These just in from Brno:
BRADL LOOKING FOR MORE IMPROVEMENT DESPITE HIS FIRST PLACE ON DAY ONE
Brno, 23 August: after a little time to rest the MotoGP riders were back out on track for the opening day of the Grand Prix Ceské Republiky and LCR racer Stefan Bradl delivered a final 1'56.500 snatching the top spot at the end of the day. The German considers Brno race track as one of his favourite and he is pleased with the first place but he is chasing more front-end feeling to maintain the top positions in tomorrow's qualifying.
Stefan: "We can be happy with this first place but I want to keep my feet on the ground. It looks good on the paper but I am still not 100% happy with the bike setting and this is the reason why we have struggled in the first free session this morning. We need to work on the front part of the bike as we do not absorb the bumps as good as I want. I think we have more potential than this but we need to be more consistent tomorrow because the other guys will push to qualify in the front".
Yamaha Makes a Flying Start in Brno
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi both made a flying start today in the first practice sessions for this Sunday's Grand Prix of the Czech Republic.
The benefit of a recent private test at the Brno circuit was clear to see as Lorenzo shot straight to the top of the time sheets at the beginning of the first practice and remained unchallenged throughout. By the end of the session he was within one second off the pole record for the track and wrapped up the only rider under the 1'57 mark with a 1'56.698 second lap.
The afternoon practice saw him start in the same fashion, quickly taking the top spot and going under his morning time with a 1'56.538. The reigning world champion then spent the remainder of the session testing various settings with his YZR-M1, finishing the day second in the combined times, 0.038 seconds from the top.
Valentino Rossi's morning was equally successful, the Italian cracking straight on to the pace as the session got underway and mixing times with the top three riders. His first run saw him get down to a 1'57.425 lap. With 35 minutes remaining of the session he was in second position, improving on his second run to get down to a 1'57.243 lap.
The nine-time world champion made another big step in the afternoon, breaking into the 1'56s with a 1'56.726 to take fourth overall and separated from the top rider by just 0.226 seconds.
Jorge Lorenzo 2nd | 1'56.538 | 19 Laps
"I started in a very good way in the morning and also in the beginning of the second practice. Then we started to try some things on the bike that weren't as good as we expected. We spent all the practice trying things so I wasn't very fast at the end of the session. Anyway, the positive thing is tomorrow we have a clear direction so we can go more quickly to a better lap time. We can improve tomorrow on braking, and the smoothness of the bike at the beginning of the corner."
Valentino Rossi 4th | 1'56.726 | 29 Laps
"I think that we are equal at this track because Dani won last year with the Honda after the battle with Jorge on the last lap. For sure the Yamaha is more competitive here in Brno and also I am more competitive because I like the track and I ride in a better way than in Indianapolis. Today it was a positive day for me, especially this afternoon, we modified the bike and I improved a lot. I was fast with the soft tyre and the hard tyre and I have quite a good pace. We are all very close; we are five or six riders within a few tenths. We hope for tomorrow and Sunday we have good weather because the forecast says it's not so positive."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
"It's the first day in Brno and we are quite satisfied with the result. The pace is very consistent and Jorge feels good on the bike. We need to make some small adjustments tomorrow so let's hope it stays dry. We are on the right path to getting a good result."
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
"It's been a positive first day. We still have a lot of things to try and improve the set up as much as we can. Anyway we have started in the right way. We have a big advantage as we tested here a few weeks ago so we will try to keep this step ahead until Sunday afternoon. We were able to test both tyre compounds. It seems both are working but one slightly better than the other. We are in a good shape and we are optimistic we can continue like this."
Crutchlow and Smith make positive start in close Brno practice
The start of the 11th round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship in Brno saw Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith in fast and consistent form at the end of a closely contested opening day of practice.
After the long trip back to Europe from last weekend's Indianapolis round in America, Crutchlow and Smith quickly got back down to business and were able to set the sixth and seventh fastest times respectively in sunny and warm conditions.
Crutchlow has fond memories of the fast and undulating Brno track, as it was a year ago at the Czech Republic venue that he scored a career first MotoGP podium.
The British rider's quest for a repeat of that success got off to a flying start this morning when he set the third best time in FP1, while continuing to work on a new fuel tank and seat unit upgrade he raced for the first time at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway five days ago.
This afternoon's second 45-minute session was an incredibly close battle, with a personal best time of 1.56.800 putting Crutchlow in sixth position.
His time was only 0.300s off the fastest pace and just 0.2s outside of the top three, with Crutchlow optimistic that he has the pace to challenge at the front for a fifth podium of the season in Sunday's 22-lap race.
Smith's encouraging form in his rookie premier class campaign continued on a positive day for the 22-year-old, who was comfortably lapping inside the top 10 in both sessions.
Eighth fastest this morning, Smith shaved over 0.5s off his pace in hotter conditions in FP2 to climb up the rankings into seventh and he was only just over 0.5s behind teammate Crutchlow.
All six riders in front of Smith today have won a race or finished on the podium in 2013 and his performance is further evidence of the outstanding progress he is making in his first premier class campaign.
Cal Crutchlow 6th 1.56.800 - 32 laps :
"It wasn't an easy first day here in Brno but the positive point is I was very consistent and the lap times between the top six are very close. The overall lap time is not the best but I am able to lap in the 56s consistently and that is encouraging for the rest of the weekend. We need to improve the bike, so I am hoping it stays dry tomorrow and we can try the modifications we need to improve. I can't turn the bike well and I am also struggling a little bit for rear grip. I got my first podium in Brno last year and it would be great to repeat that achievement on Sunday. It will be tough but I will be giving it my all."
Bradley Smith 7th 1.57.351- 32 laps :
"Today was a positive start to the weekend although I encountered a couple of small issues with the front-end. I need to get some more grip to allow me to carry more corner speed but I am happy because I was able to make a big step in the second session. This is a track that the Yamaha really likes and I am enjoying riding the YZR-M1 here, so if I can get some more confidence with the front I am sure I can be even stronger. It is going to be difficult to make that final step to get into the 56s but we will pour over the data tonight and try and find a solution to help me do that."
Ducati Team hampered by lack of grip on day one at Brno
Just five days after racing in the Indianapolis GP, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden were back on track today in the first two free-practice sessions for the Czech Republic GP.
Neither Ducati Team rider was able to find a good setup for his Desmosedici GP13, as both complained of a lack of grip on the fast, flowing Brno circuit. At day's end, Dovizioso and Hayden sat ninth and tenth, respectively, in the combined times, determined to work with their teams tomorrow morning to make better headway ahead of qualifying.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:57.754)
"The afternoon session was very strange, because we suffered a big loss of grip. Honestly, I thought there was something wrong with my bike because I didn't expect such a big difference compared to this morning. We tried a number of things in an effort to understand if there was some problem, so we weren't able to follow the planned work program for the session. Unfortunately, when the temperature rises, it affects us Ducati riders more than the others, and it becomes much more difficult to ride the bike well."
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:57.896)
"It wasn't a very positive day. This morning we weren't so far off, but in the afternoon I struggled with a lack of grip, problems turning, and chatter. I also made some mistakes with my riding and was running wide. Now we need to understand exactly where to go with the bike's setup and try to do a much better job tomorrow."
Bradl the boss in Friday MotoGP practice at Brno
Round 11: Czech Republic MotoGP? - Free Practice One & Two
Brno, Friday 23 August 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 19-20°C; Track 23-24°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 25-28°C; Track 38-38°C (Bridgestone measurement)
LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl topped the timesheets in Friday free practice at the Czech Republic Grand Prix, the German rider setting a time of 1'56.500 on his penultimate lap of the day to lead a tightly-packed field at Brno.
Bradl spent his first stint in FP2 evaluating the hard compound rear slick before a late switch to the softer rear unleashed the potential of his Honda RC213V, enabling the German rider to finish the day 0.038 seconds quicker than his closest challenger, Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo. Having finished top in the morning FP1 session, Lorenzo's best time in FP2 saw him narrowly miss the top spot, but placed him 0.062 seconds ahead of Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa who ended the day third overall. Once again Power Electronics Aspar's Aleix Espargaro was the quickest of the CRT riders, his best lap time of 1'58.217 sees the Spaniard end the day twelfth overall.
Conditions throughout the day at Brno were fine, with track temperatures reaching a peak of 38°C in the afternoon FP2 session. The fine weather allowed the riders to test a wide range of tyres, with all five slick options brought by Bridgestone to this race evaluated today. The cooler morning session saw riders prefer the softer slick options front and rear, while in the afternoon session both the softer and harder slick options were used. The preferred slick options at this stage of the race weekend are the hard compound front due to its greater braking stability, while at the rear, the softer slick options - which give greater drive through the sweeping sections of this circuit were favoured. Initial feedback from those riders that used the harder rear slick options show that this option is working well when track temperatures are higher.
The weather forecast indicates a chance of rain tomorrow and Sunday, which could make the rankings from today's practice sessions all the more important for the line-up in tomorrow afternoon's QP sessions. The next scheduled MotoGP? session is FP3 at 955 local time (GMT +2).
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"Today's practice sessions went very well with all slick options evaluated today. Most riders preferred the softer front slick this morning but once the track condition improved with the warmer temperatures, most riders used the harder front as this option gives better stability in the downhill braking sections that this circuit is famous for. Although track temperatures were higher in the afternoon, there were not at a level that resulted in many works riders deciding to try their harder rear slick option, but the feedback we did receive shows that this option does work well in higher temperatures. Overall, performance of all slick options was very good and lap times are a few tenths quicker compared to the Friday practice sessions last year, so we could be in for a record-breaking qualifying session tomorrow."
Confident start for the Repsol Honda Team in Brno
Round eleven of the MotoGP World Championship kicked off today in the Czech Republic. Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Championship leader Marc Marquez had a productive day aboard their Honda RC213V machines.
Dani was third fastest in the combined times with a time of 1'56.600 on lap 11 of 16, just 0.1s off the fastest time (Stefan Bradl 1'56.500). Teammate Marc was 5th fastest for the day with his best lap of 1'56.733 arriving on lap 7 of 17.
Dani Pedrosa 3rd 1'56.600
"Today was a little more difficult than expected, as I felt more pain than I have in the past few days. I was unable to ride at 100%, but still we were able to have two good sessions. We tried some different setups with the bike and different tyres. Let's see if tomorrow I feel better and can improve aspects of the bike to lower my time"
Marc Marquez 5th 1'56.733
"I felt really good from the start which is good news! I thought it would take a little more time and that we would be further behind Jorge and Valentino, as they have tested at this circuit recently. In general, the feeling was good but there are still aspects of the setup where we can improve a lot, which will hopefully give us more comfort and in the end more speed. I'm not worried, we know that tomorrow the times will come down, but we must continue working in the same way and focus, because we know that we can perfect the setup"