon's FP2 session, beating the circuit lap record of 1'49.046 (set by Casey Stoner in 2011). Teammate Dani Pedrosa was third fastest for the day with his lap time of 1'49.254 on lap 7 of 19.
Stefan Bradl, riding the Satellite LCR Honda split the two factory riders with an impressive lap of 1'49.119 placing him second fastest for the day and with Alvaro Bautista aboard the Satellite Honda Gresini in fifth, Honda occupied four out of the top five positions on day one at the Spanish track.
Marc Marquez 1st 1'48.987
“Today, I didn't feel as good as I did in the test that we did here after the Barcelona GP, as there was less grip in these two practice sessions. Anyway, it's the same for everyone. In general the feeling that we have is pretty good and I worked on various things with the bike today. However, we can still improve our setup. We hope to take that step forward tomorrow and we shall see if the grip level improves, as that would make things so much easier for everyone"
Dani Pedrosa 3rd 1'49.254
“I'm happy, because today I felt comfortable on track, we put in some good laps and improved our feeling a lot. We were only lacking a test run with the hard rear tyre, so tomorrow we will work on that to see which compound we go with in the end. We hope to get a bit further along with our preparations for the race"
MotoGP Action Begins in Aragon
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi got down to business again today in the first two free practice sessions for this weekend’s Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon.
Fresh from his two consecutive race victories, reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo was quick to make his intentions clear in the morning session - challenging championship rival Marc Marquez for the top spot on the timesheets - and eventually emerging the faster at the end of the 45 minute session with a 1’49.753. The afternoon saw the competition catch up as the times dropped into the 1’48s, Lorenzo eventually wrapping up day one in fourth place overall, 0.418 from the top.
Rossi was quickly up to a competitive pace in the first session, the nine-time world champion completing the morning practice in fifth position, 0.746 seconds from the front. The Italian then struggled with a number of different issues in the afternoon, including a brake problem and a lack of grip which prevented both him and teammate Lorenzo from realising their full potential. Rossi finished the day in seventh, 0.922 seconds from the top.
4th / 1'49.405 / 17 laps
“We hoped to improve the bike from the morning but we couldn't do it. I have a worse feeling than when we were here for the test. We have to keep working to improve the bike and the pace. The other riders are improving their pace a lot but we are optimistic. We can improve the bike and make another step. We need to be competitive whether it is hot or not.”
7th / 1.49.909 / 16 laps
“We struggled more than we expected. In the test the track had different conditions and more grip, the temperature was lower and it was better. Today we suffered quite a lot, especially this afternoon I had quite a lot of issues, especially one with the brakes and I lost nearly half the practice. At the end I used the second bike and made some laps to find the rhythm. We have to improve and go faster but at this moment after some laps the rear tyre starts to slide a lot and the bike becomes difficult to control.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“The first day of Aragon and sunny conditions but we are not completely satisfied. The rider has complained that the grip drops really quickly. We need to try and improve tyre life; that is high on his wish list. The lap times are quite close but we can do better.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We didn't expect a start like today. Unfortunately the bike didn't work as it did during the test. The track conditions were completely different. We have a lot of work to do to improve the bike, the grip levels on the track are not good, one more day will make it much better. We will analyse the data, compare it with the riders' feedback and come back tomorrow to make another step forward.”
BAUTISTA MAKES STRONG START AT ARAGON
Alvaro Bautista made a strong start to his third home Grand Prix of the season today, the Spaniard lapping fifth fastest in free practice at Motorland, Aragon. Despite not having a good feeling at this circuit last year or in the post-Barcelona test here earlier this year Bautista was able to get on the pace until a crash late in the second session. The suspension and brake updates tested for the first time at Misano last Monday are showing encouraging potential and Alvaro is hopeful of getting even more out of them tomorrow.
Alvaro Bautista (5th 1’ 49” 763) “Today was a really good day because we have come to a track where we struggled last year and also in the test here after the Barcelona race and set a good pace in both sessions. Obviously the bike is quite different and with the suspension and brake updates we tried at Misano it is a more competitive package. It was a shame about the crash in the last few minutes because I might have improved my lap time but it doesn't matter. I am satisfied with our day's work and confident of a good result this weekend.”
Bryan Staring (22nd 1’ 53” 557) “I had a good feeling with the bike today despite the fact that I had to learn the track because the layout is different to the one we used in SBK. Overall I am happy and I think we can have a good race here.”
Fausto Gresini “It was a shame about the crash but apart from that Alvaro has made a good start to the weekend here at Aragon. This has never been a favourable track for him but today's sessions bucked the trend and he went better than last year and also better than the test we had here following the Barcelona Grand Prix. The weekend couldn't have started much better, Alvaro is in good spirits and even the crash didn't unsettle him. The suspension and brake updates we tested at Misano have made a difference here and we are really happy because they will be a big help for the remainder of the season. Bryan Staring did a good job today, he is confident on the bike and has the potential to fight for a good result here at Aragon.”
Dovizioso, Hayden eighth and tenth in free practice at Aragón
Riding in the dry, hot conditions that are common to the area around MotorLand Aragón, the MotoGP riders kicked off the season’s fourteenth round and its third Grand Prix on Spanish soil by completing the first two free-practice sessions of the race weekend.
By day’s end, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden had turned the eighth and tenth fastest laps, respectively, in the combined times, the Italian 1.047 seconds off of leader Marc Marquez and his Ducati Team cohort a further .412 seconds back. For tomorrow, Dovizioso expects to focus on his Desmosedici GP13’s setup for the soft tyre, whereas Hayden will work on improving corner entry.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 8th (1:50.034)
“We wanted to try the hard tyre, but as there’s a one-second difference, it’s not worth considering at the moment. Tomorrow morning we’ll continue working because although the time isn’t bad, it’s still a second off the leaders. The others used the soft tyre the whole session, whereas I only put it on at the end and only had one good lap with it. I think the gap here at Aragón is in line with the other tracks.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:50.446)
“In the morning, we weren’t quite as far back as we’ve been at other tracks, which is good considering that we didn’t test here when the other manufacturers did. Since then, we haven’t made a lot of progress, as I’m not very comfortable on corner entry. I can’t get enough feel from the front to really find my limit, and I ran wide a couple of times, including once this afternoon on a good lap. That’s where our main focus is, so we’ll concentrate on that tonight and see what we can do tomorrow.”
Crutchlow makes promising start at Motorland Aragon
The penultimate round of the European phase of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship campaign got off to a promising start for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow at the state-of-the-art Motorland Aragon track today.
In pleasantly warm conditions throughout today, Crutchlow ended the opening day of practice at the technically challenging and undulating Spanish venue in sixth position on the combined timesheets.
That was an impressive outcome for the 27-year-old considering six of the top seven riders on the final leaderboard tested at the Motorland Aragon in June.
A lap of 1.50.575 in this morning’s FP1 put Crutchlow in seventh position, but a big improvement to a 1.49.840 this afternoon elevated the British rider into the top six ahead of Factory Yamaha rider and nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi.
Teammate Bradley Smith has happy memories of the Motorland Aragon track after taking a podium finish in the 2010 125cc encounter and the British rider enjoyed a positive start to proceedings this morning when a lap of 1.51.263 placed him 10th in the rankings.
The 22-year-old, who is looking to consolidate his top 10 World Championship position in Sunday’s 23-lap race, was able to improve his pace to a 1.50.944 this afternoon but his progress unfortunately wasn’t reflected on the timesheets as he slipped down the order to 13th.
Experimenting with a new riding position to improve rear grip that he first tried during a test session after the previous round at Misano, Smith was less than 0.5s away from the top 10.
Cal Crutchlow 6th 1.49.840 – 36 laps :
“Today was a pretty positive start to the weekend and I am happy to be in the top six. This morning proved it wasn’t going to be easy because I was seventh and the top six had all tested here back in June, so they have an advantage in terms of set-up and information. I feel I am riding quite well but for tomorrow we definitely need to try and get some more speed out of the bike. I am quite slow compared to the rest in the speed traps and also quite a way off the fastest Yamaha, so that is one area we need to look at tonight and work on improving for the rest of the weekend.”
Bradley Smith 13th 1.50.944 – 36 laps :
“I’m reasonably happy with how the weekend has started but obviously the final position doesn’t look so good. I don’t think the position truly reflects our potential because a few guys not so far in front of me used a soft tyre to make their best time and they could only make one fast lap. I feel my pace is consistent but I am certainly looking to improve by at least 0.5s tomorrow. Track conditions between FP1 and FP2 changed quite a lot, so it is not clear which direction to go with on the set-up. But the first goal for tomorrow will be to make sure I am back in the top 10 at the end of FP3 to advance straight into QP2.”
First day at the Ciudad del Motor de Aragón for Yonny Hernandez
Yonny Hernandez officially began his first Grand Prix with the Ignite Pramac Racing Team at the 5.078 metre (3.155 mile) Aragon circuit, where he is replacing Texan Ben Spies.
Having taken part in the recent test at Misano, where he completed 65 laps, Yonny finished today’s two free-practice sessions with a best time of 1:51.345. The lap was over a second better than the best he did during the day’s first session.
The Colombian’s aim is to understand the fundamental differences between the CRT machine aboard which he spent the previous 13 MotoGP races and the current Desmosedici GP13, in order to improve his feeling day by day and face the next few races with the necessary confidence.
Yonny Hernandez - Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“I'm very happy. I really like the bike and every time I go on the track I learn something more. I’ve improved lap by lap, and that gives me confidence. The feeling under braking and corner exit is increasing, and I think we’re on the right path. Tomorrow we’ll try to lower my time again for qualifying. Obviously, I’d like to get into Q2 directly, but I'll be patient and work to the fullest. I feel good and I hope to continue like this.”
First day of practice at MotorLand Aragon
Andrea Iannone concluded the first day of practice at the 14th round of the MotoGP World Championship, with a personal best time of 1:50.727, over six tenths of a second under his best time from the morning session, securing eleventh place in the combined times.
A small problem suffered at the beginning of FP2 (and later solved), prevented Andrea and the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team from taking full advantage of the session, but the 36 laps completed during today’s two sessions were important for collecting useful data for the continuation of the work in view of the tough day of practice and qualifying that awaits tomorrow.
Andrea Iannone - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“I’d say that everything went quite well apart from the fact that we lost almost half of the second session because we had a problem with the GPS signal, and the bike behaved incorrectly. Initially, I didn’t really understand what was going on but then I came into the pits and went out with the second bike. I still have a little bit of problems under braking, as I can’t be as decisive as I’d like, but we're working on that. What we’re experiencing at the moment is helping me to improve, and I think we can do a good job again. We know there’s room for improvement, and we’ll work to the maximum for the race.”
BRADL STARTS THE ARAGÓN GP WEEKEND WITH AN ENCOURAGING 2ND
Aragon, 27 September: the Aragón GP opening day saw LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl in a brilliant form setting the 2nd quickest lap time of the combined Friday timesheet with a steady performance (1’49.119) which is 0.132s slower than today’s pace setter Marc Marquez. In the last Misano race, the German riding the RC213V scored points for the 10th time in a row (the only one in 2013 so far) showing his progression and determination to challenge the top group after the first podium in the US.
“It was a good first day for us because we achieved a good position and we are very close to the top guys. Secondly I am very happy with the bike right now: we have a kind of combination of settings which includes also Aragon test set up and Misano set up. We have a good feedback from both rear and front tyres and I can push to the limit so I am satisfied about our pace so far. Let’s see what is going to happen tomorrow but I am pretty optimistic”.
Edwards and Corti off to a good start at Aragon
The NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team riders Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti have a positive start at Motorland for the Gran Premio IVECO de Aragón.
Both MotoGP riders have focused on the race pace and have worked only with one kind of tires each during this first day, Edwards with the hard and Corti with the soft tire. The American and Italian rider have yet to make their choice as they see today as inconclusive after the first two sessions. The change in temperature from the morning practice to the afternoon has made the tarmac conditions increasingly slippery in the afternoon, preventing them from making a definite choice at the end of today.
Edwards and Corti will be focusing on the race tire choice during the beginning of tomorrow’s morning session and will concentrating their efforts for the most part on the ideal qualifying setting. Once again the temperature will play a very important role in tomorrow’s qualifying session.
“Overall not a bad day, in terms of the setting we are almost there. We had two different bike setups that we wanted to try and went out there at the end of the second session and just didn’t get enough laps on it. Besides that we had a little bit of trouble with the soft tire this morning with some graining so we used the hard tire this afternoon the entire session and we know we are not going to do the fast lap on the hard tire, that’s for sure. We’ve got more on the bag, for me the most important thing is race pace and figuring out which tire we are going to use and get our balance right. The main thing is balance and we are almost there. We need to do a little fine-tuning to the rear and I think we will get the balance right. Electronics feel good; the new software that we got in Misano is just working.”
“This morning we started off on the right foot, we have more or less found the working line to follow. During the afternoon practice we have improved a bit the handling of the bike but I am not yet able to be constant in the long run with the soft tire because of the heat, after three laps I lose one second. We have yet to decide which tire to use for the race. We have to go over the data in order to try something else with the tires tomorrow morning. From the morning to the afternoon the tarmac conditions changed a lot, it became more slippery probably due to the heat. I am sorry for the fact that we have such a significant gap with the FTR from Barbera, especially on the top speed and acceleration because he is already using the new engine spec with the pneumatic valves. We have to work towards narrowing the gap.”
Sergio Verbena, Technical Director
“This first day of free practices at Aragón we have worked on the tire choice for the race. At this track the afternoon temperature is very high while in the morning it is not and this has made our efforts of understanding which of the soft or hard tire choice works best that more difficult. We have to analyze the data and make our choice for tomorrow. We have not focused on making the fast lap; during the afternoon session Colin has only used the hard tire thinking already about the tire to use during the race and tomorrow we will work with him specifically or qualifying. Claudio has tested the soft tire this afternoon and has done an excellent lap time. He has a better feeling with the bike than he has had in the last few races. The conclusion after this first day of practices we can say that he is in good conditions to do a good result on Sunday.”
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ NINTH FASTEST AND A SECOND OFF THE TOP ON DAY ONE
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider continues to impress; Randy De Puniet aiming to improve on sixteenth
The late Spanish summer sun was shining on the Motorland circuit in Aragón today and the heat was rising on track in more ways than one as Jorge Lorenzo continued his quest to close the gap to championship leader Marc Márquez after victory for the current World Champion in the last two races. Lorenzo started out strongest with the fastest lap of the first free practice this morning but Márquez responded in the second session this afternoon and lapped inside Casey Stoner's circuit record of 1'49.046.
Whilst his superb pace at Misano didn't come as much of a surprise POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider Aleix Espargaró certainly raised eyebrows today at Aragon, where the CRT bikes lose out notably to the factory MotoGP prototypes down the long straight. Aleix was the fastest CRT rider in both sessions but his lap time of 1'50.055 was less than a second off the pace of Marquez, an incredible achievement considering that this is one of the longest laps on the calendar. Whilst tomorrow he will aim to qualify directly for Q2 the task for his team-mate Randy De Puniet is to improve on sixteenth place today, when his cause was not helped by a rear wheel issue during the morning session.
9th Aleix Espargaró 1.50.055 (28 laps): “I am really happy with the way the day ended. We had some issues this morning with rear grip but the guys made a couple of changes over lunch and that allowed us to go much faster in the afternoon. We put the soft tyre in and I did two really fast laps, closing the gap to the top to less than a second. We know we can do those times on the soft tyre but the job tomorrow is to improve our pace in race trim on the hard tyres. We will keep working as hard as we did today and hopefully come up with a race pace and grid position that will allow us to be competitive on Sunday.”
16th Randy De Puniet 1.51.699 (28 laps): “I was struggling to get a good feeling this morning and the bike was vibrating in certain areas of the track which we think we a problem caused by the engine braking. That cost us time trying to work it out and in the end it seems we had a problem with the rear wheel. We continued to work this afternoon on improving the bike under braking and things got more back to normal. We tried a new chassis but I didn't like it so we will go back to what we are used to tomorrow and hopefully make some big improvements to the lap time.”
Marquez takes control in opening day at Motorland
Round 14: Aragon MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two
Motorland Aragon, Friday 27 September 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 22-23°C; Track 24-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 29-31°C; Track 42-42°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Marc Marquez took control in the opening day of practice at the Aragon Grand Prix, the Repsol Honda rookie setting a best lap time of 1’48.987 in Free Practice Two as the Spaniard vies for his sixth victory of the season.
Marquez’s benchmark lap was within half a second of the Circuit Best Lap record and placed the current championship leader at the front of a trio of Honda riders at the top of the timesheets. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was second quickest today, his best time of 1’49.119 barely one-tenth behind Marquez, while on the other Repsol Honda RC213V, Dani Pedrosa was third overall and 0.267 seconds off the pace of his teammate. Aleix Espargaro continued his domination of the CRT class as he rode his Power Electronics Aspar ART machine to ninth overall with a personal best lap time just 1.068 seconds off the lead.
Weather conditions for both of today’s sessions were fine and warm, with a peak track temperature of 42°C recorded in FP2. As is typical for the first session of the race weekend, in Free Practice 1 all riders headed out on softer slick options front and rear to evaluate the track conditions. As track conditions improved and temperatures increased in the afternoon, most riders migrated to the hard compound front tyre, while some riders also took the opportunity to evaluate the harder rear slick options. Rider feedback from today shows that the preferred tyre combination is the harder front paired with the softer rear slick which offers the best drive out of the corners with good braking and cornering stability.
Cooler weather is forecast for tomorrow with the next MotoGP™ session, FP3, at 0955 local time (GMT +2).
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“It was a good start to the race weekend today with consistent dry weather in both sessions. After the riders assessed the track conditions with softer slick options in FP1, most riders switched to the harder front for FP2 as this option offers better stability in fast corners and hard braking, both of which feature prominently at this circuit. For the rear tyre, some riders tried the harder rear slick options but as track temperatures weren’t overly hot, these didn’t offer any advantage over the soft. With cool weather expected tomorrow, I expect the combination of the soft rear and hard front to be widely used. The pace on the first day of action here is already is very fast, so if we have dry weather tomorrow I expect we will see another record-breaking qualifying session.”