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2011 MotoGP Motegi – Free Practice

The first MotoGP practice sessions for the Grand Prix of Japan got underway today at Motegi with contrasting results for the two Yamaha Factory Racing riders. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo made a solid start to the first session, wrapping it up in fifth place just over six tenths from first. The Mallorcan rider came away from the session hunting for further stability from his YZR-M1 under braking and was also looking for more edge grip. The second session saw improvements in set up bring his time down by seven tenths of a second, reducing the gap slightly to first to just over five tenths of a second.

Lorenzo’s team mate Ben Spies has struggled to perform since his arrival in Japan after suffering severe food poisoning en route from the USA. Treatment with Clinica Mobile yesterday evening helped the American find enough strength for the morning practice where he finished in eighth, 0.9 seconds from the front. Exhaustion then set in, resulting in an early end to the afternoon session after just five laps. The team will continue to work closely with Clinica Mobile today and tomorrow morning to improve Spies’ condition and stamina for Sunday’s race.

Jorge Lorenzo

Position 5th – Time 1.47.310 – Laps 18

“We improved the lap time quite a lot from the morning to the afternoon session but it’s still not enough, the competition is very strong here. It is going to be a very difficult weekend to fight for the podium and the victory. We are trying some things on the bike to improve the stability on braking and into corners. We found a little but still need to find some more! We are fifth which could be worse today.”

Ben Spies

Position 14th – Time 1.48.567 – Laps 5

“What a shocking start to the weekend, I don’t think I’ve ever been as sick as I was on the journey over here, I was nearly not allowed on the plane. I’m slowly getting my strength back thanks to the great guys at Clinica but didn’t have enough to ride properly in the second session. I started to get tunnel vision on the straight and just felt it was too dangerous to be out there. I’m working with Clinica today and tomorrow and am sure things will be a bit better for qualifying and the race. I’m really sorry for my team and all the Japanese fans who came to watch today.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager

“The first day is not really that bad, we look worse on the time sheets than we really are. Jorge’s consistency is good which is important. We are missing a little on braking stability and edge grip. We are looking forward to tomorrow, we need to solve these two things but we have a good pace. We need to improve but there is space to do that.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

“The food poisoning has made the start of this weekend very difficult. We are working together with Clinica Mobile and Ben’s condition is getting better all the time. Yesterday he had some treatment and it helped him complete this morning’s session. He thought he could also do the second but I think he used up all his energy in the first heat. We think tomorrow will be better and Sunday he will hopefully be ready for the race.”

Edwards and Crutchlow make solid progress in Motegi practice

Colin Edwards and Cal Cructchlow declared themselves satisfied with progress made on the opening day of practice for the Japanese MotoGP at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit today.

Both were able to post competitive times in cloudy but hot conditions that bodes well for a strong weekend for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in Yamaha’s all-important home Grand Prix, which is round 15 of the 2011 World Championship campaign.

American Edwards ended 10th quickest on the combined timesheets after he’d been an impressive seventh fastest in this morning’s opening 45-minute session with a lap of 1.48.169. Working hard to gain more confidence and feeling on the hard compound rear Bridge stone tyre option, Edwards was only able to marginally improve his pace to a 1.48.076 this afternoon.

He finished less than 0.3s away from Twin Ring Motegi specialist Hiroshi Aoyama in seventh, giving Yamaha’s most experienced rider huge encouragement that he can fight for a place on the second row in tomorrow’s qualifying session.

Crutchlow threw himself into the challenge of learning another new track with typical gusto, the British rider finishing 14th fastest on the leaderboard.

He needed just five laps of this afternoon’s session to better his time of 1.49.385 from the opening practice. He continued to make big improvements as his experience of the track increased and at the second session’s conclusion he had managed to shave off over a second to finish with a best time of 1.48.379.

Quickly adapting to the severe braking points on the 2.983 mil es circuit, Crutchlow finished just over 0.3s away from ninth place and he is optimistic he can compete for his first top 10 qualifying position since the Laguna Seca round in late July tomorrow.

Colin Edwards

Position 10th – Time 1.48.076 – Laps 18

“It was a decent start to the weekend without being anything too special. I was reasonably happy this morning to be seventh fastest and really close to the top six. But this afternoon we ran the hard tyre for the whole session and I didn’t really feel that good. I just can’t get the lap time out of it even though I can’t really pinpoint any specific issues with it. I can’t sit down with my crew and tell them where we’ve got problems, but it made the bike a little bit more nervous. I expected to be higher than 10th after this morning but this is a point and shoot track and there is no getting away from the fact that we are struggling on acceleration. At a track like this where there is a lot of low gear acceleration points it shows up more. Tomorrow we need to test the softer tyre for a little bit longer to make sure we can do race distance on it, but we’ll also be working harder to improve the set-up of the bike on the hard tyre to give us the best chance possible of a strong result for Yamaha on Sunday.”

Cal Crutchlow

Position 13th – Time 1.48.379- Laps 19

“I’m happy enough with my pace today because this is a really weird and difficult track with a lot of really hard braking points that makes it very physical. I’ve had a few arm pump issues this year but thankfully the surgery I had a few weeks ago has done the trick because today I had no problems at all. And if there was going to be an issue with my arms it was going to be at this track because of all the hard braking. Unfortunately we’re lackin g a bit of engine performance but there is nothing I can do about that. It is a bit of a disadvantage but I managed to find a second this afternoon, so that shows with more experience of the track I am able to make big progress. Track experience is vital because I beat Aoyama in Aragon a couple of weeks ago but today he is seventh fastest. I’m only three tenths from being inside the top 10, so if I can find that time tomorrow and get on the third row of the grid, I’ll be well happy with that.”

2011 MotoGP Japan

Twin Ring Motegi 30/09/2011

1 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’46.790
2 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 1’46.844
3 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1’46.952
4 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 1’47.188
5 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’47.310
6 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’47.381
7 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 1’47.785
8 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 1’47.975
9 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’48.055
10 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1’48.076
11 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1’48.097
12 Randy De Puniet Ducati FRA 1’48.374
13 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’48.379
14 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1’48.567
15 Toni Elias Honda ESP 1’48.743

Circuit Length:



Lap Record:
(Loris Capirossi, 1/1/2005)

Fastest Lap Ever:
(Jorge Lorenzo, 9/28/2008)

Last Years Winner:
Casey Stoner

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