Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:
Marquez and Pedrosa back on track Down Under
Recently crowned 2014 Champion Marc Marquez, and his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa were back on track today at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia, with Repsol Honda’s 2011 World Champion Casey Stoner watching on with his family from inside the garage.
Sunny blue skies welcomed the riders but temperatures remained fresh with an ambient temperature of just 15ºC and track at 35ºC. It was an important test for the tyres after a difficult race weekend in 2013 which resulted in race direction adding a mandatory pit stop to change tyres during the race. The factory riders attended a tyre test in March this year – except Marc who was injured – so there was anticipation to see how the new Bridgestone tyres would perform.
These tyres will demand a lot of setup work, as this is the first time they have been provided this season. However, the times are very close with just 0.711 seconds separating the top eleven riders. Marc finished third for the day in the combined times with a lap of 1’29.752 (lap 4/19) in this afternoon’s FP2 session. Dani finished 10th for the day with his time of 1’30.289 (lap 16/23) commenting that the rear tyre which he tested in March here feels totally different now, 7 months later.
3rd - 1'29.752
“Today we focused on working with the new tyres that Bridgestone have brought for this circuit, which are totally different from what we have used for the rest of the year. This is also a circuit that requires a very exact setup, because it has some very fast corners. In the afternoon practice session we took a step forward and I felt much better on the bike, but I think we have to keep working because there are still things that we can improve. However, the feeling is very good and I think it has been a positive day.”
10th - 1'30.289
“Today didn’t go entirely well for us. It was difficult to find grip with the new compounds that Bridgestone have given us and we struggled especially with the rear. Tomorrow we have to work to the maximum on the setup to see if we can make better use of this tyre and move up positions on the timesheets.”
Positive Start for Movistar Yamaha in the Island
Phillip Island (Australia), 17th October 2014
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were back on track at the Phillip Island circuit today for the first free practice sessions of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
Still thrilled to have won the two previous Grand Prix, Lorenzo was quick to find the pace around the Phillip Island circuit. Riding in the cold and windy conditions, the Spaniard was able to hold second position for most of the morning session, finishing just 0.160s from the front runner.
Lorenzo continued his form in the afternoon session when he posted a 1’29.602 on his fourth lap and held on to the lead for the rest of the 2nd Free Practice session. The Spaniard spent what was left of the session testing the asymmetrical tyre. He suffered a fall at turn four, but was able to walk away unharmed.
Teammate Rossi also came out fighting as he briefly topped the first Free Practice session with his first flying lap. Throughout the session he bettered his time by almost 1,7 seconds to a 1’30.051 lap.
In the afternoon the nine-time World Champion further improved his times and dropped under the 1’30 mark with a 1'29.954 lap, just 0.352 behind his teammate.
The results put Lorenzo in first place in the combined times and Rossi in sixth.
99 Jorge Lorenzo
1st / 1'29.602 / 14 laps
“I didn’t expect the crash because I was braking more or less at the same point with similar pressure as the previous laps but suddenly, without any warning, the front tyre closed. Within one tenth of a second I was in the gravel. It was quite a violent crash, but luckily it wasn’t so hard that I got injured. My leathers are completely destroyed, but I am ok, which is the most important thing. I think the asymmetrical front tyre was too hard for these cold conditions. These things happen and you just have to learn from it. Now we have to choose between another 31 or another asymmetrical. It’s a critical decision because tomorrow if it’s hotter, the asymmetrical tyres might be the better option.”
46 Valentino Rossi
6th / 1'29.954 / 20 laps
“I was supposed to try the asymmetrical front tyres but Jorge crashed at the exact moment that we put the front tyre on the bike, so we decided to wait and see whether he crashed because of a problem with the tyre and we decided to continue with the softer tyre instead. It depends on the weather, but I feel very good with softer tyre so I hope it will be strong enough to last for the whole race. Tomorrow we will also try the asymmetrical tyres. I am happy with Bridgestone’s work, because the tyres have more resistance and it feels a lot less scary on the bike. We lost a bit of grip, but that’s normal. The track also has a lot less grip compared to last year, because last year the asphalt was brand new and now it’s been used. It’s natural. In Phillip Island you always slide and spin, but it’s good fun!”
“Today we had a very positive start in the first two practice sessions. We are in a good position because this track suits the Yamaha M1 well. Right away both Jorge and Valentino found a good base set up in the morning session and had a good pace. The feeling of the riders has been great and they seem confident with the set up and the extra soft front tyres, which is important. During the afternoon session Jorge tested the special asymmetrical front tyres. Despite his crash it looks like the bike is working well on those tyres too. We’re very satisfied with today’s results but we’ll keep working hard for the rest of the weekend to get the best possible results.”
Australian GP: Dovizioso fifth and Crutchlow seventh at the end of day 1 of free practice at Phillip Island
Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow took fifth and seventh place respectively at the end of the first day of free practice action for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
Despite blue skies and bright sunshine, air temperature today only hovered around a lowly 15°C and together with a light sea breeze, this meant that all the riders who took to the track had problems with grip.
There were a number of crashes in the second session in particular, luckily without any consequences for the riders involved, and Andrea Dovizioso was one of those, when he crashed out at Turn 11 after losing the front of his Desmosedici GP14.2.
Twelve riders are separated by one second in the combined standings, with the two Ducati Pramac Racing Team men, Andrea Iannone and Yonny Hernandez, in fourth and ninth place respectively.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th (1’29.945)
“For the moment I don’t have much of a feeling with my bike, but the track conditions today were a bit strange and there wasn’t really much grip. Many riders, me included at Turn 11, crashed when we lost the front because today the air temperature was rather cold and the right side of the tyre did not reach the correct temperature. It’s also very difficult to control the rear tyre and I don’t know if tomorrow, even if the temperature goes up, the situation will be much better. In the end I managed to set a good time, but for sure we’re going to have to do some more work to improve the feeling with the bike.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 7th (1’30.076)
“It wasn’t too bad a day for us and I’m quite pleased. I believe we have not such a bad pace but the times are very close between a lot of the riders here. I was disappointed with the last run because I got held up for most of the laps and then didn’t better my time as much as possible. But I look forward to making some progress tomorrow and hopefully having a good qualifying session. Today I also used the asymmetric tyre but with the wind chill factor at the moment the left hand side is not building up enough heat.”
At Phillip Island the Pramac Racing Team ends the first day in the right way
The Australian weekend starts the right way for the Pramac Racing Team. The first day finishes with Andrea Iannone in fourth position and Yonny Hernandez in ninth.
Andrea Iannone today was fast since FP1 finishing in third place. In the combined ranking at the end of the day he is in fourth position. In these two sessions Andrea had to deal with a grip problems. In FP2 to try to solve the issue he tried the innovative front tire with an asymmetric profile, that did not bring him luck. While he was trying it he crashed but without consequences for himself. The feeling is that resolution of this problem will give Andrea the possibility to fight for the front row in qualifying and for a good result in the race.
Yonny Hernandez closed FP1 in twelfth position, concentrating the morning work on finding the right feeling. In the afternoon session he improved his lap time by over half a second, finishing in ninth place. The Colombian rider has once again managed to squeeze all the way down his GP13, bringing in the top ten. Yonny is aware that tomorrow and Sunday he will have to work even harder to keep these results.
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing)
"This morning I had a good feeling. This afternoon we did some tests including two front tires that we didn’t use this morning and the feeling didn’t improve. In fact also crashed losing grip on the front tire. Overall I am still satisfied even if we have to analyze the afternoon session. It’s already a bit that we are constantly in front of even circuits which theoretically were not suitable for us."
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing)
"This morning I was not at my top, there were different kinds of problems. Lack of grip primarily, but also in braking the bike did not allow me to slow down like i wanted to. This afternoon we worked well and the changes made brought good results. We still need to improve to stay in the top ten."
DIFFICULT START FOR BAUTISTA AND REDDING AT PHILLIP ISLAND
Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini riders Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding experienced a difficult start to preparations for Sunday’s Australian MotoGP round today at Phillip Island. In pretty warm and sunny conditions, the Spaniard and the Briton found both free practice sessions a tough challenge while they worked hard to find confidence with their bikes.
Already struggling with rear grip in recent races, Alvaro Bautista struggled even more today to make the tyres available this weekend - featuring a harder compound - work. Therefore the Spaniard closed the combined classification of the two sessions back in 15th position, with a time of 1’31”137, obtained in the afternoon.
His teammate Scott Redding completed the first day two positions behind him in 17th place with a time of 1’31”174, set in the morning session. The British rookie failed to improve in the afternoon, also due to lack off traction and front end confidence in the fast corners.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (15th - 1'31"137)
“We already had rear grip issues in other tracks, and we knew that here, with an even harder compound, the situation would be even worst. I really don’t feel the rear tyre so I can’t open the throttle and I can’t be quick on corner entry. This is frustrating, because it means that I can’t ride. Today was difficult to do it without crashing”.
SCOTT REDDING (17th - 1'31"174)
“Today it was quite difficult, we felt like we already reached the limit with the bike, and it was really strange because it was hard to do faster lap times. Also, we had again some problems with traction, and a lack of front feeling in the fast corners. We are working to find a good setting for tomorrow: if we will have a little bit more consistency through the four sectors of the track, we can be closer to the other Open Class Honda guys. Today, instead, we were inconsistent and in addition there were many yellow flags out there when I was riding, and this was a little bit confusing. Anyway we have to focus on tomorrow to find the right set-up”.
BRADL’S PERFORMANCE AFFECTED BY TYRE ISSUES AT THE ISLAND CIRCUIT
Phillip Island, 17 October: Stefan Bradl’s first outing at the Island circuit did not commence in the proper way, as the German riding the LCR RCV, like the majority of his colleagues, was not able to perform with the new tyre pressure suggested by Bridgestone to avoid last year’s technical issues. Bradl ended the opening day of the Australian GP in 12th place with a best lap time of 1’30.678.
Stefan: “It’s hard to think positive today. Actually we had big problems with the tyres situation as we had to run a special tyre pressure for safety reasons due to last year issues, but I could not find the right confidence to set my pace. On the maximum lean I have no feedback from the rear tyre and we are loosing a lot on mid-corner and acceleration. Now we must check the data and find a solution for tomorrow because 12th place is not what we are here for”.
We start with eighteenth position in free practices in Phillip Island
Overseas tour of MotoGP continues this weekend in Australia at Phillip Island circuit. The Czech rider Karel Abraham took part of first two free practices at the track, which is considered as the furthermost one and also the most beautiful one. After first day, the Czech team is holding eighteenth position with time 1:31,219 losing 1,617 to the winner of the season, Spaniard Lorenzo
"Today it was not as bad, but also not completely good. We have lot of work in front of us and we have to work a lot. Since last year there is a new surface, so we should have good grip, but it is little bit bigger pressure on acceleration. This circuit is not as much demanding on breaking, so problems, which we had last year, have not appeared yet. We were not able for now to harmonize setting of front and rear of the bike. When the front is working, as we want, the rear is thrown out of balance again. As I say, we have too work a lot tomorrow. The weather is pretty good, cold but sun is shining. It is windy as always in Australia."
DRIVE M7 Aspar riders enjoy perfect conditions as they get a feel for Phillip Island
Hayden makes strong start with thirteenth fastest time, a second off the top, with Aoyama nineteenth after a crash
A crash-strewn opening day made for a worrying start to the Australian GP, as the MotoGP riders ran through a series of tests on new tyres brought specifically for this event. A new track surface gave Bridgestone a major headache last season and the unique conditions of Phillip Island again proved tricky to negotiate today, with bright sunshine and blue skies but a chilly spring breeze. A number of riders were caught out and crashed in strange circumstances, including the fastest man on track today, Jorge Lorenzo. Aleix Espargaró had set the pace in the morning session, the Spaniard and the rest of the Open riders disposing of a softer tyre than their Factory counterparts and seemingly holding a slight advantage in this respect.
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider Nicky Hayden was in relaxed mood after a solid opening day's work that saw him set almost identical fastest lap times in the two sessions (1.31.034 – FP1/1.31.043 – FP2). His morning effort was enough to see Hayden finish the day in thirteenth place overall, 1.4 seconds off Lorenzo's benchmark. His team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama drew less successful conclusions from the series of tyre tests the riders conducted today, the DRIVE M7 Aspar man struggling for rear grip and then crashing inexplicably in turn four during the afternoon session after losing the front.
13th Nicky Hayden 1.31.034 (41 laps): “Compared to the last two rounds we have made a strong start here in Australia and the gap to the top is much closer. This morning we were just over a second off the best lap and it is a long time since we started a weekend so close to the pace. I love Phillip Island and the conditions were awesome today. The main focus was to assess the performance of the tyres today. The front worked well but we are still a long way from optimum feeling under braking. I tried the softer and the harder rear compounds and personally I don't think there is a significant difference - the feeling and the lap times are similar with both. We still have a lot of work ahead of us between now and Sunday afternoon but in general I am satisfied with the way we have started the weekend.”
19th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.31.264 (44 laps): “Because this is such a unique circuit we have an asymmetric front tyre here, which has a different compound on each side, and a different rear to what we normally use. I felt I had less grip than usual from the rear, especially in corner exit, so we have to work to change this. I didn't get around to testing the new front tyre because I crashed just before we were about to use it. I was able to check the soft and hard options and the feeling was good on the front, even though I crashed. It was a strange one and a few riders went down in a similar way. I lost a bit of confidence with the harder front as a result and now we need to analyse the data to see why the crash happened.”
Determined Espargaro opens Australian campaign in 8th
Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro kicked off the opening day of the Tissot Australian Grand Prix at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit in a positive fashion by clinching 8th position. The young Spanish rider, who has won twice in succession at this track in the intermediate class in recent years, started the day by finishing 11th as he set about experimenting with tyre options as well as beginning to establish the setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1. In the afternoon, the reigning Moto2 World Champion remained fully focused on upping his level at the 4448 meter Australian circuit yet fell at turn four but luckily remained uninjured, at the halfway mark in the practice. However, Espargaro showed resilience and sprinted back to the pit box before returning to the track straight away on his second bike and then powering through to set a best lap of 1’30.103. This time saw him seize 8th with it being only three tenths from the front row which further strengthens the Spaniard’s ambition to clinch a top six result in the qualifying session tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith made progressive steps forward as well by exploring setup and tyre options on the Yamaha YZR-M1 before finishing in 11th position in the tightly contested afternoon session in Australia. The British star opened the first practice at the Phillip Island circuit by riding to 8th in the morning under sunny conditions at the coastal track. As the afternoon practice began, Smith got down to business and remained determined in setting himself up to qualify strongly ahead of the battle on Sunday where he intends to fight into the top five. The British rider completed the FP2 practice with a personal fastest lap of 1’30.313, which was a steady improvement of over three tenths of a second from his morning time. In addition, the lap was merely 0.359 from fifth place. Smith’s start today leaves him optimistic and confident of lowering the gap to the leading bikes further tomorrow, before fighting to qualify as high as possible during the all-important qualifying session in the afternoon.
Position : 8th Time : 1'30.103
"Fortunately, I am fine and not injured at all after the fall in the afternoon, even if it was quite a fast one. We still do not exactly know why it happened as I was on the hard tyre compound which felt good and comfortable when turning. Therefore we need to work out why this occurred because I fell when I was still straight and on the brakes. A possible reason might be that the previous corners are lefts and then when we eventually get to the fourth turn, the right side of the tyre is a bit too cold and in this case, it could still be an issue with the asymmetric tyres during the weekend. We tried all of the tyre combinations today and I prefer the hard option despite the crash, but we will continue our research to find the best option. There is quite a big difference to Moto2 and at the moment, I think it’s more fun on the intermediate bikes. However, this is due to my inexperience and I need to learn more. In the afternoon my performance was a little better but there was still a gap to the front that I need to close so we will work hard to improve in order to get a good qualifying tomorrow."
Position : 11th Time : 1'30.313
"Overall, the first day has been quite constructive for me at Phillip Island. We were able to try the new Bridgestone tyre which is available here and they’ve done a good job to create it, as it looks like it will last the full race distance, which is obviously very important. However, it does require a slightly different setup to what we are used to, in order to accommodate the tyre, so we’ve been trying to learn and understand exactly what it needs. Yet, in general I am pleased with what we have achieved. I was consistent but unfortunately I finished in 11th as it was a close session, so tomorrow we will look to improve straight away in order to get straight into Q2. In my opinion, the track has lost a bit of grip compared to last year, but with the good weather and less wind today, we’ve still been able to perform well. My aim is to ride a 1’29 lap time tomorrow, so with a bit more improvement I am confident that I can qualify well."
Great start for Aleix Espargaro at Phillip Island
The NGM Forward Racing rider Alex Espargaro impressed at Phillip Island, that this weekend hosts the Australian Grand Prix, 16th round of the 2014 season. The Spanish rider found a very good feeling with his Forward Yamaha since this morning, topping the FP1 with a lap time of 1.29.749 and securing the second fastest time of the combined classification of the first day. In the afternoon Espargaro focused on the race pace, remaining close to the first riders, but without being able to further improve his lap time.
It was a difficult day for Alex De Angelis, who despite the technical problems was able to set a lap time of 1.31.108, finishing in 14th position. The rider from San Marino was obliged to stop twice at the garage, losing important time to work on the bike set up in preparation of the race.
“I’m very happy with today’s result. This morning I was able to find a good feeling and to ride fast on this technical track. Compared to Japan, here we don’t have hard acceleration and we can be competitive. In the afternoon I could ride with a very good pace and this is very important for the race. Tomorrow we aim at making another step forward for the qualifying and to continue working in preparation of the race”.
Alex De Angelis
“I’m really disappointed. We couldn’t solve the technical problems that we had last week in Japan and I lost some time in both sessions trying to find a solution. In the afternoon we tested some news things in terms of set up and the feeling was good. I was able to improve of almost 4 tenths compared to the FP1 but I couldn’t complete the long run in preparation of the race”.
Tough opening day on the Island for Redding
Phillip Island, Australia – 17 October 2014: Scott Redding’s Phillip Island weekend got off to a difficult start, with set up issues leaving the Honda rider down in 17th position on the timesheet.
The 21-year-old Briton again struggled with rear traction issues today, as well as a lack of the front-end feeling that is so critical with Phillip Island featuring so many fast corners.
Redding will work together with his crew tonight to try and find a solution to both technical issues, as well as working to improve his consistency over a lap of the 4.448 km/2.764 mile Phillip Island circuit.
Scott Redding // 17th // 1’31.174
“Today was quite difficult, because it felt like we’d already reached the limit with the bike and it was hard to improve the lap time. Again we had problems with both traction and a lack of front feeling in the faster corners, of which there are a few here at Phillip Island. We are working to find a solution with the set up for tomorrow and if we can get a little more consistency over a lap then I think we can be closer to the other Open Class Honda guys. Today we were too inconsistent, but the number of yellow flags also caused some confusion today too. Anyway, we need to focus on tomorrow and finding the improvements we need to go faster here.”
Lorenzo lays down the quickest time in Friday practice at Phillip Island
Round 16: Australian MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two
Phillip Island, Friday 17 October 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Extra-soft & Soft (Symmetric) & Soft (Asymmetric). Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 14-14°C; Track 29-33°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 15-15°C; Track 39-40°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Jorge Lorenzo’s run of fine form continued on the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix as the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider was quickest overall in Friday practice at Phillip Island, his best lap time of 1’29.602 seeing him end the day 0.147 seconds clear of NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro on combined times.
Lorenzo set the quickest lap time of the day in his first stint in the afternoon Free Practice 2 session using the combination of the medium compound rear slick and extra-soft compound front slick to head a tightly-packed field in which the top ten riders were split by just 0.7 seconds by the end of the day. Aleix Espargaro’s personal best lap time of 1’29.752 was set in the morning Free Practice 1 session, and this impressive lap time was still good enough to see him complete the first day as the second fastest rider. Third quickest today was Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez with a personal best lap time of 1’29.752, just 0.150 seconds behind Lorenzo.
Conditions on the first day of practice at Phillip Island were sunny, yet a cool breeze kept track temperatures to a moderate level with a peak track temperature recording of 40°C at the start of FP2. With the unbalanced track layout and cool breeze being a known hazard at the Phillip Island circuit, for the morning FP1 session the riders almost exclusively used the extra-soft front slick in combination with the softer rear slick options; medium compound for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders and soft compound for the Ducati and Open-class riders. The warmer temperatures in the afternoon saw a more diverse choice of front slicks being used with the symmetric and asymmetric soft compound front slicks being used, along with the extra-soft front. Rear tyre choice in the afternoon still saw a strong preference for the softer rear slicks, although some riders also evaluated the harder option rear slicks in FP2.
Warmer temperatures are forecast for tomorrow, with the next MotoGP™ session being Free Practice 3 at 1055 local time (GMT +11).
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today was the first chance for riders to try our new tyre specifications for Phillip Island and despite a few incidents during the day, the results were positive with strong, consistent performance and good durability. However, as we saw the challenging layout and temperature conditions at Phillip Island still caught some riders out. All six of our slick tyre options we brought this weekend were evaluated today, so the teams and riders now have a good amount of data to work with for tomorrow’s qualifying sessions and race simulations. An encouraging outcome for us today was the feedback we received on our brand new soft compound asymmetric front slick. The riders reported that the braking performance of this option was the same as our conventional, symmetric soft front slick but with better grip and warm-up performance in cool conditions which was our development target for this tyre. The top twelve riders were split by just one second on combined times today which shows our new tyre specifications are working well for all manufacturers, and I hope that this trend of close racing continues for the rest of the weekend.”