2015 Motegi MotoGP Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Motegi:

Yamaha Tops First Day at Twin Ring Motegi

Motegi (Japan), 9th October 2015

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo continued his dominant form at the start of the Grand Prix of Japan weekend, topping both of today‘s free practice sessions. Teammate Valentino Rossi also had a strong start at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit and completed the day in eighth place.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi kicked off the first flyaway race at Twin Ring Motegi, making the most of the perfect riding conditions in the first practice sessions ahead of this weekend‘s Grand Prix of Japan.

Lorenzo didn‘t let the slight shoulder injury, which he sustained last week whilst training, stop him reminding race fans of his strong form at the Japanese circuit. The Aragón race winner started the morning Free Practice session with a competitive pace and needed little time to position himself ahead of his rivals when he dropped under 1‘46 mark. He continued to improve his times and led for most of the session to ultimately top the FP1 standings with a 1‘45.432.

The Spaniard duplicated his strong performance in the second 45 minute session. Directly on the pace, he posted multiple 1‘45 laps and comfortably led the way. His fastest lap of 1‘45.426 remained unchallenged until the final minutes of the session. Having been pushed back one place by fellow Yamaha-rider Bradley Smith, Lorenzo felt encouraged to put his head down once more and quickly set a 1‘44.731 to reclaim the lead by 0.128s at the end of the session and top the overall times.

Teammate Rossi also showed his determination to fend off the competition and defend his lead in the world championship in FP1. He slowly brought heat into the bigger carbon brake disks, which are cooled with braking cooling ducts because of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit‘s heavy braking character, and soon topped the rankings with a 1‘46.265 until he was pushed down a place by his teammate. The Doctor went on to spend most of the morning practice perfecting his setup and finished third with a lap of 1‘45.844.

The nine-time World Champion also had a positive session in the afternoon. Once again making most of the perfect weather conditions, he held provisional fifth position with a best time of 1‘45.785 before the pace picked up at the end of the session. Rossi also gave another push and set a 1‘45.554 at the very end for eighth place, 0.823s from his teammate. The result also leaves him in eighth place in the combined times ahead of tomorrow‘s sessions.

This weekend Yamaha‘s usual rider line-up is joined by five-time All Japan Superbike Champion Katsuyuki Nakasuga, who won this year‘s Suzuka 8-Hour race alongside Bradley Smith and Pol Espargarò. He finished his first day as a wildcard for the Yamaha Factory Racing Team riding his special ’60th Anniversary‘-styled YZR-M1 to 23rd place in the combined free practice times.


1'44.731 / 15 LAPS

It was a surprising day, because I didn‘t expect to be so competitive, especially in the morning. I expected to improve little by little, but starting from the first run I was the fastest rider and I improved even more on the last outing, so I finished first in the morning and the afternoon. The bike is going better than last year and we have a great setup. Obviously my shoulder isn‘t perfect, but even with my shoulder in this condition I‘m still able to ride and be quite consistent. I believe that with normal physical conditions I could have been even faster, but there‘s no point in thinking about what could have happened. It‘s better to focus on the current situation and take the maximum profit. For tomorrow we still have a margin to improve the bike to suit my riding. I hope it won‘t be raining on Sunday, so let‘s hope the weather forecasts improve.


1'45.554 / 19 LAPS

This morning was not so bad and also in the afternoon I felt quite good with the harder tyre. I expected to improve more when I put on the softer option at the end, but unfortunately this didn‘t happen because we‘re not good with the setting yet and have to work a bit further. We have to check the data and check which way we want to follow for tomorrow. It‘s always difficult to improve in MotoGP. At the end of the practice on the Friday everybody puts in new tyres and already the lap times are very quick and faster than last year, so we have to work hard and try to stay at the top.



We were unsure about Jorge‘s condition until the start of FP1, but he quickly reassured us with his strong pace. Despite his shoulder injury, he experienced no difficulties setting those very fast times and he clearly displayed that he has good pace and speed. Vale also started the weekend off well, even if he‘s still trying to make his setting suit his needs better. Though we are quite satisfied with how the bikes are performing in general, there are some areas that can be improved. We will look to make some further steps to be even more competitive in the following sessions and arrive to Sunday stronger for the race.

Ducati Team riders make positive start to Japanese GP weekend at Twin Ring Motegi

The Grand Prix of Japan race weekend began well for the two Ducati Team riders at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. At the end of Friday’s first two free practice sessions, Andrea Iannone was lying in third position, while his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso finished just a fraction behind in fourth.

Warm weather and ideal track conditions greeted the MotoGP riders for the start of round 15 of the championship. In the morning’s first free practice session, Iannone only used race tyres to finish in second place, while Dovizioso was sixth. During FP2 in the afternoon however, both factory Ducati riders always lapped at a good pace, setting their best times of the day towards the end after fitting the ‘extra-soft’ option rubber. Iannone ended up with a lap time of 1’45.043, around three-tenths of a second off the pace of the overnight leader Lorenzo, and Dovizioso was fourth in 1’45.059.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’45.043 (3rd)

“Today was quite a positive day for me. We were competitive right out of the box this morning and our bikes proved to be fast and have a good performance. This is very important for the work that we are doing and for the way my bike behaves: I think that this circuit manages to highlight our strong points, and so we are satisfied. Let’s hope we can continue along this path tomorrow, improve a bit more and always be as close as possible to the guys at the front.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’45.059 (4th)

“I am pleased because today we went well straight away, and more importantly, we managed to improve in both sessions. My GP15 is a bit more stable under braking, but it’s not enough for the moment and so we are going to have to try and make another step forward in this direction for tomorrow. In any case our race pace is quick and this is vital in view of Sunday.”

Japanese GP gets underway in Motegi for Repsol Honda Team

The first practice sessions for the GP of Japan have taken place in Motegi today, with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa finishing second fastest for the day in the combined times and his teammate Marc Marquez – who sustained a training injury last week – in seventh.

Blue skies greeted the MotoGP paddock as FP1 began this morning with the track in good condition from the first laps. Both Dani and Marc began setup work in anticipation for Sunday’s race and finished the session fifth (1’45.896) and seventh (1’45.965) respectively. In the afternoon, the ambient temperature rose slightly by 3ºC to 25ºC and both Repsol Honda riders improved their time with Dani improving by a second with his time of 1’44.859 (lap 19/20).

Teammate Marc, who is riding this weekend with a fracture to the fifth metacarpal of his left hand, ended up in seventh with his lap of 1’45.492 (lap 14/15).

Dani Pedrosa

2nd 1'44.859

"We tested a lot of things out in the practice sessions today and we finished in a good position, but we encountered more problems than we had expected. However, we are working as best we can to reduce these problems and go faster. We shall see just how much we are able to improve tomorrow."

Marc Marquez

7th 1'45.492

"The first practice was useful for us to see how my finger felt, and to correctly adapt my riding position and it went pretty well. At least I was able to ride correctly and brake late, which is the important thing. Obviously it hurts, but it is bearable. As for the setup, we have made improvements but we still have room to do better -above all with the electronics, which we need to adjust to this circuit. We will see tomorrow if we can take another step forward and get amongst the top five."


Team Suzuki Press Office – October 9.

A warm sun welcomed the MotoGP™ riders in their first day of practice at the Twin Ring circuit in Motegi and also marked a bright first day for Aleix Espargaro, who ended FP2 in sixth place with the positive lap time of 1'45.348.

Things, however, were a little bit more of a struggle for Maverick Viñales, who finished in P13 with a lap of 1'46.464s.

The morning session saw both the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders have a cautious approach, trying to understand the best way to interpret the circuit, which was supposed to be hard for the characteristics of the GSX-RRs to do well on. However, both managed to improve their lap times during the session, ending in eighth and 13th positions.

In the afternoon, Espargaro succeeded to find a more effective set-up, placing his machine constantly in the highest part of the classification. His speed in the middle part of the track was consistently one of the fastest, finally finding the sixth place that gives him virtual direct access to Q2.

Viñales on his side was still struggling to find an effective set-up that could allow him to brake properly. This prevented him being as effective as he wanted, although his improvements on the lap-times were consistent as he gained 13th place in the provisional classification.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“It’s been a positive start of the weekend for Aleix, he managed to stay up in the front with the top riders for almost all the sessions and finally scored a very good time that sets him in a good place for the moment. We still have room for improvement but we must be happy with the result; he could find a good set-up and a good way to finalise his work today. With Maverick we are suffering a little more, he can’t find a proper feeling to be faster and this prevented him to ride as he’d wished. Unfortunately he is suffering a lack of confidence with the set-up, we need to further investigate and tomorrow we will try to deliver him a more suitable machine.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“I’m very happy for this start, the day has been positive for me and I’m proud to be performing so well here in Japan. Almost the whole factory is coming to visit us at the circuit and it’s very nice to see how hard all the Suzuki people work for and trust in us. It’s an important day for the company, being the first race on the home soil after the comeback. The performance today was pretty good, finally with my crew we managed to find an effective approach, in Aragon I got some hints on how to be better performing in acceleration, we have analysed the data and finally came here with some good ideas for the electronics which proved to be effective. We found a way, we still need to refine it but the feeling so far is positive.”

Maverick Viñales:

“Honestly I’m not happy, there is something wrong with my feeling with the bike since the last two or three races and I can’t understand how to improve. My feeling at mid-season was so good, while now it looks like we can’t find a proper way to finalise the set-up. Here we’ve almost lost the Friday, my lap times are far away from where I think I could be and we still need to find a proper way. The base-setting is good, I still feel we have a good approach, but we need to work harder to be more effective for tomorrow.”


Motegi (Japan), 9 October 2015 - On the first day of practice at Motegi in anticipation of the MotoGP race Sunday, both of the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders seem to have gotten off on the right foot. In particular Bradl, rode his Aprilia to tenth place in FP1, stopping the clock with the best placing the RS-GP has had in a practice session since the beginning of the Championship. In the afternoon, focused on trying different setups, Stefan did not improve on his time but he finished in 13th place for the combined standings with 1’46.371. Bautista, on the other hand, after working on race pace and consistent performance in the morning, improved his time in the second session, finishing in 22nd place (1’46,974), slowed down in his attempts to improve by traffic on the track at the end of FP2.

ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)

“We started off well enough. Both Stefan and Alvaro seem to have found the most profitable direction to go straight away. On this track effective braking and accelerating is fundamental and the setups we have tried seem positive, especially on Bradl's side of the garage. We are also closely monitoring the classic critical points of this track, in other words brake wear and fuel consumption. Alvaro deserved a decidedly better placement but what counts right now are the good sensations that both riders have brought home.”


“On this first day the gap between us and our rivals appears straight away to be smaller than other rounds and this is without a doubt a pleasant surprise. In fact, every time we take on a new track where we have no points of reference we find ourselves dealing with an unknown. Instead, both our riders were fast straight away, especially Stefan, but I should point out that Alvaro also demonstrated the potential for better results. It was a positive start and now we'll keep working to improve more.”


“In the morning we worked essentially on finding a good setup to start off the weekend. Then in the afternoon we tested some different settings but I didn't like them so we went back to the solutions from the first session. In FP2 I improved on my time from the morning but I could have done a lot better. At the decisive moment, in the finale, I wasn't able to get a clean lap in because of traffic on the track. There were slower riders ahead of me who slowed me down a lot. But it was a good start and now we need to work first and foremost to improve in the braking sections which are decisive here and also where I am still struggling to stop the bike the way I'd like to.”


“The first free practice session this morning was extremely positive, despite a small crash I had just at the end, which in any case did not create any problems. In the afternoon I continued to feel at ease and we were able to test some different setup solutions with the goal of improving the bike's performance going into turns. This is a very important aspect on this track, which has a lot of braking sections, so tomorrow we'll be looking for a solution that allows us to be more effective in this area.”

Redding satisfied with opening day in Motegi

Motegi, Japan – 9 October 2015: Scott Redding finished the opening day at the Japanese Grand Prix in 12th position, but is confident of further improvement tomorrow during the all-important third and final free practice session.

Redding struggled a little this morning on a Motegi circuit with more grip than in previous years, but then made a significant step forward in the second free practice session this afternoon, setting his fastest time on the harder of the rear tyre options. The 22-year-old Briton had hoped to break into the 1’45s bracket, but missed out by the narrowest of margins.

The softer option rear tyre, available only to open class riders, offers a big advantage here at Motegi, so Redding is targeting a top ten finish in the third and final free practice session tomorrow morning, to give him an automatic entry into the second qualifying shootout, where he’ll be competing for a grid position against the factory riders on the same tyres.

Scott Redding: 12th – 1’46.074

“This morning was difficult, not because of any problems, but because we had to make some changes to the electronics to account for the extra grip that’s available here this year. In the afternoon we started to make some progress, with the lap times getting faster and faster, with my quickest lap coming on the harder option rear tyre. I would have liked to have got into the 1’45s bracket, and I did try, but we didn’t quite get there today. I feel quite comfortable with the bike, we’re just missing a little from mid-corner to exit, but I’m sure we can make further improvements to both the bike and the lap time tomorrow. The soft tyre will be a big advantage here at Motegi, so avoiding the first qualifying session will be important, which means I need to push for the top ten in the final free practice session tomorrow. Overall I’m pretty satisfied with today.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

“Of course, we’d like to have finished inside the top ten today, so we could be sure for tomorrow, but Scott’s last two or three laps this afternoon were not so bad. Just one time he hit traffic and a second time he made a small mistake but I think there can be a chance for us to go straight into the second qualifying shootout tomorrow with a top ten finish in FP3. Which would mean we'd avoid the first qualifying session, where the soft rear tyre will offer a big advantage to those that can use it.”

Smith kicks off Motegi challenge by completing day 1 in 5th

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith got off to a promising start in the land of the rising sun by completing the opening day of practice in 5th position overall. The 24 year old immediately got to grips with his Yamaha YZR-M1 at the demanding stop and go Twin Ring Motegi Circuit in FP1. After undertaking the initial shakedown laps, he got stuck into the preparation of his race setup for the 24 lap sprint on Sunday. As the chequered flag was waved, the British rider sped across the line with a time of 1’45.888, leaving him in 4th and merely 0.061 behind the second placed bike. When the afternoon session commenced, Smith continued to make adjustments to his setup and he also evaluated the tyre life of the softer rear compound. In the end, he concluded a total of 17 laps and impressively set a personal best of 1’45.250 which left him in 5th whilst using the harder rear tyre. This performance sees the Briton begin his weekend in Japan positively and he will now be seeking to clinch a strong grid position tomorrow as he aims to finish Motul Grand Prix of Japan in the leading satellite bike position.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro started the round 15 of the 2015 World Championship with a run to 9th place overall. The Spaniard, who holds fond memories of racing in Japan after winning the Suzuka 8 hour race this year and also celebrating his 2013 Moto2 World Title at the Motegi circuit, got straight to work as he started his assault. After making the initial modifications to his base setup of the Yamaha YZR-M1, the 24 year old completed the opening session positively and in 9th with a time of 1’46.323. In the afternoon, he continued his preparation work with further steps forward being made and Espargaro completed the session in 9th with a top lap of 1’45.597, just over three tenths of a second behind his teammate. Tomorrow, he will line up for the all important qualifying session full of confidence as he aims to grab a solid grid position at Yamaha’s 60th anniversary home Grand prix.

Bradley Smith

Position : 5th Time : 1'45.250 Laps : 36

“Firstly, I enjoy coming to Motegi because it is always good fun due to the Japanese fans and seeing the amount of passion that they have for MotoGP. With regards to today, things were very positive for us on track. We did a really good job with making the bike as stable as possible which was our main focus today because this is very important here due to the circuit’s hard braking points. In addition, we were able to run a lot of laps on the soft rear tyre and with the modifications we made, I am quite confident that we will have a good pace at the end of the race on Sunday. Overall, I am very pleased as my time put me in 5th, and I am especially happy as I completed that lap whilst I was using the harder rear tyre, so this shows that both compounds are working well. For tomorrow, the main aim is to work more with the softer rear option because I believe that this will be the race choice so we will continue in that direction in order to be able to close Yamaha’s home Grand prix with a strong result.”

Pol Espargaro

Position : 9th Time : 1'45.597 Laps : 28

“It was a bit of a tricky opening day for me at Motegi and we struggled in a few areas, but I am certain that we can turn everything around for the vital qualifying session tomorrow. Our biggest issue is that there was a low grip level and when this happens, we suffer more than most. Having said that, we managed to undertake some good work and we have a direction to work towards tomorrow. Moreover, we will now check the other Yamaha’s data in order to understand where we can make up a few more tenths. The lap time itself is a solid base to start from, yet it is further back compared to where I want to be. However we have still two more days and I am fully confident that we can get to where we need to be in Sunday’s Japanese GP.”

Unusual start for OCTO Pramac Racing Team: Yonny 15°, Petrux 16°

The first day of free practice at Motegi (Japan) does not reserve special satisfaction to the two riders of Octo Pramac Racing Team. On the circuit known to be as one of the most demanding especially for the difficulties under braking, both Yonny Hernandez and Danilo Petrucci will have to find tomorrow a better feeling with their Ducati Desmosedici GP 14.2 in order to be competitive and aim to the direct qualification to Q2.

Following the 14th laptime in the morning's first free practices, Yonny managed to lower by half a second his quickset laptime. Unfortunately it was not enough to end FP2 close to the Top 10 as Yonny experienced some problem especially in the second sector. With the fastest lap of 1'46.563, the rider from Medellin finished its first day of activity in15th place.

Also Petrux had some problems, particularly in the fourth sector. In FP2 the rider from Terni managed to lower by seven tenths of a second his best crono recorded in the morning but this was not enough to close near the Top 10. His fastest laptime of 1'46.648 earned Petrux the 16th place.

15° - Yonny Hernandez - OCTO Pramac Racing Team #68

I had many problems especially under braking. We will work in this area, and tomorrow morning we will try new solutions to be more effective. We'll try a different set-up and I hope that this will give me the chance to fight for the Q2.

16° - Danilo Petrucci - OCTO Pramac Racing Team #9

It has been a difficult day, perhaps the most difficult friday of the season. I'm disappointed because this bike won the pole position last season. I expected it would be a favorable track for us but in this first day I could not do the things I wanted. Today there were many problems and I will have to change something as the team tried so many solutions. This is a very challenging track with 7 hard braking. And despite the fact that this bike is very competitive right under braking, today I was not able to exploit this potential.

Takahashi makes debut in MotoGP at Japanese GP

Takumi Takahashi has had a positive first day in Motegi riding for Team HRC Nissin aboard the Honda RC213V.

Takumi was fifteenth fastest in this morning’s FP1 with his time of 1’47.079 (lap 7/18) and then this afternoon the Japanese wildcard rider improved and finished the day 18th in the combined times with his best lap of 1’46.650 (lap 5/20) – his fastest ever lap around Motegi.

Takumi Takahashi 72

Rider – MotoGP

"I am very happy to be here racing with Team HRC Nissin. Today was a positive day and I was able to do my best ever time around Motegi by almost half a second and using the harder tyre, however, the gap to the front riders is still too big. We will work hard tomorrow to reduce this gap as much as we can."


LCR Honda rider Jack Miller made an encouraging start to the Grand Prix of Japan weekend at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit on Friday. At what is Honda’s home circuit, the Australian produced excellent progress throughout the day to set himself up nicely for qualifying ahead of round 15 of the MotoGP world championship.

On Friday morning Miller could only manage to go 22nd fastest, but after working hard on the bike he then shaved off over a second with his best lap in the afternoon session to sit 14th on the timesheets at the end of the day. The 20-year-old is now feeling very positive about the weekend ahead.

Jack Miller #43 (14th - 1’46.477)

“I’m really happy with this afternoon. We were able to go back to the original plan with the bike and it worked really well for us. We’ve still got a few little points to focus on tomorrow with the bike, but it’s been an encouraging start.

“I think we will need to look at braking stability and how we improve that tomorrow. I’m confident we can do well and I’m looking forward to qualifying.”


LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow endured a frustrating opening day of the Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring in Motegi. The Briton was hampered by technical issues with his bike which meant he was unable to make the progress he desired at Honda’s home circuit on Friday.

Issues in the morning meant he was 11th quickest and from that point he was always looking to make up for lost time. In the end he would finish 11th in the afternoon session as well, although the 29-year-old is confident he and his team can make the changes to put his RC213V higher up the grid in Saturday’s qualifying.

Cal Crutchlow #35 (11th – 1.45.846)

“I’m not too pleased with today, but hopefully we will go better tomorrow. We had some problems with the bike in this morning’s session so we lost quite a few laps and this afternoon we were only able to do the work we needed to do in the morning session. As a result my position is not the best at the moment.

“I also had some problems with the rear tyre in my last run, but I’m looking forward to seeing whether we can improve tomorrow in a lot of areas as I’m confident we can. We need to gain time in some of the braking zones and also in the middle of the corner with the rear grip. But the team will be working hard tonight as always and hopefully I will be able to push harder tomorrow.”

Barbera starts his 100th MotoGP race in the top ten at Motegi

09/10/15 Avintia Racing MotoGP - Grand Prix of Japan - FP1 - FP2

The first day at Motegi couldn’t have been better for the Avintia Racing Team. Hector Barbera, who celebrates his 100th appearance in the MotoGP class and the 222nd in his racing career this weekend, came to Japan expecting a tough Grand Prix, but instead he was comfortable with his Ducati Desmosedici GP14.2 from the first exit, and finished the day as best Open Class rider. In the last minutes of the afternoon session, he climbed as high as to sixth position eventually finished within the top ten. A great result at Motegi where the wild card riders from Honda and Yamaha add more factory bikes to the MotoGP line-up.

Mike Di Meglio was fast in the morning with the hard tyre option, but in the afternoon he was not able to improve much with the softer one and finished 21st. But the Avintia Racing rider is confident for tomorrow and he’s looking forward to improve and get closer to his teammate.

HECTOR BARBERA #8 / 10th (P1 Open) 1'45.645 @HectorBarbera

It was a great way to start the Grand Prix. This morning I felt comfortable immediately and in the afternoon I was able to do many laps with the race tyre. I think we found a really good set up for dry conditions. I was fastest Open Class rider in the morning and also in the afternoon, and my lap time was not bad at all. But the most important thing for me is that we had a good pace with used tyres and my pace is fast and consistent. I think this was the best start of the weekend this season. I feel comfortable and confident. It is my 100th GP in the MotoGP class and we have to celebrate with a good result on Sunday.

MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 21st (P5 Open) 1'46.934 @Mikejpp63

We did not start the weekend very well. I don’t feel bad on the bike, but today the problem was that the engines of my two bikes don’t work in the same way. One is much faster than the other and it’s difficult to compare the changes we did on the set up from one bike to the other. But the team and Ducati are working to solve this problem for tomorrow. The pace is not so bad and I was fast this morning with the hard rear tyre. In the afternoon, I tried the softer option, but I think it’s not possible for me to finish the race with that tyre, so tomorrow we’ll focus on the harder option. I want to congratulate Johann Zarco for his Moto2 World Championship title, because he made a fantastic season.

Working day for the Forward riders in Motegi

A long day of work has just ended on the track at Motegi for Loris Baz and Toni Elias. Both have focused on finding the setting and closed respectively in 24th and 25th position in the combined standings.

Baz, for the first time at the Twin Ring, took advantage of the practice sessions to get confident with the track and, despite a crash fortunately without consequences in the afternoon session, posted a positive 1’47.219 which earned him the sixth place among the Open.

It was an intense day of work also for Toni Elias at his second race with Forward Racing. The Spaniard is looking to get more confidence with the front as he lapped in 1'47.626.

Loris Baz

"It was a working debut today at Motegi. In FP1 I concentrated on getting comfortable with the bike and I rode the whole session with the hard tyres. In the afternoon I went out on track with two different settings to find the right feeling. Unfortunately I crashed and I had to finish the session with the second bike. I'm confident for tomorrow: the pace is good, I like the track, I just have to be able to put it all together to do a good lap".

Toni Elias

"I am pleased with the work done today. We preferred to not focus on the lap time but to improve several new solutions. Compared to Aragon we made a good step forward and the feeling on the front has improved. I can push harder and I'm confident that I can lower my lap time significantly in qualifying tomorrow".

Motegi welcomes MotoGP on first day of Grand Prix of Japan

Friday, 09 October 2015 10:11

Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden make progress over two sessions to finish nineteenth and twentieth

Jorge Lorenzo arrived in Motegi complaining of a shoulder injury but it didn't prove to be a hindrance today as the Spaniard dominated both of the opening two free practice sessions for the Grand Prix of Japan, just as he did at Aragón two weeks ago. Despite a brief appearance at the top of the time sheets from Bradley Smith, Lorenzo quickly resumed control and finished the day with a benchmark of 1'44.731 - just two tenths off the Motegi circuit record. With his main title rival Valentino Rossi in eighth place today, Lorenzo's closest pursuers were Pedrosa, Iannone and Dovizioso.

It has been eight years since Eugene Laverty last rode at Motegi, when he was on board a 250cc machine in 2007, so it was a day of learning for the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider in today's two sessions. After struggling on his first outing the Irishman fared much better in the afternoon, improving his lap time by two seconds and making progress with his bike set-up as he rose to nineteenth position. Nicky Hayden is one place further back, two seconds off today's fastest lap, but the American is satisfied with his opening day's work and looking forward to making improvements tomorrow, particularly under braking.

19º Eugene Laverty 1.46.770 (36 laps): “I haven't ridden here since 2007 and today I didn't recognise anything, it was like a completely new circuit! First practice was difficult but we made huge progress in the second session, more or less two seconds faster, and we also made some progress with the bike because this track is very different to the others with all the hard braking and hard acceleration. The guys made some changes to the geometry in the afternoon and the bike was much better. I am pleased because this morning I was worried - the first session was a disaster - but the afternoon is more or less where we should be on day one and the target was to do a 1'46. I still have a few corners I need to learn, there are some complicated sections where I can improve, so we'll keep working.”

20º Nicky Hayden 1.46.827 (34 laps): “We made a decent start this morning, the bike was not too far out from the first exit and we have improved a couple of things without making a huge step forward. This afternoon we were having some problems with the brakes but we sorted that out and the last run I was able to do some decent laps. I would say the biggest thing for us here is acceleration. The gearbox is pretty close and the bike is wheelying a lot under acceleration and we need to improve the braking but overall the bike is not too bad so the rider needs to improve a bit tomorrow. We know the level is really high in this championship and the group I am in is really tight, there's not so much in it, especially with a few wildcards here to make it interesting. The feeling is not so bad so let's try to make a good step tomorrow.”

Focused Lorenzo sets formidable pace in Japanese MotoGP™ practice

Round 15: Japanese MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two

Motegi, Friday 09 October 2015

Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)

Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)

Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 20-21°C; Track 31-35°C (Bridgestone measurement)

FP2 - Dry. Ambient 24-24°C; Track 37-41°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo shrugged off the effects of his shoulder injury to blast to the top of the timesheets in both of today’s Free Practice sessions at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

After finishing quickest in Free Practice 1 this morning, Lorenzo continued to set the pace in FP2 and on his thirteenth lap of the session set a 1'44.731; just two-tenths of a second off the outright Motegi lap record. Second quickest today was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who set a time of 1’44.859 to trail Lorenzo by just 0.128 second on combined times. Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone was third quickest today, as he set a personal best time of 1’45.043 on his GP15 machine.

The opening day of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend experienced pleasant weather with dry conditions throughout the day and a peak track temperature of 41°C recorded at the start of FP2. All of the slick compounds in the tyre allocation for the Japanese Grand Prix were evaluated today, with the medium compound front and soft compound rear slicks emerging as the favourite option among the riders. Rider feedback indicated that the hard compound front slick exhibited excellent braking performance, but the medium front slick was deemed to be the better all-round performer. Although the extra-soft rear slick for the open-class riders, and the medium compound rear slick for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are strong performers at Motegi, the combination of cornering performance, drive grip and consistency made the soft compound rear slick the preferred option today.

Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department

“We couldn’t have had better weather and track conditions today at Motegi, so the riders were able to set a very quick pace from early in the first session. Motegi’s main feature is its harsh acceleration and braking zones, but good cornering performance is still a priority for riders. Accordingly, the riders preferred the tyre options today which provided the best all-round performance at this technical circuit. The medium compound front slick didn’t exhibit the same braking stability as the hard front slick, but the advantage it gives in cornering and warm-up performance means it is the favourite option at the moment. For the rear tyre, the soft compound rear slick is the preferred option, though I expect the extra-soft and medium rear slicks will also be chosen for Sunday’s race as some riders had good results using these options.”

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