The first practice of the weekend for the Grand Prix of Australia got underway today with Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo battling windy conditions to finish third in the combined times just 0.121 seconds behind Championship rival Dani Pedrosa in second. Lorenzo’s crew worked hard to find better stability for the Championship leader as strong winds across parts of the track made it difficult to find a good pace.
Position 3rd – Time: 1’31.005 – Laps 27
“It’s been really tough so far today, the conditions are quite difficult. It’s been really windy which makes it very uncomfortable to ride. We are going to try and stay with Dani here and also Casey but he is very fast, he’s on another level at this track. I think we are close to Dani so our goal is to try and beat him. We’re going to try and make the bike more stable tomorrow to keep the wheels on the ground and make it more comfortable in the wind.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Today wasn’t our best practice day of the season, we struggled with the wind. It looks like we’re not far off with the set up but we need a little bit better stability, especially in the windy corners like turn three and on the back straight. Jorge is feeling good and riding well so I think we will get there tomorrow.”
Crutchlow and Dovizioso make promising start at Phillip Island
Cool but dry conditions for the majority of today’s opening two practice sessions at Phillip Island enabled Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso to complete a positive and productive start to the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix weekend.
A short rain shower briefly interrupted this morning’s opening practice, but with a strong wind blowing off the nearby Bass Strait, Dovizioso and Crutchlow were quickly able to return to the fast and flowing Phillip Island track to continue preparations for Sunday’s 27-lap race.
British rider Crutchlow was satisfied with his work today after he finished as leading non-factory rider in fourth position. Crutchlow’s performance was particularly impressive considering he was struck down by a high fever and bout of bronchitis after arriving in Melbourne earlier this week.
He rested up as much as possible to try and shake off the illness and although he is still well below his physical best, has been able to push his Monster Yamaha YZR-M1 close to the limit and he finished with a best time of 1.31.367.
That put him only 0.362s away from the top three and 0.091s ahead of teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who also made significant progress after he logged a best time of 1.31.968s this morning. The Italian was able to lap more than 0.5s faster in sunny but breezy conditions this afternoon.
Dovizioso is confident he can make further steps with the front-end feeling of his YZR-M1 machine tomorrow to boost his chances of a podium finish in Sunday’s race, which is the penultimate round of the 2012 World Championship campaign.
Position 4th – Time: 1’31.367 – Laps 29
“It was a good start to the weekend and I’m happy considering how ill I’ve felt before today. I had a really high temperature yesterday but the bigger issue is the bronchitis because I am finding it quite hard to breathe. I felt better today and concentration is not a problem but this track is so physical and fast that you don’t get a break. And with the wind you are constantly fighting the bike, so that isn’t making it any easier for me. I will go and see the Clinica Mobile staff again tonight and hopefully I’ll feel better again tomorrow. I’m still not anywhere near 100% and my target is to leave this weekend picking up some decent points. We can make the bike better because I lose a lot of time in the second half of the lap. You get a lot of spinning from the rear tyre at this track and that is an area we need to look at improving for the rest of the weekend. The track seems really bumpy as well. It was bad last year but today it felt five times worse and the surface is wrecked, but everybody is in the same boat.”
Position 5th – Time: 1’31.458 – Laps 29
“As always when we come to this great track at this time of year, the conditions were normal for Phillip Island. It was quite cool and windy but the positive thing is that apart from a few minutes of rain this morning we were able to ride on a dry track to concentrate on improving the set-up of the bike. We gained a lot of data today but it is clear we have to recover a bit of time to get closer to the top three. My feeling with the bike though is quite good but I would like to gain a bit more feeling from the front. This is the main point in this track because there are a lot of fast and long corners with some very fast changes of direction, so you have to prepare the bike on the exit to have the right line. If you can do this quickly the lap time comes quite easy. If we can improve then I am very confident I can be closer to fighting for the podium on Sunday.”
2012 MotoGP Australia
Phillip Island 26/10/2012
1 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 1’29.999
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’30.884
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’31.005
4 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’31.367
5 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha ITA 1’31.458
6 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’31.616
7 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’31.702
8 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 1’32.030
9 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’32.312
10 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’32.674
11 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’32.706
12 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 1’32.744
13 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’33.727
14 Colin Edwards Suter USA 1’33.835
15 Michele Pirro FTR ITA 1’34.002
(Nicky Hayden, 1/1/2008)
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Casey Stoner, 10/5/2008)
Last Years Winner: