These just in:
Marquez fastest with temperamental weather in Mugello
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez remains the main protagonist in Italy after setting the fastest time in this morning's FP1 session. However, with the threat of rain - and light spots falling on the track - in the afternoon, neither Marc or his teammate Dani Pedrosa went out, in fact only four riders took to the track, none of them improving times from this morning.
Marc posted his fastest time of 1'48.004 on lap 17 of 19 this morning, placing him in first position for the day. Dani recorded his fastest lap of 1'49.203 on lap 8 of 18 leaving him eleventh for the day.
1st - 1'48.004
"Today was a really good day, I began with a few questions on my mind after last year - when this track was one of those that I found most difficult - and I saw that things have changed completely after a year of experience. The morning went well and the feeling was good, but in the afternoon we didn't go out as it was raining on-and-off and the surface was neither fit for dry riding nor wet tyres. I felt very comfortable on the bike, there was a big difference compared to last year and I'm feeling much better about things and we hope to continue improving"
11th - 1'49.203
"Today we were only able to complete a few laps in the morning, in which I didn't feel completely comfortable. Then we were not able to ride in the afternoon as conditions were mixed and we couldn't use the slick tyres, but we were also unable to use the wets due to the track not being wet enough. In any case, I can't wait to continue working tomorrow to recover the ground needed and begin to ride fast"
Rain Stops Play in Mugello Free Practice
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team may have got off to a flying start in Mugello this morning but the good times were not to last as light rain cancelled any action in the afternoon.
Local hero Valentino Rossi got straight down to business in the first free practice, delighting the crowd of home fans with an impressive pace. Rossi led for most of the session before dropping to second in the last minutes, 0.382 seconds from first.
Teammate Lorenzo was also enjoying riding at one of his favourite circuits on the calendar, dropping time consistently throughout the practice to finish in fifth with a time of 1'48.677, 0.661 from first.
The afternoon session proved to be a frustrating one with light rain coming down minutes before the second practice, leaving the track not completely wet but not dry either, leaving the riders to sit it out and wait for tomorrow's third session.
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders got off to a slippery start in Mugello with a slight downpour of rain at the beginning of FP2 preventing them from improving their times set in the morning practice session. The track conditions were not damp enough to warrant a wet setup, with Bradley Smith choosing to sit out the session and Pol Espargaro just undertaking a brief technical sighting lap on the 5245 metre circuit.
Bradley Smith who expected to improve his initial time in this afternoon's practice session, finished FP1 in 10th with a best lap of 1.49,030. His time was just over one second from first place as he concentrated on finding a confidence instating base setup for this weekend's round 6 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. Despite to the lack of action in FP2, the British rider now looks optimistically towards tomorrow's third free practice session to continue his preparation for Sunday's 23 lap race.
Pol Espargaro completed this morning's session in 12th position despite falling uninjured half way through. The premier class rookie heroically returned to the pits, jumped on his second bike and then headed straight back out on track before incredibly improving his lap time in a showcase of true grit and determination. Having never ridden in wet conditions so far in MotoGP, the reigning Moto2 World Champion used this afternoon's session to undertake a very brief technical check to discover the behaviour of the steel brakes. He now keenly awaits tomorrow's FP3 session where he aims to continue his progress.
It was a very positive opening day of practice for the NGM Forward Racing riders at the fast and technical Mugello track.
Aleix Espargaro focused on the electronics to solve the problems he had in Le Mans, while Colin Edwards tested the new chassis made by Forward in collaboration with FTR. The Texan rider was really satisfied with the feeling he got from the new chassis which was designed also according to his indications.
As many other MotoGP riders Aleix and Colin didn't test in FP2 and the combined classification of the day sees the Spaniard in the sixth place with a best lap time of 1'48.743 and the Texan rider 13th (1'49.818).
2nd / 1'48.386
"This morning the start was good for me. We found already quite a good setting and I felt comfortable on the bike; it was already quite fast. The weather is a shame firstly for the people around the circuit and also as we had something important to try this afternoon so it was important to try to make the test. Unfortunately ten minutes before the practice it started to rain but not enough for the rain tyre so we wasted our time."
5th / 1'48.665
"Unfortunately before the second practice today it started spitting and raining a little bit, not so much but we were not able to use the slick and it had no use to try with the rain tyre. I just made one lap to warm up the rain tyre in case there's a dry and wet race. This morning was good, I feel better physically and I feel stronger on the bike. It is just a little more nervous than last year so we are trying to improve the electronics to make the bike more smooth and easier to ride."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"We made a very good start this morning in the first practice. Both Valentino and Jorge were able to find a good base set up to begin the weekend with; Valentino especially was very quick throughout the session. We expected Mugello to be a good track for the M1 so it's good to see this is a reality in practice. It's frustrating that we were not able to continue our work this afternoon with the changing conditions, when it's just a little wet and dry there is no real benefit to ride as you cannot make the best use of either wet tyres or slicks. The rest of the weekend's weather looks more promising so we are happy to get back to work tomorrow morning."
10th / 1'49.030
"I am pretty happy with how things went this morning, and we have definitely improved a lot with certain aspects of the bike since Le Mans. We managed to do four runs and the team and I tried a lot of suspension and geometry settings so that we were able to collect a huge range of data. This in turn, fills me with confidence for tomorrow. It was unfortunate that I was unable to ride this afternoon yet with the information we have from FP1 we are in a good position for the rest of the weekend. Hopefully for tomorrow the weather conditions will clear and be dry so that we can carry on working in the right direction."
12th / 1'49.308
"Obviously the fall this morning was not an ideal start to this weekend but in my first run behind Lorenzo I felt very comfortable and the lap times were promising. After the crash where I hit my head a bit, I felt quite nervous and little less confident but still managed to improve my lap time as soon as I went out again which obviously makes me feel elated for the weekend. Of course it goes without saying that I would have been happy to get a few more laps under my belt this afternoon, but unfortunately the weather conditions were not on our side. I am hoping that the weather will be dry tomorrow as I have never ridden in the wet but we will have to see."
6th / 1'48.743
"This morning we worked on the electronics to solve the problems we had in Le Mans and we tried different things to cool the brakes. We did a good work but there was not enough time to concentrate on the set up, something we wanted to do this afternoon. Mugello is a very demanding track so we will keep on working on the electronics in preparation of the race".
13th / 1'49.818
"Today was one of my best memories of Mugello. We showed up here with the new chassis. We had to restart almost from zero in terms of set up but the feeling was very positive and I feel like I am a 20 year old guy!. I understand the bike, I have the confidence and the machine turns as it should, according to my riding style. The new chassis was designed around what I had last year and I'd like to thank the team for the great effort they made to deliver it for the Italian GP".
AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing Riders Impress in Tricky Conditions
Circuit Length: 5.245 m
Bike # 5 - Johann Zarco
FP1: P12; 1'53.802 - 18 laps
FP2: P2; 2'09.180 - 15 laps
Bike # 2 - Josh Herrin
FP1: P29; 1'55.858 - 20 laps
FP2: P20; 2'11.740 - 15 laps
FP1: (Conditions) Dry; (air temp) 17°, (track temp) 27°
FP2: (Conditions) Wet; (air temp) 19°, (track temp) 22°
As the rain began to fall for the final practice session of the day at the stunning Mugello Circuit, both AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing riders showed good form as they adapted quickly to the difficult weather conditions.
Riding his #2 Caterham Suter for the very first time in the wet, Moto2 rookie Josh Herrin put in a good performance to finish FP2 in the top twenty.
Meanwhile teammate Johann Zarco tackled the tricky conditions with impressive pace placing him at the top of the leader board for the majority of the afternoon session, before crossing the line in P2, just 0.110s from P1.
#5 Johann Zarco:
"We had the first practice in dry conditions which we used to set up the bike. We were ready to use the information gathered in this session to make improvements for FP2 but in the afternoon it began to rain.
"The start of the practice was difficult because it was almost dry on track but not enough to use slick tyres. I rode with the wet tyres which felt quite good and as I was able to stay within the top two, although this was not our only target. It was also important to set the bike for the wet.
As the session continued the rain got heavier so it was not possible to improve the lap time but it was good to have more rain to get a feel for how well the Caterham Suter performed in the difficult conditions.
"I did two stops in the pit and we made a good step with the bike and even in the dry this morning the technical side were able to gather some important information. We worked well and made positive progress so I am happy with how this afternoon went, but now we must do this in the dry too because at the top is where we have to be."
#2 Josh Herrin:
"Today was the first time that I've rode the Caterham Suter in the wet and it felt really good. I'm pleased with how FP2 went as I've not ridden in the rain for over two years so to be able to go out in those conditions and feel comfortable on the bike so quickly is awesome.
"The track is really fun to ride and I feel I've got to grips with it a lot quicker than the other new circuits that we've been to so far. I'm feeling a lot better after my injury too, so hopefully this will be the weekend that I can show what I'm really capable of and fight for the points on Sunday."
Marquez quickest in rain-interrupted Friday practice at Mugello
Round 6: Italian MotoGP? - Free Practice 1&2
Mugello, Friday May 30 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 15-16°C; Track 20-20°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Wet. Ambient 20-20°C; Track 29-30°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez was quickest on a rain-interrupted Friday at Mugello, setting a time of 1'48.004 in the dry Free Practice One session, before intermittent rain prevented any riders improving their times in the afternoon Free Practice Two session.
Marquez's best lap time in FP1 was just four-tenths of a second shy of his own Mugello Circuit Record Lap that he set last year, and put him 0.382 seconds clear of Yamaha Movistar MotoGP's Valentino Rossi who was second overall today. Pramac Racing's Andrea Iannone also gave the Italian fans reason to cheer by setting the third-quickest time in FP1 and was the only other rider to lap within half a second of Marquez.
Although the track was dry for FP1, track temperatures in the morning session were quite cool with a peak recording of just 22°C. Track temperatures reached a peak of 30°C in the afternoon, but intermittent rain during FP2 created a track surface that was neither fully wet nor fully dry for most of the session. As the afternoon session drew to a close, the rain intensified causing truly wet conditions and it was Ducati's Michele Pirro who set the benchmark time of 2'05.435 on wet tyres in FP2.
The cool weather today resulted in every rider using the soft compound front slick in FP1, and although the softer rear slick options were also used by the majority of riders in the morning session, a few riders did take the opportunity to evaluate their harder rear slick. Current forecasts indicate that tomorrow morning's FP3 session could be rain-affected, but conditions for FP4 and Qualifying Practice in the afternoon should be dry.
Masao Azuma - Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"This morning we had a positive practice session so it was unfortunate that we had unsettled weather in the afternoon, as this prevented the teams from acquiring any useful information on tyre performance or bike setup. At the start of the dry FP1 session this morning, the track temperature was among the coolest we've encountered so far this season, but the riders reported that our 2014 specification slicks worked well in the conditions. It was the first session of the weekend, but already the pace was almost as quick as we saw in the race last year so this indicates good warm-up performance and grip from the tyres. Almost every rider used softer slick options front and rear in FP1, and due to the afternoon rain they were not able to compare the performance with the harder slicks as was planned. The weather forecast indicates that we could have wet conditions in the morning, but hopefully we will have fine conditions for the afternoon which will allow the riders to evaluate some different tyre combinations before the race on Sunday."
Dovizioso 4th, Crutchlow 8th for Ducati Team on Day 1 of Italian GP at Mugello
Andrea Dovizioso started off the Mugello weekend in a positive way today, setting fourth quickest time this morning in the first free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix. Team-mate Cal Crutchlow was eighth quickest, with a time he also set in the morning, while the Ducati Team's test-rider Michele Pirro ended the day in 14th place.
Unfortunately in the afternoon, light rain began to fall just before the second session, making the track damp and slippery and so almost all of the riders decided to stay in their pit garages.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - 4th (1'48.518)
"This morning we started off quite well and set some good lap times. However we have to do some laps in different conditions because in the race we will probably find a track that is warmer than this morning, which will surely change the situation. Our start wasn't bad therefore, but we have to continue to work hard tomorrow. This afternoon on the other hand, the conditions weren't good enough to go out, it didn't make much sense to lap on a damp track."
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) - 8th (1'48.980)
"Today was about familiarization with the track and the Ducati in the morning session. The lap times for a lot of the guys seemed close. I'm a bit disappointed we never got out in the second session, but this was due to the condition of the track - half-wet, half-dry for everybody is not a good situation. We lost some time for the set-up work, but tomorrow we'll look to improve."
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) - 14th (1'50.030)
"I'm disappointed because this morning we had a problem with the bike and I didn't manage to set a good time. Pity, because in the tests we went very well. I hoped to be able to make up time in the afternoon, but because of the track conditions I only managed to do a couple of laps to check that the second bike was working well. If the weather is better tomorrow, we'll try and move further up."
Aspar Drive M7
INJURY-HIT NICKY HAYDEN COMPLETES JUST A HANDFUL OF LAPS AT MUGELLO
American rider struggling with wrist injury as team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama laps fifteenth fastest in free practice
The Italian GP got underway beneath dark skies at Mugello today and, even though the rain held off for the opening session this morning, the heavens opened over lunchtime leaving the track damp for the second session in the afternoon. With the surface neither fully wet nor fully dry only four riders bothered to venture out this afternoon, leaving Marc Márquez unchallenged at the top of the timesheets with an advantage of 0.3 seconds over home favourite Valentino Rossi.
Nicky Hayden was one of the few riders to venture out this afternoon as he tested out his injured wrist after only managing six laps in the morning. The DRIVE M7 Aspar rider battled the pain to complete five further laps but it has become apparent that the intense physiotherapy he has undergone since the last race at Le Mans has not been enough to cure the problem. Whatever he decides to do in the morning with regard to his participation at Mugello, Nicky has already taken advice from doctors to undergo surgery next week. Hiroshi Aoyama completed twenty laps in a positive morning session for him, the Japanese rider quickly getting a good feel for his bike around this technically demanding circuit and concluding the day in fifteenth position.
23rd Nicky Hayden 1.55.369 (11 laps): "Today I had a lot of pain in my hand. I thought the break after the last race at Le Mans would be enough for me but here the problem is worse. I worked really hard last week to try and recover with different kinds of therapy and a hyperbaric chamber but the injury to my right wrist has not improved. In France I was able to ride through the pain but this circuit is much faster and more demanding. After talking to the doctors it seems the smartest move is to undergo surgery next week in order to be fully fit again as soon as possible."
15th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.50.143 (23 laps): "We were able to work on a dry track this morning and the feeling with the bike was very good. I felt very comfortable on the bike and I was instantly able to improve on my best lap times here from last year. We have found a couple of areas that we need to improve, in particular corner exit, and we need to find some more stability on the rear. We had planned to make some changes for the second session but we didn't get chance to test them because the track was neither wet nor dry. It seems as though the conditions will improve tomorrow so we'll keep working along the same lines to try and find what we are looking for."