These just in:
Lorenzo Leads as European Grand Prix Action Kicks Off in Jerez
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 3rd May 2013
The first European Grand Prix weekend of the 2013 season, the Gran Premio Bwin de España, got underway today at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Southern Spain. Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo started his first home Grand Prix of the year as he means to go on, one of the fastest riders of the morning he waited until the last second to retake the top spot in first practice. The afternoon saw more of the same from the reigning World Champion, Lorenzo leading from the start of the session and remaining unchallenged to the end, wrapping up in first position 0.171 seconds ahead of satellite Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow in second.
Valentino Rossi was also quick to find form today, spending the morning session firmly embedded in the fastest rider group within the top four and ending in third position. Having initially started the afternoon practice on the harder option tyres, Rossi switched to the softer with 10 minutes remaining, holding off the advances of Marc Marquez and moving up in the time sheets from fifth to fourth, completing the day just 0.312 seconds from Lorenzo in first.
1st / 1'39.562 / 18 laps
"At the beginning of the second practice I felt better than this morning but with the warmer temperatures it has been difficult to keep the same pace. We will have to work on the settings to keep the same pace for tomorrow. We need to try to improve our pace by three or four tenths, to ride comfortably in the 39s will be a good feeling. I'm happy that we are first in today's two sessions but I want more."
4th / 1'39.874 / 21 laps
"The first and second practices were not so bad. We tried to work and understand a good balance for the bike. We still haven't found the perfect way yet. We also tried to understand the right tyre choice for the race because it is difficult with the soft and also with the hard so we need to make sure we make the right choice to go fast on Sunday. Anyway, we are in fourth place and not so far from pole position. Tomorrow we have to try to continue to work in this way because it will be important for the race to start at the maximum within the first five."
Positive first day for Repsol Honda Team in Jerez
The Grand Prix of Spain got underway today in perfect conditions at the Jerez Circuit in the south of Spain.
Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez made full use of the two 45 minute free practice sessions. Both riders spent the morning FP1 session on the soft rear compound and soft front compound Bridgestone tyres, as they rediscovered their feelings for the Andalusian circuit where they tested during the preseason.
In the afternoon's FP2 session, both swapped to the hard front compound and tested the hard compound rear tyre but Dani was unable to better his morning time of 1'39.704 and finished the day 2nd fastest. Marc also tested the hard rear tyre in the afternoon, but then swapped back to a new soft rear to record his fastest time of the day of 1'39.889 on lap 15 of 20 placing him 5th in the combined times.
Dani Pedrosa 2nd 1'39.704
"Today we were able to get some good laps in at this circuit. We tried the soft and the hard tyre, and also some things with the suspension settings. It wasn't bad, generally, although we need to keep working on this in order to get the bike more stable - both on the entrance and exit of the corners. That would allow us to ride at a faster pace. We will also need to prepare well for qualifying, which could be very tight"
Marc Marquez 5th 1'39.889
"Today was the first day of practice here in Jerez and everything went pretty well. Yesterday I said in the press conference that it would be a little difficult at this track but, to tell the truth, things went better for me here than I was expecting. We have grown stronger with every lap and I think that the key is to keep calm. In the morning it was a little difficult to control my nerves, but later I tried to calm down and follow our normal strategy. Tomorrow we will have to focus in order to improve, as the rest of the riders will be going all-out"
Lorenzo seizes the initiative in Jerez Friday practice
Round 3: Spanish MotoGP? - Free Practice One & Two
Circuito de Jerez, Friday 3 May 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium; Rear: Extra-soft, Soft, Medium (Symmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative - front), Extra-hard (Alternative - rear)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 18-18°C; Track 22-24°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 25-25°C; Track 47-48°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo took control in Friday free practice at Jerez, the current MotoGP? World Champion setting the benchmark time of 1'39.562 at a circuit which yesterday unveiled a corner named in his honour.
Lorenzo narrowly eclipsed his Spanish rival Dani Pedrosa to the best time of the day after the Repsol Honda set a time of 1'39.704 in the morning's FP1 session. Third quickest today was Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow, the British rider setting a personal best lap time 0.171 seconds behind his Yamaha stable mate. Another star performer on home soil was Hector Barbera, the Avintia Blusens rider showing the continued improvement of the CRT class as he posted a time of 1'40.736 to end the day in ninth position overall.
In a common scenario for Free Practice 1, riders selected softer slick options front and rear for the first session of the race weekend to gauge track conditions and to find a base bike setup. In the morning session some riders experienced elevated abrasion levels, though this returned to normal as track conditions improved throughout the day. The flowing nature of Jerez demands good front-end stability so as temperatures increased for FP2, many riders opted for the harder of the two front slick options, the medium compound, which offers improved rigidity compared to the softer option.
Rear tyre choice today was predominantly the softer slick options for the CRT and works bikes, and although some riders evaluated the harder rear slicks in FP2, their feedback suggests that the greater edge grip of the softer rear slicks makes them the preferred option. However, further evaluation of rear tyre performance over a race distance will take place tomorrow before tyre choice for Sunday's main event is determined.
The twenty-four riders contending this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix will next be on track for Free Practice 3 at 0955 local time tomorrow (GMT +2).
Masao Azuma - Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"Today we had fine weather but the condition of the track wasn't the best so some riders experienced slightly higher than usual levels of abrasion in FP1. Through changes in bike setup and the improvement in track condition for the afternoon, the rate of tyre wear for FP2 returned to normal and also enabled riders to try some different slick combinations. The need for warm-up performance in the warm afternoon session wasn't so important, so most of the riders switched to the harder front slick for its better cornering stability and the feedback was that this option provided the best overall performance. For the rear, some riders assessed the harder rear slick option in FP2 but the consensus is that at this track in the current conditions, the softer rear option is working better. The task for the teams is now to find a tyre combination that provides them with the edge grip and cornering stability that are quite important at this circuit, but with the durability for a race distance on the abrasive Jerez tarmac."
Tech 3 Yamaha
Grand Prix Bwin of Spain 03/05/2013 26°c
Crutchlow dazzles in Spanish sunshine
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow made a flying start to the European phase of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship today, the British rider launching a stunning challenge for the top three in both practice sessions at the Circuito de Jerez.
Fourth quickest in cooler than anticipated conditions in FP1 this morning, Crutchlow was only 0.046s outside of the top three to continue his fantastic form at the Jerez track.
The 27-year-old battled for the podium right to the finish line in Jerez a year ago and he produced an impressive performance in the final winter test session at the Spanish venue in late March to top the timesheets.
With air and track temperatures increasing significantly in bright and sunny conditions for FP2, Crutchlow was able to improve his pace and position to once again comfortably finish as the fastest non-factory rider.
A best lap of 1.39.733 elevated Crutchlow into second place behind reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who was only 0.171s quicker in a session that saw the top five split by just 0.327s. The former World Supersport champion finished third fastest on the combined leaderboard and after such a positive start to the weekend, Crutchlow is optimistic he will be in the hunt for a podium in Sunday's 27-lap race.
Bradley Smith enjoyed a productive start to his weekend too, the 22-year-old helped by the fact that he has lapped the Jerez track previously on the YZR-M1 machine during the winter testing schedule.
He took it steady this morning with a track temperature of only 20 degrees and a lap of 1.41.778 put him 17th on the timesheets. Smith was able to improve by almost a second in hotter conditions for FP2, which saw the track temperature soar to 45 degrees.
Smith lowered his pace to a 1.40.990 and that lap time secured him an encouraging 13th on the FP2 leaderboard and 14th overall, with the British rookie hoping he can take another big leap forward tomorrow to challenge for a place in the top 10 on the grid for round three of the 2013 World Championship.
Cal Crutchlow 3rd 1.39.733 - 40 laps:
"It was quite a tough day because we made a lot of changes that meant the bike was set-up completely different than the way we had it at the test. We made it a little bit longer and lower to give me a good feeling because while I was able to set the fastest time at the test, the track temperature was much higher today and it meant the bike was not working perfectly with the set-up we ran at the test. I was changing bikes during FP2 and doing a lot of laps to try as many things as possible and I am positive for the rest of the weekend. We've got a few ideas to improve even further tomorrow and I will sit down with my crew tonight and have a good look at the data to come up with a plan of attack for the rest of the weekend. My Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is doing a great job again and being competitive and fast today gives us a lot of confidence to take into Saturday and Sunday."
Bradley Smith 14th 1.40.990 - 41 laps:
"The nice thing about today is I was able to go a little bit faster than I managed at the test, so the gap to the front is still quite similar. I haven't lost anything but I'm a little bit disappointed that I didn't gain anything as well. I am a lot happier after this afternoon's session though and my main focus was on trying to ride the bike in a smoother way. It is so important to be smooth on a MotoGP bike and I'm still working on that. I'm losing most of my time in sector 4 and we'll check some data and see where I can improve. But it was another good day of learning and I'm looking forward to taking another step forward tomorrow."
BRADL STILL CONFIDENT DESPITE A DIFFICULT FIRST DAY
BRADL STILL CONFIDENT DESPITE A DIFFICULT FIRST DAY
BRADL STILL CONFIDENT DESPITE A DIFFICULT FIRST DAY
BRADL STILL CONFIDENT DESPITE A DIFFICULT FIRST DAY
Jerez, 3 May: opening day of Grand Prix of Spain got underway today at sunny Jerez circuit but the LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl was not particularly pleased with his performance on the Iberian track as he finished the day 11th. In this morning first free session the German commenced with a 7th fastest lap time but he could not improve his pace in the afternoon session after suffering a slight crash.
Stefan: "Today has been a tough day for us as we are a bit far from the guys in the front. I also crashed in the afternoon session but I am okay. This morning, since the beginning, the bike set-up was good and we expected to do even better in the afternoon but, at the end, it was completely the opposite. We tried different tyres but we took the wrong direction losing the rear grip and, automatically, we lose even the confidence with the front-end. So we came back to the same setting and same tyres choice of this morning improving the overall situation but it was not perfect yet. I tried to push to reduce the gap and I lost the front crashing out. Actually we have been a bit unlucky today but I am not particularly worried because we do have the capacity to improve in tomorrow's practice".
Ducati Team back in action in Jerez
Free-practice for the Spanish Grand Prix kicked off today at the Circuito de Jerez, where Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso posted the eighth- and twelfth-best times, respectively, on the day.
The American is dealing with a tender right wrist, its recuperation having been more problematic than was hoped following a minor operation in March. He nonetheless managed to set the sixth-best time in the morning session aboard his Desmosedici GP13, and although he wasn't as strong in FP2's warmer conditions, he only slipped two spots in the combined times. Dovizioso was tenth-best in the first session, and although he improved his time by .060 seconds in the afternoon, it was only good enough for twelfth overall.
Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro, participating in his first of three wildcard rides planned for this season, had a respectable first day back in the MotoGP paddock, posting the twelfth-best time in FP1 and finishing the day in thirteenth place.
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 8th (1:40.722)
"We used a similar setup to what we had here at the test, with a few modifications that we've made in the last two races. In the morning, I felt a little better than I had in the test, and my pace was okay. Then I suffered a lot on the warmer track this afternoon, especially with edge grip, which really affected the turning. The bike was pushing wide in the fast corners, which are so important. I'm also having a problem with my wrist; between Qatar and Austin, I developed some tendinitis and a lot of swelling in the joint. It was manageable in Austin, but it's worse here, which makes this weekend even more challenging than it already was. Still, if we can improve the bike in a couple of the key corners, we can be much closer."
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 12th (1:40.884)
"It was really difficult this afternoon, and I'm not completely sure why. The grip was much worse for all the Ducati riders, and it was much harder for me to be precise and stay on my lines. We must understand if we can improve that sensation through the setup, but this is the bike and I just have to adapt. I'm trying to stay calm and work in order to have a good session tomorrow morning."
Michele Pirro - Ducati Test Team, 13th (1:40.902)
"It was a positive day in the sense that I'm back doing what I like most?competing! There's work to be done because I'm still losing time in some sectors, but I'm satisfied overall because I haven't raced since November. Tomorrow we'll try to continue to dial in the GP13 because this is a new package in terms of frame, swingarm and engine. We're trying to improve everything, take another step, and get things ready for the race. I hope to pay Ducati back for the faith they've placed in me, and I really want to thank them for this opportunity."