Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Mugello:
Marquez fastest with temperamental weather in Mugello
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez remains the main protagonist in Italy after setting the fastest time in this morning’s FP1 session. However, with the threat of rain – and light spots falling on the track – in the afternoon, neither Marc or his teammate Dani Pedrosa went out, in fact only four riders took to the track, none of them improving times from this morning.
Marc posted his fastest time of 1’48.004 on lap 17 of 19 this morning, placing him in first position for the day. Dani recorded his fastest lap of 1’49.203 on lap 8 of 18 leaving him eleventh for the day.
1st - 1'48.004
“Today was a really good day, I began with a few questions on my mind after last year - when this track was one of those that I found most difficult - and I saw that things have changed completely after a year of experience. The morning went well and the feeling was good, but in the afternoon we didn't go out as it was raining on-and-off and the surface was neither fit for dry riding nor wet tyres. I felt very comfortable on the bike, there was a big difference compared to last year and I'm feeling much better about things and we hope to continue improving”
11th - 1'49.203
“Today we were only able to complete a few laps in the morning, in which I didn't feel completely comfortable. Then we were not able to ride in the afternoon as conditions were mixed and we couldn't use the slick tyres, but we were also unable to use the wets due to the track not being wet enough. In any case, I can't wait to continue working tomorrow to recover the ground needed and begin to ride fast”
Rain Stops Play in Mugello Free Practice
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team may have got off to a flying start in Mugello this morning but the good times were not to last as light rain cancelled any action in the afternoon.
Local hero Valentino Rossi got straight down to business in the first free practice, delighting the crowd of home fans with an impressive pace. Rossi led for most of the session before dropping to second in the last minutes, 0.382 seconds from first.
Teammate Lorenzo was also enjoying riding at one of his favourite circuits on the calendar, dropping time consistently throughout the practice to finish in fifth with a time of 1’48.677, 0.661 from first.
The afternoon session proved to be a frustrating one with light rain coming down minutes before the second practice, leaving the track not completely wet but not dry either, leaving the riders to sit it out and wait for tomorrow’s third session.
46 Valentino Rossi
2nd / 1'48.386 / - laps
“This morning the start was good for me. We found already quite a good setting and I felt comfortable on the bike; it was already quite fast. The weather is a shame firstly for the people around the circuit and also as we had something important to try this afternoon so it was important to try to make the test. Unfortunately ten minutes before the practice it started to rain but not enough for the rain tyre so we wasted our time.”
99 Jorge Lorenzo
5th / 1'48.665 / - laps
“Unfortunately before the second practice today it started spitting and raining a little bit, not so much but we were not able to use the slick and it had no use to try with the rain tyre. I just made one lap to warm up the rain tyre in case there’s a dry and wet race. This morning was good, I feel better physically and I feel stronger on the bike. It is just a little more nervous than last year so we are trying to improve the electronics to make the bike more smooth and easier to ride.”
“We made a very good start this morning in the first practice. Both Valentino and Jorge were able to find a good base set up to begin the weekend with; Valentino especially was very quick throughout the session. We expected Mugello to be a good track for the M1 so it's good to see this is a reality in practice. It’s frustrating that we were not able to continue our work this afternoon with the changing conditions, when it’s just a little wet and dry there is no real benefit to ride as you cannot make the best use of either wet tyres or slicks. The rest of the weekend’s weather looks more promising so we are happy to get back to work tomorrow morning.”
Weather conditions halve track time in Mugello
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders got off to a slippery start in Mugello with a slight downpour of rain at the beginning of FP2 preventing them from improving their times set in the morning practice session. The track conditions were not damp enough to warrant a wet setup, with Bradley Smith choosing to sit out the session and Pol Espargaro just undertaking a brief technical sighting lap on the 5245 metre circuit.
Bradley Smith who expected to improve his initial time in this afternoon’s practice session, finished FP1 in 10th with a best lap of 1.49,030. His time was just over one second from first place as he concentrated on finding a confidence instating base setup for this weekend’s round 6 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. Despite to the lack of action in FP2, the British rider now looks optimistically towards tomorrow’s third free practice session to continue his preparation for Sunday’s 23 lap race.
Pol Espargaro completed this morning’s session in 12th position despite falling uninjured half way through. The premier class rookie heroically returned to the pits, jumped on his second bike and then headed straight back out on track before incredibly improving his lap time in a showcase of true grit and determination. Having never ridden in wet conditions so far in MotoGP, the reigning Moto2 World Champion used this afternoon’s session to undertake a very brief technical check to discover the behaviour of the steel brakes. He now keenly awaits tomorrow’s FP3 session where he aims to continue his progress.
Position : 10th Time : 1'49.030 Laps : 20
Bradley Smith - Mugello - 2014"I am pretty happy with how things went this morning, and we have definitely improved a lot with certain aspects of the bike since Le Mans. We managed to do four runs and the team and I tried a lot of suspension and geometry settings so that we were able to collect a huge range of data. This in turn, fills me with confidence for tomorrow. It was unfortunate that I was unable to ride this afternoon yet with the information we have from FP1 we are in a good position for the rest of the weekend. Hopefully for tomorrow the weather conditions will clear and be dry so that we can carry on working in the right direction.”
Position : 12th Time : 1'49.308 Laps : 18
Pol Espargaro - Mugello - 2014“Obviously the fall this morning was not an ideal start to this weekend but in my first run behind Lorenzo I felt very comfortable and the lap times were promising. After the crash where I hit my head a bit, I felt quite nervous and little less confident but still managed to improve my lap time as soon as I went out again which obviously makes me feel elated for the weekend. Of course it goes without saying that I would have been happy to get a few more laps under my belt this afternoon, but unfortunately the weather conditions were not on our side. I am hoping that the weather will be dry tomorrow as I have never ridden in the wet but we will have to see.”
BAUTISTA IMMEDIATELY UP TO SPEED ON RAIN AFFECTED DAY AT MUGELLO
A light afternoon rain restricted the track activity during the first day of free practice at Mugello for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix: after the dry morning run, damp conditions has not allowed the riders to continue to work properly on their bikes in the second free practice session. Therefore, at the end of the day the classification remained the one established during the morning, with Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding in ninth and eighteenth position, respectively.
Regardless of the position, Alvaro Bautista is happy with the work carried out in the morning session, despite a fall in the final stages caused by Karel Abraham who was proceeding slow holding the line at Bucine, the fast corner before the start-finish straight. The Spaniard, who therefore was not able to further improve his lap times, felt the same good sensations encountered at Le Mans and is confident ahead of tomorrow. In the afternoon, Bautista completed only a few laps for a quick “shake down” on the bike with which he had the crash earlier in the morning.
His team-mate, Scott Redding, spent the morning session to learn the track - on which , however, he had already made a test on a MotoGP bike in 2012 - and to establish the best feeling with his Honda RCV1000R. The yougn Briton set a best time of 1’50”440.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (9th - 1'49"030)
“This morning I immediately felt comfortable on the bike: we tried different solutions on the rear, looking for a better grip, but overall I’m happy because I managed to keep a good pace. Over the past two years here at Mugello I have always struggled, but this year I have a good feeling, more or less as it happened in Le Mans two weeks ago; this means that the changes we tried during the post-race test at Jerez work also here, and that is really encouragin. Today I definitely could get a better lap time, because I was improving in every sector before the crash: we are a bit disappointed for what happened, because Abraham was proceeding slowly in a dangerous point; I’ve been forced to lean the bike a lot to avoid to touch him and as a result I lost grip and I crashed. Luckily I have no injuries, but it could have been worst. We’ll have to talk again about this topic. In the afternoon the track conditions didn’t allow to do any work on the bike and I completed only a few laps to make sure everything was working on the bike with which I had the crash in the morning”.
SCOTT REDDING (18th - 1'50"440)
“This morning the first free practice session was not too bad for me: it’s been easier for me to learn the track because I’ve already tested a MotoGP bike here in the past. My lap times were all very close and I think that the limit was represented by the softer front tyre: the front was pushing a lot on corner entry and I was losing ground especially in sectors 1 and 3. I wanted to try the harder front tyre in the afternoon, but it was not possible, so we'll do it tomorrow, together with some small changes on the bike balance”.
“Unfortunately, due to the crash in the final stages of the morning session, Bautista couldn’t improve his lap time, but we know that we have a good potential because today Alvaro was immediately fast. We can improve and we hope that tomorrow the weather will help us to prove it. This also applies to Scott, who spent the morning to get familiar with the bike on a track where he’s always been very strong, already finding with his team some aspects to improve ahead of tomorrow”.
The Italian GP practices gets underway with Espargaro 6th and Edwards 13th
It was a very positive opening day of practice for the NGM Forward Racing riders at the fast and technical Mugello track.
Aleix Espargaro focused on the electronics to solve the problems he had in Le Mans, while Colin Edwards tested the new chassis made by Forward in collaboration with FTR. The Texan rider was really satisfied with the feeling he got from the new chassis which was designed also according to his indications.
A light rain fallen just before the start of the FP2 spoiled the whole session as the track was neither dry or wet, so not useful to work on the set up of the bike in preparation of the race. As many other MotoGP riders Aleix and Colin didn’t test and the combined classification of the day sees the Spaniard in the sixth place with a best lap time of 1’48.743 and the Texan rider 13th (1’49.818).
“Today was one of my best memories of Mugello. We showed up here with the new chassis. We had to restart almost from zero in terms of set up but the feeling was very positive and I feel like I am a 20 year old guy!. I understand the bike, I have the confidence and the machine turns as it should, according to my riding style. The new chassis was designed around what I had last year and I’d like to thank the team for the great effort they made to deliver it for the Italian GP”.
“This morning we worked on the electronics to solve the problems we had in Le Mans and we tried different things to cool the brakes. We did a good work but there was not enough time to concentrate on the set up, something we wanted to do this afternoon. Mugello is a very demanding track so we will keep on working on the electronics in preparation of the race”.
Dovizioso 4th, Crutchlow 8th for Ducati Team on Day 1 of Italian GP at Mugello
Andrea Dovizioso started off the Mugello weekend in a positive way today, setting fourth quickest time this morning in the first free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix. Team-mate Cal Crutchlow was eighth quickest, with a time he also set in the morning, while the Ducati Team’s test-rider Michele Pirro ended the day in 14th place.
Unfortunately in the afternoon, light rain began to fall just before the second session, making the track damp and slippery and so almost all of the riders decided to stay in their pit garages.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 4th (1’48.518)
“This morning we started off quite well and set some good lap times. However we have to do some laps in different conditions because in the race we will probably find a track that is warmer than this morning, which will surely change the situation. Our start wasn’t bad therefore, but we have to continue to work hard tomorrow. This afternoon on the other hand, the conditions weren’t good enough to go out, it didn’t make much sense to lap on a damp track.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 8th (1’48.980)
“Today was about familiarization with the track and the Ducati in the morning session. The lap times for a lot of the guys seemed close. I’m a bit disappointed we never got out in the second session, but this was due to the condition of the track – half-wet, half-dry for everybody is not a good situation. We lost some time for the set-up work, but tomorrow we’ll look to improve.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 14th (1’50.030)
“I’m disappointed because this morning we had a problem with the bike and I didn’t manage to set a good time. Pity, because in the tests we went very well. I hoped to be able to make up time in the afternoon, but because of the track conditions I only managed to do a couple of laps to check that the second bike was working well. If the weather is better tomorrow, we’ll try and move further up.”
BRADL 7th FASTEST AT MUGELLO ON DAY ONE
Mugello, 30 May: the premier class rider took the Mugello circuit today for the first day of practices of the Gran Premio d’Italia but some light rain in the afternoon prevented the riders from improving their bikes and lap times. LCR Honda’ Stefan Bradl, who recorded the 7th quickest lap time in this morning FP1 (1’48.925), sat out the 45-min second session together with his colleagues but he is ready to go back in action tomorrow as a real estimator of the Tuscan circuit.
Stefan: “Actually the 7th place is acceptable but we could use the second session to adjust the bike. Anyway the good thing is that this morning we have tried different solutions with the bike settings and I went longer with the swing-arm length and this was the biggest step we have tried today. We have done some laps with that but later we came back to our standard bike and we could really improve our lap time on used tyres and this is very important. It’s good for my confidence to go fast on used tyres at the end of the session. It’s not going to be easy especially with Ducati as they tested here and they are pretty strong on this track. Let’s see how the weather will be tomorrow and we go ahead with our plan to make a good qualifying”.
INJURY-HIT NICKY HAYDEN COMPLETES JUST A HANDFUL OF LAPS AT MUGELLO
American rider struggling with wrist injury as team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama laps fifteenth fastest in free practice
The Italian GP got underway beneath dark skies at Mugello today and, even though the rain held off for the opening session this morning, the heavens opened over lunchtime leaving the track damp for the second session in the afternoon. With the surface neither fully wet nor fully dry only four riders bothered to venture out this afternoon, leaving Marc Márquez unchallenged at the top of the timesheets with an advantage of 0.3 seconds over home favourite Valentino Rossi.
Nicky Hayden was one of the few riders to venture out this afternoon as he tested out his injured wrist after only managing six laps in the morning. The DRIVE M7 Aspar rider battled the pain to complete five further laps but it has become apparent that the intense physiotherapy he has undergone since the last race at Le Mans has not been enough to cure the problem. Whatever he decides to do in the morning with regard to his participation at Mugello, Nicky has already taken advice from doctors to undergo surgery next week. Hiroshi Aoyama completed twenty laps in a positive morning session for him, the Japanese rider quickly getting a good feel for his bike around this technically demanding circuit and concluding the day in fifteenth position.
23rd Nicky Hayden 1.55.369 (11 laps): “Today I had a lot of pain in my hand. I thought the break after the last race at Le Mans would be enough for me but here the problem is worse. I worked really hard last week to try and recover with different kinds of therapy and a hyperbaric chamber but the injury to my right wrist has not improved. In France I was able to ride through the pain but this circuit is much faster and more demanding. After talking to the doctors it seems the smartest move is to undergo surgery next week in order to be fully fit again as soon as possible.”
15th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.50.143 (23 laps): “We were able to work on a dry track this morning and the feeling with the bike was very good. I felt very comfortable on the bike and I was instantly able to improve on my best lap times here from last year. We have found a couple of areas that we need to improve, in particular corner exit, and we need to find some more stability on the rear. We had planned to make some changes for the second session but we didn't get chance to test them because the track was neither wet nor dry. It seems as though the conditions will improve tomorrow so we'll keep working along the same lines to try and find what we are looking for.”
Two days after his final state exam Abraham is back on bike holding seventeenth position in Mugello
On Wednesday, Karel Abraham passed his final state exam of law master program and two days later he was back on his motorbike in opening session of Grand Prix in Mugello, Italy. After first day, the Czech rider holds seventeenth position 2.323 seconds behind the fastest Marc Marquez. All riders rode their fastest laps in the morning sessions. Due to occasional rain, most of the riders left out the afternoon free practice.
"On Wednesday, Karel Abraham passed his final state exam of law master program and two days later he was back on his motorbike in opening session of Grand Prix in Mugello, Italy. After first day, the Czech rider holds seventeenth position 2.323 seconds behind the fastest Marc Marquez. All riders rode their fastest laps in the morning sessions. Due to occasional rain, most of the riders left out the afternoon free practice."
Marco Grana, Cardion AB chief mechanic
„I passed my final exam on Wednesday and immediately after that I left Brno and hurried to Mugello. The timing was perfect; I arrived just in time to be ready for racing. Of course I´m happy to finish the school because I can focus on racing now. It´s pretty cold in Mugello, but it´s good for me – certainly better then hot. I´m disappointed that we missed afternoon practice. We were prepared to ride on the wet, but the conditions were mixed and it didn´t make any sense to ride on it.“
Marquez quickest in rain-interrupted Friday practice at Mugello
Round 6: Italian MotoGP™ - Free Practice 1&2
Mugello, Friday May 30 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 15-16°C; Track 20-20°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Wet. Ambient 20-20°C; Track 29-30°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was quickest on a rain-interrupted Friday at Mugello, setting a time of 1'48.004 in the dry Free Practice One session, before intermittent rain prevented any riders improving their times in the afternoon Free Practice Two session.
Marquez’s best lap time in FP1 was just four-tenths of a second shy of his own Mugello Circuit Record Lap that he set last year, and put him 0.382 seconds clear of Yamaha Movistar MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi who was second overall today. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone also gave the Italian fans reason to cheer by setting the third-quickest time in FP1 and was the only other rider to lap within half a second of Marquez.
Although the track was dry for FP1, track temperatures in the morning session were quite cool with a peak recording of just 22°C. Track temperatures reached a peak of 30°C in the afternoon, but intermittent rain during FP2 created a track surface that was neither fully wet nor fully dry for most of the session. As the afternoon session drew to a close, the rain intensified causing truly wet conditions and it was Ducati’s Michele Pirro who set the benchmark time of 2'05.435 on wet tyres in FP2.
The cool weather today resulted in every rider using the soft compound front slick in FP1, and although the softer rear slick options were also used by the majority of riders in the morning session, a few riders did take the opportunity to evaluate their harder rear slick. Current forecasts indicate that tomorrow morning’s FP3 session could be rain-affected, but conditions for FP4 and Qualifying Practice in the afternoon should be dry.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“This morning we had a positive practice session so it was unfortunate that we had unsettled weather in the afternoon, as this prevented the teams from acquiring any useful information on tyre performance or bike setup. At the start of the dry FP1 session this morning, the track temperature was among the coolest we’ve encountered so far this season, but the riders reported that our 2014 specification slicks worked well in the conditions. It was the first session of the weekend, but already the pace was almost as quick as we saw in the race last year so this indicates good warm-up performance and grip from the tyres. Almost every rider used softer slick options front and rear in FP1, and due to the afternoon rain they were not able to compare the performance with the harder slicks as was planned. The weather forecast indicates that we could have wet conditions in the morning, but hopefully we will have fine conditions for the afternoon which will allow the riders to evaluate some different tyre combinations before the race on Sunday.”