2009 Valencia MotoGP FP1 Result - Stoner Continues Where He Left Off

Casey Stoner continued his domination of the MotoGP class during the first session of free practice at Valencia, coming in fresh from victory at Sepang to top the timesheets during practice. The Ducati rider took his time, though, spending most of the session as 2nd fastest behind Jorge Lorenzo. With 5 minutes to go, the Australian finally found the extra pace he was looking for, putting nearly four tenths of a second between himself and Lorenzo.

Lorenzo only just hung on to 2nd, Dani Pedrosa getting within five hundredths of the Fiat Yamaha man's time to take 3rd, while Valentino Rossi's mediocre run at Valencia continues, setting the 4th fastest time nearly seven tenths behind Stoner.

Ben Spies got off to a cautious start, improving on his times slowly as the session progressed. At one point, he climbed all the way up to 11th, only to drop towards the end of the session, finishing the day in 15th. But the Texan wasn't too far off the pace, just two tenths of a second behind Marco Melandri in 12th, and just over half a second outside the top 10.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 27 Casey STONER DUCATI 1'32.813    
2 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'33.195 0.382 0.382
3 3 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'33.241 0.428 0.046
4 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 1'33.499 0.686 0.258
5 14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 1'33.910 1.097 0.411
6 15 Alex DE ANGELIS HONDA 1'34.106 1.293 0.196
7 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'34.123 1.310 0.017
8 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'34.382 1.569 0.259
9 65 Loris CAPIROSSI SUZUKI 1'34.427 1.614 0.045
10 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'34.462 1.649 0.035
11 36 Mika KALLIO DUCATI 1'34.696 1.883 0.234
12 33 Marco MELANDRI KAWASAKI 1'34.859 2.046 0.163
13 52 James TOSELAND YAMAHA 1'34.865 2.052 0.006
14 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'34.873 2.060 0.008
15 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'35.052 2.239 0.179
16 7 Chris VERMEULEN SUZUKI 1'35.131 2.318 0.079
17 41 Gabor TALMACSI HONDA 1'35.258 2.445 0.127
18 44 Aleix ESPARGARO DUCATI 1'35.458 2.645 0.200
Round Number: 
17
2009
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Total votes: 45

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Comments

I would expect Spies and Houseworth to get as much Chassis Setup as possible out of the way in these first two practice sessions, depending on who's data they baselined the bike off of. To say he is being cautious would be an understatement. He is still 1.78 below his qualifying time from WSBK here. I would say he has plenty left in the bag if they can get the chassis sorted. His Superbike pole was about the same 1.7 seconds off Stoners pole here last year so I highly doubt he is going to make up 3.5 seconds. If I were to guess based on where they are now I would say he will qualify at the lower half of the top ten. Just like he said he would!

Total votes: 41

. . . to put things into perspective, Ben is 0.2 secs behind Toseland and 0.9 secs behind Colin Edwards.

Ben will be much closer to the front by the end of qualifying.

Total votes: 42

Apparently Ben said after the session that tire grip was there but he couldn't "feel" it... Hopefully thats something that can be sorted out with the chassis.

Total votes: 37

He must be cutting across the lake inside the final turn, using his power to walk on water. Regardless, it should be a good party after the race as I hear he'll turn that entire lake in into wine.

Total votes: 48

Let's get serious about Spies here. This is his first real (not fill-in) race. He's got a new bike. He's got setup learning to do. He's going to be busting his ass to finish in the top 10, and anyone who expects better than that is kidding himself.

Also, this is probably the only "free" ride he's going to get in his contract. His finishing position doesn't matter. Better he spends it making real strides for 2010 rather than worrying about where he finishes.

Besides, it'd be smarter for him to finish low. There's already too much "fifth alien" talk from a lot of people who should know better.

Total votes: 42

fifth alien is a little soon to be sure. but ben is smart and calculating. he'll take baby steps to this new process and my guess is he'll take a couple strides tomorrow and sunday. he is out there lurking. I still feel my prediction of a top 8 is pretty reachable for him.

Total votes: 42

Spies is no Bayliss and he wont win. Sorry I dont think he is that fast either and he will not be up with Stoner, Rossi and co next year.

Total votes: 40

You can't compare Bayliss' wildcard and this one for Ben on any basis whatsoever... other than they're happening on the same track.

But Ben went 14th, 8th and 6th on a turd of a Suzuki. He certainly won't win this weekend, and the fifth alien talk is way premature, but your comments are just as extreme in the other direction in my opinion. The man is NOT to be underestimated.

I for one think the world won't know what hit them if GP goes back to 1000cc in 2012. Big Ben will thump'em!

Total votes: 36

I guess because both Bayliss and Spies are WSBK "greats" coupled with Bayliss's '06 wildcard Valencia win, this comparison naturally ends up being discussed. But there are several things that make such a comparison something akin to comparing apples with oranges.

First, and most obvious was the '06 Valencia race was with 990s. At least arguably closer in ridability to a Superbike than the current 800s are, for a host of reasons. Second, and perhaps much more important, is that Bayliss had three seasons (okay 2 1/2 if you remove his injury time) in MotoGP; '03 and '04 on the factory 990 Ducati and '05 on a satellite Honda. So, he already had a good amount of knowledge and experience with the bike and track when he went and did his "one off" ride and win at Valencia in '06. Finally, please recall that in '03, during Bayliss's first Valencia MotoGP outing (after an entire season in GP mind you), it resulted in a 7th place finish. Of course, does any of this take away from Bayliss's incredible '06 Valencia victory? Of course not. Winning a MotoGP race is a helluva feat in any capacity, but certainly so during a wild card ride. So, Bayliss is certainly due his due for such a win, if you take my meaning.

But please keep these underlying facts in mind when making "Bayliss v. Spies at Valencia" comparisons as Spies just today tossed his leg over an M1 and took it for a spin. He can't draw on three seasons of MotoGP testing, setup and racing experience to aid him at Valencia, but rather only 3 rounds atop a Rizla Suzuki. My guess is he'll wisely use this weekend as an extended testing and set up session in preparation for the upcoming '10 MotoGP season.

Total votes: 51

I predict that my predictions will be set on their head and he'll get pole position only to be taken out by DeAngelis in turn 1.

Total votes: 44

Bayliss and Spies are WSBK "greats" please these two are not in the same class yet.
Spies had trouble beating Mladin. Lets just hope Spies wins a Motogp in his career.
Spies might just follow Toseland and come in with high hopes and fade away back to SBK.

Total votes: 45

Yes, Spies did something unique in WSB, certainly - but it's a bit hard to call him a 'WSB great' after one solitary season.

Look at who else has won WSB - Edwards, two titles against some of the most serious opposition WSB has ever seen, goes to MotoGP - no wins in 6 years. Toseland, also two WSB titles (one against Haga and Bayliss) - MotoGP backmarker for two years.

Spies is a fantastic rider, everyone pretty much agrees on that, but a bit of perspective is in order here.

Good work from Stoner, who will win the race. I think Pedrosa will be hard work for the Fiat Yamaha boys.

Total votes: 56

...Colin took till his 5th year (wonder why 5 again...) for his first WSBK title after his debut in 95. And that too because Haga was chucked out for testing positive.
JT took till his 3rd year for his first title.
I reckon Spies' accomplishment has just that bit more to it coz 1) he was a rookie and 2) he'd never seen many of the circuits he raced on till free practice.
Having said that, he himself says the AMA circuits were more technical and in some ways more demanding.

I agree with the general sentiment that even if he takes it easy to get familiar with the bike, he will still be in the top 8 come chequered flag on Sunday.

Total votes: 37