These PR just in from the Red Bull Ring in Austria
Andrea Dovizioso lies first and Jorge Lorenzo fifth at the end of the first day of practice for the Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring
Both Ducati Team riders got off to a good start on the first day of practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, which takes place this weekend at the Red Bull Ring near Zeltweg.
At the end of the day it was Andrea Dovizioso who headed the provisional timesheets with an unbeaten lap of 1’24.046, while his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo finished in fifth place, with a best time of 1’24.616.
The two Ducati men set their quickest times towards the end of the second FP2 free practice session, when the sun came out once again over the Austrian circuit, but even in FP1 in the morning they were both classified inside the top ten, with Dovizioso second and Lorenzo ninth.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’24.046 (1st)
“I’m very pleased with the way things went today and we couldn’t have had a better start to the weekend. The Ducati Corse engineers have done a really good job with the new fairing, which on this track is working very well, and we have managed to get close to the effect of last year’s winglets, confirming our speed in two different conditions, both this morning and this afternoon, when there wasn’t much grip. But now we have to work on some details because it’s the tyre wear that will make all the difference in the race rather than sheer speed, just like last year.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 1’24.616 (5th)
“Today we weren’t able to fully get the best out of the two free practice sessions because in the morning and the afternoon some parts of the track were still damp because of the rain that fell during the day. For this reason I’m not entirely satisfied, even though in the end we were fifth and our times are not so far from the front guys. With respect to last year, when the Ducatis made all the difference on this track, now our rivals have improved and the lap times are all pretty close, but if we succeed in finding a solution that allows me to brake with more confidence and stability I believe that tomorrow we will be considerably quicker.”
Positive start to the weekend for the Repsol Honda Team at the Red Bull Ring Circuit
The opening day of the Austrian GP was marked by mild temperatures and mixed weather conditions which, as far as the MotoGP practices were concerned, allowed for a completely dry FP1 session and just spoiled the early stages of FP2; a previous light rain shower left damp patches in a few corners, meaning that Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, like the majority of the MotoGP riders, waited about 15 minutes before taking to the track.
As a result, the Repsol Honda riders were able to carry out positive work on the setup of their RC213Vs for the Red Bull Ring Circuit, both feeling comfortable all day. Dani set the third-fastest time both in the FP1 and FP2 sessions, while Marc was fifth-fastest in the morning and sixth in the afternoon (seventh combined), having chosen to not fit a new tyre at the end of the second session.
“Today we worked well. We thought we would have to deal with rainy conditions but luckily we were able to start in the dry, and overall we had more dry track time available than expected. We’re happy because the first feeling was good and generally we felt better than the last year. We still have work to do on the bike’s setup and on the mapping. We must improve our race pace and make a good tyre choice for Sunday, but so far we’re happy with how we started the weekend.”
“We’re satisfied with how it went today. We started the weekend with a completely different setup from last year and it worked quite well. We’ve definitely made a step forward with the acceleration and with the general settings of the bike. Of course we must wait and see how it goes tomorrow, as we have a few details we still need to work on. The others also will improve, but so far we’re happy with what we’ve done and with our race pace. At the end of FP2 I decided to continue with a used medium rear tyre in order to focus on preparing well for Sunday. The weather forecast shows possible rain conditions for tomorrow morning, but I decided to take that gamble because I wanted to prepare well for the Sunday race.”
Spielberg (Austria), 11th August 2017
Due to looming clouds and a persistent threat of rain, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team had to make every dry minute of today’s free practice sessions count, ahead of this weekend’s NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. Riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were fast to find their rhythm in the quite cool conditions, taking 2nd and 13th position respectively in the combined times.
This morning Viñales calmly prepared for Sunday’s race at the Red Bull Ring – Spielberg, steadily upping his pace. He consistently posted lap times within the 1’25s, only to turn up the heat a notch on his last run in the final mini time attack. He set a 1’24.752s for fourth place, 0.121s from the front, making sure of a provisional spot in the top-10 in case of rain in the afternoon and tomorrow morning.
The young gun again displayed his patience before pouncing at the right moment in the afternoon session. A wet spot in turn 3 made it impossible for the riders to improve their time, despite the rest of the track being dry. Having seen this from his pit box, Viñales bided his time until, with 25 minutes of the available time left, the sun came out and the track was ready for action. The Spaniard was quickly on the pace and continued to work hard, concluding the session with a 1‘24.280s lap for second place, 0.234s from first.
Though not feeling 100% fit, teammate Rossi stuck to the same approach he had at the previous Grand Prix weekend. He worked diligently on his bike‘s setting in FP1, to be fully prepared for the qualifying tomorrow. Focusing on improvement, he ended the morning practice with a best time of 1’25.251s for 12th place, 0.620s from the top of the timesheets.
Once the track dried midway through FP2, the Doctor used the second session to fine-tune the balance of his bike, to match it to the Austrian circuit‘s layout and the expected weather variations for this weekend. The Italian rider pushed hard at the end of the session to improve on his morning time by 0.368s, posting a 1’24.883s lap, for twelfth position in the FP2 results. He ended the first day of practice in 13th place in the overall standings, 0.837s from first.
Considering that the Spielberg circuit is one of the more challenging tracks on the MotoGP calendar for us, today’s results are quite positive. It was a pity we lost some track time in FP2 because of a wet spot on track, but all in all our riders’ pace is good. We‘ve been quite productive. Today we were able to compare fairings, tyre specs – both front and rear –, and also different set-ups. The FP2 session ended up quite well for Maverick, with a significant second fastest lap time as well as a good pace. Although Valentino felt a little under the weather this morning, he had a strong rhythm with the race tyres in both sessions. When he went out for his time-attack in FP2 the decision to use the soft front tyre didn‘t pay off, but he still has FP3 to improve his lap time and promote directly into Q2. In general, there’s a margin for improvement for both riders’ bikes.
We are really pleased, because we’re starting with a good feeling again. Today we did a really good job, I was feeling quite good on the bike. Especially after the Brno test we improved the set-up a lot. For tomorrow, I think it will be very important to work further on the electronics and also on the acceleration, which is really crucial here.
It wasn’t a very good day, we had some problems, especially this morning was a difficult practice. When I woke up this morning I also didn’t feel very well, I didn’t have energy, it felt like the flu, so this morning was difficult. This afternoon, unfortunately, in the end my position was not in the top-10, which was the target, but we improved the bike and we improved the feeling. We’re not strong, we need to make some other modification to try to be faster, but we’re all very close and we are there. We need to improve, but for tomorrow we have a lot of things to try. Braking is very important, but also acceleration. I suffer a bit on acceleration because I spin a bit too much and lose time. Also in sector 3, where last year I was strong, this year I am very bad because we don’t have the right balance of the bike, so for tomorrow we will try something different.
Precious P9 for Scott in #AustrianGP FP2. In the time attack Petrux did not find grip on the rear.
The Friday’s free practices at the Red Bull Ring have given positive sensations to Octo Pramac Racing, despite the lack of feeling with the rear sof tyre, which did not allow Danilo Petrucci to be competitive in the FP2 time attack. On the other hand a very positive Friday for Scott Redding.
The English rider has started the FP1 in the best manner, by making a series of fastest laps that permitted him to find a good feeling already from the beginning. After the 8th lap time of the morning (only 2 tenth of a second behind the first row), Scott has repeated himself in the afternoon exploiting the soft tire in the time attack and ending with a lap time of 1’24.765 that means 9th place and hypothetical direct qualification to Q2.
Also Danilo Petrucci has started the Fp1 in a positive way and after the first run with the standard fearing, he tried the new version finding some good benefit (7th lap time). During the FP2 the feeling with the new fearing looked to be positive again and the race pace of the rider from Terni was very competitive. However, in the last run Petrux did not find extra grip with the soft rear tire, finishing in 14th position, only 76 thousandths of a second from the top 10.
14th – Danilo Petrucci – 1’24.935
“I don’t understand what happened in FP2. We need to check the data. In the middle of the practice, with the used tires, the pace was good. Then with the new tires I did not find any extra grip. It was a shame because I was happy with the bike this morning. The fearing? I felt some benefit in breaking even if in acceleration I continue to struggle with the wheelie. We have to work on this also because we have seen that Dovizioso has made positive steps forward”.
9th – Scott Redding – 1’24.756
“I am very happy about how things went today. I lapped fast from the start, finding a steady pace. After Brno I came back on track with the goal of improving lap after lap. Small things but if we combine them together can make important results. We focused on small details to improve. We also worked on the tires although when I tried the medium I felt the front locking. We will try again tomorrow”.
Miller and Rabat off to solid start in Austria
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat diligently worked through a range of set-up options and different Michelin tyre combinations today to enhance their prospects of a double points scoring finish in Sunday’s Austrian MotoGP round.
The pair were just over a second off the best pace in an incredibly close opening practice this morning, which took part on a dry track, despite the constant threat of rain coming from grey and gloomy skies over the spectacular Spielberg track.
This afternoon’s second session commenced on a track that was almost completely dry, but damp patches at the tight turn 3 that resulted from a short earlier downpour prevented Miller and Rabat from carrying out any meaningful early set-up work on their Honda RC213V machinery.
Once the track was totally dry and ready for slick tyres, Miller and Rabat were both able to improve their pace compared to this morning, while gaining crucial information on potential tyre choice ahead of Sunday’s 28-lap Spielberg showdown.
The picturesque Spielberg track is dominated by hard braking zones, high-speed straights and demanding acceleration points, and it is a lack of corner exit grip that Miller will seek to improve as the weekend progresses.
Spaniard Rabat worked on gaining more front-end stability for the strong braking points today, and part of that process saw him as the only rider to circulate using Michelin’s hard option front tyre at the end of FP2.
Jack Miller: 20th – 1’25.335
“Coming to this track we knew it was going to be a difficult challenge for us with the circuit dominated by hard acceleration points, which is not the strong point of our package. We are doing our best to extract the maximum we can out of what we have got and I think we have done that. My rhythm is not too bad but we can see from the lap times and my position that it is not fast enough right now. We’ll be back tomorrow for another go but we have to make some improvements to have a good qualifying.”
Tito Rabat: 23rd – 1’25.616
“I felt this morning was very good and with the soft rear tyre I was able to set a fast lap that was less than 0.5s away from the top 10. This afternoon we decided to use the medium front and medium rear combination and it didn’t feel too bad. But then we changed something on the bike and I lost a bit of feeling entering the corner. To try and get a bit more stability on the brakes I decided to use the hard front tyre and the soft rear to make a lap time at the end of the session, but it was difficult to get the front quickly up to temperature. That’s why I perhaps slowed Marc a little while he was on a fast lap and I apologise to him because the last thing I intended to do was force him to slow down.”
Ramon Aurin: Jack Miller Chief Engineer
“We knew from last year that this track does not ideally suit the characteristics of our package, so we were prepared for today to not be the easiest. There is a lot of hard acceleration here and we are behind in that area, and we must improve in the last two sectors. That is where we lose a lot of time. We tried the soft rear tyre this morning to consider it as an option for the race and the pace was not so bad. But we have a lot to improve to be more competitive in qualifying.”
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow proved competitive on the opening day of the Austrian Grand Prix in Spielberg as he posted the seventh fastest time in Friday’s afternoon free practice session. At a circuit where the horsepower of the Ducati bikes had been predicted to dominate, Crutchlow showed encouraging form on his RC213V as wet conditions made things tricky once again for the MotoGP class riders.
Both sessions took place on a drying circuit after bouts of rain, but Crutchlow performed solidly and finished tenth in the morning session. He would improve further in the afternoon, ending fractionally behind Honda factory rider Marc Marquez who had to settle for sixth. The LCR man feels there remains plenty of room for improvement ahead of Saturday’s qualifying and is hoping some overnight work from his team will provide him with improved acceleration.
Cal Crutchlow – 7th
(1’24.668 – lap 14 of 16)
“In the first session there was a few damp patches, in the second session there were even more damp patches! It was quite a difficult day to manage that situation and work out which tyre to use and when, the medium rear tyre had better grip than the soft rear tyre which was strange. Overall I think we had quite a good day, but we’re losing about three-tenths in the first section at the moment so we have to try and improve something somewhere.
“I feel really good in the corners, but on the acceleration I don’t know why we’re losing so much. It’s clear that we need to improve in this area. We’ll need to look at it tonight and then try to go as fast as possible tomorrow morning.”
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ FAST ON THE FIRST DAY IN AUSTRIA
EIGHTH PLACE FOR THE SPANIARD IN FP2, SAM LOWES IMPROVING
Practice conditioned by the weather has by now become a constant factor of recent MotoGP rounds. Even in Austria, the first day began on dry asphalt but under looming clouds which obviously influenced the teams’ plans.
Aleix Espargaró, not entirely at ease in the early laps of FP1, continued working on the setup for his RS-GP throughout the session, using only one set of tyres and without ever attempting the final time attack in view of qualifying as almost all the other riders on the track did. His fifteenth place time in FP1 therefore did not worry the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, a sensation that was confirmed by Aleix’s outstanding performance in FP2. After the rain, the Austrian track dried out progressively during the second session, allowing him to improve his time by almost one second. His 1’24.726 earned him ninth place in the combined standings and provisionally sends him straight through to Q2 tomorrow.
There was a lot of work for Sam Lowes, skilfully shaving off almost a half a second from one session to the next and eighteenth in the combined standings with a time of 1’25.270.
“I am happy with the way we finished the day, because this morning I did not have a good feeling with the RS-GP. Especially in braking, so much that we decided to try a big change in the geometry. Precisely for this reason, I did not use a soft tyre at the end of FP1, finishing quite far back in the standings. Fortunately, in the afternoon we had a dry track to work with, reconfirming the bike’s improvements and gaining provisional access to Q2. I also tried the aerodynamic fairing. On this track, where wheelies are a problem, I found some benefits that we will continue to test.”
“Things did not go too badly for the first day. I improved on the 2016 Aprilia times and that is a first important step for me. The first half of FP2 was a bit difficult because of the track conditions, but toward the end we had dry asphalt and a good temperature, continuing to do a lot of work on the bike. I had fun. At the end of the day we got close to the top ten times, so I am feeling optimistic about tomorrow.”