The Grand Prix of Aragon got off to a slow start today with mixed weather and half wet, half dry track conditions resulting in few riders venturing out in the morning session. Yamaha Factory rider Ben Spies waited until the afternoon’s fully wet second practice to venture out, a key protagonist in an early flurry of fastest riders he then became the man to beat. The Texan was clearly comfortable on a good wet set up, completing the day 0.066 seconds ahead of Dani Pedrosa.
Team mate Jorge Lorenzo also sat out the morning session but was one of the riders challenging Spies for the top spot in the second practice, the two trading fastest times in the last quarter of the session. A last minute hot lap by title rival Pedrosa saw him drop to third, 0.527 seconds behind Spies in first.
In recognition of Iveco’s award of ‘Truck of the Year 2013’ for the new Stralis Hi-Way, the YZR-M1s of both Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will carry the Iveco and ‘Truck of the Year’ logos for the remaining five races of the season.
Position 1st – Time 2.00.219 – Laps 16
“It was a good wet session so we’re happy with it, the bike feels good and we’re quick. We got a good setting with the bike sorted and we got some new information with the electronics so we’ll see what happens tomorrow with the weather. As long as everything keeps going smoothly then that’s all we need!”
Position 3rd – Time 2.00.746 – Laps 13
“In the morning we could have practiced but we preferred to stay in the box and save the engine life a little. This afternoon with full wet conditions we could go out and see what the feeling is with the bike in the rain in case we have a wet race on Sunday. The track is very slippery, we did a lot of laps trying to find the pace but we didn’t try to do one hot lap. Ben and Dani were very fast but the important thing is we made a good comfortable pace.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“It was a very wet second practice! The pace was good and third position is very acceptable. We are looking for things to improve for the next wet session but we were one of the fastest guys out there and we were consistent so we’re pleased with the result.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Today wasn’t completely useless, this afternoon we were able to get good information and put a good wet set up together. The pace is really good in the wet and we have a good set up in the dry from our test recently so we are ready for both conditions.”
Confident start for Dovizioso and Crutchlow at rain-hit Aragon
Heavy rain and tricky track conditions meant the start of the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon was a challenging experience for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow today.
Dovizioso and Crutchlow were fifth and seventh fastest on the timesheets after wet weather conditions once again played a pivotal role in proceedings.
The pair didn’t even leave the sanctuary of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage in this morning’s first sessio n. Oil dropped on the track in the earlier Moto3 practice meant the session was delayed by one hour while track staff took part in a huge clean-up operation.
And when the session did finally commence, track conditions were neither full wet or dry to allow Dovizioso and Crutchlow to carry out any meaningful set-up work with their YZR-M1 machinery.
This afternoon’s session started with heavy rain falling on the technically challenging and undulating Motorland Aragon track, which gave Dovizioso and Crutchlow the opportunity to work on wet weather settings.
Both were able to log competitive times throughout the session that kept them firmly in contention for the top three, with Dovizioso eventually finishing in fifth position. The Italian rider posted a best time of 2.01.3 79s
Crutchlow briefly led the session in the early stages as he expertly calculated how hard he could push in treacherous conditions right from the off. The British rider ended with a quickest pace of 2.01.665 and while he would have hoped to be closer to the pace of the top three, the 26-year-old is confident that if the adverse weather conditions continue tomorrow that he will be strong challenger for a position on the front row of the grid.
Position 5th – Time 2.01.379 – Laps 17
“I am happy with the set-up of the bike because there are no obvious problems to fix, although I’d like to improve the rear traction. I felt good when I tried to take some risks and push at the end of the session. The bike reacted h ow I wanted, so I am confident I have some margin to improve. I am close to the top and it is a good start to the weekend, even if we did lose another session this morning. The only thing I hope for the rest of the weekend is some dry track time before the race. I don’t want to arrive in the race with no dry time to work on the set-up because then you are not fully prepared, so I hope whatever the conditions are tomorrow will be the same on Sunday.”
Position 7th – Time 2.01.665 – Laps 15
“I am pleased with my pace in the full wet conditions as I was right near the top and confident I could have finished inside the top three. I had a small problem with the steering damper right at the end and without that I am sure I would have been much higher than seventh. We have to take another step tomorrow if the conditions are the same but I am confident I can be very competitive in the wet. The set-up of the bike is good and with some improvements if we have more rain tomorrow, I’ll be looking to be back on the front row again. I hope the rest of the weekend though is dry and the fans can see a good race.”
2012 MotoGP Spain
Motorland Aragon 28/09/2012
1 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 2’00.219
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 2’00.285
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 2’00.746
4 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 2’00.996
5 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 2’01.379
6 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 2’01.626
7 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 2’01.665
8 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 2’02.412
9 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 2’02.632
10 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 2’23.263
11 Jonathan Rea Honda GBR 2’04.046
12 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 2’04.353
13 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 2’04.423
14 James Ellison ART GBR 2’04.542
15 Mattia Pasini ART ITA 2’04.722
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Casey Stoner, 9/18/2011)
Last Years Winner: