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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Lorenzo tops first practice whilst Yoshikawa gets to grips with the M1

Fresh from consecutive wins at the last two races, Jorge Lorenzo continued his blistering run of form today by topping the time sheets on day one at Montmel�, his home track. Wataru Yoshikawa joined him on the other side of the garage, the Japanese filling in for the injured Valentino Rossi.

In keeping with his recent trend, Lorenzo went to the top of the standings early on in the session and remained there throughout, completing 27 laps despite punishing temperatures in excess of 35 degrees. Despite the impressive lap times the Mallorcan, who lives just down the road in Barcelona, found he was lacking some rear grip on his M1 and he and his crew will concentrate on improving this tomorrow. He finished the day 0.153 seconds ahead of Casey Stoner.

Yoshikawa has completed many miles on the M1 during testing but he admitted that the bike he rode today was a little different to the winter development prototype. The 41-year-old from Tokyo has also had to learn the track, having never ridden here before, but he was happy with his first day of work in the factory team and is looking forward to making a step forward tomorrow after finishing 17th today.

Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 1stTime: 1’43.259Laps: 27
“This was a good practice and I was fast straight away again, although I did think that I would be able to improve my lap time a bit more during the session. Unfortunately the rear was sliding a lot which was partly to do with the heat, but we will try to improve this tomorrow. I love racing here, it’s so close to my home and it’s always extra special for me because all my family and friends come to watch. I hope I can give them a good show!”

Wataru Yoshikawa – Position: 1st Time: 1’48.015 Laps: 24
“I have already ridden many laps on the M1 but this bike of Valentino’s feels quite different to the test bike and I need some more time to become used to it. Today was quite tough because in this heat the track was quite slippery, which didn’t make it so easy for me to learn it, but I felt better by the end. We need to do some more laps and I will be ready to improve tomorrow.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager
“It was good to be fastest in these incredibly hot conditions, but we definitely have room for improvement because the bike didn’t behave exactly how we wanted it to today. At the moment the problem is the rear sliding, so we need to look carefully at our setting and make some changes. Tomorrow we will compare Jorge’s setting from last year to the one of today and see if we can make some small improvements.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“Today gave Wataru a chance to learn the track, which is new to him, and to give an initial indication of the bike setting to the team. It will be interesting now to see how much we can improve during the weekend, as he becomes more comfortable on the bike.”

Fifth for fast learner Spies in sunny Spain

Ben Spies slipped seamlessly and impressively back into learner mode today, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider quickly mastering the challenging Catalunya circuit near Barcelona with a supremely composed display.

Temperatures soared to a physically demanding 37 degrees during the opening MotoGP practice session and Spies was able to produce a hot pace with a flying lap of 1.43.854.

That put the reigning World Superbike champion in fifth place on the timesheets as the 25-year-old made significant progress with improving corner entry performance on his YZR-M1 machine.

Methodically building up his speed on a track he’d never seen before, Spies was able to knock one second off his previous best lap time on his final quick lap to finish just 0.595s behind fastest rider Jorge Lorenzo.

Using the harder front and rear Bridgestone tyre options to cope with the extreme track temperature that hit 53 degrees, Spies was just 0.129s behind Andrea Dovizioso in fourth to once again finish top non-factory rider.

Fellow American Colin Edwards was also delighted with the progress he made with the turning performance of his Yamaha.

Weight distribution changes gave Edwards much more confidence on corner entry and he put the modifications to good use.

A best lap of 1.44.551 put him ninth with Edwards spending the entire session using the same hard compound Bridgestone rear tyre to gain crucial information in preparation for Sunday’s 25-lap race.

Ben Spies – Position: 5thTime: 1’43.854Laps: 27
“The track is fun but the longer turns are pretty hard to learn. The last three turns are definitely a little bit different but I felt I was slowly getting to grips with it and I’m really surprised I ended so high up in fifth. I went out on one bike and just worked on learning the track and when I switched to the other bike I found the turning was a lot better. I fixed the twitchy feel I was having on the front and that was a positive. Then I put the hard front tyre on and it was a hundred times better for me and it ended up being a really good session. We changed the geometry in the front-end and got the bike turning even better. I didn’t have to hold the front brake to help the bike turn. Now I can let off the brake, throw it into the corner and get it turned. It is obvious rear grip is vital here in the hot conditions and the key is going to be who can set the bike up for the end of the race when there’s not much grip. I’m looking decent on speed right now but we’ve got to manage it and make sure I’m fast for the end of the race.”

Colin Edwards – Position: 9th Time: 1’44.551Laps: 21
“I think I went about a tenth faster than my best time in last year’s Friday session. It’s the same rider, the same tyres, pretty much the same bike with a slightly different engine, so I can honestly say I’m trying my hardest and not getting any slower! I feel good and I’m definitely making some strides with the bike. We put some more weight on the front and got it turning a lot better. I feel a lot more comfortable and the bike is not running wide now when I get into the corner. It has been a nightmare with the turning this year but finally we’ve made big progress in that area. I went out on the hard rear tyre and I just stayed on that for the wh ole session. It is really hot out there and there wasn’t a lot of grip and we’ll need to make some changes overnight to the rear suspension because tyre management in those conditions is going to be crucial.”

2010 MotoGP – Catalunya 02/07/2010

Free Practice

Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Total Time
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’43.259
2 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 1’43.412
3 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’43.631
4 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1’43.725
5 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1’43.854
6 Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 1’44.136
7 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 1’44.196
8 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’44.440
9 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1’44.551
10 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 1’44.634
11 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 1’44.641
12 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1’44.692
13 Mika Kallio Ducati FIN 1’44.745
14 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 1’44.806
15 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’45.004
17 Wataru Yoshikawa Yamaha JPN 1’48.015


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