Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Phillip Island:
Marquez fastest on day one in Australia with Pedrosa 6th
The first day of free practice has taken place in Phillip Island with Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez leading the way. Teammate Dani Pedrosa finished 6th in the combined times.
In typical fashion the weather has been very changeable, with cold and windy conditions in this morning’s FP1 and rain arriving at the end of the session. Then in FP2 the sun came out allowing the riders to work on their setup in preparation for tomorrow’s qualifying and also test the asymmetric front tyre.
The times were very close with thirteen riders within 0.9 seconds of each other but Marc topped the time sheets with his lap of 1’29.383 (lap 17/19). Dani was just 0.297 behind his teammate with 1’29.876 (lap 18/19).
"It was a good day overall. The morning session was a bit tricky because there was some light rain, but you could still go fast. In the afternoon we worked a lot on setting the bike up for the race, because it will be held at a similar time, and I think we took a step forward. Once again, Jorge is very fast, but we are working well, we have good pace and were able to set a good lap. What is important is that the changes we have made to the setup of the bike have allowed us to improve."
"Today we started to work on the setup of the bike, trying to think about tomorrow and Sunday's race, and we tested the asymmetrical front tyre. We have to keep working because we had some difficult conditions in the morning. Although it was clearer in the afternoon, there was still not much grip and we could not make much headway. Let's see if tomorrow the track is in better condition and we can improve."
Positive Pace for Yamaha in Phillip Island Practice Sessions
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo has made a flying start to this weekend‘s Australian Grand Prix, completing the first day of free practice as the second fastest rider. Championship standings leader Valentino Rossi also came out fighting at the Phillip Island circuit in the morning session and followed it up by taking ninth position in the afternoon.
Phillip Island (Australia), 16th October 2015
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi made their first laps around the Phillip Island circuit today during the first free practice sessions of this weekend‘s Australian Grand Prix.
Fully committed to his goal to decrease the 18-point gap to Rossi in the championship standings, Lorenzo seamlessly continued the impressive pace he displayed at the two previous Grand Prix. Despite a stiff breeze and a consistent drizzle, he was soon on the pace and took over first place in the final twelve minutes, setting a best time of 1‘30.047s. The session was brought to a premature end when rain picked up seven minutes later, allowing the Spaniard to hold first place with a comfortable 0.348s margin over his closest rival.
Lorenzo continued his form in the dry afternoon session and it only took him five laps to post a time of 1‘30.144s and shoot to the top of the provisional ranking order. He spent what was left of the 45-minute session testing the asymmetrical tyre and held onto the lead for most of the second free practice, before the times started to drop in the last minutes. Lorenzo responded by dipping under the 1‘30 mark, posting a strong 1‘29.433s lap to take second place.
Fully aware that every session is crucial when to trying to maintain the lead in the championship, teammate Rossi also wasn‘t shy to show his riding skills in the damp morning session. He steadily upped his pace to briefly move up to second position at the mid-way stage of FP1 with a 1‘31.103s lap. He continued to better his time by more than half a second to a 1‘30.572s lap as the session progressed and finished in third place.
In the sunnier afternoon session, the Doctor further upped his pace and initially topped the leaderboard when he dropped a low 1‘31 lap, which he soon improved to a 1'30.557. While Rossi tested the asymmetrical tyre, the pace of the field increased. The Italian answered by setting a low 1‘30 to slot into second place just 0.058s behind his teammate. He went on to further better his best time to a 1‘30.041, but it wasn‘t enough from him to hold his position and he fell back to ninth place.
2nd JORGE LORENZO
1'29.433 / 18 LAPS
We have tried some settings, but in general we have a good basis. The track is very slippery, it‘s a lot worse than it was two years ago and last year. It‘s bumpier as well, but that‘s the same for all the riders. Our pace is very good, we just need to improve the acceleration a bit and some other details for tomorrow.
9th VALENTINO ROSSI
1'30.041 / 21 LAPS
The feeling was not so bad, especially my pace this afternoon was quite good and also with a used tyre I was able to do some good lap times. I was not strong enough doing a hot lap on new tyres but at the same time we tried the asymmetric front tyre that everybody used and the feeling was not so bad. We have to work a little bit on the bike, but it‘s OK. We will wait for the good conditions tomorrow and will try to work on improving in some places and try to be stronger.
Today was a positive but tricky start to the race weekend, because of the difficult weather conditions. Jorge and Vale both managed to kick off the first free practice sessions well despite the slight bit of rain. Jorge had his usual start to the weekend and has been very fast and consistent in both sessions. Vale also had a good pace in both the morning and the afternoon session, even though he hasn‘t dropped under the 1‘30 yet. The feelings of the riders have been good overall, so we can be satisfied with the work we delivered today and we‘ll keep working hard tonight to get back on track even stronger tomorrow.
Iannone wraps first day of free practice for Australian GP at Phillip Island in fourth place, Dovizioso fourteenth
Andrea Iannone ended the first day of free practice for the Australian Grand Prix at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit in fourth place. His team-mate Andrea Dovizioso encountered a bit more difficulty at the Australian track and could only finish in a provisional fourteenth place.
The two Ducati Team riders were eighth (Iannone) and twelfth (Dovizioso) respectively in the first session of the morning, which took place under cloudy skies and with air/track temperatures of 16°/20°C.
The sun made an appearance in the afternoon after a brief rain shower, and the temperatures rose to 20°/29° for FP2, which was held on a totally dry track surface.
Iannone constantly lapped at a good pace, and towards the end of the session he fitted his GP15 with an asymmetric front slick, specially prepared by Bridgestone for Phillip Island, together with an extra-soft rear: his lap time of 1’29.544 took him to fourth in the overnight standings.
Dovizioso, who had used an asymmetric front slick since the start, had a bit more difficulty in the session. The Italian was unable to find a satisfactory set-up for his GP15 and he ended the day down in fourteenth place with a time of 1’30.451, which he set on his final exit with an extra-soft rear tyre.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’29.544 (4th)
“After this morning’s session, it was important for us to get an idea of the direction to take for the set-up. Maybe I could have done a bit better today, but in the end it’s OK the way it is. Tomorrow I hope we will manage to make a further step forward, especially with ‘rideability’ and electronic management, because we want to go even quicker, be more constant and improve our pace.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’30.451 (14th)
“This afternoon I was not able to make the progress I had expected, especially because I really have to struggle to get the bike to turn in the long corners. However we are all very close and you don’t need much to get ahead. We have to understand exactly which areas we need to work on tomorrow: we knew it wasn’t going to be easy here, but we can improve and for sure I will have to adapt better to the track conditions and to the bike. Now we have to remain calm and work hard to get a better understanding of where we can shave something off our lap times.”
VIÑALES THIRD ON FIRST DAY IN AUSTRALIA
Team Suzuki Press Office – October 16.
Under uncertain weather, the first day of practice at the Phillip Island circuit has ended with the very positive performance of Maverick Viñales who took third place in the overall classification and Aleix Espargaro in the top 10.
Viñales could find much confidence in his machine, getting back to the positive feeling he had until some races ago. In the practice sessions today his performance has been consistently competitive, being between the top riders for most of the time and finally lapping in his best time of 1'29.518s, which is only 0.135s slower than the provisional pole position.
Espargaro had a positive first day as well, with big improvements from the beginning of the day. His 1'30.113 best lap puts him in 10th place, but with only a 0.730s gap from Marc Marquez on provisional pole. In fact, today’s classification is very tight, with the top five riders covered by less than two-tenths of a second and a total of 13 riders covered by less than one second.
The Spaniard kept his GSX-RR in the highest part of the timed classification for almost the whole of the two sessions and only a slight lack of feeling from the front-end of his machine prevented him to exploit his final laps in FP2 and therefore keep his consistency nearer the top of the timing.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“We are happy today, it has been a positive day and after the two sessions we can say that we have worked very positively for the race and both riders have a very good feeling in race configuration. Obviously the highlight is Maverick’s third place, he was very good in exploiting the softer tyre in the time-attack lap, while Aleix couldn’t take advantage of the whole potential he had. The most important thing however is that they are both happy with their machines, especially in race configuration. We still can improve but we already have a good base to work from. They did really enjoy today’s riding, therefore we will try to improve even more for tomorrow and give them an even better feeling. Qualifying will be tough and crucial for the final result, but at the moment we can say also that looking at the race we are at a good point before we finalise set-up for race-day.”
Best lap: 1'29.518s
“Finally I feel satisfied with the first day, I know it’s only Friday but such a start of the weekend is much better than the Fridays we were used to in the last few races. I must thank my team because they have done a great job. In Japan, we tried some improvements that proved to be not so effective and here we took different approaches and finally I feel much better. The machine is reacting very well, with this being a very smooth and fast track we can take advantage of our chassis and I really enjoy riding here. I feel that the tyres are very consistent in their performance drop and this allows me to focus on pushing the limit still further. For sure, tomorrow my competitors will improve a lot so we need to improve as well, we have still some room for improvements in specific sectors and we can find even better configurations in set-up and electronics. We already have some ideas and we will keep our feet on the ground. I know I did a very good time-attack lap but now we need to focus on the race and improve the overall pace. I feel very confident with the hard tyre; we must keep working with it and get well prepared for the race.”
Best lap: 1'30.113s
“The tenth place is not making me happy but I am much more confident with the pace in race configuration. This morning conditions were very hard because of the cold temperatures and rain, while in the afternoon things got better and I could also find more and more consistent speed. We are improving a lot: we also know where we still need to find more consistency. I am not feeling completely confident with the front and I don’t feel comfortable in the first part of the corners, therefore we need to find better confidence with this front tyre finalising a better set-up before qualifying and the race. Anyway we have also made some work for the overall race pace and that gave me a positive feeling, we have already made some steps forward, we must stay focused and calm as we still have tomorrow to improve.”
ON THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE IN AUSTRALIA BAUTISTA AND BRADL ARE ON THE HUNT FOR THE BEST TYRE SOLUTIONS
Phillip Island (Australia), 16 October 2015 - Busy with a track that is brand new to the Aprilia RS-GP, both Bautista and Bradl spent the first day of free practice at Phillip Island searching for the best tyre solutions. The exciting Australian track, with its fast turns, is a particularly demanding test bench for the entire Aprilia Racing Team Gresini which, in this rookie year in MotoGP, is tackling races on tracks with drastically different characteristics, building up the experience needed to develop the project. Both riders improved between FP1 and FP2 and at the end of the day, also characterised by rain showers that ended the first session early, they finished in 19th (Bautista with 1’31,260) and 21st (Bradl with 1’31,577) place.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
“This is a new track for our bike and it is vastly different from the last track we took on in Japan. Today we focused a lot on tyre related testing with both riders as this is a track where tyres are particularly stressed. Now the teams will analyse the data to solve the main problem of poor grip. I hope the weather doesn't hold any surprises and that the results of what we are testing now can be used throughout the weekend."
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
“Phillip Island is always an extremely demanding track. There isn't a very big gap but we'll need to work hard to reduce rear wheel slip. In any case we are confident for tomorrow, when we'll be looking for a setup that will allow us to be more effective, especially from this point of view.”
“This is a very particular track where you have to be very careful choosing the tyres, so today we worked on that more than on the bike's settings. In particular we tested the asymmetrical front tyre and it seems to provide some advantages compared to the soft tyre, so we'll keep that in mind as a good option for the race. We did a lot of comparison testing on the rear between the hard and soft tyres. The hard one seems to be a bit more consistent and stable although it doesn't perform quite as well at the beginning. Tomorrow we'll continue our work to see how much the advantages that the soft tyre offers at the beginning can compensate for the wear later on.”
“The first session in the morning wasn't very significant because of the weather conditions. In the afternoon, on the other hand, the situation was more stable but from the very first laps on the track I could feel a lack of grip at the rear. There is a lot of spinning coming out of turns so I'm not able to accelerate as I'd like to. We are not using the full potential of the tyres and even though we tried a different one at the end of the second session it was hard to improve on our times. In any case we improved the feeling with the front end and no we'll analyse the data collected today so we can make improvements tomorrow.”
Great start for Petrux in Pramac Australian GP week end. Yonny finishes 16th
Danilo Petrucci starts great the Pramac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix week end setting an excellent 7th quickest time in FP2. Yonny Hernandez has instead to improve his feeling with the soft tire after giving positive signals on race pace without being able to be incisive in time attack.
After encountering some difficulties in FP1, also due to a very low temperature, Petrux managed to lap very fast in the afternoon as the track condition became better and better following the mid-day rain on Phillip Island. The rider of Fiamme Oro lowered by over a second and a half his best crono of FP1 and finished 7th with a lap time of 1'30.021 first free practices which gives him the potential direct access to the Q2.
Yonny wasn't unable to exploit the most of his Gp 14.2 despite a top speed of 341.2 km/h, second only to that of the two official Ducati of Iannone (346.1) and Dovizioso (343.4). The Colombian rider set a laptime of 1'30.660 to finish in sixteenth place, half a second behind the Top 10.
7th - Danilo Petrucci - OCTO Pramac Racing #9
We really did a good job in time attack. But I'm still missing a little race pace as I would go faster. It will be important to work in this direction tomorrow morning. Usually when I go well on Friday I go bad over the weekend and now it's time to debunk this taboo. Tomorrow I want to continue to stay in the Top 10 in FP3 to have the possibility to work well in FP4 in sight of the race.
16th - Yonny Hernandez - OCTO Pramac Racing #68
I immediately had a good feeling with the hard tire in FP2. But with the soft tires I had some problems of grip and I could not find speed especially on corner exit. I hope tomorrow we can do better. The feeling is much better compared to Japan. And I will try to do my best tomorrow to center Q2 directly.
Redding looking for setting solution at Phillip Island
Phillip Island, Australia - 16 October 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider, Scott Redding, finished 17th fastest after a difficult opening day of practice at Phillip Island.
With rain threatening at the circuit for much of the day there was a clear sense of relief in the paddock when afternoon practice took place in almost perfect conditions. It was a different situation this morning, with intermittent rain disrupting the opening free practice, reducing the time available for Redding and his crew to work out the optimum setting on his Honda RC213V.
With the track temperature varying by 15 degrees from the morning to afternoon the 22-year-old Briton struggled to find traction, with the rear tyre spinning up through the many fast turns here at Phillip Island, losing Redding valuable time in almost every corner.
The times were close across the field, with Redding placing 17th on the timesheet, despite being just under 1.4s off the provisional pole position time of Marc Márquez.
Scott Redding: 17th – 1’30.773
"Today was difficult. This afternoon we struggled to find any rear traction with the hard and extra hard tyre, with the bike spinning up everywhere. At a track like Phillip Island, with so many long, fast turns, if you don’t have the traction then you’re going nowhere. We’ll take a close look at the data tonight, because we need to find a solution for tomorrow. Initially we had an issue with the front too, but we solved that problem and I hope we can do the same for the rear.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I think that we are still looking to find the right set up. Sometimes this season we've had this problem where it hasn't been easy to find a setting on the first day, mainly because we don't have any track information from previous years. Today Scott improved as the second free practice session progressed, but then so did everyone else, so the position remained the same. We need to make changes tonight so that Scott feels more comfortable on the bike. This is a track he likes, and one where he should be fast, but at the moment he’s unable to realise his full potential.”
Smith gets the battle underway at Phillip Island
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith undertook a solid start to proceedings at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and completed today in 8th position as he took the initial steps in preparing for the 27 lap race on Sunday. The day kicked off with mixed weather conditions at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit as strong winds blew and small spots of rain fell throughout the session. Despite this, Bradley Smith powered through and started adjusting the setting of his Yamaha YZR-M1 at the circuit where he claimed his maiden MotoGP podium last season. By the close of FP1, he had posted a best time of 1’30.902 which left him in 7th. In the afternoon, the weather conditions improved and Smith got straight back to work as he looked to lower his lap time. The 24 year old progressed as he made consistent steps forward before finally speeding to a best time of 1’30.032 on his final lap out of 20, which saw him close the day in 8th overall. His performance was only six tenths of a second back from the top time and leaves the Briton confident of repeating his strong qualifying position from last year where he began the race from the head of the second row.
On the opposite side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro experienced a challenging first day at the fast Phillip Island circuit and completed the combined sessions in 15th in what was a fiercely contested start to the weekend. The 24 year old rider leapt into action as soon as the opening practice began and he started his work with the team to get the bike ready for the round 16 fight on Sunday. He set his personal best of 1’31.111 on his 10th out of 18 and concluded FP1 in 9th. Then, when the afternoon session commenced, Espargaro continued his efforts as he tried different setup options on his Yamaha YZR-M1 in order to improve corner entry and amend the lack of rear grip he was experiencing. He tirelessly completed 20 laps around the 4.4 kilometre Phillip Island circuit with his best time being a 1’30.552. The end result saw him finish in 15th yet only half a second back from his teammate. The Spanish youngster now focuses on tomorrow where he will aim to fight to a solid grid position in the vital qualifying session.
Position : 8th Time : 1'30.032 Laps : 37
“It’s great to be back at this superb circuit and overall, it has been a quite positive opening day of action. First thing is first though, the nature of this track is very fast so this morning was a massive wake up call because when you go into corners like the first and the third, as well as the back straight, it takes your breath away! It’s exciting to ride but it certainly awakens you even more at 10 in the morning! It took me a bit of time to adapt to this, but in the afternoon I got up to speed. We really focused on trying to improve my performance in the last sector of the track in FP2 as I believe that it will be very important to remain consistent in this area in the race. However, we are still struggling there a little bit, but we’ll continue our work on this tomorrow as we aim to find some more stability and grip. In any case, we are not too far from the front, which is positive especially considering that we had a few difficulties, so I’m convinced we’ll have a good base to start from tomorrow. So I look forward to jumping back on the Yamaha again and then clinching a good grid position for Sunday’s race.”
Position : 15th Time : 1'30.552 Laps : 38
“Unfortunately, the opening to this race has been anything but easy. After what was a disappointing Japanese GP, we decided to make some changes to the bike and use this Friday as a kind of test day. It goes without saying that today's weather really didn’t help us to complete our schedule, but in FP2 we were able to at least partly try want we wanted to. There are some positives as I have improved a little bit in some areas such as entering in the corners. However, I still have a lack of grip and that causes a lot of spinning, so it’s a struggle to keep the right line. In addition, I also tried to change my riding style almost every lap in order to try and understand more about how the bike was working. Obviously, the position is a long way from where I want to be, especially at this track which I love and where I have always been fast. Still, I believe that these tests were necessary as well as helpful and besides, I know how to ride fast at Phillip Island. Now we'll analyse today's data in order to try to find something for FP3 so that we can have the best bike possible for the rest of the GP"
Difficult start for Forward Racing at Phillip Island
At the end of a first day of hard work, where they have suffered the uncertain weather conditions, Toni Elias and Loris Baz closed the free practice sessions respectively in 22nd and 23rd position in the standings.
After a first session characterized by the rain and the strong wind, in the afternoon with dry conditions, Toni Elias scored a best lap time of 1.32.122 which earned him the 22nd place. Despite the strong spinning he suffered today, the Spaniard remains confident for the qualifying.
Complicated day also for Loris Baz. The Frenchman was not able to find the right feeling on the demanding Australian track and he is 23rd in the standings.
"I am not completely happy with the steps I made today. I tried some different solutions, but I suffered a lot of spinning and I could not push as I wanted. I’m not far from the others, the pace is good and I am convinced I can do something good tomorrow".
"It was not the start I expected. The weather was not on our side, especially in the first session, and I struggled a lot. I tried two different settings, but I did not find the feeling I was looking for. The goal for tomorrow is closing the gap with the other Open bikes".
Good start for Avintia Racing at Phillip Island
16/10/15 Avintia Racing MotoGP - Grand Prix of Australia - FP1 - FP2
Mike Di Meglio has reached 200 World Championship Grand Prix starts this weekend, and he hits this milestone at the same track where he became 125cc World Champion back in 2008. Therefore, this is a very special weekend for the Avintia Racing French rider, and he’s looking forward to get a good result on Sunday and celebrate this mark in the best possible way. Today he finished 20th overall and fifth in the Open Class, but he’s confident to make another step tomorrow and to get closer to his teammate at the fast Phillip Island circuit.
Hector Barbera was not the fastest Open Class rider today. In the morning, rain disrupted the session. In almost perfect conditions in the afternoon, he finished 13th, with a gap of less than a second to Marc Marquez on provisional pole position. Barberas feelings with his Ducati Desmosedici GP14.1 were great from the first lap, but he thinks there is room to improve over the next two days. The aim of the Avintia Racing Spanish rider is to cut the gap of one tenth to Jack Miller, who was the fastest Open Class rider today.
HECTOR BARBERA #8 / 13th (P3 Open) 1'30.278 @HectorBarbera
This morning, intermittent rain disrupted the opening free practice session, but nevertheless, my feeling was good. In this afternoon’s sunshine, I was able to confirm those positive feelings with the bike because I’m fast, I have a good pace and we did a good job for the race. At the end of the session I grabbed a soft tyre for a time attack, but I could not get the best out of it. But I’m just two tenths back from the top six, in front of several factory bikes and only one tenth from Miller, the best Open Class rider today. We are working well and if we keep making progres the same way tomorrow, we’ll be well prepared for Sunday.
MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 / 20th (P5 Open) 1'31.339 @Mikejpp63
I want to say thanks to my team for celebrating these 200 Grand Prix starts together. It’s a really good place to reach this mark, as I won my 125cc World Championship in 2008 here at Phillip Island and this will be a really good memory after two fantastic seasons with Avintia Racing. This morning I felt really strong from the first lap, but then we tested some changes on my second bike and we lost some time. But the team has already started to put my favourite engine into my bike and with this engine, I’m confident to be closer tomorrow. We need to find a solution to find more traction, because I love this circuit and I think that it’s possible to get a good result in the race.
CRUTCHLOW ON THE PACE IN AUSTRALIA
It was a positive first day at Phillip Island for the LCR Honda Team, with Cal Crutchlow setting the fifth fastest time in free practice, despite awkward weather conditions persisting throughout the day.
The British rider counts the Australian venue as one his favourites on the MotoGP calendar, and it clearly showed as he blasted his factory Honda RC213V around the beautiful 4.448km/2.764 mile layout in a best time of 1’29.579 in the afternoon sunshine.
Sixth in the rain-affected morning session, Crutchlow ended the day just 0.196 seconds behind reigning world champion Marc Marquez, who was fastest, and the Briton will be hopeful of securing a top grid position in Saturday’s qualifying.
Cal Crutchlow #35 – 5th (1’29.579)
“Today wasn’t too bad at all. We had a little problem with the set-up of the bike, so we need the rear grip a fair bit because we have a lot of spinning at the moment. But overall we are happy, and hopefully we can continue to improve tomorrow.”
“I do hope that we can have a full day of dry weather so that we can put in enough laps to get the work done for Sunday’s race. Today has been a positive day though, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
MILLER IMPRESSIVE AT HOME GP
Jack Miller was the stand-out rider on the first day of practice at the Australian GP, sealing an excellent 11th fastest time and finishing as top Open rider in front of his adoring home fans.
The Phillip Island circuit is known as one to highlight pure racing talent, and the Queenslander demonstrated it in spades as he set the fifth fastest time of a tricky morning session where light drizzle affected track conditions.
He then backed up his early performance later in the day as he sat amongst the top ten for the majority of the afternoon free practice session, but was knocked back to 11th in the dying seconds as his rivals put in new sets of tyres. He finished the day with a best of 1’30.127, incredibly less than three-quarters of a second behind top man Marc Marquez.
Depending on conditions in Saturday’s morning session, Miller will be hopeful of sneaking into Qualifying 2 automatically if he can get amongst the top ten by the end of the third Free Practice. If that isn’t possible, he will be confident of making it through to the final grid shootout by progressing through Qualifying 1.
Jack Miller #43 – 11th (1’30.127)
“I’m really happy with how today went. The bike seems to be working really well; both Nicky (Hayden) and I seem to be going good on it, so it looks as though it is a track where our bike works ok.”
“Of course, there’s still a few points around the track where we would like to improve things tomorrow, but all in all I’m quite happy with today’s result.”
Fabulous first sessions for Nicky Hayden at Phillip Island
Friday, 16 October 2015 09:26
The POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider sets the 12th fastest lap time, just eight-tenths off top spot
On the opening day of the Australian GP the MotoGP riders had contrasting fortunes to their Moto3 colleagues. Rain affected the first free session in the morning, but not in the second. Lorenzo continued his good form from the last few races, leading the first practice and looked set to do the same in the second. In the afternoon however, things were different. The Mallorcan was around the top spots yet again, and in another tactic from his team-mate, Valentino Rossi, led his title rival around Phillip Island to add yet more spice to their battle for the MotoGP crown. In the end it didn’t help the Italian too much, as he ended up ninth. In the last few minutes, with the sun shining and the temperatures rising, Lorenzo was surpassed by Marc Márquez. Just five hundredths separated the two Spaniards by the end, with times slower than expected on a day where the cold Australian winds blew hard.
Podiums, poles, fastest laps... Nicky Hayden has excellent memories of the Phillip Island circuit, which is why it remains one of his favourites and he enjoys riding it so much. Having said it before landing in Australia he showed why today, enjoying perhaps his best Friday of the season. Not only because he ended up in 12th place, just eight-tenths behind the best lap of the day, but because the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider also had fun on the bike. Eugene Laverty had also stated how much he liked Phillip Island, and put in some good work, but the afternoon session didn’t give him the kind of results he had hoped. Struggling with a la lack of grip in the second half of the track, the Irishman ended up in 18th place. Despite everything, Eugene knows what he needs to do to improve tomorrow.
12º Nicky Hayden 1.30.184 (39 laps): “This morning was tricky because it was sprinkling and this track is so fast, particularly turn one and two, and you're heading into there not knowing exactly what you got, but the marshals down there did a good job with the flags to let us know, so that was very helpful. From our point of view today has been a positive day compared to where we have been at some of the other races right from the jump. The bike worked pretty decent from the start so that allowed me to stay out on track, get some laps in. We made a few little improvements but it's always nice when you don't have to make big changes. In the end another tenth would have moved me up five spots and that would look even better but tomorrow the focus is working on tyre life, which is such a big thing here at Phillip Island, and test some more the front tyres. Today we didn't really get chance to test those but it was a good day, I had fun riding the bike, which is always nice, and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
18º Eugene Laverty 1.30.910 (35 laps): “I was definitely hoping for more this afternoon but I had so much spinning. I am losing time in areas where I didn't expect. The bike is handling well, even when I followed Viñales I was able to gain time in the technical sections but then I lost so much in grip. The positive thing is that Nicky and Jack have shown the potential of this bike is high here but from our side we need to find some grip. In the right-handers it's not so bad because we have the soft side of the tyre but on the left side, in general the second half of the track, the bike becomes unstable and I can't open the gas without unsettling it. It is frustrating but we have some ideas for tomorrow. We also have a couple of other small areas to improve, like the gearbox, which is over revving because the rear is spinning so much. That held us back in some corners also but mainly it's a case of finding grip.”
Late lunge sees Marquez top MotoGP™ Friday practice at Phillip Island
Round 16: Australian MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two
Phillip Island, Friday 16 October 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Extra-soft, Asymmetric & Soft; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 16-17°C; Track 24-25°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 16-16°C; Track 27-35°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez was the quickest rider in today’s practice sessions at the Phillip Island circuit, the reigning MotoGP™ World Champion setting a time of 1'29.383 to lead a tightly-packed field on the opening day of action at the Australian Grand Prix.
Marquez set his benchmark time on his seventeenth lap of the afternoon’s Free Practice 2 session to end the day a mere 0.050 seconds ahead of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo, whose personal best time of 1’29.433 ensured he was second quickest on combined times today. Less than a tenth of a second behind Lorenzo on the timesheets was Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales, the MotoGP rookie setting an astounding time of 1’29.518 to finish the day third quickest. All of the three quickest riders set their time using the asymmetric front slick, but while Marquez and Lorenzo used the medium compound rear slick to set their quickest time, Viñales used the soft compound rear slick for his time attack.
Today’s weather conditions were typical for Phillip Island at this time of year; cool, windy and with the occasional period of rain. A change in the afternoon brought prolonged periods of sunshine which helped the track temperature reach a peak of 35°C towards the end of FP2. The cool temperatures and strong breeze in the morning FP1 session resulted in all riders solely using the extra-soft front slick – the softest tyre in Bridgestone’s allocation – for the first session of the weekend, paired with the softer option rear slicks. The more favourable conditions in the afternoon saw a large shift in front tyre preference to the asymmetric front slick - which Bridgestone developed specifically to meet the demands of the Phillip Island circuit – and the rider feedback indicates that this option provided excellent braking feel and cornering stability. The soft and medium compound rear slicks were used throughout the day as although track temperatures did increase in the afternoon, they didn’t reach a high enough level to make the hard compound rear slick a viable option for the factory Honda and Yamaha riders.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“We often experience variable weather at Phillip Island and today was no exception, with a cool and windy start to the day followed by sunny and fine conditions in the afternoon. The changeable conditions are one factor which makes Phillip Island so challenging for tyre development, but today the pace was good and we had no crashes so I am happy with how our tyre allocation performed. The riders chose the softest slick options available to them in the cool FP1 session this morning, but in the warmer conditions this afternoon, many riders chose to evaluate our new asymmetric front slick and we received plenty of good feedback on this option and we expect it to be heavily utilised over the rest of the weekend. For the rear tyre, the soft and medium compound options proved to be quite consistent which is an important requirement at this circuit and we expect the riders to focus on using these two specifications for the race. Track temperatures didn’t reach a high enough level to make the hard compound rear slick a viable option for the factory Honda and Yamaha riders and with even cooler conditions being forecast, this option may remain unused this weekend. It was a good start to the weekend for Bridgestone and we hope to continue in the same vain in tomorrow’s practice and qualifying sessions.”