Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice in Austin:
Marquez leads the way in Texas after FP1 with Pedrosa third
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, race winner here last year, has made his intentions clear from the start at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. Marc finished this morning’s FP1 session at the top of the time sheets with a lap of 2’04.704 on lap 10 of 15, and 0.8s faster than any other rider.
Marc’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, finished the 45 minute session in third place with a fastest lap of 2’05.676 on his final lap of 15.
1st - 2'04.704
“It’s been a positive session and it’s nice to start with a good feeling and to find a base setting I’m happy with right from the beginning. This track has a drastic change of direction which is quite difficult if you’re not 100% fit, so I could feel it - even after just a few laps. Now we will try to improve this afternoon, I think it will be difficult to maintain the gap going into FP2 and the other riders will for sure be closer”
3rd - 2'05.676
“The track grip level seems to be quite good and I’m sure it will improve with more rubber laid down. We still have some work to do to find the right set up and maybe we’ll also try the hard rear tyre in FP2. Anyway, I’m happy with this morning’s session and we’ll keep working in the same direction this afternoon”
BRADL OPTIMISTIC AT THE END OF DAY ONE IN AUSTIN
Austin, 11 April: on the opening day of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas, LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl posted the 7th fastest lap time (2’04.870) showing his appreciation for the 5.513Km US circuit where he finished the race in 5th last year. The German progressively improved the set-up of his RCV throughout the sunny first day of practice and aims to improve more for the qualifying.
Stefan: “On the paper we are 7th but overall we are a bit better because we improved the bike a lot from the morning to the afternoon. On my fastest lap I made few small mistakes and found some traffic but it’s not so important right now. Through the adjustments we made from one session to the other we gained some handling and front feeling. In the afternoon we mainly checked the tyres for Sunday’s race lapping on both rubbers and we will probably go for hard front and rear to be ready for the race. Now we remain calm and we will try to attack tomorrow to challenge the Ducati and the Open class bikes”.
Yamaha Takes to the Track in Texas
Austin (Texas), 11th April 2014
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo took to the track today for the first free practice sessions ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix of The Americas.
The first day’s action on the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) proved to be a tough one for both Rossi and Lorenzo as they began the hunt for an optimum set up for Sunday. Nine-time world champion Rossi dropped a place from fourth to fifth between the two sessions but was able to improve his lap time by just over a second as he got to grips with the Texan track to finish just three tenths from second placed rider Andrea Dovizioso.
Teammate Lorenzo was also able to make a big step into the second session after a frustrating start to the day saw him end practice one in 12th place. The Mallorcan worked hard through session two, climbing as high as third at one point before settling for eighth in the combined times, less than two tenths from his teammate in fifth.
5th / 2'04.793 / 14 laps
“I’m quite satisfied about today because I already have a good feeling with the bike. We have a lot to improve but the general balance of the bike is not so bad. This morning I was fourth and this afternoon I am fifth. I’m not happy with that because I have a better potential but I don't work well with the soft tyre yet. I think I have the possibility to go a bit faster and stay with the top three but I’m not yet able to use the maximum potential of the tyre. We have to continue and work to improve the balance and the setting, I also need to improve my riding style and try the maximum for tomorrow.”
8th / 2'04.976 / 10 laps
“It looks like compared to the Hondas we are struggling, more or less the same as we were last year. We made a big step from the morning session although still too far from Marquez in first but not so far from second place. We need to make adjustments to the bike and electronics to make a perfect set up and also I need to improve myself as an influence. On the bike I feel a little tired, but compared to the morning session I feel happier.”
“There is a gap to the front at the moment but we are honestly in a better position than last year when we started here so I am confident we can improve session by session, exactly as we did at the last round in Qatar. Both riders performed well today, I believe Vale’s gap to the front would have been smaller if he had been using a softer tyre but he spent most of the second session working with the hardest option to see what was possible. Jorge made a big improvement from the first session, working as hard as possible despite still recovering from a flu virus. We’re going to take today’s data now and work tonight to prepare the next steps for tomorrow so we can take the set up a step further.”
Marquez remains fastest on first day at the Red Bull GP of The Americas
World Champion, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, has finished the first day in Texas a second faster than his next competitor, with teammate Dani Pedrosa in third.
With air temperatures 7ºC warmer than this morning, and the track temperature 20ºC hotter, all the riders were able to improve on this morning’s FP1 time. Both Marc and Dani spent the afternoon session, and set their fastest times, on the hard front and rear option Bridgestone tyres with Marc’s fastest time of 2’03.490 (just 0.469s off his pole time from 2013) coming on lap 9 of 15, and Dani’s time of 2’04.623 on his final lap of 15.
FP3 will commence tomorrow at 09h55 local time.
1st - 2'03.490
“This first day of practice in Austin went really well. Obviously I’m happy with the time I set, and also with the gap of a second between myself and the next quickest rider. However, the most important thing for me is that my leg feels ok – much better than it did in Qatar. The injury was bothering me a little, but I was able to participate in both Free Practice sessions without taking any painkillers. Now I just have to wait for tomorrow and see if things go better or worse for us then; we know that we have a small advantage and we will try to manage it well, but I am aware that the rest of the riders will also make improvements”
3rd - 2'04.623
"Today we did a good job with the tyres. We tried the hard compound and it went fairly well for us. Although we didn’t go very fast, we have a good feeling and I think that with a few tweaks to the setup we can take a big step forward and improve considerably tomorrow. Today was a positive day for us”
The action begins in Austin for Grand Prix of the Americas
NGM Forward Racing riders kicked off the Grand Prix of the Americas weekend today with the first practice sessions at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Aleix Espargaro completed the morning session in second place behind Marc Marquez, the fastest rider today, and he closed the FP2 in sixth position with 2’04.844, less than 2 tenths from the provisional podium. The Spaniard struggled to find a constant pace on the technical COTA circuit, famous for its long1.2 km back straight and the slow corners to do in first gear.
It was not an easy start also for team mate Colin Edwards, who closed in 16th position with 2’06.880. The Texas Tornado worked on the bike set up to adapt his machine on the demanding Texan racetrack.
“The COTA racetrack is awesome and it’s a great feeling to come here driving my car with my family instead of taking a long flight overseas. The support is incredible and I would like to get a good result, but I’m still struggling a lot to make the bike turn. We will keep on working on the bike set up to improve my feeling with the front”.
“I’m not very satisfied because I cannot be consistent. There are 3 or 4 corners that we do in first gears and for sure we need to improve the engine brake and also the braking stability. I know that we can be faster on a single lap but in preparation of the race, we need to have a more consistent race pace. It cost me a bit to understand this track, but it’s only the first day and we will continue working”.
MIXED FEELINGS FOR TEAM GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI AS ACTION BEGINS IN AUSTIN
Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding kicked off the Grand Prix of the Americas weekend today with the first two practice sessions at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Alvaro Bautista had a tough first outing as he suffered understeer, struggling to get the bike turned; the Spaniard made some set-up adjustments in the afternoon 45-minute session, but he was not able to improve the situation, closing the first day with the 11th fastest time in the combined classification.
Team-mate Scott Redding improved 6 places from 19th to 13th over the two sessions and also took a large chunk out of his morning time, shaving an impressive 2.6 seconds off by the end of the second practice. The Briton finished the first day as the top Open Class Honda RCV1000R, ahead of local rider Nikcy Hayden.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (11th - 2'05"453)
“Obviously, being outside the top ten is an unusual situation for us, but unfortunately we struggled a lot today. It should be said that we are not far from the other riders, excluding Marquez who is a step ahead. We are struggling especially in the middle of the corners, where the bike runs wide: with this situation it’s quite difficult to get the bike turned. In the afternoon session we tried different set-ups, but we couldn’t get a good improvement, so now we will analyze all the data ahead of tomorrow, because of course we want to improve. In the morning session the engine of my bike number 1 turned off right out of the pits, on the first corner, so I had to use the second bike, but we solved the problem quickly, in fact in the afternoon I was able to use both bikes without any problems”.
SCOTT REDDING (13th - 2'05"937)
“This morning maybe a lot of people thought ‘what's happening to Scott?’; simply it was my first time here with a MotoGP, as we dind’t had a test before the race, like it happened in Qatar; therefore I had a little bit more work to do here; in the first session I just took it easy, and also the softer tyre dropped off a lot in the end, but then we went out in the afternoon and I immediately felt better. The biggest thing for me to learn here are the braking areas: I still need to be more consistent, sometimes I’m too late, some others, too early. On the other hand, I feel already fast in the changes of direction. Anyway, I enjoyed a lot working on the bike, trying different wheelbases and stuff like that. All in all I’m happy to finish the day as the top Open Class Honda”.
“Unfortunately today Alvaro was not able to get a good lap time, also because we worked a lot with the hard tyre, so we have not taken advantage of our potential. In any case, apart from Marquez, all the other riders are not far away: we can close the gap from them, so we remain calm ahead of tomorrow. I'm very happy for Scott, who set a great lap time aboard the Production Racer Honda: now for him it will be crucial to work well for the race, because today we understand that we can’t use the softer tyre”.
Abraham opens weekend in Austin with eighteenth position
The Czech rider Karel Abraham remains in the eighteenth position after first day of Grand Prix of Americas in Austin, Texas. The time 2:07,053 means a loss of 3,563 seconds to the fastest Marc Marquez and to the closest rider on the same bike to Hiroshi Aoyama a loss of just 12 thousandths of second.
„There is a tough racing weekend in front of us. Redding and Hayden are really fast, but we are going to do everything to catch up them. I still have to consider my shoulder because here in Austin there’s a lot of left turns and it limited me a little bit. We focused on testing of tyres today. We are at the beginning but I believe that we are on the right way“
chief mechanic, Cardion AB Motoracing
„ Today we focused on testing of tyre mixture and we begun work on the setting of the bike. Bridgestone gave us a new type of soft tyres, but for now, we found as better option the tyre from the last year. The key for us is to find appropriate setting of rear of the bike; with front we are quite satisfied. For tomorrow we have as a goal to get to the time around 2:06 and get closer to Hayden and Redding, so we could fight for points in the race. Of course we have to consider to Karel’s shoulder. The circuit in Austin is not ideal, there‘s a lot of left turns that put a strain of the injured shoulder."
Dovizioso second in first free practice at Austin, Crutchlow ninth
Andrea Dovizioso put in a great performance in the first two free practice sessions at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, where the second round of the MotoGP World Championship is taking place this weekend. Despite not feeling 100% due to a flu virus, the Ducati Team rider had no problems running close to the top of the timesheets, and he finished the day in second place with a time of 2’04.495, with only Marquez ahead of him. Fifth in the morning session, Dovizioso improved in the afternoon by almost two seconds, when conditions were more favorable, and he was satisfied with outcome of the first day of activity in the Grand Prix of the Americas.
His team-mate Cal Crutchlow had a tougher time today. In the morning the British rider was hit by an electronic problem on his Desmosedici GP14 and in the afternoon he struggled to find an ideal set-up, finishing the first day in ninth place.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd (2m04.495s)
“I am very pleased with how this weekend has started despite the fact that physically I don’t feel well at all. We are quick, we’re working well, and I have managed to quickly dial into this track. It’s a really nice track and great fun to race here. We are very strong under braking and we can use our power on the main straight so we are able to lap well for this reason. To set these times I had to use the soft tyre at the end of the session because it’s always important to be inside the top 10 for the Q2. As well as our one-lap form, our race pace is not bad either and that’s positive.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 9th (2m04.981s)
“Unfortunately this morning we had an electronic problem at the start of the session and in the afternoon we took a different direction for the set-up and never took enough advantage in the last exit to make a good enough lap time. I felt we should have been a little faster; but we did make progress throughout the day even though we still have to find a lot in some different areas.”
HAYDEN OPENS HOME GRAND PRIX FOURTEENTH ON TIMESHEETS
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider compares various tyre compounds on Day 1. Teammate Hiroshi Aoyama rmakes similar trials and places seventeenth
The winner of the inaugural GP of the Americas last year, and holder of the circuit record, Marc Márquez was a clear favourite for this round in the days leading up to the return to Texas. The Spaniard carried that responsibility with gusto, and dominated both free practice sessions of this second edition of the Grand Prix. While much remains of the weekend and circumstances may change, the Spaniard was way out in front on Friday. Although Marquez was the clear dominant force, Dani Pedrosa also set a consistent pace and Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone moved their Ducati’s up the order towards the end of the day. The 2013 tyre compounds are back for this Grand Prix, and Yamaha struggled on the opening day: Valentino Rossi was fifth, with Jorge Lorenzo eighth.
The DRIVE M7 Aspar riders began the GP of the Americas with mixed feelings. Nicky Hayden had an electrical problem at the end of the opening session, which fortunately did not disrupt his plans. The American compared two types of tyre compounds, and is ready to use either of the two options for the race this Sunday. He had a tougher time than expected negotiating the twisty Texan circuit, but hopes to improve tomorrow to cut the gap to the frontrunners. He concluded the day in fourteenth place after setting his best time on his thirteenth afternoon lap. His teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama, had little feeling in the morning, but worked on the tuning fork of his bike to find more confidence in the afternoon. He closed the day happy with his work. The Japanese rider was seventeenth overall and is eyeing further improvement tomorrow.
14th Nicky Hayden 2.06.188 (28 laps): "This morning at the end of the first session we had an electrical problem. We had to take the second bike out, with which we had planned to try a different setup from the number one machine, but we didn’t have time. Luckily my mechanics solved the electrical issue. Today we did a comparative tyre test: The soft tyre allows us to be faster, and the hard rubber worked better here than in Qatar. I think with this temperature that we have now, we can choose either of the two options. I’m enjoying the Circuit of the Americas a lot more than I did last year. The grip on the track is much greater than I had expected. Last year I had problems in the section with the flowing corners; I thought this year would be different but it is still tough. I hope to find a better pace tomorrow. We have some ideas about where we can improve. Today I did not want to focus on lap times, but instead work to improve my feeling with the bike. It is strange to be so far back at a home Grand Prix, so hopefully tomorrow we can improve."
17th Hiroshi Aoyama 2.07.034 (31 laps): “This morning the asphalt was rather dirty, which didn’t make for an easy session. In the afternoon we adapted the front suspension to the conditions of the circuit, and our situation improved. I had a good feeling and immediately we could see this in my times. We continued working on our setup and are on the right track. With this morning’s setup the tyres suffered a lot, but with the afternoon configuration they performed better and held up for longer. Tomorrow we will continue working in order to improve the front end response a little more, and to increase tyre durability to ensure minimum wear.”
Uphill start for Smith and Espargaro in sunny Texas
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team’s Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro finished today’s free practice sessions in optimistic spirits at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas for the second round of the MotoGP World Championship.
Both riders lowered their lap times from the first free practice session by a full second with the conditions being sunny and dry, at the state of the art track, which features the longest straight of a circuit on the Grand Prix calendar.
Bradley Smith relentlessly amassed a total of 36 laps of the Texan circuit across both of today’s sessions to finish in 10th place in the combined times. In his second appearance aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 in Texas, Smith posted a best time of 2:05.366 which means that he has already lapped faster than last year, with a gap of just over half a second to the fastest Factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi. After having spent the first day evaluating all of the possible tyre options and setting his fastest time on the harder one, the young British rider remains confident of a top 6 result in tomorrow’s qualifying session.
Rookie Pol Espargaro proceeded to collected valuable data today as he refined the setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike, whilst also sampling the 2013 Bridgestone tyres for the first time ever at the challenging Circuit of the Americas. The reigning Moto2 World Champion finished in 12th position with a best time of 2:05.672 and just over half a second from Factory Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo. The Spanish rider who is aiming for a top 10 finish in the race event on Sunday, is now back to full health following his collarbone injury, and completed 31 laps around the 5.513 kilometre circuit.
Bradley Smith - 10th - 2:05.366:
“The biggest positive of today is that I am riding faster and more confident on the track compared to last year. I feel great with the bike especially in sector 1 and 3, but I still need to improve in the second part of the circuit as well as in the last one. This afternoon we were able to test both tyre solutions, the medium one as well as the hard one. With the hard tyre I feel really good and I also did my fastest lap with it. However, as the weather may change we will have to choose the tyre accordingly for the rest of the weekend, but we are in a good position to make the right decision. Overall, today was useful as we collected very valuable data and we know how to go quicker, which will hopefully be by another second.”
Pol Espargaro - 12th - 2:05.672:
“Today has been a tricky day and a big challenge for me. There was a lot to learn and this track is really difficult. If you make a slight mistake with the line at the beginning of the second corner, you finish completely off line at the end of the corner sequence. Also using the 2013 Bridgestone tyre for the first time did not make things easy. That’s why I think I am pushing a bit too much, I definitely want to ride smoother because it’s the only way to be fast with the Yamaha. So I just need to relax more on the bike, and continue to work with my team and for sure we can improve. There are things to be changed, but I am confident that I can qualify well and I am ready to give it my all tomorrow.”
Marquez on record pace in Friday Practice at Austin
Friday, 11 April 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Medium; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 19-20°C; Track 23-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 27-28°C; Track 44-44°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was in menacing form in the first two practice sessions at Circuit of The Americas, the reigning world champion setting a lap time of 2'03.490 in FP2 to finish over a second quicker than his closest rival.
Marquez’s benchmark time was 0.752 seconds quicker than the Circuit Record Lap he set in last year’s inaugural Americas Grand Prix and 1.005 seconds faster than Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who was second quickest today. The third quickest rider in today’s sessions was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who set a personal best lap time of 2’04.623 to finish 1.133 seconds behind his teammate. Out of the top three riders today Marquez and Pedrosa set their best time on the hard compound rear, while Dovizioso set his best time on the soft compound rear.
Both of today’s Free Practice sessions were dry, with cool and windy conditions greeting riders for FP1 before the wind eased and track temperatures soared in the afternoon, with a peak of 44°C recorded during FP2. Almost all riders preferred the use of softer option slicks front and rear in the cooler morning session and as conditions warmed up in afternoon, most riders switched to the harder option, medium compound front slick. In FP2 most of the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders preferred the hard compound rear slick, while for the Ducati and Open-class riders, the preference was split between the soft and medium compound rear slicks.
Slightly cooler conditions are forecast for tomorrow with the next MotoGP™ session, Free Practice 3 scheduled to start at 0955 local time (GMT -5).
Masao Azuma- Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“Today we got two sessions with good track conditions and the warmer temperatures in the afternoon allowed the riders to try many tyre combinations. We received good feedback from the riders on all of our tyre specifications here and it was pleasing to see all three rear options featuring in the top five on the timesheet. Although the harder, medium compound front slick seems to be the most likely race tyre, rear tyre choice is still wide open and long runs in tomorrow’s session will make the situation clearer for the riders on what works best for them. Last year only two riders selected the hard compound rear slick for the race – including the winner Marquez - but with the improved edge grip offered by our new hard specification tyre, I think we will see more riders select this option for the race.”