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Honda riders on fire in the Aragón heat
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez, who currently leads the World Championship, has come flying out of the gates at a hot Motorland Aragón circuit. With an ambient temperature of 29C and a track temperature of 39ºC, Marc set the fastest time of the day with 1'48.987 on lap 4 of 17 in this afternoon's FP2 session, beating the circuit lap record of 1'49.046 (set by Casey Stoner in 2011). Teammate Dani Pedrosa was third fastest for the day with his lap time of 1'49.254 on lap 7 of 19.
Stefan Bradl, riding the Satellite LCR Honda split the two factory riders with an impressive lap of 1'49.119 placing him second fastest for the day and with Alvaro Bautista aboard the Satellite Honda Gresini in fifth, Honda occupied four out of the top five positions on day one at the Spanish track.
Marc Marquez 1st 1'48.987
"Today, I didn't feel as good as I did in the test that we did here after the Barcelona GP, as there was less grip in these two practice sessions. Anyway, it's the same for everyone. In general the feeling that we have is pretty good and I worked on various things with the bike today. However, we can still improve our setup. We hope to take that step forward tomorrow and we shall see if the grip level improves, as that would make things so much easier for everyone"
Dani Pedrosa 3rd 1'49.254
"I'm happy, because today I felt comfortable on track, we put in some good laps and improved our feeling a lot. We were only lacking a test run with the hard rear tyre, so tomorrow we will work on that to see which compound we go with in the end. We hope to get a bit further along with our preparations for the race"
MotoGP Action Begins in Aragon
Aragon (Spain), 27th September 2013
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi got down to business again today in the first two free practice sessions for this weekend's Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon.
Fresh from his two consecutive race victories, reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo was quick to make his intentions clear in the morning session - challenging championship rival Marc Marquez for the top spot on the timesheets - and eventually emerging the faster at the end of the 45 minute session with a 1'49.753. The afternoon saw the competition catch up as the times dropped into the 1'48s, Lorenzo eventually wrapping up day one in fourth place overall, 0.418 from the top.
Rossi was quickly up to a competitive pace in the first session, the nine-time world champion completing the morning practice in fifth position, 0.746 seconds from the front. The Italian then struggled with a number of different issues in the afternoon, including a brake problem and a lack of grip which prevented both him and teammate Lorenzo from realising their full potential. Rossi finished the day in seventh, 0.922 seconds from the top.
99 Jorge Lorenzo
4th / 1'49.405 / 17 laps
"We hoped to improve the bike from the morning but we couldn't do it. I have a worse feeling than when we were here for the test. We have to keep working to improve the bike and the pace. The other riders are improving their pace a lot but we are optimistic. We can improve the bike and make another step. We need to be competitive whether it is hot or not."
99 Valentino Rossi
7th / 1.49.909 / 16 laps
"We struggled more than we expected. In the test the track had different conditions and more grip, the temperature was lower and it was better. Today we suffered quite a lot, especially this afternoon I had quite a lot of issues, especially one with the brakes and I lost nearly half the practice. At the end I used the second bike and made some laps to find the rhythm. We have to improve and go faster but at this moment after some laps the rear tyre starts to slide a lot and the bike becomes difficult to control."
Yamaha Factory Racing
"The first day of Aragon and sunny conditions but we are not completely satisfied. The rider has complained that the grip drops really quickly. We need to try and improve tyre life; that is high on his wish list. The lap times are quite close but we can do better."
Yamaha Factory Racing
"We didn't expect a start like today. Unfortunately the bike didn't work as it did during the test. The track conditions were completely different. We have a lot of work to do to improve the bike, the grip levels on the track are not good, one more day will make it much better. We will analyse the data, compare it with the riders' feedback and come back tomorrow to make another step forward."
Crutchlow makes promising start at Motorland Aragon
The penultimate round of the European phase of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship campaign got off to a promising start for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow at the state-of-the-art Motorland Aragon track today.
In pleasantly warm conditions throughout today, Crutchlow ended the opening day of practice at the technically challenging and undulating Spanish venue in sixth position on the combined timesheets.
That was an impressive outcome for the 27-year-old considering six of the top seven riders on the final leaderboard tested at the Motorland Aragon in June.
A lap of 1.50.575 in this morning's FP1 put Crutchlow in seventh position, but a big improvement to a 1.49.840 this afternoon elevated the British rider into the top six ahead of Factory Yamaha rider and nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi.
Teammate Bradley Smith has happy memories of the Motorland Aragon track after taking a podium finish in the 2010 125cc encounter and the British rider enjoyed a positive start to proceedings this morning when a lap of 1.51.263 placed him 10th in the rankings.
The 22-year-old, who is looking to consolidate his top 10 World Championship position in Sunday's 23-lap race, was able to improve his pace to a 1.50.944 this afternoon but his progress unfortunately wasn't reflected on the timesheets as he slipped down the order to 13th.
Experimenting with a new riding position to improve rear grip that he first tried during a test session after the previous round at Misano, Smith was less than 0.5s away from the top 10.
Cal Crutchlow 6th 1.49.840 - 36 laps :Cal Crutchlow
"Today was a pretty positive start to the weekend and I am happy to be in the top six. This morning proved it wasn't going to be easy because I was seventh and the top six had all tested here back in June, so they have an advantage in terms of set-up and information. I feel I am riding quite well but for tomorrow we definitely need to try and get some more speed out of the bike. I am quite slow compared to the rest in the speed traps and also quite a way off the fastest Yamaha, so that is one area we need to look at tonight and work on improving for the rest of the weekend."
Bradley Smith 13th 1.50.944 - 36 laps : Bradley Smith
"I'm reasonably happy with how the weekend has started but obviously the final position doesn't look so good. I don't think the position truly reflects our potential because a few guys not so far in front of me used a soft tyre to make their best time and they could only make one fast lap. I feel my pace is consistent but I am certainly looking to improve by at least 0.5s tomorrow. Track conditions between FP1 and FP2 changed quite a lot, so it is not clear which direction to go with on the set-up. But the first goal for tomorrow will be to make sure I am back in the top 10 at the end of FP3 to advance straight into QP2."
Marquez takes control in opening day at Motorland
Round 14: Aragon MotoGP - Free Practice One & Two
Motorland Aragon, Friday 27 September 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 22-23°C; Track 24-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 29-31°C; Track 42-42°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Marc Marquez took control in the opening day of practice at the Aragon Grand Prix, the Repsol Honda rookie setting a best lap time of 1'48.987 in Free Practice Two as the Spaniard vies for his sixth victory of the season.
Marquez's benchmark lap was within half a second of the Circuit Best Lap record and placed the current championship leader at the front of a trio of Honda riders at the top of the timesheets. LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl was second quickest today, his best time of 1'49.119 barely one-tenth behind Marquez, while on the other Repsol Honda RC213V, Dani Pedrosa was third overall and 0.267 seconds off the pace of his teammate. Aleix Espargaro continued his domination of the CRT class as he rode his Power Electronics Aspar ART machine to ninth overall with a personal best lap time just 1.068 seconds off the lead.
Weather conditions for both of today's sessions were fine and warm, with a peak track temperature of 42°C recorded in FP2. As is typical for the first session of the race weekend, in Free Practice 1 all riders headed out on softer slick options front and rear to evaluate the track conditions. As track conditions improved and temperatures increased in the afternoon, most riders migrated to the hard compound front tyre, while some riders also took the opportunity to evaluate the harder rear slick options. Rider feedback from today shows that the preferred tyre combination is the harder front paired with the softer rear slick which offers the best drive out of the corners with good braking and cornering stability.
Cooler weather is forecast for tomorrow with the next MotoGP? session, FP3, at 0955 local time (GMT +2).
Masao Azuma - Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"It was a good start to the race weekend today with consistent dry weather in both sessions. After the riders assessed the track conditions with softer slick options in FP1, most riders switched to the harder front for FP2 as this option offers better stability in fast corners and hard braking, both of which feature prominently at this circuit. For the rear tyre, some riders tried the harder rear slick options but as track temperatures weren't overly hot, these didn't offer any advantage over the soft. With cool weather expected tomorrow, I expect the combination of the soft rear and hard front to be widely used. The pace on the first day of action here is already is very fast, so if we have dry weather tomorrow I expect we will see another record-breaking qualifying session."
Dovizioso, Hayden eighth and tenth in free practice at Aragón
Riding in the dry, hot conditions that are common to the area around MotorLand Aragón, the MotoGP riders kicked off the season's fourteenth round and its third Grand Prix on Spanish soil by completing the first two free-practice sessions of the race weekend.
By day's end, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden had turned the eighth and tenth fastest laps, respectively, in the combined times, the Italian 1.047 seconds off of leader Marc Marquez and his Ducati Team cohort a further .412 seconds back. For tomorrow, Dovizioso expects to focus on his Desmosedici GP13's setup for the soft tyre, whereas Hayden will work on improving corner entry.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 8th (1:50.034)
"We wanted to try the hard tyre, but as there's a one-second difference, it's not worth considering at the moment. Tomorrow morning we'll continue working because although the time isn't bad, it's still a second off the leaders. The others used the soft tyre the whole session, whereas I only put it on at the end and only had one good lap with it. I think the gap here at Aragón is in line with the other tracks."
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:50.446)
"In the morning, we weren't quite as far back as we've been at other tracks, which is good considering that we didn't test here when the other manufacturers did. Since then, we haven't made a lot of progress, as I'm not very comfortable on corner entry. I can't get enough feel from the front to really find my limit, and I ran wide a couple of times, including once this afternoon on a good lap. That's where our main focus is, so we'll concentrate on that tonight and see what we can do tomorrow."