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Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Faces Tricky Conditions in Texas

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo kicked off the action in America today with two challenging free practice sessions ahead of this weekend‘s Grand Prix of the Americas.

The first practice at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) was full of surprises. Rossi and Lorenzo initially battled themselves up to provisional 3rd and 13th respectively in a soaking wet morning session, but just 12 minutes into FP1 the red flags came out after a dog ran across the track, delaying the session by 20 minutes.

Once the session re-started, nine-time World Champion Rossi returned to the track and was able to better his time to a 2‘20.593 for a fourth place. He further improved his time in the afternoon. As dry patches started to form, he made the most of the last 18 minutes of track time and clocked a 2‘05.691. His time put him in sixth place, 0,856s from the front.

Teammate Lorenzo kept his caution in the first free practice as he struggled with a lack of rear grip, causing him to finish in ninth place with a 2‘21,486 lap. As the track dried out during FP2, the Spaniard gradually reached a personal best of 2‘06.174. He holds eleventh in the combined times, less than five tenths of a second from his teammate in sixth place.

Valentino Rossi

6th / 2’05.691 / 13 laps

“It’s important to test on the wet because last year I never had a good feeling with the YZR-M1 under these conditions. We changed a lot on the setting of the bike and today I finished fourth on the full wet, which is not so bad, but on the dry I feel better. I am only sixth because I hit some traffic and I can do a little bit better than that. We still have to work, but the first feeling of the bike is not so bad.”

Jorge Lorenzo

11th / 2’06.174 / 11 laps

“Today was a very difficult day for me. Since this morning I feel pretty bad. I didn‘t feel comfortable with either the bike or myself. My physical condition today it‘s not good, I got a cold and today I started on antibiotics because I feel sick. I couldn‘t work in a normal way; I feel weaker due to the cold. The doctors told me it‘s bronchitis and I suffer a lot when riding the bike. We have a lot of work to do with the machine but first of all I need to recover. Hopefully tomorrow it will be better with all the treatments. I‘m so sorry because today we couldn‘t improve the pace and I couldn‘t be competitive.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“It is untypical weather in Austin. This morning it was cold, wet and windy but it was better in the afternoon. We have to be prepared, because the weather for the coming days is unpredictable, making this a tricky weekend. Anything can happen, so we have to be ready. Considering the uncertainty of the weather forecasts for this weekend, today was a good day in terms of data collecting, because we could practise on the wet and the dry. Unfortunately we only had 20 minutes on a dry track but those were important. We have some work to do to improve the settings of the bike for both conditions. This means we have to work in two directions, because we have to be ready for every circumstance, but we are confident that we can do it.”

Espargaro and Smith start COTA battle positively in mixed conditions

Pol Espargaro kick-started his round 2 campaign at the Circuit Of The Americas by delivering a solid performance to finish in 7th overall on the opening day in Texas. The first practice began in difficult circumstances with a heavy downfall of rain as well as a red flag causing disruptions to the practice. Nevertheless, Espargaro powered onwards and completed FP1 in 7th place with a best time of 2’20.983. The weather improved in the afternoon, which permitted the riders to revert to slick tyres and the 2014 rookie of the year continued to push as he set up his Yamaha YZR-M1 for the 21 lap sprint on Sunday. The end of the session saw Espargaro meet the chequered flag in 7th with a best time of 2’05.840 and a performance that saw him under three tenths back from 4th. The young Spaniard’s effort today leaves him optimistic of improving his pace in tomorrow’s free practice session before the all-important qualifying.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith battled throughout the day as he attempted to assert himself as the leading satellite rider in Texas. The 23 year old completed the first session of practice in 6th position in wet conditions at the Circuit Of The Americas and was confident of progressing in the afternoon. In FP2 the young Briton set a best lap time of 2’06.134, yet unfortunately suffered a fall in the following lap which prevented any chance of climbing up the rankings. Despite this, Smith completed the day in 10th position with his time being only three tenths behind his teammate. Tomorrow the British rider will intend to bounce back and have a competitive qualifying session aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1 in view to Sunday’s race.

Pol Espargaro

7th / 2’05.840 / 8 laps

“Overall, today was quite a positive start to the weekend and I am pleased with what we managed to achieve in the tricky conditions. This morning we had probably our first ever fully wet session in the MotoGP class and I’m happy to say that the feelings I had on the bike were really good. The only thing that was missing was a quick lap at the end of the session unfortunately, but I felt comfortable and my time was not so bad. In the dry, we decided to go with our base setting and I didn’t return to the pit box at all, so nothing was changed. For sure, there are many things which can be improved, but now we will look at the data and hopefully tomorrow the weather conditions will improve so that I will be able to as well. Altogether, the first day was good so I am looking forward to getting back out on the track.”

Bradley Smith

10th / 2’06.134 / 7 laps

“Of course, it was a big shame to crash at the end of FP2 but it was the first fall of 2015, so we had to expect it at some point. At the time, I was running with a set up that was for the mixed weather conditions and there was a lot of extra stress uphill on the front, so I hit the limit in turn one and unfortunately fell. However, as soon as we have started running here, in both the wet and dry conditions, we have been fast. I feel good and everything is positive so far, plus it’s great that the base setup is once again working well straight away, as it underlines the good job we have done prior to the season. I hope for clearer weather tomorrow as it’s been tough for all of the riders to deal with the conditions today. At the moment we are in the top ten which is the main thing plus we are close to the factory riders, so all in all, it was not a bad day.”

Stefan Bradl fastest Open bike in Austin

It was a good start with a positive eighth place and the head of the Open category for Stefan Bradl and the team Athinà Forward Racing at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

After an unusual first free practice session with rain and a red flag – exposed for ten minutes due to an invasion of the track by a dog – in the afternoon the German rider posted a personal best of 2.05.990, which earned him the top of Open category and eighth place overall. Bradl is confident for the qualifying and his goal is the pole position of the Open class.

It was a harder debut at COTA for his teammate Loris Baz. The Frenchman, who will try to approach the Top15 tomorrow, with the time of 2.09.372, finished in 23rd position.

Stefan Bradl

8th / 2’05.990 / 9 laps

“I’m really happy with this result. We did a great job with the team and we closed at the top of the Open category in the Top10. This morning we struggled in wet conditions, but in the afternoon the track was dry and I was able to find the right confidence with the bike. I’m confident for tomorrow: the weather forecast says that it will rain, but we are ready to get on track also in these conditions to be competitive.”

Loris Baz

23rd / 2’09.372 / 11 laps

“It was not easy to get on track for the first time in wet conditions. Luckily in the afternoon the weather was on our side and I could ride on a dry track. The feeling is good, I like the track, I just need to improve the rear end of the bike.”

2015 MotoGP United States

Circuit of The Americas 11/04/2015

1 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 2’04.835
2 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 2’05.162
3 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 2’05.190
4 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki ESP 2’05.564
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 2’05.646
6 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 2’05.691
7 Pol Espargaro Yamaha ESP 2’05.840
8 Stefan Bradl Yamaha DE 2’05.990
9 Yonny Hernandez Ducati COL 2’06.092
10 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 2’06.134
11 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 2’06.174
12 Scott Redding Honda GBR 2’06.216
13 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 2’06.294
14 Mike Di Meglio Avintia FRA 2’06.591
15 Maverick Viñales Suzuki ESP 2’07.011
23 Loris Baz Yamaha FRA 2’09.372

Circuit Length:
5513

Fastest Lap Ever:
2’02.773
(Marc Marquez, 13-4-2014 11:58:45)

Last Years Winner:
Marc Marquez