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Positive start for Marquez and Pedrosa on day one in Jerez
Under blisteringly hot weather conditions in Spain, both riders went out on track this morning looking for the best setup for the twisty Andalusian track. Both Marc and Dani spent the morning session on the soft rear Bridgestone tyre, as the track was still quite 'green' and the asphalt just 24C. As temperatures rose in the afternoon - air by 10ēC to 31ēC, and track to 49ēC - both riders took the opportunity to use the medium compound rear tyre.
Marc was able to improve slightly on his morning time by 0.092s with a time of 1'39.757 on his third lap of eighteen, placing him fastest in FP2 and third fastest for the day. Dani didn't improve in the afternoon (fastest time in FP2 1'40.491) and his time of 1'39.860 from the morning placed him fourth fastest for the day.
3rd - 1'39.757
"Today was a positive first day at a track where I had a lot of difficulty last year. It seems as if this year we are at the same level as the faster riders like Dani, Lorenzo and Rossi right from the start, and this is obviously important. With that accomplished, we have also tried to work on things, but it was much easier to set a fast lap and pace this morning, than when the temperatures rose this afternoon. I think that everyone had grip issues, due to the track temperatures reaching 50 degrees. Tomorrow, we will try to take another step forward and work towards qualifying and the race"
4th - 1'39.860
"I think that today went well, but we also need to work hard because of the track conditions. It is a lot different riding in the morning compared to in the afternoon, and in both cases there is not sufficient grip. In any case, the race takes place in the afternoon and we will have to work to make sure that the heat has as little effect as possible on performance"
Scorching Temperatures Signal the Start in Jerez for MotoGP
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 2nd May 2014
The first European round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship got underway on track today with two free practice sessions ahead of Sunday's Gran Premio de Espaņa.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were both quick to find a very competitive pace. The pair made progress despite a scorching track temperature of just under 50 degrees making a lack of grip an increasing issue into the second session.
Lorenzo ended the day in second in the combined times with a best lap of 1'39.714, 0.357 seconds from first. Teammate Rossi ended in sixth with a 1'40.125 second lap, less than four tenths from Lorenzo.
The major challenge for both riders proved to be a lack of rear grip so the team will now work to make improvements for both set ups ahead of tomorrow morning's third free practice session.
Lorenzo and Rossi also tested a new chassis for their YZR-M1 to improve the bike's stability under braking. Positive results were obtained, giving Yamaha's Japanese engineers a clear direction to continue development.
2nd / 1'39.714 / 18 laps
"The track changed so much from the morning to the afternoon, it was much more slippery and we had to try the different rear tyre. Like in Qatar it gave us the same problems with less grip and the bike then feels nervous. We are much closer than before though and I think we can close the gap."
6th / 1'40.125 / 20 laps
"We tried a different chassis today especially for the braking stability and the first impression is not so bad, it's just a small step to understand the way to go. The track is very greasy so it's difficult with the front and rear tyres with the high temperatures. It's difficult to control the bike and it slides a lot. Compared to the other top guys the pace is not so bad so it looks like we have worked well so far and now have to continue."
"It's definitely a positive start to the weekend. For sure we were able to take advantage of all our experience at this track. The bike is working well but of course we have some things to change to improve. Compared to the previous races this is a very different start. The only real issue we have is rear grip. We are focused now on several steps to improve it and then we have to work on a long distance run. We are strong under braking so we are satisfied for the first sessions. Both Jorge and Vale are reasonably happy overall and have good pace but are also keen to make the next steps and improve even further."
Aleix Espargaro surges forward in Friday practice at Jerez
Round 4: Spanish MotoGP - Free Practice 1&2
Circuito de Jerez, Friday 2 May 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative - front), Extra-hard (Alternative - rear)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 20-24°C; Track 30-36°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 31-32°C; Track 53-55°C (Bridgestone measurement)
NGM Forward Racing's Aleix Espargaro was quickest overall on the first day of action at Jerez, the Spaniard piloting his Forward Yamaha M1 to a time of 1'39.357 in this morning's Free Practice 1 session.
The flowing layout of the Jerez circuit favours good corner speed over sheer power, and Espargaro was able to extract maximum performance from the Open-class only extra-soft rear slick to set a time quicker than the current Jerez race lap record. Second quickest overall was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo, whose personal best time of 1'39.714 also came during FP1. Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez was quickest in the afternoon FP2 session and third overall with a lap time of 1'39.757.
Conditions today were hot and dry at Jerez, with track temperatures reaching a scorching 55°C towards the end of FP2; approximately 20°C warmer than recorded in FP1. Grip levels were reported by the riders to be normal for FP1, but the extremely high temperatures in the afternoon caused greasy track conditions which resulted in only ten of the twenty-four riders being able to improve on their lap times from this morning.
For both sessions today, the medium compound front slick was the most popular option, although many riders also evaluated the hard compound front slick in the warmer conditions during FP2. All three rear slick options were used today, with the riders showing a tendency towards choosing their softer rear option; extra-soft for Ducati and Open-class, soft for Factory Honda and Yamaha in the cooler morning session, and progressing to their harder rear option for FP2. With temperatures forecast to remain at a similar level for the rest of the weekend, today's FP2 session provided a good opportunity for teams to assess their preferred tyre options for qualifying and the race.
Masao Azuma - Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"It was very hot today at Jerez and we had quite a large variation in track temperatures between the morning and afternoon sessions. As track temperatures got above fifty degrees in the afternoon, many riders commented that the tarmac felt greasy and so it was difficult to improve their lap time from FP1. At this stage it seems like the riders are considering all of the rear slick options as a possible choice for the race, but we need more time tomorrow to see what will work best in what we expect to be hot conditions on Sunday. Front tyre choice is still open as well, but considering how warm it is only the medium and hard compound front slicks are viable race options. The pace for the first day was very quick even though teams didn't have the benefit of using setup data from a pre-season test like in previous years, so our new asymmetric rear slicks seem to have given the riders a good boost in performance and safety."
Tech 3 Yamaha
Challenging opening day for Tech3 duo in sunny Jerez
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith experienced a tough first day of practice at the Circuito de Jerez, in southern Spain today for round four of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. Bradley Smith's chances of improving his FP1 time lucklessly ended prematurely due to an enormous crash at turn 11 at the end of the FP2 session, which the British rider fortunately walked away from uninjured. Smith started the day positively, and aimed to improve his lap time of 1:40.758 set in free practice 1 in the afternoon session, but his time was cut short by the crash. He finished in the combined standings in 11th position overall, but remains hopeful of bouncing back tomorrow and qualifying in the top six, in view to a positive result in Sunday's 27-lap race.
Rookie Pol Espargaro steered his Yamaha YZR-M1 around the Andalucian circuit to clinch 11th in FP2, and 13th in the combined times today as he continues to progress and gather experience in the premier class. The reigning Moto2 world champion improved his FP1 lap time by a tenth of a second in the afternoon session, despite having suffered slight traction issues due to the greasy track surface. He aims to qualify competitively tomorrow for race day and then add to his impressive top eight finishes that he has obtained in his rookie MotoGP season so far, in front of his home fans.
Position : 11th
Time : 1.40.758
"Today was a tough day, but the most important thing is that I am ok after that huge crash and that I didn't get any injuries. We didn't find a good set up with the bike, despite trying many different options and I also struggled a lot with my the rear grip and my confidence with it. I tried the soft and hard compounds of both tyres, and provided Bridgestone with as much information as possible so that we can find a solution. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow, and seriously need to look into our setting. We are not close for the moment, and need to undertake a drastic change to get higher up the grid, but I am still confident that I can qualify well here in Jerez."
Position : 13th
Time : 1.40.918
"It looks like afternoon was better than this morning's session in terms of performance, however there is a lot we need to improve on to get up to speed. We just tested the hard rear tyre in the afternoon, and struggled, so it will have to be the tomorrow morning when we try to set the fast lap time, when the track temperature is a bit cooler. I am confident I can get into QP2, however there's still a lot to improve. We have to discover which settings we need to change on the bike in order to advance. Despite everything, my feeling is a bit better than this morning, so there are some small steps of encouragement but we need to make more."
Scott Redding: Jerez seems very small on a MotoGP bike!
Jerez, Spain - 2 May 2014: Scott Redding ended the opening day of the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez in 19th position, after encountering rear traction issues in today's sweltering conditions.
The 21-year-old Briton has racked up may laps of the Jerez circuit aboard both 125cc and Moto2 machinery, but he was surprised by just how small and tight the track feels on a 250BHP MotoGP machine.
Scott will return to the track tomorrow for FP3, before once again heading into qualifying with the aim of being the first production Honda RCV1000R rider on Sunday's grid.
Scott Redding // 19th // 1'41"374
"The temperature went up and the grip went down in the afternoon, so my best time of the day came in the cooler conditions of this morning's opening session. Today was difficult because, after testing at wide open circuits like Losail and Sepang, Jerez seems very small on a MotoGP bike. It's something I will need a little time to adapt to, because so much happens in such a short space of time. We've also got an issue with rear traction, which we need to find a solution for tomorrow. There are a lot of long corners here, so the feeling with the rear needs to be good."
BAUTISTA AND REDDING KEEP COOL IN SCORCHING CONDITIONS AT JEREZ
The first European Grand Prix weekend of the 2013 season, the Gran Premio de Espaņa, got underway today at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Southern Spain. After closing the first morning session in 6th and 19th position respectively, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini's Bautista and Redding, like many other riders, weren't able to increase the pace in the afternoon due to very hot conditions.
At the end of the day, Bautista was 7th in the combined classification, spending the day looking for more rear grip, working on the chassis set-up of his Honda RC213V and also trying both the hard and soft rear tyre compounds.
His team-mate, Scott Redding, experienced similar problems, complaining about a lack of rear grip: the English rookie, however, started the weekend with calm, slowly adapting his riding style to a complicated track to face for the first time riding a MotoGP bike.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (7th - 1'40"560)
"I'm trying to face this race without thinking about what happened in the first three Grands Pri: in some ways, it's like my season is starting now, so I'm trying to stay focused, working together with my team, trying to get a good set-up for the race and having fun riding. This morning we were struggling with rear grip, so we made a change on the bike set-up before the afternoon session, but the track conditions then were worst and as a result it was difficult to improve the feeling. Tomorrow our work will focus on finding more rear grip".
SCOTT REDDING (19th - 1'41"374)
"I made my best lap time in the morning because this afternoon the track conditions were worst; however, regardless from this, today was a little bit more difficult for me riding in this circuit, because it seems really small with a MotoGP bike! I've been only either testing or racing in circuits like Sepang, or Losail, for example, which are bigger. Here, instead, I realized that the track is really small, so I need a little more time to adapt to this, because so much is happening. At the moment we are struggling with rear traction: we'll try to solve this problem tomorrow, because here you have a lot of long corners, so you need to have a good rear feeling".
"Today was definitely not easy, because of the track conditions: here, traditionally, you need to work hard for the race, because the grip level is really low with the hot weather. However, our situation is not bad: tomorrow we will make some adjustments to the bikes' set-up to give more confidence to both our riders and if we will be able to achieve it, we will get closer to the top with Alvaro and improve the position with Redding. Moreover, the gap from their rivals is not so high. We simply need to work with calm, and we're doing it".
Fifth place for Dovizioso in Spanish GP free practice, no problems for Crutchlow
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) powered to an encouraging fifth place with his Desmosedici GP14 on the first day of free practice at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Andalusia. Towards the end of the afternoon session the Italian put on a super-soft tyre and went on to set his quickest time of the day in 1m40.028s, a few tenths away from the top slot.
Cal Crutchlow spent much of the day settling back in again on his Desmosedici GP14. This morning the British rider returned to the track for the first time since his crash at Austin, in which he injured his right hand. Still suffering a bit from the pain, Crutchlow didn't focus too much on setting a quick time and at the end of the day dispelled any doubts about his participation in the race.
After replacing Crutchlow at Termas de Rio Hondo, Michele Pirro, who is racing as a ?wild-card' at Jerez, managed to find a good feeling with his usual Ducati Test Team GP14 machine. The Italian hopes to continue positively tomorrow his testing work.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - 5th (1m40.028s)
"Today we didn't go at all bad! We wanted to try the hard front tyre but once again we were unable to use it well, and for this reason at the start we weren't very quick. Towards the end of the session we put on a medium front, the one that in my opinion most of us will use, and the bike improved considerably. Then we fitted the extra-soft rear right at the end of the session and I set my quick time. Here it's important to be in the top 10, but it's more important that the 33 (the medium tyre) works, even though in my opinion it's too soft."
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) - 18th (1m41.353s)
"I think that went as we expected today. The position doesn't really reflect where we should be but I'm just happy to be back riding this weekend with the team. We never used the soft tyre like maybe a lot of riders in front of me did. Today was about getting back some feeling with the bike, because I'm feeling a bit rusty. My hand is sore changing direction but braking doesn't seem so bad at the moment. I'm optimistic again about riding tomorrow and I think we can take some information from today and build on it for practice and qualifying."
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) - 14th (1m40.924s)
"All things considered today was quite positive because I'm trying to get back up to speed again with my bike. I'm quite happy because I'm enjoying myself more than in Argentina! I didn't manage to improve with the soft tyre, I'm a bit disappointed about that because for sure I could have taken three or four tenths off the time. We're working hard and we'll try and make a further improvement tomorrow."