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Practice Begins in Argentina for Movistar Yamaha

Yamaha Argentina MotoGP

With just a couple of days rest following the Texas Grand Prix last weekend, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team were back on track today for the first practice session of this weekend’s GP Red Bull de la República Argentina.

The first morning session at the Termas de Río Hondo was taken gently by riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, the two testing the grip levels as the premier class group added fresh rubber to the slippery circuit. Rossi completed the free practice in 14th and teammate Lorenzo in 20th.

The second session saw light rain in the opening minutes, but the drama was short lived and the track quickly dried. The two Yamaha Factory riders gradually picked up their pace, taking over four seconds off their FP1 times as the grip levels rose. The improvements continued lap by lap to end with Lorenzo in sixth, 0.687 from the top and Rossi in ninth, 1.171 from first.

Jorge Lorenzo

6th / 1’39.463 / 18 laps

“The grip obviously improved from the first practice to the second and I felt really good with the hard tyre. We put a soft tyre in to improve the lap time towards the end and we were able to do it. Apart from the front rider with the extra soft tyre we are very close to the rest so let’s see for tomorrow. There’s going to be less of a difference than between today’s sessions but there should be a positive improvement and the rear tyre should last longer. I have a good feeling for the hard tyre so we need to find a good set up for the soft too.”

Valentino Rossi

9th / 1’39.947 / 18 laps

“In the second practice the condition of the track improved a lot and already the lap time is very competitive. The big issue is the tyres, we have to decide on the rear and also the front. The first impression of the bike is not so bad although we have to work on the balance and the settings. The position is not fantastic but we are not very far from the top guys so tomorrow we will try to improve the feeling with the bike and also the lap time.”

Massimo Meregalli

“This morning’s practice was mostly about the riders putting rubber on the track. During second session we did enough hard work for today. Very importantly we were able to compare the extra hard and the medium tyres for the race. For sure we will get some more precise feedback tomorrow when the circuit will be in a better condition but so far we are satisfied with our results. Jorge has been consistently fast and Vale was able to climb up the time sheets whilst switching between different bike set ups. Tomorrow we will prepare new steps for P3 and I am confident that we will be at the sharp end of the field for qualifying and be ready for a good race.”

Positive first steps for Espargaro on Argentine asphalt

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro completed a bright start in cloudy Argentina to finish the opening day in 7th position aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1. Despite a cautious start to the day in FP1 due to the dirty track surface, the young Spaniard leapt into action in the afternoon and put in a thorough effort as he began establishing a strong setup for the 25 lap battle on Sunday. Although the weather was gloomy and the rain clouds threatened, only a few small drops fell which was not enough to disrupt the session and so Espargaro plugged away. He concluded the practice with a best lap of 1’39.648, which left him in 7th but only three tenths of a second back from 2nd place. His opening performance today at the fast flowing Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo leaves him poised for a successful show in qualifying tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Bradley Smith began his Argentina MotoGP weekend with a finish in 12th place in this afternoon’s FP2 practice as he looks to continue his positive run so far in 2015. The 23 year old wisely saved his efforts for the afternoon session where the track conditions improved considerably and here, he posted a series of consistent laps with the best being a 1’40.195. This time was set on the 16th lap out of 22, as he tirelessly covered more distance than any other rider in the second free practice whilst refining the set up of his Yamaha YZR-M1. The British star now seeks to improve his time further in FP3 tomorrow ahead of the vital qualifying session.

Pol Espargaro

7th / 1’39.648 / 19 Laps

“Overall, it was a positive start to the Argentina round and I am pleased with what we managed to achieve today. We produced a good lap in the afternoon and the rhythm was solid with both hard and soft compounds of tyre. We were also quite close to the front during the whole FP2 session, which is certainly a positive. Tomorrow we have to concentrate on testing the tyres further as at the moment we are not sure which one will be the most effective in the race as the conditions are changing quite rapidly. The track is as dirty as last year which is a big pity as it has such a nice layout but we could not take advantage and enjoy riding it today due to the dirt. However, altogether it was a positive start to round 3 and additionally, my physical conditions are fortunately ok. Having said that, I do experience a slight bit of pain in the hard braking zones and also when I have to change direction quickly. However, I can handle this without painkillers, so I’m already looking forward to day 2 in Argentina.”

Bradley Smith

12th / 1’40.195 / 22 Laps

“It was a tricky opening day as the track conditions were quite difficult, especially this morning. We lost a bit of time in FP1 as I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike, which could have been because of the tyre, the bike setting or the conditions. In the end, we concluded that it was a mix of these three factors. Therefore, this afternoon we needed to assess some different settings for both of my bikes as well as evaluate the new extra hard tyre from Bridgestone to see how we could improve. I felt much better straight away, but especially when we put in a new soft rear tyre that enabled us to make a big step forward. However, I’m convinced that I didn’t extract the maximum potential at the time so there is still plenty of space for improvement. Moreover, we are struggling with rear grip just like everyone else, but we have a good direction which we need to head towards to solve this. It is vital that we continue to adapt as the conditions change in order to progress, however, I am sure that when the track improves with grip, our setting will work much more effectively. At the moment to be outside the top ten is a bit risky, yet we still have tomorrow morning left to run, so we will see what happens but I remain confident.”

2015 MotoGP Argentina

Termas de Rio Hondo 17/04/2015

1 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki ESP 1’38.766
2 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’39.311
3 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’39.336
4 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 1’39.403
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’39.434
6 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’39.463
7 Pol Espargaro Yamaha ESP 1’39.648
8 Scott Redding Honda GBR 1’39.892
9 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’39.947
10 Yonny Hernandez Ducati COL 1’40.088
11 Maverick Viñales Suzuki ESP 1’40.126
12 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’40.195
13 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 1’40.438
14 Nicky Hayden Honda USA 1’40.522
15 Karel Abraham Honda CZE 1’40.586
17 Stefan Bradl Yamaha DE 1’40.672
25 Loris Baz Yamaha FRA 1’41.784

Circuit Length:
4806

Weather:
Changeable

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’37.683
(Marc Marquez, 27-4-2014)

Last Years Winner:
Marc Marquez