Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at the Circuit of the Americas:
Wet start to Red Bull GP of The Americas
The first session of the weekend has got underway in Austin, Texas with Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez second fastest and replacement rider Hiroshi Aoyama in 12th.
An issue with the lap time transponder delayed the session from starting by fifty minutes, then after just twelve minutes the session was red flagged when a dog was spotted on the track. A further delay of twenty minutes ensued before the riders were able to return on track and complete this first session.
Marc completed fifteen laps with his fastest lap of 2’19.864 (lap 14) and Hiroshi Aoyama – replacing injured Dani Pedrosa – recorded 17 laps and took his best time on the final lap with 2’22.387.
2nd 2'19.864 [lap 14/15]
“I felt good this morning even in these wet conditions. The grip of the track in the rain isn’t too bad - but not one of the best! It’s important to work well on the setup as it looks quite likely we will have a wet race. I tried to push on my last lap and had a moment, but it was good to see the limit in these conditions. This afternoon we will continue to work and prepare for qualifying and the race, regardless of the conditions.”
12th 2'22.387 [lap 17/17]
“Unfortunately this first practice in Austin was very wet, which wasn’t ideal for me. I’ve just jumped onto Dani’s bike and I need some time to adapt. I was trying to get some feeling and slowly improved through the session but it looks like the weather will remain like this for the weekend so we’ll keep working on the wet setup and try to find some consistency.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Faces Tricky Conditions in Texas
Circuit of the Americas (Austin, Texax - USA), 10th April 2015
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo kicked off the action in America today with two challenging free practice sessions ahead of this weekend‘s Grand Prix of the Americas.
The first practice at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) was full of surprises. Rossi and Lorenzo initially battled themselves up to provisional 3rd and 13th respectively in a soaking wet morning session, but just 12 minutes into FP1 the red flags came out after a dog ran across the track, delaying the session by 20 minutes.
Once the session re-started, nine-time World Champion Rossi returned to the track and was able to better his time to a 2‘20.593 for a fourth place. He further improved his time in the afternoon. As dry patches started to form, he made the most of the last 18 minutes of track time and clocked a 2‘05.691. His time put him in sixth place, 0,856s from the front.
Teammate Lorenzo kept his caution in the first free practice as he struggled with a lack of rear grip, causing him to finish in ninth place with a 2‘21,486 lap. As the track dried out during FP2, the Spaniard gradually reached a personal best of 2‘06.174. He holds eleventh in the combined times, less than five tenths of a second from his teammate in sixth place.
46 Valentino Rossi
6th / 2'05.691 / 13 laps
“It‘s important to test on the wet because last year I never had a good feeling with the YZR-M1 under these conditions. We changed a lot on the setting of the bike and today I finished fourth on the full wet, which is not so bad, but on the dry I feel better. I am only sixth because I hit some traffic and I can do a little bit better than that. We still have to work, but the first feeling of the bike is not so bad.”
99 Jorge Lorenzo
11th / 2'06.174 / 11 laps
“Today was a very difficult day for me. Since this morning I feel pretty bad. I didn‘t feel comfortable with either the bike or myself. My physical condition today it‘s not good, I got a cold and today I started on antibiotics because I feel sick. I couldn‘t work in a normal way; I feel weaker due to the cold. The doctors told me it‘s bronchitis and I suffer a lot when riding the bike. We have a lot of work to do with the machine but first of all I need to recover. Hopefully tomorrow it will be better with all the treatments. I‘m so sorry because today we couldn‘t improve the pace and I couldn‘t be competitive.”
“It is untypical weather in Austin. This morning it was cold, wet and windy but it was better in the afternoon. We have to be prepared, because the weather for the coming days is unpredictable, making this a tricky weekend. Anything can happen, so we have to be ready. Considering the uncertainty of the weather forecasts for this weekend, today was a good day in terms of data collecting, because we could practise on the wet and the dry. Unfortunately we only had 20 minutes on a dry track but those were important. We have some work to do to improve the settings of the bike for both conditions. This means we have to work in two directions, because we have to be ready for every circumstance, but we are confident that we can do it.”
Repsol Honda’s Marquez top on day one in Austin
Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas
MotoGP 2015 Round 2
After a wet start to the Red Bull GP of The Americas, this afternoon the track dried up and allowed the MotoGP riders the opportunity to experience some dry track time.
The track improved as the FP2 session continued and it was reigning World Champion, Marc Marquez, who finished on top. His time of 2’04.835 recorded on his final lap of ten, placed him 0.327 seconds ahead of satellite Honda rider Cal Crutchlow in the combined times. Marc’s teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama, finished the day in 16th with his time of 2’07.268 (lap 12/12). Hiroshi – standing in for injured Dani Pedrosa – was grateful to have some dry track time to assist his learning experience aboard the Honda RC213V.
Tomorrow’s FP3 session is scheduled to begin at 09h55 local time.
1st 2'04.835 [lap 10/10]
“Today was a positive day and in general it went fairly well. In the morning we rode in wet conditions, which was important because it is possible that Sunday’s race will be under the same circumstances and we were able to discard a few things. In the second session we were able to ride in the dry and, although we only put in five fast laps, the feeling was good and we could draw a few conclusions. Let’s hope that tomorrow the weather is dry and we can continue trying out some modifications to the bike to improve further –although the important thing is that our initial feeling is positive.”
16th 2'07.268 [lap12/12]
“Unfortunately this morning’s session was in wet conditions which wasn’t the easiest start for me in learning how to ride this bike. We adjusted the bike a little and by the end I had more confidence. This afternoon it was slightly damp still but we rode on the slicks so I could get some experience in drier conditions. We didn’t really change too much on the bike, I just needed to put in some laps as I’m still missing a good feeling on the bike.”
Good start for Ducati Team riders in the GP of the Americas at Austin, Texas
The first day of practice for the Grand Prix of the Americas, round 2 of the MotoGP World Championship taking place this weekend at the Austin circuit in Texas, ended with the two Ducati Team riders – Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso – respectively in third and fifth place.
The morning’s FP1 session took place in the pouring rain and Dovizioso was able to top the timesheets, four-tenths quicker than Marc Marquez.
In the afternoon, FP2 began with a still damp track, but during the session the sun dried out the lines and the riders were able to lap on a completely dry surface towards the end. Both Iannone and Dovizioso used a soft rear tyre on their final runs to set their quickest times, and they ended the day third and fifth.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 2’05.190 (3rd)
“I am pleased with how today ended. FP1 this morning was a bit more difficult for me because I didn’t have a good feeling with the bike in the wet. In the afternoon however, I managed to be quite quick with the bike in its dry weather set-up and right from the start of the second session I had a good feeling with the GP15: I like the way it behaves and so I am satisfied with our situation at the moment. Let’s see tomorrow what the weather conditions are going to be like.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2’05.646 (5th)
“All things considered today was a positive day, even though the conditions were rather particular. But we are happy because we were quick both in the rain and in the dry. This afternoon the main aim was to stay in the top 10 because tomorrow morning it will probably rain. Unfortunately we were unable to work very much with dry settings, I only did four laps and the feeling with the bike is not good enough yet. We have to improve a few things, both in the wet and in the dry, if we want to fight for the podium tomorrow, but the limits of the bike are pretty similar in the various weather conditions, and so in any case tomorrow we have to work to try and resolve them.”
TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR IN TOP-5 ON FIRST DAY IN AUSTIN
Suzuki Press Office – April 10.
The first day of practice for the Grand Prix of the Americas was hit by the weather today – as forecast – with rain mixing-up the order during the first practice session.
This meant that MotoGP™ riders experienced the Circuit of The Americas in wet conditions for the first time since the class has visited the track, meaning that Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders experienced their GSX-RR machines on rain tyres for the first time in anger this season.
The day was also made more hectic due to time delays, caused initially by the very wet track conditions and also by a dog running on the track, bringing the red flag out for 45-minutes. The weather then changed again and sunny conditions greeted riders later in the day, with the Tarmac getting dryer and riders attempting a quick-lap on slick tyres towards the end of the afternoon session.
The provisional classification sees Aleix Espargaro well up at the top of the results sheets with a solid fourth place, obtained thanks to a positive 2'05.564s lap scored on his very last lap. His young team-mate Maverick Viñales struggled a little more, but his best-lap of 2'07.011s sees him in 15th place overall.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“This has been a very strange day, with variable weather conditions that required extra effort as the riders had to adapt. This morning we made our debut in wet conditions, our machines and riders had never ridden properly in hard rain before so we had to start with a basic set-up from where we tried to improve, according to the data and feedback from the riders. Fortunately in the afternoon we could run in dry conditions and both riders did make major improvements since they have more experience with these conditions. Aleix did a good job running out on track as much as possible and getting well into the leading group, which is good in case the rain falls tomorrow as well. Maverick on his side of the garage kept on with his personal development plan in the class and made many laps with the same tyre, getting more and more confidence. For sure we still have to improve and it is impossible to say how the weekend will proceed, since it depends on the weather conditions.”
“I’m happy for the final position; like in Qatar I finished the early sessions with a virtual position near the top which is good, but overall this has not been a fully satisfying day. This morning we had to start from zero with the rain since we have no experience in the wet. I feel the bike is performing well, but we still have a huge amount of work to do for the final set-up and on my own I still have a lot to learn about how the bike behaves and reacts. In dry conditions we have much more experience, but I have been having the same chatter problem on the rear that we had in the Qatar race. We need to further investigate this and fix it. We will see how the weather develops tomorrow. Today’s fourth place is a good starting point and we can now concentrate on finding the best feeling with the bike.”
“Today was pretty difficult. This morning I had my first experience with the bike in the rain and I feel that I still have a lot of work to do to improve my riding style and also give proper feedback to the engineers to improve the machine. In dry conditions I tried to exploit the session to my advantage, but I had few laps available and unfortunately the engine map on my GSX-RR was not the best one so I couldn’t be as fast as I wanted, but now we can fix it for tomorrow and try to improve more.”
FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE IN TEXAS. BAUTISTA ENDS THE DAY IN 17th PLACE, 24th FOR MELANDRI
Austin (USA), 10 April 2015 - The second round of the 2015 MotoGP season, which for Aprilia represents the return to the top class, opened up in the rain for the first session. In the afternoon the track complicated things for the riders as it progressively dried out, forcing them into a situation where they were able to push hard on slicks only during the last part of the session.
For Aprilia Racing Team Gresini this was just the second stop in a long season where the bike and team will have to grow, motivated by competition on the track in the highest level motorcycle racing championship.
Alvaro Bautista, after finishing the morning FP1 in eleventh place (wet), finished with the 17th best time, putting 2'07,419 on the sheets. Marco Melandri (who is riding on the Texan track for the very first time) finished with the 24th best time at 2'11,258.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
"A day conditioned by the weather. In the morning we were able to test in the wet and it didn't go too badly at all. The afternoon was a difficult session to interpret. In the end it dried out enough and Bautista was in the pack and his feeling with the bike was positive, so we're happy enough. With Marco we're trying a big more radical engine control solutions so his performance is suffering in this aspect as well."
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
"Bautista demonstrated progress compared to the first race and that is encouraging. We didn't lap much in the dry, but on the wet he had good sensations and since rain hasn't been ruled out for the next few days, it's important for us to be ready for these conditions as well. We are really at the beginning and we are all putting forth our best effort, we just need time."
"Today we had the chance to lap in the wet. We tried different power management maps, especially coming out of turns, and I was quite comfortable. This is important because the forecast is uncertain and we need to be ready in case we have a wet race. In the afternoon with a half dry track I used slicks only in the second part of the session. Now we need to work to improve grip, especially in the middle of turns, and power management. We'll be working on these aspects tomorrow."
"Two very different sessions because of the weather. On my bike we're exploring some rather different electronics solutions and my performance is suffering because of that. But on the other hand, we don't want to leave anything untried to recover that feeling and confidence in the bike that I need in order to push the way I'd like to. There is still a lot of weekend ahead and we have a lot of work to do."
A good start in Grand Prix of Americas. Yonny ends up in Top 10. Petrux 5th in the wet
Pramac Racing made a good start in the Grand Prix Of Americas weekend as Yonny Hernandez ended up in the Top 10 and Danilo Petrucci set the 5th fastest laptime in the wet.
FP1 was characterized by heavy rain which fell througout the morning. In the afternoon the weather got better, allowing the riders to run in dry conditions in the second part of FP2
Yonny Hernandez lapped fast in the wet right from the start, proving to be in great form. But the Colombian rider gave his best in the dry, setting a time of 2'06.092 that allowed him to finish in 9th place. In case of rain tomorrow morning, Yonny will go directly to Q2 for the second time in a row this season..
Danilo Petrucci was very fast in the wet, the Italian finishing the morning's activity with the fifth fastest laptime. In the afternoon, however, he failed to replicate the excellent performance and he had to settle for the 13th time (2'06.294, just one tenth of a second from the Top 10).
9° Yonny Hernandez – Pramac Racing Team #68 – 2'06.092
"I am very happy because we have achieved again the goal of the Top 10. It was a very positive practice. The feeling with the bike is growing and the team is doing a great job. Tomorrow I will give my best to be once again in the top 10. I'm happy because I did well in both wet and dry conditions. It is something very positive as it means that we are working in the right direction. We must continue on this path."
13° Danilo Petrucci – Pramac Racing Team #9 – 2'06.294
"A particular day. In the wet I went very well feeling really good with the bike. But in the time attack with a dry track I went out with a setting which was a bit too conservative. We have not exploited the soft tyre in the right way. I had not enough power, losing a lot on the straights. I realized it soon but there was no time to go back to the pit box and fix things. But I'm still positive because despite the problem we had, I remained outside the Top 10 by one tenth of a second. Today we deserved it. I hope we will do it tomorrow".
Abraham stays on 21st position after complicated start in Austin
Rain affected day brought 21st position to Czech MotoGP rider Karel Abraham in Austin. Abraham reached his best on drying track in the afternoon session losing 3,431 second to the fastest Marc Marquez.
„We had been struggling on the wet during morning practice. In fact the bike didn´t work at all. We couldn´t find useful setup of electronic. And I must admit I can´t meet my performance at all. The afternoon half-dry conditions didn´t allow us to work on the bike to work on setup. After destroying wet tyres we made some laps on dry. But we stay far away from the position we should be. I hope to move on tomorrow, but everything depends on weather, which seems to be unpredictable. It was raining today despite positive forecast. So let´s see what would happen at the weekend when the rain is predicted.”
Marco Grana, chief mechanic AB Motoracing
“It has been a very difficult day. We have not ridden on wet for a very long time and it affects our performance in the morning. We made quite good lap time riding on dry tyres in mixed conditions in the afternoon, but we did not manage to improve after the track got completely dry. It´s quite strange as everybody stays two second under its best from previous years. However we stay in the group of “open” riders and we know the problem. So I believe tomorrow we will be able to be faster and get better position.”
Avintia Racing starts working in the Circuit of the Americas
Avintia Racing MotoGP – Gran Prix of the Américas – FP1-FP2
Positive start for the Avintia Racing team in the first free practice sessions at the Circuit of the Americas. In the morning Hector Barbera and Mike Di Meglio had the first chance to try their Ducatis in wet conditions and both had quite good feelings. In the afternoon the track dried out during the last few minutes and both riders went out with the top ten as a target to get a place in tomorrow’s Q2. Barbera eventually crashed in his final time attack and he finished the day 18th and fourth in the Open class fight. His teammate Mike Di Meglio was 14th at the end of the session and second of the Open class bikes.
The forecast for tomorrow in Austin brings more rain, so the Avintia Racing will work hard to get the best possible wet set up in their Ducati Desmosedici GP14.1 Open.
HÉCTOR BARBERÁ #8 / 18º 2'07.581 @HectorBarbera
It was a strange day. In the morning we tested some things on the wet but my feeing was not perfect, and in the afternoon we rode with some wet patches at the beginning and then, when the track was getting dry I got the pace quite easy. In the final minutes I put a new tyre to try to find a good lap, but I crashed. I was improving and I think I could be in the top ten, but everything finished with the crash. We’ll see how is the weather tomorrow so we can try to get a better position for the qualifying practice, but the forecast is not so good.
MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 14º 2'06.591 @Mikejpp63
Today our target was to get into the Q2 and my team made a good strategy. I wanted to get out from the beginning of the FP2, but we decided to wait until the track was dry and that decision was really good. I jumped in the bike and I felt good immediately and I got into the top ten. Then I only made one lap in my final run. I don’t know if it was possible to get a place in the Q2, but in only five dry laps I improved my lap times from last season in 1.2s, so this is good. In the morning I felt really good on the wet, so now we have to work to get the best possible wet set up.
Strong start for Redding in mixed Austin conditions
Austin, Texas – 10 April 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider, Scott Redding, showed his wet weather prowess by posting the third fastest time in this morning’s wet free practice, which was interrupted when a dog ventured onto the track forcing the session to be red flagged.
The weather had improved ahead of this afternoon’s second 45-minute free practice, but the track remained too damp for slick tyres until 20 minutes into the session, at which point Redding took to the track for the first time.
The 22-year-old Briton quickly found his rhythm and spent much of the free practice inside the top ten, only to be relegated to 12th position as a number of rivals switched to the soft rear tyre right at the end of the session.
Redding was satisfied with his progress on the opening day at the Circuit of the Americas and is confident that he and his crew can find further improvements tomorrow, regardless of what the unpredictable Texan weather throws at them.
Scott Redding: 12th – 2’06.216
“This morning in the wet FP1 session we managed to find a good set up and a good feeling in the rain, which was good for us. Even FP2 wasn’t too bad, as the feeling was better than it was in Qatar, so we’ve made the step forward that we were expecting, but we still need to work a little bit more with the chassis set up to get the bike to turn a little better. In Qatar I felt like I’d lost the feeling with the bike, but today I felt much more comfortable on the bike and that builds confidence. I think we can find further improvements tomorrow, but today was a pretty good start to the weekend for us, despite the unpredictable weather.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Scott did a good job and made a strong start to the weekend today. He looked a lot more comfortable on the bike here in Austin than he did a few weeks ago in Qatar and this was reflected in his lap times, both in the wet and the dry. There is still some work to do to, both for him and the team, if he is to close the gap to the frontrunners, but he’s less than a tenth of a second behind Jorge Lorenzo and the same from the top ten, so already it’s a big improvement compared to Qatar. Now he just needs to carry this momentum into FP3 tomorrow where, if it’s dry, his aim must be to qualify for QP2.”
Espargaro and Smith start COTA battle positively in mixed conditions
Pol Espargaro kick-started his round 2 campaign at the Circuit Of The Americas by delivering a solid performance to finish in 7th overall on the opening day in Texas. The first practice began in difficult circumstances with a heavy downfall of rain as well as a red flag causing disruptions to the practice. Nevertheless, Espargaro powered onwards and completed FP1 in 7th place with a best time of 2’20.983. The weather improved in the afternoon, which permitted the riders to revert to slick tyres and the 2014 rookie of the year continued to push as he set up his Yamaha YZR-M1 for the 21 lap sprint on Sunday. The end of the session saw Espargaro meet the chequered flag in 7th with a best time of 2’05.840 and a performance that saw him under three tenths back from 4th. The young Spaniard’s effort today leaves him optimistic of improving his pace in tomorrow’s free practice session before the all-important qualifying.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith battled throughout the day as he attempted to assert himself as the leading satellite rider in Texas. The 23 year old completed the first session of practice in 6th position in wet conditions at the Circuit Of The Americas and was confident of progressing in the afternoon. In FP2 the young Briton set a best lap time of 2’06.134, yet unfortunately suffered a fall in the following lap which prevented any chance of climbing up the rankings. Despite this, Smith completed the day in 10th position with his time being only three tenths behind his teammate. Tomorrow the British rider will intend to bounce back and have a competitive qualifying session aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1 in view to Sunday’s race.
Position : 7th Time : 2'05.840 Laps :12
"Overall, today was quite a positive start to the weekend and I am pleased with what we managed to achieve in the tricky conditions. This morning we had probably our first ever fully wet session in the MotoGP class and I’m happy to say that the feelings I had on the bike were really good. The only thing that was missing was a quick lap at the end of the session unfortunately, but I felt comfortable and my time was not so bad. In the dry, we decided to go with our base setting and I didn’t return to the pit box at all, so nothing was changed. For sure, there are many things which can be improved, but now we will look at the data and hopefully tomorrow the weather conditions will improve so that I will be able to as well. Altogether, the first day was good so I am looking forward to getting back out on the track."
Position : 10th Time : 2'06.134 Laps : 7
"Of course, it was a big shame to crash at the end of FP2 but it was the first fall of 2015, so we had to expect it at some point. At the time, I was running with a set up that was for the mixed weather conditions and there was a lot of extra stress uphill on the front, so I hit the limit in turn one and unfortunately fell. However, as soon as we have started running here, in both the wet and dry conditions, we have been fast. I feel good and everything is positive so far, plus it's great that the base setup is once again working well straight away, as it underlines the good job we have done prior to the season. I hope for clearer weather tomorrow as it’s been tough for all of the riders to deal with the conditions today. At the moment we are in the top ten which is the main thing plus we are close to the factory riders, so all in all, it was not a bad day."
CRUTCHLOW SECOND FASTEST ON OPENING DAY IN TEXAS
The CWM LCR Honda Team have crossed the Atlantic for two races in as many weeks, starting with the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin in Texas this weekend. Cal Crutchlow finished fourth at the inaugural Texan GP in 2013, and although he had a race to forget last year, finishing seventh as top satellite rider at this season’s first race in Qatar mean the British rider arrived in the USA in high spirits.
That showed as he set the second fastest time of the day on board his factory spec Honda RC213V, impressing just as he had two weeks ago in Qatar. This weekend Crutchlow is using a new frame supplied by HRC on one of his bikes, and the 29 year-old admitted that although quick, he would like more laps in the dry, with the morning session completely wet and the afternoon starting with damp patches in certain areas.
Cal Crutchlow #35, 2nd (2’05.162, lap 12 of 12)
“At the moment, my feeling is not too bad. I think we still need to do more laps on the new chassis, I’ve only had a few laps in the dry so I still have no idea. Of course, I’ve gone well today but there is always room for improvement.
“I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made today though, and the speed wasn’t so bad. I need to understand it more, run a race distance on it and just see where we are. In the rain in the morning I’d only done six laps in the rain in Sepang with the other bike, so it was a learning process. We had a bit too much power in some areas and a bit too much wheelieing but this is all part of the first day of riding at a track you haven’t been to yet.”
MILLER TOP OPEN HONDA AFTER DAY ONE IN TEXAS
The CWM LCR Honda Team have crossed the Atlantic for two races in as many weeks, starting with the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin in Texas this weekend. Jack Miller last raced at the COTA track in 2014 in the Moto3 class, and on that weekend took pole position before going on to win the race - leading every single lap in the process.
The Aussie started the opening day of practice well, particularly in the wet morning session when he finished as the 13th fastest rider out in the desperately tough conditions. In the afternoon the team encountered a couple of technical issues, but nonetheless Miller impressed by sealing the 19th best time of the day and ending up as top open spec Honda rider.
Jack Miller #43, 19th (2’07.916, lap 12 of 14)
“It was a good day all in all, but I’m not too happy with the dry session. We didn’t get to do what we needed to do on the suspension, but the rest of it was pretty good. We had a few problems with the brakes, but we know what the problem was. Now we look forward to what the weather will do tomorrow and then prepare things accordingly.”
Stefan Bradl fastest Open bike in Austin
It was a good start with a positive eighth place and the head of the Open category, for Stefan Bradl and the team Athinà Forward Racing at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
After an unusual first free practice session with rain and red flag - exposed for ten minutes due to an invasion of the track by a dog - in the afternoon the German rider posted a personal best of 2.05.990, which earned him the top of Open category and eighth place overall. Bradl is confident for the qualifying and his goal is the pole position of the Open class.
Harder debut at COTA for his teammate Loris Baz. The Frenchman, who will try to approach the limits of the Top15 tomorrow, with the time of 2.09.372, finished in 23rd position.
"I'm really happy with this result. We did a great job with the team and we closed at the top of the Open category in the Top10. This morning we struggled in wet conditions, but in the afternoon the track was dry and I was able to find the right confidence with the bike. I'm confident for tomorrow: the weather forecast says that it will rain, but we are ready to get on track also in these conditions to be competitive".
"It was not easy to get on track for the first time in wet conditions. Luckily in the afternoon the weather was on our side and I could ride on a dry track. The feeling is good, I like the track, I just need to improve the rear end of the bike”.
Wet start to the weekend at COTA
ASPAR Team riders work to adapt to adverse weather in Austin
The first day of the Grand Prix of the Americas saw Andrea Dovizioso proving that Ducati's early season pace could be here to stay, the Italian rider snatching the best time of a wet opening free practice on the final lap of a session that had to be red-flagged due to a stray dog on track. Normality resumed in the afternoon as the conditions improved and the pace increased, Marc Márquez claiming the fastest lap of the day with a time some three tenths quicker than Cal Crutchlow, without displaying the dominance he has shown at this track over the past couple of seasons.
This is a home race for ASPAR Team rider Nicky Hayden and whilst the American felt happy in the wet conditions this morning his team-mate Eugene Laverty encountered some grip issues on the slippery track. In the dry afternoon session it was Hayden who ran into the most trouble and after a frustrating day all round for both riders they have plenty of work to do tomorrow.
20th Eugene Laverty 2.07.968 (25 laps): “The feeling was pretty strange today, especially in the direction changes. I had hardly any grip in the left-handers when the track was wet and in the right-handers I had too much grip, which was difficult to manage. We need to work on adjusting this and finding the right balance. Overall the grip levels weren't great so that made the job of learning the track even harder. We will have to work with the electronics tomorrow to adapt the bike to the conditions here.”
22nd Nicky Hayden 2.08.762 (29 laps): “This morning was the first time we have ridden this circuit in the wet and it went quite well. We just checked the grip levels and worked out what we needed to work on to get more comfortable. We made gradual progress and the feeling on the rear in corner entry was good. Then in the afternoon when the track dried the feeling changed and even though it felt okay at the start we soon realised that the bike was unbalanced and not set up correctly for the dry. I want a good result here in my home race so we need to work hard tomorrow to be ready for the race. The weather could upset things this weekend because it is changeable and unpredictable but we have to adapt to whatever we get.”
Marquez masters mixed conditions to lead Friday MotoGP™ practice at COTA
Round 2: Americas MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two
Circuit of the Americas, Friday, 10 April 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft & Hard (Symmetric) & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Wet. Ambient 13-14°C; Track 18-18°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Wet/Dry. Ambient 17-19°C; Track 25-28°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Marc Marquez showed he is still the man to beat at the Circuit of the Americas as the Repsol Honda rider set the quickest time on the opening day of the Grand Prix of the Americas, as both sessions were subjected to unsettled weather.
On a rapidly drying track surface in Free Practice 2, Marquez set a 2'04.835 on his last lap of the day to top the timesheets by 0.327 seconds from CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow in second place, while Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone was a further 0.028 seconds behind in third. To set their best times, both Marquez and Crutchlow used the medium compound slicks front and rear, while Iannone used soft compound slicks front and rear for his quickest lap.
The first session of the weekend, Free Practice 1, took place in heavy rain and although the track was still damp for the start of FP2, strong sunshine and warm ambient temperatures allowed the tarmac to dry quickly. After track temperatures lingered in the high teens in FP1, in the afternoon the track temperature reached a peak of 28°C. Throughout the wet FP1 session in which Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso finished quickest, all riders used the main wet tyre option, the soft compound front and rear wet tyres. In FP2, a few riders ran some exploratory laps on soft compound wet tyres to gauge the track conditions, before switching to slick tyres halfway through the session. With the track still damp in parts, most riders initially set out on the softest rear slick option available, the medium compound rear slick for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders, and the soft compound rear slick for the rest of the field, paired with either the soft or medium compound front slick. The less than ideal conditions meant that the hard compound front and rear slicks remained unused in today’s sessions.
The weather forecast indicates a strong chance of rain for the rest of the weekend, with the next MotoGP session, Free Practice 3 starting at 0955 local time (GMT -6) tomorrow.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“It was raining and quite cold in the morning session which is never pleasant for the riders, but it did give them a first-ever chance to assess the grip levels of this circuit in wet conditions. Given that there is a good possibility of rain over the rest of the weekend, the data collected this morning is quite valuable. We can now see that this circuit can dry quite quickly once the rain has stopped, and given we have worked hard to improve the warm-up performance and feel of our 2015 specification slicks, it was pleasing to see that the riders were able to push quite hard on slick tyres after just a couple of laps of dry running. We also had positive feedback from the riders on the performance of our soft compound wet tyres in FP1 and the wear rate of this option was quite good as well. Therefore, although the riders can select the alternative, hard compound wet tyres at this circuit, if we see more rainy conditions this weekend I expect most riders will continue to run the soft compound wet tyre.”