Valentino Rossi made a strong start to the San Marino and the Riviera of Rimini Grand Prix weekend today, taking third overall in combined times for the first two free practice sessions.
The local hero was enjoying Yamaha’s new seamless gearbox for the first time in a race weekend situation as he tackled the Misano World circuit under hot and sunny conditions. Rossi completed the morning session in fourth, just over half a second from the front then stepped up the pace in the afternoon session, shaving just under quarter of a second off to finish in third, 0.258 seconds behind Marc Marquez at the front.
Jorge Lorenzo was quick to find a similar pace to teammate Rossi, wrapping up day one in fourth position. The defending world champion was also using the new seamless gearbox as he worked to find an optimum set up for the track. The morning session saw him finish in third, 0.426 seconds from the front and then improve in time in the afternoon to finish 0.295 seconds from Marquez in fourth position.
3rd, 1’34.458, 23 Laps
“It’s always special and a great feeling to ride here. Today was a good Friday for me, my performance was not so bad. This morning I was already quite fast but especially this afternoon my pace was very good. I was fast from the beginning to the end of the practice and we are very close to the front. Yamaha has made a fantastic job with the gearbox; it is a great help for the riders. It’s not a big advantage with lap time but the bike becomes a lot easier to ride, more stable in acceleration and less wheelie. You can concentrate more on riding, it is less demanding so I think for the race it will be a big help.”
4th, 1’34.495, 19 Laps
“We are having some problems to find the best set up on the bike because I felt a little bit worse than the last years here but we are trying to improve it. The new gearbox is working well and I really like it. I’m confident we can go a little faster tomorrow.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Managero
“The first day in Misano is done. We need to fix some things on the bike to find a little more confidence on entry and also rear grip is a bit of an issue. We are not far off but we need to improve on some areas. We need to find a couple of tenths of a second but I think we can definitely do that.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We have started very well considering we started using the new transmission today. The feeling of the riders has been great, as good as it was in Brno. They are both really impressed with it and I think the feeling will only get better as they get used to it. This morning we suffered from a lack of grip but we recovered well this afternoon. We are heading in the right direction, we are close and tomorrow we will make another step.”
Crutchlow and Smith target improvements after difficult start in Misano
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith experienced a difficult start to preparations for Sunday’s Misano MotoGP round today.
In warm and sunny conditions at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, the British pairing found both 45-minute free practice sessions a tough challenge while they worked hard to find confidence with their YZR-M1 machinery.
A right arm injury the 27-year-old suffered in the first of three heavy crashes during his recent home race at Silverstone has still not completely healed and Crutchlow was uncharacteristically outside of the top 10 in FP1 this morning.
Crutchlow was able to make significant progress this afternoon by lapping over 0.7s faster and a personal best time of 1.35.208 moved him one place higher up the rankings into 10th position and just 0.4s away from the top six.
Rookie Smith’s first taste of the San Marino track on a MotoGP machine didn’t go according to plan after the 22-year-old ended the opening day proceedings in 14th position on the combined timesheets.
Building up his confidence and speed in FP2, Smith had just set his best time of the day with a 1.36.004 when he fell unhurt at the first corner at the beginning of his 11th lap.
Despite a difficult start to the 13th round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship, Crutchlow and Smith remain optimistic they can be more competitive for the remainder of the weekend
Position 10th – Time 1.35.208
“Today was a really difficult day and I am not very happy at all with my pace or my position. My right arm is not 100% after Silverstone but the main problem is I don’t have any feeling with the bike at all. We need to improve because all I can say is that today was bad and disappointing. Those in front of me can just run a much better pace and there is not one single area that is holding me back. I am struggling everywhere but I won’t give up and I will work hard with my crew tonight to try and find some solutions to be more competitive tomorrow.”|
Position 14th – Time 1.36.004
“Unfortunately today wasn’t very positive. Misano is a track I like, so to have a result like today is not nice, but it is clear with the final position there is a bigger problem than just the setting. The bad feeling I had in Silverstone is the same here. The good thing is we understand what the issues are now and we know which direction we have to go in. It is frustrating to have the crash but I am pushing to try and get the same feeling back that I had in Brno where I was strong. I believe with all the info we have that we can take a big step forward tomorrow and be faster. Qualifying is very important here with the first section so tight and the run to the first corner quite short, so it is vital to give yourself the best chance to get away with the leading group.”
2013 MotoGP San Marino
Misano, San Marino 13/09/2013
1 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’34.200
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’34.233
3 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’34.458
4 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’34.495
5 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’34.732
6 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’34.858
7 Michele Pirro Ducati ITA 1’34.889
8 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’34.901
9 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’35.107
10 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’35.208
11 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’35.218
12 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’35.392
13 Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Suter ITA 1’35.933
14 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’36.004
15 Claudio Corti FTR Kawasaki ITA 1’36.122
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Casey Stoner, 4-9-2011)
Last Years Winner: