Jorge Lorenzo tops the timesheets on Day 1 of free practice action for the Catalan GP. Andrea Dovizioso finishes fourth in the combined standings at Montmeló
Jorge Lorenzo ended the first day of free practice action for the Catalan GP, round 7 of the championship held this weekend at the Montmeló circuit, at the top of the timesheets. The Ducati Team’s Spanish rider, who had set third-quickest time this morning, lapped in an excellent pace in the afternoon session and set a time of 1’38.930 towards the end of FP2, which put him on provisional pole position.
Fourth quickest was Andrea Dovizioso, who was classified in second place in the morning’s FP1 session. The Italian set a time of 1’39.443 towards the end of the second session, after bolting on a set of soft tyres for his time-attack, like almost all the other riders.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99): 1st (1’38.930)
“We have begun this Catalan GP weekend well and have shown that we have a very competitive base. The track has changed but my feelings are very good and in addition the Montmeló circuit has always been one of those where I manage to get the best out of my riding style. Ever since the test a few weeks ago we were convinced that we could be very quick here and we confirmed it both this morning and in the afternoon, when we also lapped with a very good race pace. We must continue in this way tomorrow to try and get a front-row grid start, which will be very important for the race.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04): 4th (1’39.443)
“It wasn’t a very easy day because, even though the track is really good with the new asphalt, the grip is strange and we will have to work well to be in good shape for the race. The behaviour of the tyres is quite strange and it’s not easy to manage the bike, but we have a good pace and we are amongst the fastest, so I’m happy with the way today went.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showed speed at the start of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya weekend. The teammates used every minute of the two free practice sessions to improve their bikes’ base settings and took third and fifth place respectively in the combined standings.
The Catalan GP is a special event for Viñales, who is excited to be riding in front of his home fans this weekend. Debuting a special helmet to commemorate his close friend Luis Salom, the youngster was quick to try his race pace with the base set-up they established at the Catalunya test three weeks ago. The work paid off, as he improved his lap time on every run and ultimately secured sixth place with a best lap of 1’40.114s, 0.658s behind his teammate in first place.
The afternoon practice saw the temperatures go up to 28°C, changing the track conditions, but Viñales’ determination and work ethic were unaffected. The local hero was quick to respond when the pace of the rider field increased at the end of the session, and he set a 1’39.422s to briefly hold first place. He ended the day in third position in both the FP2 and the combined free practice results, 0.492s from first.
Rossi’s love for the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was clear to see as the Grand Prix weekend kicked off. He had decided on setting a fast lap in the cooler morning session, before getting stuck in to working on the balance of the bike and tyre-life in FP2, and he carried out the plan perfectly. After getting a feel for the track in his first two runs, he put in a soft-soft tyre combination and finished FP1 in first place with a 1’39.456s, 0.347s in front of his closest rival.
In the afternoon the Doctor completed part two of the plan. He carried on where he left off, starting proceedings with the exact same tyres, and focused on comparing various tyre spec and setting combinations for the entire duration of FP2. His fastest lap of the session, a 1’39.989s put him in eleventh place in the rankings, 1.059s from the front. However, his fastest FP1 lap still earned him fifth place in the combined timings, 0.526s from the top.
We‘ve had a busy start to the Catalan GP, but also quite a rewarding one. Thanks to the test here three weeks ago we had an idea of how to start proceedings. We were able to commence the weekend with already a good bike set-up in place and this gave us the possibility to improve it with less time pressure. While Maverick used the entire day to focus on his race pace, especially concerning the first laps on a new tyre with a full tank, Valentino put a lot of effort into fine-tuning his bike‘s set-up and also comparing almost all the tyre specifications. Both riders have a few aspects that they would like to improve, so that‘s what we will work on tonight, to make these elements better for tomorrow‘s FP3.
I think we can make another step here in Catalunya for tomorrow, though we already improved the bike quite a lot today, especially in FP2 in the hot conditions. We have to keep working and keep focusing on the way to improve the bike. We‘ve been working a lot on improving my feeling in the first laps of the race and I think we also have an idea that we’ll try tomorrow. I‘m going to make all runs with a race set-up and do laps and more laps, that‘s what I like. To get onto the first row tomorrow will be very important.
To be in first position is always a good feeling. We used soft tyres this morning because this afternoon we needed to work a lot on the different tyres to try to get an understanding for the race. As always, the choice is very open, both front and rear. We tried to understand, but we need to make more kilometres tomorrow. We need to work on the bike also, but the first impression of the first day is positive.
APRILIA ON THE HUNT FOR THE RIGHT SETTINGS FOR QUALIFYING TOMORROW
After a promising FP1, full of good indications and concluding just outside the top ten, Aleix Espargaró ran into some unexpected difficulties in the second session, characterised by high heat on the Spanish track. The altered temperature conditions resulted in a situation of poor grip for the number 41 RS-GP and all the various changes to the settings and tyres proved to be in vain. Aleix was one of the very few who did not improve their times from the morning, finishing the day with the 17th best time at 1’40.388. His attack on the high end of the standings will therefore be postponed until tomorrow in FP3 which, as always, will be the decisive session to see who will go straight through to the second qualifying session.
Scott Redding, also hindered by a crash that was harmless for the rider, finished the combined standings in 23rd place with a time of 1’40.815.
“In the morning I felt good, but in the afternoon I found myself with very little grip both at the front and on the rear tyre. I tried all three tyre options on the rear and the two up front, but we did not find a solution that works well. It is a very strange sensation with poor control at the front when I close the throttle. In the morning, I started with a setting similar to the one used at Mugello, but in the afternoon everything changed and I switched to a different setting, so now we need to analyse the data well in order to figure out which direction to go for tomorrow.”
“I turned a lot of laps today without making too many changes and trying several tyre types. I felt rather good with the hard tyres, although we struggle a bit in braking. Overall, the biggest difficulty is speed on the flying lap. There is not much difference between a lap with used and new tyres and that is an aspect that I want to improve. The crash was strange. I was a bit off my line and as soon as I released the brake, I lost the front end.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair delivers superb opening to Catalan GP
With a great team effort, Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin showed an impressive performance today at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. While Zarco powered to eighth position in the combined standings, he improved his lap time from this mornings’ FP1 to the afternoon session by 0.3 seconds.
In the meantime, MotoGP rookie Syahrin did fantastic to reach the top 10 for the first time on Friday, snatching a provisional Q2 entry. The crucial third Free Practice is set to commence at 9.55 local time tomorrow, before both Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders fight for the best grid position ahead of the seventh round of the 2018 season.
Position: 8th – Time: 1’39.633 – Laps: 37
“I’m happy about this first day in Barcelona, because I feel much better than in Mugello and the test we did before was very useful. Immediately we felt good on the bike and we can play with a few things, while always being with the top guys. It’s always good to feel this again and we’re working. It’s complicate to go much faster, but I hope to understand everything together with my team in order to prepare the race in the best possible way. During this first day we’ve been competitive and much more comfortable than two weeks ago.”
The Mugello race winner leads Iannone and Viñales on day one as Marquez finishes outside the top ten
Mugello race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) was the man to beat on the opening day at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, ending FP2 top of the timesheets after setting a 1:38.930 – the only rider to step under the 1:39 bracket and fastest overall. The Spaniard improved his time by over 0.8 seconds from FP1 after finishing third in the morning, laying down the gauntlet ahead of qualifying on Saturday. Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was able to bounce back after a crash in FP1 and the Italian was the only rider to get within 0.4 seconds of the number 99 on Friday.
One of the biggest talking points from the opening day at the Catalan GP was Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) finishing 12th quickest on the combined timesheets, provisionally missing out on a Q2 spot unless he can improve in FP3. The Spaniard also crashed at Turn 5 towards the end of the session when pushing for a quick lap, rider ok.
Meanwhile, third on the combined timesheets was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales, improving his time by over half a second from FP1 to round out the top three in the afternoon – 0.492 off Lorenzo’s quickest lap. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was second in FP1, with the Italian slipping down to fourth quickest overall in FP2 – 0.513 behind his teammate.
2016 winner Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), quickest in FP1, was the only rider in the top 11 who failed to go quicker in the afternoon session. The Italian finished in P11 in FP2, but his time of 1:39.456 from FP1 was enough to see ‘The Doctor’ end the day fifth fastest overall. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) improved his position by one place from FP1 to end the day sixth fastest, 0.002 behind Rossi’s time and top Independent Team rider.
Fresh from signing a one-year deal with the factory Ducati team in 2019, Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) drastically improved on his 20th position from FP1 in the afternoon to finish seventh overall. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) recovered from an early crash in the session to end the day eighth quickest overall, just ahead of home rider Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) who improved by three positions from FP1 to end the day ninth.
Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) ensured he has a provisional automatic Q2 spot in FP2, the Malaysian rider finished the day an impressive tenth fastest, building on his solid FP1 session.
Can the number 93 bounce back on Saturday ahead of qualifying and get himself straight into Q2? Find out when the premier class head out for FP3 at 09:55 local time (GMT +2), before qualifying from 14:10.
LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow made a solid start at the Grand Prix of Catalunya as he ended the opening day in Montmelo in sixth position. Carrying Castrol Power1 as his title sponsor for the weekend, the Briton was on the pace throughout at the resurfaced Barcelona circuit and is now looking to make further progress during Saturday qualifying.
In warm, sunny conditions, Crutchlow was seventh fastest in FP1 and then improved again to claim fifth spot in the afternoon FP2 session, despite not having the proper feeling with the front of his RC213V. That left him sixth in the combined standings and the 32-year-old is confident there is more to come tomorrow.
Cal Crutchlow –6th
(1’39.458 – lap 15 of 18)
“I was happy with the afternoon session, the team worked well and I think we did a good job to try and use the hard front tyre this afternoon and save one for our allocation of the medium. Overall, the track condition seems to be getting a little bit better as well even though the heat was up in the afternoon. My team and Honda did a good job in FP2 to be able to solve a few issues that I seemed to have this morning and now we look forward to trying to rectify the others tomorrow”.
Repsol Honda Team tackle first day of the Catalan Grand Prix
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa began their preparations for the Catalan Grand Prix on a sunny opening day at the newly resurfaced Montmelo Circuit, which has a revised layout. Dani set the 12th fastest lap time in the FP1 session and the eighth fastest in FP2, wrapping up the day ninth in the combined standings.
Marc Marquez was in fine form beginning with the morning session, when he posted the third fastest lap time. The reigning World Champion was also keeping a very good pace on used tyres in the afternoon FP2 session, but a crash in the final phases cost him the chance to improve his performance, leaving him in 12th position on the combined timesheets.
“I think today was positive enough, as we were able to improve our rhythm over the course of the day, after a slow start. We managed to exploit the track time quite well, testing a lot of tyres. That’s also good from the perspective of the work we’re doing, because we already understand which one we want to work with. I think that’s an important step in view of the race. Another significant aspect we would like to improve is our speed over a single lap, but as I said, we gained some pace today and I’m happy with that.”
“Looking at the standings today, you could say we’re quite far back, but actually we’re not bad at all and most importantly, we worked very well on used tyres and have a good rhythm. We still have a small thing to adjust in the electronics setup, but we think we understood where we have to work; if we’re able to sort it out, we’ll have the possibility to improve a lot tomorrow. It seems that with the new asphalt, everything is very, very tight, and it’s more difficult to make a difference. There’s big difference between lapping on new tyres and on old tyres, so we must manage that aspect well.”