Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Motorland Aragon:
Double Repsol Honda front row as Marquez snatches 7th pole position of season
Marc Marquez has taken his seventh pole position of the season for tomorrow's Aragón GP, recording a time of 1'47.804, and comfortably broken Casey Stoner's record from 2011 (1'48.451). Marc waited until the last minute to set his fastest lap, recording the time on lap seven of eight, and beating Lorenzo to the front spot on the grid by just 0.010s.
Teammate, Dani Pedrosa, will start on the front row from 3rd position after also recording provisional pole and breaking Casey's record himself with a time of 1'47.957, taken on lap three of seven. Tyre degradation will be a key factor for tomorrow's 23 lap race that will start at 14h00 local time.
Marc Marquez 1st 1'47.804
“It was a very closely fought qualifying session. We were able to get maximum performance from the tyres, which was the key to this pole position. Small details decided things this afternoon. I am happy, because we were able to achieve our aim of a front row start and to have the pole is a bonus. Tomorrow it will be important to get a good start and keep calm in the early laps, with the intention of taking the race to Jorge and Dani"
Dani Pedrosa 3rd 1'47.957
"Even though the position on the grid maybe doesn't reflect it, today we had a good qualifying session. We did a good job today and a lap time that I'm pleased with, for tomorrow the key will be to have a good start as the first corner is very close to the start, so I want to have a strong first few laps and maintain a good pace for the whole race. The tyre wear will be crucial so it's also important to manage them for the race distance"
Lorenzo and Rossi on Fire in Intense Aragon Qualifying Battle
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo has taken second on the grid for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon after an intense 15 minute battle at the Motorland circuit this afternoon. The defending world champion was the first rider to set a time this afternoon, putting down a 1’48.241 to set the early pace at the front. He went on to improve with a 1’48.201 before relinquishing the top spot to Stefan Bradl with nine minutes remaining and returning to the pits for a fresh rear qualifying tyre. He was back out on track with just over five minutes remaining and became one of the key protagonists in an incredible fight for pole that saw multiple riders firing into the red as the lap times dropped into the 1’47s. Provisional pole was taken again then lost in the last seconds by just 0.010 seconds to rival Marc Marquez.
Teammate Valentino Rossi enjoyed his best qualifying experience of the year this afternoon, taking fourth on the grid for tomorrow’s race, just 0.158 seconds from pole position. The nine-time world champion waited in the pits for a minute at the start of the session, allowing the traffic of riders to leave before entering a relatively empty track space to focus on a lap time. He immediately fired off a 1’48.415 before improving again with a 1’48.366. Rossi then returned to the pits for fresh rubber and was back out again with five minutes remaining. The improvements continued as he began to threaten for provisional pole with red splits, dropping to a final time of 1’47.962 to take fourth on the grid, just 0.005 seconds behind Dani Pedrosa in third.
2nd 1'47.814 8 Laps
“I knew I made a really good lap and I hoped to be in first position but I knew the other riders would be very close or in front of me. Finally for ten tenths of a second I lost it. I tried my best but I made a mistake in the first corner and lost one or two tenths so lost pole position. One thing is to make one fast lap, another is to make fast laps for the whole race. In the last practice before qualifying we found something extra for pace so we are stronger in one lap and also for the pace for the race. If the race remains in dry conditions it will be a good race.”
4th 1'47.962 8 Laps
“I have a good feeling and I’ve improved my pace a lot and braking ability also. We have also improved the rear grip over long distance. I’m so happy because it was a great qualifying for me and I enjoyed it a lot. The level was very high and we were just one tenth from pole position, so we are all together. We have to see what the conditions are tomorrow; for sure today they helped us. With a few less degrees we are more competitive with the Yamaha. My pace is very similar to Jorge and Marquez and Pedrosa but we know that they are very fast so to try and stay with them I have to improve again tomorrow.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Qualifying again in P2. It was much tighter than the last two races which is important. Normally this is not our favourite track, but it looks like we found something here today. The race pace will be slower than today but we've improved a lot this afternoon. We are thinking about tomorrow now because the race distance is long.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Today went pretty well even if we lost an important session this morning due to the track conditions. We have been able to make a big improvement so we are very close. We can start tomorrow with Jorge in front row and Valentino in second which is important. We still have a couple of things to adjust but we are positive. Looking at what we have done from yesterday to today, I think we are able to make something better for tomorrow morning and we will be ready for the race."
BRADL ONLY MISSES ARAGÓN GP FRONT ROW BY 0.16s
Aragón, 28 September: LCR racer Stefan Bradl confirms his good shape at Aragón circuit riding his PlanetWin365 branded RC213V to the 5th spot on the grid ahead tomorrow’s 23-lap race. After this morning restriction action due the damp surface, the QP2 participants list was already clear and Bradl’s fifth fastest lap time (1’48.128) on soft rubber came following a tight battle for the front row with Marquez and Co.
“Obviously I wanted to catch the P4 but Rossi, at the end, was a bit faster but I am pretty satisfied anyway. We had a good start of the weekend and we continue with a good base set-up and consistent pace. This makes us quite optimistic for the race tomorrow but we have got a big question mark about the tyres: actually we have a good pace in the first laps but the tyres drop down quickly. The key element will be to save the tyres as much as possible till the end of the race. At this stage I am happy because the rider and the Team are working good and I like this combination”.
Crutchlow and Smith confident for Motorland Aragon race
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith head into tomorrow’s Gran Premio IVECO de Aragon confident they can secure a double top 10 finish in what promises to be an exciting 23-lap MotoGP battle.
A fastest lap of 1.48.653 in QP2 this afternoon will see Crutchlow start from seventh position on the grid, the British rider unfortunately unable to continue an excellent qualifying record in 2013 that had seen him qualify inside the top five in 13 previous attempts this season.
The 27-year-old’s quickest lap still ensured he was the fastest rider that didn’t attend a test session at the Motorland Aragon track back in June and he remains optimistic that a 10th top six finish of an outstanding season is well within his grasp.
Teammate Bradley Smith enjoyed a superb second day at the 14th round of the World Championship campaign. Overnight rain left the track littered with damp patches this morning and prevented Smith from trying to climb into the top 10 at the end of FP3 to move immediately into QP2.
The 22-year-old dominated QP1 with a best time of 1.49.724 and he then shaved off almost a second in the second 15-minute session to secure a grid position just one place behind Crutchlow in eighth.
His personal best time of 1.48.854 was just over a second off pole position and a fraction outside of 0.2s of the more experienced Crutchlow, with Smith emphatically proving his 13th position yesterday did not accurately show his true potential.
With tweaks to his riding style paying off immediately today, Smith is now full of confidence that he can battle for a ninth top 10 finish of an impressive rookie premier class campaign.
Cal Crutchlow 7th 1.48.653 – 8 laps :
“I can’t be happy to have missed out on a top six grid position for the first time this season. Qualifying just didn’t go according to plan and I feel we picked the wrong bike. We had a choice of two different settings and unfortunately we chose the wrong one. And on the three laps where I was really pushing for a time I didn’t nail any of them. I made a small mistake on each lap and that is the reason why I am only seventh on the grid, which is a bit disappointing because I was proud of the fact that I’d qualified in the top five in every race before this weekend. A good start is going to be crucial to try and go with the leading group but coming from seventh means I am expecting a very difficult race.”
Bradley Smith 8th 1.48.854 – 8 laps :
“The last two races have been pretty dismal, so it is great for me to be able to turn it around this weekend. I said yesterday that I didn’t feel 13th was a true reflection of my potential and thankfully I was able to show that was the case today. The bike felt great and I have to say a massive thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. We had a long meeting last night and there were a lot of positive things that came out of it. I was able to change my riding style like they suggested and I got more feeling from the bike and the lap time was a big step from yesterday. Eighth is the position where I expect to be given the competitiveness of the package I am on. Today I got the good feeling back with the bike that I had in Brno and now I am really excited for the race. Tyre life will be the key tomorrow but hopefully I can race in front of the bikes of Dovizioso and Hayden and not behind them.”
BAUTISTA ON SECOND ROW AT ARAGON
Alvaro Bautista produced a determined performance in qualifying practice to secure a second row start for the Grand Prix of Aragon at Motorland tomorrow. After overnight rain left the track damp for free practice this morning the Spanish rider did not have the required track time to improve his set-up sufficiently but still starts from an ecouraging sixth position, giving himself the opportunity to fight near the front tomorrow. Bryan Staring is also looking forward to the race after a solid weekend so far on the CRT bike.
Alvaro Bautista (6° 1’ 48” 302) “We didn't go out this morning because the track conditions after the rain were such that we couldn't get any useful feedback from either the wet or dry tyres so it meant we had to do all our work in the afternoon. Final free practice didn't go well so we went out in qualifying with the setting from yesterday and set a good time. The pace from the other guys was very fast though and we have had to settle for sixth place and a second row start tomorrow. I am still happy with the lap time and my feeling on the bike. It was important to qualify well here because the first turn is very tight and even though it won't be easy I think we can be fighting for fourth or fifth place.”
Bryan Staring (21st 1’ 52” 102) “I am pretty happy because in comparison to yesterday I have a better feeling with the bike and I am sure we can improve even more for the race. The goal is to make up as many positions as we can and close in on the points.”
Fausto Gresini “It is nice to be on the second row here in Spain. We had to work hard for it because the pace was so hot but Alvaro did a great job to lap just half a second off the pole time. It is particularly positive for us because this is a track where we have struggled in the past. Tomorrow won't be an easy race and tyre wear will be an issue for everybody but it should make for a hard battle and Alvaro has good potential.”
Third and fourth rows for Ducati Team at MotorLand Aragón
Following a third free-practice session that was rendered largely useless by a damp track caused by last night’s rains, the Ducati Team found itself unable to come up with an ideal setup for qualifying this afternoon. At day’s end, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden were ninth and eleventh, respectively, putting them on the third and fourth rows for tomorrow’s Aragón Grand Prix.
Although both riders had hoped for higher starting positions, they’re relatively pleased with their qualifying times.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:49.219)
“Unfortunately, this is our position at the moment. We’re all going quite fast, but I’m satisfied with my qualifying time since I managed to improve by a second compared to the previous sessions. After following Bradl, I was able to drop some hundredths while riding by myself on the last lap, so I’m happy about that. Maybe we can battle with Smith in the race, although he’s a couple of tenths faster than I am. The riders ahead of him are quite far off.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 11th (1:49.428)
“At the end of the morning session, we went out on the damp track to get a feel for it, but it wasn’t very useful. We were able to improve something in the afternoon and were a lot faster than I went here last year, but everybody’s going a lot faster. Honestly, I’m quite disappointed to be so far back, but that’s the situation we’re in. We’re getting a lot of tyre wear because there are long corners where we’re on the edge of the tyre for a long time, but we have a couple of ideas for the morning that might help that. For the race, we need to get through turn one clean, see what happens with tyre wear and try and do our best.”
Andrea Iannone on the fourth row again
Thanks to a best time of 1:50.094 recorded during today’s Q2 session, Andrea Iannone will start tomorrow’s race at MotorLand Aragon from the 12th position on the grid.
Like most of the premier-class riders, Andrea had sat out much of FP3 due to the damp track surface, a result of the rain that had fallen during the night. He only headed out on track approximately 10 minutes from the end of the session and completed a total of seven laps, and the conditions didn’t allow him to improve his 1:50.727 time from yesterday’s FP2. As a result, he didn’t transfer directly into Q2.
The work carried out in the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team garage during the subsequent FP4 session enabled the Italian to gain the necessary confidence for tackling Q1 with determination, and he moved on to the second and decisive qualifying session.
Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to ride much this morning. That would’ve been useful, but anyway I can say that the day went well. We’ve improved our pace since this morning. I felt better lap by lap, and in fact we made it into Q2. I still don’t feel perfect, as the rear is sliding and I can’t find the right grip to attack these long corners as I’d like. As a result, I can’t take full advantage on acceleration, maybe also due to my riding style. Braking performance has improved quite a bit though, and that showed in today’s times. We did a good job, and we’ll continue on this path.”
Yonny Hernandez misses out on Q2 by three-tenths of a second
Yonny Hernandez will start tomorrow’s race from row 5 of the grid, a position he conquered at the end of Q1 today. The second day of action at the MotorLand Aragon circuit in Spain saw the Colombian rider set a best time of 1’50.685, which meant that he just missed out on entering the Q2 session by three-tenths of a second.
Damp track conditions at the circuit following overnight rain led most of the premier class riders to delay their entry onto the track for this morning’s third free practice session, valid for the line-up for Aragon GP qualifying in the afternoon. Luckily a gradual improvement of the track conditions allowed the afternoon sessions to go ahead as normal.
Yonny Hernandez – Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“I’m pleased with how the day went. I feel better every time I go out on the track, as the feeling keeps improving. Now I have to understand the tyres, as I still don’t know where the limit is. Tomorrow is still an unknown; I don’t have a real goal apart from finding the right rhythm, finishing the race and understanding how the bike and tyres behave. So far, I still haven’t done more than 17 or 18 laps at a time, but there will be 23 tomorrow. I feel good physically, and I’m happy with the work the team and I are doing together. I’ll try my best tomorrow.”
PETRUCCI THIRD BEST CRT IN Q1, FOURTH ROW FOR ZARCO IN MOTO2
ALCANIZ , September 28, 2013 - Excellent Performance by Danilo Petrucci in Q1 of the Grand Prix of Aragon. The CAME Iodaracing rider ended the official session third place among the CRTs machines, the 15th overall, thanks to his best lap time in 1.51.0130 .
In front of the Petrucci's Ioda Suter BMW, in the CRTs subclass, there are only Aleix Espargarò with ART ( tenth overall ) and Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR- Kawasaki) 14 th overall . Petrucci has in the best way possible a day that wasn't started in the best way. The rain felt down Friday night , had made the tarmac insidious in the morning practice session and this had limited the work for the development of the bike. Fortunately Danilo and his team were able to work calmly in the last practice session before qualifying .
Satisfaction was also in the side of the box CAME Iodaracing occupied by Lukas Pesek , who managed a qualifying session without any particular difficulties for the set up and his wrist. Pesek with his 23rd fastest time in 1.52.989 closed the Q1 getting the eighth row of the starting grid for tomorrow's race .
Moto2 Johann Zarco has not reach the position he aims in his qualifying session.The French CAME Iodaracing rider ended with the tenth time in 1.54.690 , which means the tenth fastest time (fourth row of the grid) . In the practice sessions, Zarco had always a good pace, but he failed to confirm his potential in qualifying.
DANILO PETRUCCI- MOTOGP RIDER IN Q1 -15 ° - 1.51.030 - " I'm happy because yesterday we were able make things better. This morning , however, we could not ride all the time available due to track conditions and this slowed us down in search of the ideal set up. I must thank my team because in the few minutes of FP4 has managed to do a great job, what I regret is that I was not the first CRT of Q1. I'm confident for tomorrow continue to work to be at least the second in class".
LUKAS PESEK - MOTOGP RIDER - 23 ° IN Q1 - 1.52.989 - " I'm pleased that we were able to find a good electronic configuration and chassis set up . This has allowed us to greatly reduce the separation from my opponents. I'm confident that I can have a good race tomorrow. "
JOHANN ZARCO - MOTO2 RIDER - 10 IN QP - 1.54.690 "I am very disappointed because this tenth place in the latter part of the season is not what I was expecting from this part of the year. What happened is hard to explain because I feel on the bike well, but I cannot be fast. Now me and the Team we have to look at all the data trying to study a strategy for the race".
Edwards and Corti will start in 17th and 18th place at Aragon
The NGM Mobile Forward racing team feels the effects of losing the 45 minute long morning free practice due to the track conditions and see Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti qualify in 17th and 18th place respectively for the Gran Premio IVECO de Aragon.
The American riders admits that he has been struggling more today than he has been in the past races. Edwards is not convinced that the software update tested by the team at the Misano test is working for him. His team has had some difficulty in finding the ideal setting for the Motorland track for his FTR – Kawasaki bike.
Teammate Claudio Corti feels he could have done a better job in qualifying today after making a fast lap yesterday of 1´51.4 but unable to repeat it today during qualifying. The Italian rider has yet to determine which will be his tire choice and remains positive, he believes the good work done by the team this weekend will payoff tomorrow during the race.
“We struggled today, I’ve had more problems these last two days than we’ve had in the last four races. We got the new software update during the Misano test after the race and I just can’t figure out if it is better or not. We have small problems that we haven’t really had before so we are going to have to do some work tonight, figure some things out and get a got start tomorrow.”
“Unfortunately I have not been able to improve the fast lap that I did yesterday during FP2 but I feel we have reached the bike’s limit and we are not able to go below 1´51s with the soft tire. We do have improved and made quite a big step with the hard tire but we have yet to decide which tire will be the one we use for the race. I feel I could have done better during qualifying and be further up the grid but overall things are going well. We will focus on taking full advantage of the work from both yesterday and today and get the bike ready for tomorrow’s race.”
“We have had some problems with the setting of the bikes that we have only been able to solve partially. The morning session (FP3) was useless given the track conditions, causing us to have 45 minutes less to work on the bikes for the race. Colin and Claudio will start from the 17th and 18th places on the grid respectively. We are not happy with today’s result because the gap with the front is considerably bigger than what it is usually. This track is probably not ideal for our bike given the long straights, and we are also far from the first CRT, Espargaro is 2 seconds faster than us. We need to try to narrow the gap for tomorrow and aim to be with both riders in the points.”
ESPARGARO SHOOTING FOR GLORY AT MOTORLAND
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider tenth on the grid and ready for a great battle in his third home race of the year; Randy De Puniet 16th and also hopeful of a good performance
Lorenzo, Márquez, Rossi and Pedrosa had all topped a free practice timesheet on Friday and Saturday at Aragon, and despite an expected Honda advantage over the Yamahas there was a close battle for pole in Q2. Lorenzo and Rossi looked stronger early in the session, but Pedrosa and Márquez responded quickly. Then towards the end of the session Lorenzo and Marquez upped the pace with the rookie eventually taking pole by just a 0.01s margin. The top four are split by just 0.158s on the grid so an exciting race is expected on Sunday, with the current top four in the MotoGP standings Márquez, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Rossi at the front of the pack.
Those top riders set a rapid pace, with the leading four going under the 1’48 barrier and with the pole record shattered at Motorland. Aleix Espargaró is again performing brilliantly, going straight into Q2 and registering his best time of the weekend so far on his third qualifying lap – a 1’49.348. He is 1.5s off the pole time and will start in tenth place on the grid. He hopes to produce a good race from that lofty position in front of the home fans. Six places further back on the grid and with a best time of 1’51.297 is his teammate Randy De Puniet. The Frenchman is having some engine braking issues and that caused a light crash in the final free practice. He suffered no consequences in that crash and will look for some improvements in Warm Up in order to prepare for a good race.
10th Aleix Espargaró 1’49.348: “I’m really happy again with our performance on the second day here at Aragon. I think we’ve produced a great result beating the some Ducati riders and we’re set for a good race. We know the MotorLand Aragon is a technical track which does not really favour us and the long straights help the prototypes. I’m still ready for a fight with some of the factory riders on Sunday. I want to stay with them and battle for positions in the final laps. Tomorrow I’ll be really careful to avoid a jump start like at Misano. The first corner is tight so I need to make sure I don’t lose any places and stick tight to the rider in front.”
16th Randy De Puniet 1’51.297: “This morning we barely completed six laps as the track was damp and we did not want to take any risks. In the final free practice the engine braking problem from yesterday was there again. It’s causing the rear wheel to lock and we don’t know why, so I’m struggling to slow the bike on corner entry and it caused the crash a turn 13. The team repaired the bike quickly and I was able to start the Q1 normally. With these issues we’ve not been able to work they way we want to here and we have work to do in Warm Up. Anyway I’m still feeling up for it and I hope to fix things so we can have a good race.”
Marquez motors to seventh pole position of the season at Aragon
Round 14: Aragon MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
Motorland Aragon, Saturday 28 September 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 20-22°C; Track 20-23°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 27-27°C; Track 32-35°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez reigned supreme in a captivating qualifying session at Motorland Aragon in which the top six qualifiers posted times under the existing lap record.
Marquez’s time of 1’47.804 smashed the old Circuit Best Lap record by six-tenths of a second and saw the rookie pip Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo to the top grid slot by a mere 0.010 seconds. The reigning MotoGP™ champion split the Repsol Honda’s on the front row, as Dani Pedrosa claimed third in qualifying with a best lap time of 1'47.957. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro continued where he left off yesterday to qualify highest out of the CRT riders, his best time of 1'49.348 good enough for tenth place on tomorrow’s grid.
Overnight rain created damp track conditions for the Free Practice Three, limiting the number of riders who took to the track in the first session of the day. The track was completely dry for FP4, offering the teams an opportunity to work on a dry setup for the qualifying sessions and the race. A peak track temperature of 35°C was recorded today, 7°C lower than yesterday’s top reading. The combination of the soft rear and hard front slick was again the popular choice among the riders in FP4 and Qualifying, however some riders were able to utilise the greater edge grip of the soft compound front tyre to good effect. Rider feedback from today’s sessions suggests that the hard front slick will be the more widely used choice in a dry race tomorrow, though should weather conditions be cooler again, some riders may switch to the soft compound front slick.
Sunday’s morning Warm Up session is scheduled for 0940 local time tomorrow morning (GMT +2) and the twenty-three lap Aragon Grand Prix is set to start at 1400.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Conditions were cooler today but the overnight rain didn’t seem to negatively affect the grip level of the circuit and the pace today was very quick, with the top six riders in qualifying lapping under the existing lap record. The cooler track temperatures meant that almost no riders tried the harder rear slick options today, and also resulted in some riders reverting to using the softer front slick. The tyre combination that was most popular yesterday, the soft rear matched with the hard front was used by the majority of riders today and if we have a dry race, I expect this to be the preferred tyre choice. That said, the performance of the soft front slick in today’s cooler conditions was very good with three of the top ten riders in qualifying using this option, so both front slicks are performing well here. I anticipate an interesting race tomorrow as the pace among the first two rows of the grid is very close.”