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Mixed weather conditions for Rossi and Crutchlow as racing returns at Spielberg

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team experienced a day of two halves at Spielberg, where morning sun turned to afternoon rain. At the end of the StyrianGP opening day Valentino Rossi was 16th overall and Cal Crutchlow 23rd.

Starting FP1 with a time that placed him inside the top-ten for a time, Rossi steadily worked through his programme for the opening session of the StyrianGP. At the end of the 45 minutes, his 1min 25.264secs lap put him 16th. The damp circuit in the afternoon prevented any improvement on the morning times, so Valentino focused on gathering some wet weather data. He ended FP2 22nd – 1min 34.582secs – and was 16th overall.

Crutchlow, who is filling in for the recovering Franco Morbidelli, was able to spend FP1 acclimatising to the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT bike and steadily improved his time. He ended the session 23rd with a 1min 26.090secs lap. With mixed conditions forecast throughout the weekend, Cal also took the opportunity to rack up some wet weather running in FP2. His 1min 33.954secs time placed him 20th in session, while his morning time put him 23rd overall. Rossi and Crutchlow will be back out on track at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT) tomorrow for Free Practice 3, ahead of the two MotoGP Qualifying sessions that get underway at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).

Valentino Rossi
16th (1’25.264)

Yesterday everything was very emotional because I received a lot of messages from many people around the world, which was great. I also had messages from my old rivals like Casey Stoner, Max Biaggi and Jorge Lorenzo, and that was nice. It made me happy. Today was normal for me though; when you ride a MotoGP bike you have to have complete concentration because they are very fast, so I just tried to stay focused. I’m working to stay competitive in this second half of the season and it wasn’t too bad in the dry; at the end I didn’t change my tyre and my pace was alright. We suffered a little bit in the wet though, especially in the half and half conditions when it was drying.

Cal Crutchlow
23rd (1’26.090)

It was a good day and it was nice to be back on the bike, to enjoy riding a motorcycle again. Of course it was strange to begin with and it was a difficult day with the weather but overall a good one. It’s going to take time to get used to the positioning of everything and completely dry weather would have helped me improve further, but we’ve got time for me to understand more and make tweaks to the bike to suit my riding style. I’m confident that we can improve. There’s no pressure from the team and I’m here to enjoy myself, but once you’re in the garage the racer’s mind-set kicks in and you identify where you can go faster and you really start looking at the data. I’ve enjoyed riding the bike today and looking forward to being back out there tomorrow.