Hostilities opened at Jerez this morning under very cool conditions. Both ambient and track temperatures were in the mid-50s fahrenheit, hardly the ideal conditions for pushing racing motorcycles to the limit. The conditions also showed in the results, with none of the names being tipped for the win prior to the race anywhere near the top of the timesheets.
The man who did get to the top is Kenny Roberts Jr on the KR212V. Kenny Jr will want to expunge the memory of a poor performance at Qatar, and has started on the right road already. Marco Melandri set the 2nd time, also improving on his Qatar outing. Everybody's favorite for Sunday, Casey Stoner, managed to set the 3rd fastest time on his Ducati, ahead of the reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden. Hayden will be glad to be closer to the front of the times, and hoping to have found some answers.
Toni Elias is in 5th on another Honda, ahead of John Hopkins on the Suzuki and Hayden's team mate Dani Pedrosa. 5-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who topped the charts at the IRTA test here in Jerez a month ago together with Pedrosa, is down in 8th, ahead of team mate Colin Edwards and another Honda ridden by Shinya Nakano.
Though the conditions don't really give a realistic reflection of the state of play, a cold track and cold tires standing in the way of truly competitive times, it's interesting to see how many Hondas are at the top of the timesheets. So far this season, Honda has been worryingly mediocre, and the HRC engineers must be pleased to see a Honda-powered bike at the front, followed by 4 Hondas in the next 6 bikes.
The other interesting effect of the cold conditions will be tire choice. The new regulations mean that the riders have only 14 front tires and 17 rear tires, and tire selection will be mainly focused on getting a good race tire. With the conditions expected to be in the 80s on Sunday afternoon, many teams may not have chosen a tire which will work well in the cooler conditions, and could be struggling as a result.
Conditions are likely to warm up for this afternoon's free practice session, and we shall see what effect that has on times and standings then.
|1||Kenny Roberts Jr||KR212V||1'41.182|
|2||Marco Melandri||Honda RC212V||1'41.418|
|3||Casey Stoner||Ducati GP07||1'41.450|
|4||Nick Hayden||Honda RC212V||1'41.566|
|5||Toni Elias||Honda RC212V||1'41613|
|6||John Hopkins||Suzuki GSV-R||1'41.860|
|7||Dani Pedrosa||Honda RC212V||1'41.959|
|8||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha M1||1'42.057|
|9||Colin Edwards||Yamaha M1||1'42.078|
|10||Shinya Nakano||Honda RC212V||1'42.199|
|11||Carlos Checa||Honda RC212V||1'42.205|
|12||Chris Vermeulen||Suzuki GSV-R||1'42.269|
|13||Alex Barros||Ducati GP07||1'42.383|
|14||Loris Capirossi||Ducati GP07||1'42.427|
|15||Alex Hofmann||Ducati GP07||1'42.515|
|16||Randy de Puniet||Kawasaki ZXRR||1'42.892|
|17||Olivier Jacque||Kawasaki ZXRR||1'42.997|
|18||Sylvain Guintoli||Yamaha M1||1'43.161|
|19||Makoto Tamada||Yamaha M1||1'43.309|
|20||Kousuke Akiyoshi||Suzuki GSV-R||1'44.168|
Existing Circuit Records:
|Fastest Lap: Lap 25||Kenny ROBERTS JR||1'41.182||157.367 Km/h|
|Circuit Record Lap: 2006||Valentino ROSSI||1'40.596||158.284 Km/h|
|Circuit Best Lap: 2006||Loris CAPIROSSI||1'39.064||160.732 Km/h|
Fastest lap from IRTA Test 2007: