Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:
Lorenzo On Top Down Under
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo has made a flying start to this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, completing the first day of free practice as the fastest rider. The defending champion came out fighting in the first morning practice and led the session apart from a brief appearance by rival Marc Marquez at the top of the time sheets mid way through.
A new tarmac surface at the track has vastly improved grip, allowing Lorenzo to drop almost a second under the race record in the morning. The afternoon saw him pick up the pace even further, the only rider to drop
Teammate Valentino Rossi also enjoyed a positive start to the weekend today. The Italian nine time champion made a big step forward between the morning and afternoon sessions, shaving nearly half a second off his time and moving half a second closer to the front. He finished the day in fifth overall, 0.576 from Lorenzo in first and just 0.059 seconds from Dani Pedrosa in fourth.
1st / 1'28.961 / 32 laps
“I feel that here we are much more competitive than in Malaysia. There are some problems with the wind in some corners where we cannot keep the front wheel on the ground so we need to improve that for tomorrow. In general every step we make with the bike works so little by little we have improved and been faster. The tyre feels consistent also so let’s see if we can improve the little issue with the front. The new tarmac is much better, you can push with more confidence and there are less bumps. The exit of turn six has a little bump, but apart from this corner everything is much better.”
5th / 1'29.537 / 43 laps
“I’m happy about today, especially this afternoon as we were able to improve the settings of the bike a lot. I’m happy about my pace, I’m constant and also quite fast, I can stay on a 1’29 also with used tyres. We have to improve some areas, especially turn four to try to go faster and we need to exit the last corner in a better way. We also need to work for the edge of the tyre, especially on the left as it's a big stress. The track is fantastic with good weather like today. The new surface is very good so it's a great pleasure to ride the M1 here. We are all very close and we are quite fast. The track is easier to ride like this because the new tarmac has more grip and less bumps. It’s easier but we have to be faster! The lines are more or less the same.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“It’s been a good first day despite the windy circumstances, which all riders complained about. The tarmac is a lot better than before so they are happy with the grip of the track. Jorge was very consistent and happy with the set up. It’s very positive to be fastest so let’s work towards some more possibilities for tomorrow because I don't think today was the fastest lap of the weekend.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Today definitely started very well and we were able to get a lot of data. The bikes look like they are both working well. As a result we were able to make improvements much more quickly than the previous two races. This track is very suitable for our bike. It’s really important to start like this at the beginning and make the setting of the bike as good as possible. We are satisfied with today but will keep pushing and working to make something even better for tomorrow.”
Phillip Island Free Practice gets underway with Marquez 2nd and Pedrosa 4th
It's been a mixed day for the Repsol Honda riders, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, in preparation for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.
This morning's FP1 session went according to plan with both riders putting in fast laps on the new asphalt in Phillip Island and finishing 2nd and 4th respectively. Then in FP2 this afternoon, Marc crashed at turn nine on his first run, resulting in the bike being unusable for the remainder of the session and Dani was forced to stop on track due to a mechanical problem caused by a small mistake by his team - the engine mounting bolt was not properly locked and came loose. However, Dani realised there was a problem immediately and pulled his bike safely off the track.
Marc, who after the crash went out on his second bike, was unable to improve from his morning time of 1'29.255, placing him 2nd for the day - 6th in FP2 , and Dani improved by half a second in the afternoon with a 1'29.478 leaving him 4th for this first day in Australia.
Marc Marquez 2nd 1'29.255
"The day went well - especially in the morning. It's a pity about the crash right at the start of the afternoon run but we went back out with the second bike, which had a totally different geometry and we had no time in which to change things. Thus, we used the initial setup for the entire session. We shall see if tomorrow we can regain the feeling that we had in the morning session, as I felt very good - something that is very important at Phillip Island. We shall continue working in order to improve for the race"
Dani Pedrosa 4th 1'29.478
"Today was very positive, the new asphalt felt good and the tyres worked well for us. The only setback was that we were unable to make the most of all the time available, due to a problem with the bike at the end of the afternoon session. That meant that we had to end the day early. In general it was a good day, and we shall try to improve further tomorrow"
BAUTISTA SECOND AT PHILLIP ISLAND DESPITE A CRASH
Alvaro Bautista continued his excellent recent form at Phillip Island despite a crash this afternoon at the start of the second free practice for the Australian Grand Prix. The Spanish rider reported a positive feeling for the new asphalt here and after getting some good feedback from both his machines today Alvaro is confident of taking another big step tomorrow. Bryan Staring also showed that he is capable of setting a good pace at a circuit that he knows like the back of his hand.
Alvaro Bautista (2nd 1’ 29” 438) “It has been a positive day despite the crash this afternoon. I felt good on the new surface straight away, it is much better than last year. In the afternoon we worked hard to take another step forward but after just four laps I had a crash in turn two when I got too tight to the inside and caught a bit of dirt, which caused me to crash. It was a stupid crash but luckily without any serious consequences and I was able to go out on the second bike with the same setting and establish a good feeling again. We made some small changes to the setting from there and improved even further so I am happy and hopeful of more progress tomorrow.”
Bryan Staring (21st 1’ 32” 290) “It is nice to be at home and it has helped me to finally feel comfortable with the bike today. I know the track really well and that's a big help. We did a good job today and we are in good shape to make some progress tomorrow. I will be giving it my best shot, that's for sure.”
Fausto Gresini “It has been a good start to the weekend and we are making progress again. It was just a shame about the crash but these things happen and the important thing is that Alvaro was able to quickly get his feeling back and show his confidence with the bike. With a few small changes to the setting I am sure we can be competitive again tomorrow and for the rest of the weekend. Bryan also did a good job here at his home track.”
Crutchlow and Smith impress in record-breaking Phillip Island practice
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith impressed on a record-breaking opening day of practice at the spectacular Phillip Island track in Australia today.
The British pair took full advantage of favourable weather conditions and a smooth new surface offering excellent grip levels to set competitive times at the start of the 16th round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship.
A strong and unpredictable wind blowing off the nearby Bass Strait didn’t prevent Crutchlow from comfortably lapping under Nicky Hayden’s 2008 lap record of 1.30.059, the 27-year-old setting a personal best pace of 1.29.667 under clear blue skies.
That was good enough to place Crutchlow, who is scheduled to make his 50th MotoGP start in Sunday’s 27-lap race, sixth on the combined timesheets on a day that ended with the top six all under lap record pace.
Just one place below Crutchlow on the rankings was teammate Smith, who made a confident start to his first taste of the jaw-dropping Phillip Island circuit on a 1000cc MotoGP machine.
Smith wasted no time in getting up to speed in this morning’s FP1, with a best lap of 1.30.361 leaving him just 0.231s behind Crutchlow.
The 22-year-old improved his pace to a 1.30.165 in this afternoon’s blustery FP2 session and that secured him seventh on the leaderboard and the third best time set by a non-factory rider.
It wasn’t only the lap record that was smashed today, with Alvaro Bautista setting a new top speed record at Phillip Island with an astonishing speed of 343.9km/h (213.68mph) on the long start/finish straight.
Cal Crutchlow 6th 1.29.667 – 43 laps:
“Today was a good start to the weekend and I am satisfied to be in the top six. I’d like to be stronger on the brakes going into Turn 4, which can be important for overtaking in the race on Sunday. It was obvious that the new track surface is a big improvement and they have done a really good job in making it smooth with a lot of grip. A few of us were consistently under the lap record with a similar pace and hopefully tomorrow I can improve to be a bit higher up. I was on the podium here last year and it was great to share the rostrum with Casey and Jorge. It will be difficult to repeat that on Sunday but I will be trying my maximum as always to get the best result possible for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad.”
Bradley Smith 7th 1.30.165 – 45 laps:
“The first day here in Phillip Island has been better than my Friday performances in recent races and I am happy about that. This morning my feeling with the bike was really good and the new surface gave me a lot of confidence with the Bridgestone tyres and I could push a lot. We tried a couple of things with the bike to find a good direction for tomorrow and we are moving in the right way and that’s good. I don’t really have any problems, so tomorrow we will make a couple of small setting changes and hopefully I will be able to break into the 29s and reduce the gap to Jorge at the front.”
Ducati Team struggles with windy conditions at Phillip Island
The day-one free-practice sessions for Round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship, the Australian Grand Prix, was marked by strong winds, but with blue skies and springtime temperatures, the riders were able to set fast times on the resurfaced track.
Despite the wind, Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso worked well over the course of the two sessions, lowering their times slightly in the afternoon, and they were relatively pleased with their progress. At day’s end, the American was in ninth place on the time sheets, with his teammate one tenth of a second behind in tenth.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 9th (1:30.609)
“I’ve got to say, the new surface is really good. The grip is good and there aren’t really any seams. Thanks to the organizers because it’s much more of a joy to ride with more grip and without the bumps. I could certainly do without the wind, which really made things tough, but that’s the same for everybody and we’ve just got to deal with the situation. Things didn’t start too badly this morning apart from losing a bit of time in the box due to a small problem with a sensor. We started this afternoon with the same set of tyres and got well into race distance, and the drop in performance wasn’t too bad. I need to get a bit faster in the fast corners. The GP13 isn’t too bad here, but truthfully, we expected to be a bit closer than we are.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 10th (1:30.754)
“First of all, the weather today is much nicer than yesterday, and that’s not always the case here. It’s just that the wind is really strong, and that makes things very difficult on a MotoGP bike. In some corners, the side winds blow the front end out a bit. Otherwise, I’m not bad. The new asphalt is nice, with fewer bumps. The wind is the big problem for everyone—maybe a bit more difficult to manage for us—but my times aren’t bad. We worked hard to make the bike work in these conditions because I can’t open the gas when I’d like in some corners, so the problems are different than at other tracks. We made some unusual changes to the setup, things that we do here in Australia, but it’s not enough at the moment. We’ll try to improve tomorrow.”
RANDY DE PUNIET SHOWS MOST COMPETITIVE SIDE AT PHILLIP ISLAND
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team rider in good form to place 1.2s off top time. Aleix Espargaró experiences lack of front end feel and finishes 13th
Now that Casey Stoner is no longer on the MotoGP grid, other riders are attempting to dominate at Phillip Island this year. Lorenzo was the first to show his cards, dominating the first two practice sessions for the Australia GP. Neither Marquez nor Pedrosa, his main rivals in MotoGP caused too many problems in the afternoon run. The former crashed early on, whilst the latter suffered a mechanical issue. The Phillip Island circuit had its asphalt re-laid in December of last year, and despite today being the first day, the best time in MotoGP -1.28.961 for Lorenzo- was very close to the record of 1.28.665.
Randy De Puniet was so happy today that he did not want to get off his bike, and by the end of the day had racked up no fewer than 45 laps. After getting back on form with his setup at Sepang last Sunday, today he began the Australian GP a good feeling from the first minute. Ninth in the morning and eighth in the afternoon, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider closed the day 1.2 seconds off the fastest time. Conversely, his teammate Aleiz Espargaró was not as competitive as in recent rounds. The lack of feeling with the front end forced him to slow down in the opening session, and an incident with the engine of his first bike prevented him from improving in the afternoon. Nevertheless, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider finished in thirteenth place, just over two seconds behind Lorenzo.
8º Randy De Puniet 1.30.215 (45 laps): "I am very happy because today went great. Right from this morning everything worked perfectly. It’s been several races since we’ve looked so competitive, and I really enjoyed riding today. The team did a great job, and this allowed me to set good times. I believe that today the position obtained was also optimal. Besides all these satisfactions, I am happy that we have already worked with the race in mind, and it makes me very optimistic that we have been consistent throughout the day. The goal tomorrow will be to maintain the same performance level, to get prepared for qualifying and achieve the best possible position on the grid. In my opinion the new asphalt is very good with fewer bumps, and that increases our sense of security. Phillip Island is one of the best circuits in the world and with this new surface is even better."
13th Aleix Espargaró 1.31.091 (35 laps): "The truth is that today the day did not go as expected. In the first session I did not feel comfortable on the bike, so we planned some changes for the second session. We tried to improve the feel of the front end, in order to allow us to brake later. At the start of the afternoon we had an issue with the engine that forced us to go out on track with the second bike, but the feeling was different so I did not go as fast as intended. Today we had a repeat of what happened last season; the first day at Phillip Island was a strange one for us."
Day one of Australian Grand Prix complete
The first free-practice session at Phillip Island Circuit kicked off in temperatures of 15º C (59º F) and strong winds, and ten minutes later, Yonny Hernandez fell victim to a highside that took place in Turn 11.
Things went better in FP2, in which he immediately jumped to eighth place, improving his time from the previous session by over one second. Still, the Colombian has never raced at this track on a MotoGP bike, and for that reason he still needed more laps to learn the correct lines and to further improve his feeling with the Desmosedici GP13.
The Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider concluded today’s 90 minutes of track time in 14th place in the combined times, and he looks forward to qualifying tomorrow.
Yonny Hernandez – Ignite Pramac Racing Team
"I'm happy about the way the free practices went. I found a good pace and now we’re focused on getting a better feeling with the new tyres to try to lower my time a little bit. I felt fine riding on this track even though I’ve never raced here on a MotoGP bike, and the new asphalt is much better. The bumps aren’t there anymore, which allows us to ride faster. I'm quite happy and now I’m preparing for tomorrow, when I hope to get good results in qualifying."
First day of free practice concludes at Australian GP
The first day of round 16 of the MotoGP World Championship, which is taking place at the Phillip Island Circuit, kicked off positively for Andrea Iannone, who concluded the two free practice sessions very close to the factory Ducati riders.
The Italian ended FP2 just 0.183 seconds away from fellow Ducati rider Nicky Hayden and 0.038 seconds from Andrea Dovizioso, confirming the 11th place obtained in the morning, thanks to constant and positive work done inside the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team pits.
Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
“We went well here, we managed to be very close to Nicky and Dovi, both this morning and this afternoon, and we are already improving a few things. In the fast corners, however, I don’t have much confidence, I often lose the rear, and we definitely need to try something different tomorrow that gives me more stability and grip, so as to be faster and still gain something. In any case I am happy again with the way we have organized the work, and I hope to continue like this to get the best results. The new asphalt has definitely made the bike much easier to ride, it seems to run on velvet, it's definitely better than the other years, although this track has always been very nice. Another difficult thing is the wind, but we all know that. "Conclusa la prima giornata di prove libere del GP d’Australia
Edwards and Corti off to a very good start at Phillip Island
Positive start at Phillip Island for NGM Mobile Forward Racing riders Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti on board of their FTR- Kawasaki bikes for the Tissot Australian Grand Prix weekend.
The American rider finishes the first day at Phillip Island as the second best CRT of the day, 12th with a lap time of 1´30.917. Edwards feels confident and looks forward to tomorrow’s qualifying at his favorite grand prix racetrack.
Italian teammate Claudio Corti had a good day himself considering that he suffered from food poisoning and was recommended to stay in bed for the duration of the day yesterday. Corti believes that him and the team have almost found the right setting but knows that he will have to focus on finding the five tenths that separates him from Colin in order to be in the fight to get into Q2.
“Good day, we have a little bit of mileage issues with the engine of the bike I really like, so we started this morning on the bike I really don’t like as much just to get the setting of the bike right and it was already going good. We jumped over the last three laps on the bike that I really like, put the setting on that bike and went faster. I am really happy, it’s always awesome being in Australia, its a my favorite track in the world and just happy that its looking good and feeling confident.”
“Generally speaking things have gone well for me today considering that yesterday I had food poisoning and was not doing well at all. A pity because right at the end of the session we found what we believe is the right setting and even if we lack a bit of grip I was still able to make a lap time of 1´31.451. Our goal this afternoon was to do our ideal time and we were able to improve it. Now we have to work on getting the bike to be a little easier to handle for race distance. We have a good base and tomorrow we will have to work on finding that half a second that separates me from Colin and maybe a little something more.”
“A very positive first day at Phillip Island, both riders seem to enjoy this race track. This is Colin and Claudio’s favorite racetrack; Claudio has performed some of his best results here in the past. We end this first day with Colin in 12th, second best CRT at only 1.9 from Lorenzo. Claudio is in 17th place at only .4 seconds from Colin. The FTR – Kawasaki bike is responding really well, we see that race after race we don’t have to change a lot the setting because we seem to have found a good base. Tomorrow we have to be able to provide the riders with a couple of tenths that that will allow them to get in Q2. “
Lorenzo shows stunning pace to lead Friday practice at Phillip Island
Round 16: Australian MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two
Phillip Island, Friday 18 October 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 15-16°C; Track 25-29°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 20-21°C; Track 37-37°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo set a formidable pace to top the timesheets in Friday practice for the Australian Grand Prix, the reigning champion getting within a few tenths of the outright lap record in an exciting opening day at Phillip Island.
Lorenzo took full advantage of the grip offered by the recently resurfaced circuit to set a time of 1’28.961 in Free Practice 2 to beat Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez – who set a time of 1'29.255 in the morning FP1 session - by 0.294 seconds as the fastest rider of the day. Third quickest was GO&FUN Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista whose personal best time of 1'29.438 made him the only rider besides Marquez to get within half a second of Lorenzo. Randy de Puniet put in a phenomenal performance to clock the eighth quickest lap of the day to top the CRT crop, the Power Electronics Aspar rider ending the day just 1.254 seconds off Lorenzo’s benchmark time.
Today saw dry yet typically blustery conditions at Phillip Island with a peak track temperature of 37°C recorded during the afternoon FP2 session. For FP1 all riders selected softer slick options front and rear for maximum warm-up performance and edge grip while assessing the new Phillip Island track surface for the first time. With warmer track temperatures present for FP2, some riders switched to the harder of the two front tyre options, the soft compound slick, although the majority of riders continued using the extra-soft compound front. Rear tyre choice followed suit with most riders preferring to use the softer slick options available to them, with only one rider choosing to try the harder rear slick option in the afternoon session.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast indicates slightly warmer conditions with a negligible chance of rain. The MotoGP™ riders will be out on track again at 1055 local time (GMT +11) tomorrow for FP3 before qualifying gets underway from 1510.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“This morning’s FP1 session was the first chance for us to assess what effect the new Phillip Island surface would have on tyre performance and straight away it was apparent that the new surface offers more grip which resulted in very quick lap times. It was great to see times getting close to the Circuit Best Lap time on the opening day! In the morning session softer slick options front and rear were used and the feedback from the riders was that these options were working very well. In FP2, six riders assessed the harder front slick which also received positive comments, and although only one rider assessed the harder rear slicks, the feedback received indicate that it gives good, consistent performance.
“We anticipated that the new tarmac at this circuit had the potential to make this circuit even more severe on tyres, so we analysed the tyres used by the riders today to see if this was the case. Our analysis shows that the tarmac has made this track tougher on tyres, so we have decided that although riders can still use the softer rear slicks for the remaining practice sessions and qualifying, for the race we have specified that all riders use the harder rear slick options available to them.”