Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi got down to business again today in the first two free practice sessions for this weekend’s Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon.
Fresh from his two consecutive race victories, reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo was quick to make his intentions clear in the morning session – challenging championship rival Marc Marquez for the top spot on the timesheets – and eventually emerging the faster at the end of the 45 minute session with a 1’49.753. The afternoon saw the competition catch up as the times dropped into the 1’48s, Lorenzo eventually wrapping up day one in fourth place overall, 0.418 from the top.
Rossi was quickly up to a competitive pace in the first session, the nine-time world champion completing the morning practice in fifth position, 0.746 seconds from the front. The Italian then struggled with a number of different issues in the afternoon, including a brake problem and a lack of grip which prevented both him and teammate Lorenzo from realising their full potential. Rossi finished the day in seventh, 0.922 seconds from the top.
4th / 1’49.405 / 17 laps
“We hoped to improve the bike from the morning but we couldn’t do it. I have a worse feeling than when we were here for the test. We have to keep working to improve the bike and the pace. The other riders are improving their pace a lot but we are optimistic. We can improve the bike and make another step. We need to be competitive whether it is hot or not.”
7th / 1.49.909 / 16 laps
“We struggled more than we expected. In the test the track had different conditions and more grip, the temperature was lower and it was better. Today we suffered quite a lot, especially this afternoon I had quite a lot of issues, especially one with the brakes and I lost nearly half the practice. At the end I used the second bike and made some laps to find the rhythm. We have to improve and go faster but at this moment after some laps the rear tyre starts to slide a lot and the bike becomes difficult to control.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“The first day of Aragon and sunny conditions but we are not completely satisfied. The rider has complained that the grip drops really quickly. We need to try and improve tyre life; that is high on his wish list. The lap times are quite close but we can do better.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We didn’t expect a start like today. Unfortunately the bike didn’t work as it did during the test. The track conditions were completely different. We have a lot of work to do to improve the bike, the grip levels on the track are not good, one more day will make it much better. We will analyse the data, compare it with the riders’ feedback and come back tomorrow to make another step forward.”
Crutchlow makes promising start at Motorland Aragon
The penultimate round of the European phase of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship campaign got off to a promising start for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow at the state-of-the-art Motorland Aragon track today.
In pleasantly warm conditions throughout today, Crutchlow ended the opening day of practice at the technically challenging and undulating Spanish venue in sixth position on the combined timesheets.
That was an impressive outcome for the 27-year-old considering six of the top seven riders on the final leaderboard tested at the Motorland Aragon in June.
A lap of 1.50.575 in this morning’s FP1 put Crutchlow in seventh position, but a big improvement to a 1.49.840 this afternoon elevated the British rider into the top six ahead of Factory Yamaha rider and nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi.
Teammate Bradley Smith has happy memories of the Motorland Aragon track after taking a podium finish in the 2010 125cc encounter and the British rider enjoyed a positive start to proceedings this morning when a lap of 1.51.263 placed him 10th in the rankings.
The 22-year-old, who is looking to consolidate his top 10 World Championship position in Sunday’s 23-lap race, was able to improve his pace to a 1.50.944 this afternoon but his progress unfortunately wasn’t reflected on the timesheets as he slipped down the order to 13th.
Experimenting with a new riding position to improve rear grip that he first tried during a test session after the previous round at Misano, Smith was less than 0.5s away from the top 10.
Cal Crutchlow 6th 1.49.840 – 36 laps :
“Today was a pretty positive start to the weekend and I am happy to be in the top six. This morning proved it wasn’t going to be easy because I was seventh and the top six had all tested here back in June, so they have an advantage in terms of set-up and information. I feel I am riding quite well but for tomorrow we definitely need to try and get some more speed out of the bike. I am quite slow compared to the rest in the speed traps and also quite a way off the fastest Yamaha, so that is one area we need to look at tonight and work on improving for the rest of the weekend.”
Bradley Smith 13th 1.50.944 – 36 laps :
“I’m reasonably happy with how the weekend has started but obviously the final position doesn’t look so good. I don’t think the position truly reflects our potential because a few guys not so far in front of me used a soft tyre to make their best time and they could only make one fast lap. I feel my pace is consistent but I am certainly looking to improve by at least 0.5s tomorrow. Track conditions between FP1 and FP2 changed quite a lot, so it is not clear which direction to go with on the set-up. But the first goal for tomorrow will be to make sure I am back in the top 10 at the end of FP3 to advance straight into QP2.”
2013 MotoGP Spain
Motorland Aragon 27/09/2013
1 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’48.987
2 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’49.119
3 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’49.254
4 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’49.405
5 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’49.763
6 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’49.840
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’49.909
8 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’50.034
9 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’50.055
10 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’50.446
11 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’50.727
12 Hector Barbera FTR ESP 1’50.913
13 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’50.944
14 Yonny Hernandez ART COL 1’51.345
15 Claudio Corti FTR Kawasaki ITA 1’51.461
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Casey Stoner, 18-9-2011)
Last Years Winner: