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Unpredictable Weather Signals the Start to the Grand Prix of Catalunya

The MotoGP paddock had a less than perfect start to the GP of Catalunya today at the Montmeló circuit as changing weather conditions disrupted the first free practice sessions. A sunny morning gradually changed to deliver spots of rain towards the end of the first practice. The second session in the afternoon saw the same disruption with the first 30 minutes wet and just over 20 minutes of drying time available at the end for the riders.

Both Yamaha Factory Racing riders made as much use of the dry time as possible, testing some different chassis settings and for Ben Spies some different body positioning in the hunt for more performance. Lorenzo and his team mate recorded their fastest times of the day in the morning session going fourth and fifth respectively, positions they retained in the second heat, giving them a provisional second row position.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 4th Time: 1.43.810 Laps: 15

Today we didnt ride so much because the rain started at the end of the first session and the opposite in the afternoon. There were only 20 minutes of dry time at the end so we had only eight laps more or less to try some settings of the bike. We are quite far from first position but we have another full practice tomorrow morning to improve. Im happy to be here with my home crowd but its going to be tough to fight for victory. I need to be patient and calm and give it the maximum and fight for the podium.

Ben Spies - Position: 5th Time: 1.44.646 Laps: 24

Im feeling good about today, it was a tricky session going out in the rain and dry, you couldnt see how wet it was on the track so I had to feel it out a bit. We had a pretty big change on the bike trying to move my position around; I think weve found something and were hoping to now get some more dry time tomorrow. To be top five at the end of the first practice day and closer to the front is a lot better so well keep building on this.

Wilco Zeelenberg

We had an odd first day; its difficult to judge where we are because the circumstances were very strange, wet in the beginning and dry at the end of the second session. Compared to last year the lap times are slower but everybody has more or less the same situation. Hopefully tomorrow it dries so we can prepare ourselves for Sunday, so far we have no major problems.
Massimo Meregalli

The weather didnt help us so much to work on the set up of the bikes today but I can see that we had good speed and after both sessions we have both riders in the top five which is a good starting point for the weekend. Lets wait and see what we can do tomorrow.

Crutchlow learning fast, Edwards injured in Catalunya

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team started the Catalunya MotoGP round in Spain with a day of contrasting fortunes for Cal Crutchlow and Colin Edwards.

Crutchlow once again demonstrated his expert skill at learning new tracks fast to finish seventh fastest on the combined timesheets, the British rider producing another impressive performance on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team YZR-M1 machine on a circuit he’s never ridden at before in his career.

He set a best time of 1.44.797 to finish less than 0.2s away from the top five, the 25-year-old setting a competitive pace on a dry and damp track as the first day of action was disrupted by rain showers.

The fifth round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship ended in premature and painful fashion for team-mate Edwards though after he was diagnosed with a broken right collarbone following a heavy crash in this afternoon’s second free practice session.

The day had started full of promise for Edwards and the experienced American was sixth fastest this morning with a best time of 1.44.768. The opening day of action saw frequent rain showers dampen the Montmelo circuit and a cloudburst during the early 125cc practice session meant the second MotoGP session got underway on a damp track.

The track dried rapidly and with just over 15 minutes remaining, the field switched to slick tyres as lap times significantly improved with the better conditions. Edwards had completed one run on slick rubber when he switched bikes and was an out lap when he crashed at Turn 5. He landed heavily and was immediately attended to by trackside marshals before being transferred to the Medical Centre, where further checks revealed he’d suffered a broken right collarbone.

Edwards was later taken to the Dexeus Institute Hospital in Barcelona where he will undergo surgery performed by Dr Xavier Mir, who has previously treated Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.

Cal Crutchlow – Position: 7th Time: 1.44.797 Laps: 22

I really like the track. It seems to suit my riding style and it turned to be a positive first day for me. I used the same set of slick tyres all day and I ran the hard rear tyre, so I’m sure I could have gone quicker if I’d used the softer option. I did a few laps in the wet but it wasn’t really wet conditions and it was a bit of a waste of time. Learning the braking markers is one of the biggest challenges and in the first corner, I was losing 0.4s on the brakes just at that point. I could make up time in other places but you can’t afford to lose that much time in just one corner. I followed Valentino for a little bit and that was nice because you can learn stuff really quickly. He is smooth as silk and it is incredible to be learning off somebody who is my hero, but if I keep improving there is no reason why I can’t have a good qualifying and be fighting for the top ten again in the race. I’m really sad that Colin has got injured. He’s been riding brilliantly all season and everybody at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 wishes him a speedy recovery.

Herve Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager

Unfortunately Colin has broken his right collarbone and this is a big shame for him and for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because we were confident he was going to be very strong and competitive this weekend. Colin has been superb so far this season and he has shown that even when the competition is probably stronger than ever in MotoGP, he is still one of the fastest out there. It looks like he paid a heavy price for a very small mistake. He landed heavily on his shoulder and it was clear from the TV pictures that he was in a lot of pain. He will have an operation tonight, so we should have a clearer idea of how long the recovery process will be later this weekend. The important thing now is that he rests and recovers as quickly as he possibly can. We wish him a fast recovery and hope that it is not too long before we see him back in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team garage.

2011 MotoGP Spain

Catalunya 03/06/2011

1 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 1’42.940
2 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 1’43.468
3 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1’43.603
4 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’43.810
5 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1’44.646
6 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1’44.768
7 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’44.797

8 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’44.799
9 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 1’44.844
10 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 1’45.332
11 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1’45.751
12 Toni Elias Honda ESP 1’45.760
13 Randy De Puniet Ducati FRA 1’45.821
14 Loris Capirossi Ducati ITA 1’46.136
15 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 1’46.280

Circuit Length:
4727

Weather:
Changeable

Lap Record:
1’43.195
(Valentino Rossi, 1/1/2005)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’41.186
(Casey Stoner, 6/8/2008)

Last Years Winner:
Jorge Lorenzo