Friday at the Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini belonged to two men: Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT). Split by just 0.057 on the combined timesheets, the two topped a session each as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) ended the day in third and over three tenths down. It was a sunny first day on the Riviera di Rimini, and it was pretty sunny for Yamaha too as the Iwata marque had all four bikes in the top five. Home hero Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was just behind Marquez, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in fifth to leave the number 93 the sole non-Yamaha in the top five.
After Quartararo kicked things off in FP1 to edge out the reigning Champion, it was Marquez who was the early leader in FP2 as the Championship leader got straight down to business, closing down the rookie’s FP1 advantage to just 0.018 on the combined timesheets to head the afternoon session by over four-tenths. The likes of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) had jumped into the overall top ten in the early stages of FP2, with Morbidelli and Rossi also improving on their FP1 times.
The afternoon then went quiet in terms of personal best times, the riders getting some valuable work done on different tyres to see what their preference will be for Sunday’s race. But with just over ten minutes remaining – and after a couple of close front-end moments – Quartararo was yet to improve his FP1 time and so was Viñales. The traditional FP2 time attack was forthcoming, however, and with eight minutes to go, we had plenty of movement.
Rossi moved into P3 overall on his first flying run on the soft rear, but teammate Viñales would move the goalposts at the top as a 1:32.775 saw the Spaniard leap over three tenths clear. Quartararo was on a personal best behind, but the rookie sensation wasn’t quite able to match Viñales’ time as the 20-year-old went a tenth off. The Ducati Team riders had a quiet morning but both Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso then found a way into the top ten., with Viñales looking like he had P1 in the bag as the flag dropped.
Quartararo, however, was on a fast one. Personal best sectors were set by the Frenchman but at the line, it wasn’t quite enough as he ended the day 0.057 in arrears – barely anything splitting the two Yamahas. Marquez failed to improve and stayed P3, with Rossi and Morbidelli completing the top five.
Sixth was a headline in itself as Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) impressed in P6 in both FP1 and FP2, ending the day ahead of Ducati Team’s Michele Pirro. The Italian slipped from P4 in FP1 to P7 at the end of play after failing to go quicker in FP2, but the test rider remains the fastest Ducati on track so far. Petrucci sits just behind him in P8, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) – P5 in FP1 – claiming P9 on Friday thanks to his morning time. Last year’s winner Dovizioso occupies the last provisional automatic Q2 place in P10 heading into Saturday – not an easy day for the man second in the Championship.
It’s Silverstone winner Alex Rins and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) who just lost out on the top ten on Friday, but it’s just 0.6 that splits Dovi in P10 to Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in P21. It’s all to play for in the fight for an automatic Q2 place in FP3, so make sure you tune in for that at 09:55 local time (GMT+2) on Saturday morning. Will Yamaha continue to reign at Misano on qualifying?
The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team duo of Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli have made a speedy start to action at the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, ending the opening day of track action at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli second and fifth respectively on the time sheets.
Fastest two weeks ago at a test at the Misano track, Quartararo wasted no time getting back into the swing of things despite less favourable track conditions, ending this morning’s FP1 session fastest and coming home second overall at the end of the day. Still hoping to make some steps forward tomorrow as he works to compensate for the reduced grip level, he’s confident going into qualifying that he’ll be once again right in the mix.
Building on his own successful third place finish at the test, Morbidelli was also able to quickly find a comfortable feeling with his Yamaha YZR-M1 to finish the day fifth. Working to learn how the bike reacts over race distance instead of concentrating on one-lap speed, he’s nonetheless also happy that he’ll be able to up his pace in qualifying.
Action continues at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli tomorrow with free practice at 0955 local time (1555 Malaysian time) and qualifying at 1410 local time (2010 Malaysian time), ahead of Sunday’s 27-lap San Marino Grand Prix at 1400 local time (2000 Malaysian time).
Fabio Quartararo: “It was a positive first day for us. This morning we tried some set-up elements that didn’t feel so good, but we got it right towards the end. I was able to get going strongly in the second session to see how the tyres react in higher temperatures and after a few laps. I felt comfortable and I’m having fun on the bike, and that’s resulting in me riding nice and smoothly. The time attack is still my weak point, but we can improve in tomorrow morning’s practice, with the target to qualify in the front two rows. It’s been a good Friday for Yamaha, with four riders in the top five. It’ll be important to understand the grip levels tomorrow before we know for sure what result we can achieve on Sunday.”
“It was a positive day, although the track was quite tricky with much less grip than we had during the test. I think we need to wait a little bit, because the Moto2 and Moto3 riders will help us to clean the track and the more rubber on the surface the better. In the end we had not bad pace with soft tyres, and there’s still a little bit to go as we develop our settings. I’m a little slower than I was at the test, but I’m not the only rider in the same situation. I had a few small moments on the front today, but every time it happens I learn, because it’s helping me to better understand the limit of the tyre.”
San Marino Grand Prix: Danilo Petrucci eighth and Andrea Dovizioso tenth on Day 1 of free practice at Misano. Seventh place for Michele Pirro, entered as a wild-card for this race with the Ducati Test Team
At the end of the first two practice sessions for the San Marino Grand Prix, scheduled to be held this weekend at the Misano World Circuit, all three factory Ducati riders finished the day inside the top 10 in the standings, with Pirro seventh, Petrucci eighth and Dovizioso in tenth position.
Both Petrucci and Dovizioso recorded their best times in the FP2 session in the afternoon, while Pirro set his fastest time this morning but was then unable to improve in the second session.
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 1’33.728 (8th)
“Today we weren’t entirely satisfied because we are still struggling to get the best out of the tyres, and even with the soft option, which I put on at the end of the second session, I was unable to make a significant improvement on my time. However, we’ve got some ideas about how to improve the situation and now we’ll have a good look at the data of both sessions in order to see what direction to take for tomorrow.”
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 1’33.826 (10th)
“This morning we started off pretty slowly because we knew that the track conditions were not particularly favourable for us and we did several tests with the set-up, which in my opinion went in the right direction because my feeling improved over the two sessions. We are not yet amongst the quickest riders but we’re getting there bit by bit: for sure there’s a lot more work to do but we have some ideas about how to improve the bike tomorrow.”
Michele Pirro (#51 Ducati Test Team) – 1’33.704 (7th)
“Today we got back a bit of the feeling and the speed that we had in the test at the end of August: there are still certain aspects of the bike we have to work on because we are still missing something, but in the two sessions we brought home some useful information, and in any case both this morning and this afternoon my times were in line with those of the other Ducatis.”
The Ducati Team riders will be back on track tomorrow, Saturday 14th September, at 09.55 (CET) for the third free practice session, while qualifying will be held after FP4, starting from 14.10 (CET).
OUTSTANDING TOP TEN FOR ALEIX ON THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE AT MISANO
ANDREA IMPROVES FROM ONE SESSION TO THE NEXT BUT MUST RECKON WITH A BAD SHOULDER AFTER A CRASH IN THE MORNING
The first day of practice at Misano in anticipation of the GP race on Sunday had Aprilia improving with Aleix Espargaró finishing out the day in the top ten.
It is a nice result that came after an outstanding FP1 morning session where Aleix finished with the fifth best time at 1’33.762. Encouraged by this result, Aleix worked mainly thinking about the race in the second session, testing setups and tyres at the same time of day as the race. He did not improve on his times, stopping the clock at 1’34.062, but his position in the combined standings was an encouraging ninth place.
Andrea, on the other hand, managed to improve by more than six tenths from one session to the next, finishing FP2 with a time of 1’34.381, not far from Aleix but outside the top ten. Compromising Andrea’s improved performance was a crash in the morning. The blow to his shoulder, which had already troubled him in the past, kept him from finding the good feeling with his RS-GP that he had demonstrated in the tests last week.
“To be honest, I felt much better than in the tests and, despite doing my fast lap in FP1, the most interesting session was FP2. In fact, in the afternoon we worked with the race in mind, using the medium tyre on the rear and with good results. In view of the very tight standings, in FP3 tomorrow everyone will be giving it their all to go straight through to Q2. It will be difficult, but this is a special race for Aprilia. I want to give it a go and at the end of the day today, I’m optimistic.”
“Undoubtedly a difficult day. I did not find that good feeling I had in the tests ten days ago. We still don’t know if it has to do with the track conditions, but the data clearly shows that we are unable to slow down and accelerate like we should. The crash this morning complicates our weekend, because now I have pain in a shoulder which had already given me problems in past seasons.”
MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA ARE ON THE MARK IN FIRST MISANO FP SESSIONS
Misano Adriatico (Italy), 13th September 2019
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales continued his good feeling from the Misano Test at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli today. The number-12 rider left a strong impression, securing first position in the FP2 and combined Friday free practice timesheets. Valentino Rossi also got a lot of work done in the perfectly sunny two sessions, ending the day in fourth place.
Viñales enjoyed a positive start to his San Marino GP campaign. He set a 1’35.715s first flying lap for provisional second place. He gradually improved his time, setting a 1‘33.599s at the end of that same run, which kept him inside the top 3 for the entire duration of the session. With a good lap in the bag, the Yamaha man used the remaining FP1 time for two further runs in which he improved in sector one, two, and four. He ended the session in third place, 0.446s from first.
The Spaniard kept his usual focus in the afternoon. Showing the same competitive pace he had in the morning, he took a top-2 spot early on in the session again and then continued working on his bike‘s set-up. Thanks to this tweaking, he was able to post three 1‘32s laps in the last-minute showdown. He dropped a 1‘32.775s lap for first place both in the FP2 and the combined timesheets, with a 0.057s advantage over his closest rival.
The grandstands of the Misano track were already filled with fans eager to see their hero Rossi in action. However, the Doctor had a lot on his plate in the morning, focusing on confirming the feedback on testing items used at the Misano Test. He clocked multiple 1‘34s laps, but also had five of them cancelled. His best lap, set on run two, a 1‘34.182s, put him in ninth place, with a 1.029s margin to first.
The Italian had the goal to get higher up the rankings in the afternoon, for a solid placement within the combined free practice top 10. Motivated by the cheers of the fans, both in the paddock and from the grandstands, he found a way to climb up the FP2 order. He saved the best for his last run, posting a 1‘33.470s on his first flying lap on soft-soft tyres in the final minutes of the session. The lap put him in fourth place in the combined and FP2 results, 0.695s from today‘s fastest time, set by his team-mate.
After today’s positive results, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team take this moment to reminisce on a special race that happened 55 years ago today. On 13 September 1964, British racing icon Phil Read won his fifth 250cc race of the season aboard the Yamaha RD56, at the Monza circuit in Italy, taking Yamaha to their first World Championship victory.
“The test here in Misano two weeks ago served as a basis for the work we focused on today. We were able to confirm the data we collected back then by trying some of the testing items once more. During the test, we also saw that the Yamaha is strong in Misano, but at the same time we knew from last year‘s race that we suffer from quite severe tyre degradation in hotter temperatures here. Today we had hot conditions, so this allowed us to tackle this issue. This is important, because we expect the race to have similar weather conditions on Sunday: hot and sunny. The work we‘ve done today had a very positive outcome because the bike is competitive, even with today’s slippery track conditions. We have Maverick topping the timesheets early on in the weekend and Vale is also within the top 4. This is a good starting point, though naturally we‘ll keep pushing our hardest for bigger and better things.”
“Honestly, today I tried to keep the good feeling from the test going, because we worked in a really good way. For sure it was very difficult because the track was very slippery today, but somehow I was still able to hit the lap times, so I’m quite happy and enthusiastic for that reason. Anyway, there’s still a lot of work to do. For sure we, with two or three riders, are a little bit ahead of the competition, but they will come to our level, so we need to keep working and see what we can improve. The track felt difficult today because it’s very slippery, especially on the initial laps on the tyre, but we’ll see. We only tried the medium tyre, never the hard or a long run on the softs, so tomorrow we will see more properly.”
“Today the Yamaha feels very fast, also with different configurations between us and the Petronas team for example. It looks like our bike is very competitive, we have good grip and good acceleration, and this is so positive. For me personally we still have a lot of work to do, because I don’t feel fantastic with the balance, with the setting. I need a bit more grip, but it’s a good Friday and to have all the Yamahas in front is great, so we will try to continue like this.”
TOP 10 FOR CRUTCHLOW AS SAN MARINO ACTION STARTS
PRESS RELEASE: 13 September 2019 | Misano GP Practice
Cal Crutchlow claimed a spot in the top 10 on the opening day of free practice for the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider is sporting the legendary oil manufacturer’s famous red, white and green colours this weekend as part of their ongoing sponsorship association.
Under cloudy but sunny skies in Rimini, Crutchlow – like the rest of the MotoGP field – struggled with grip issues for much of Friday. After finishing 16th in FP1, the Briton did improve to secure tenth spot in FP2 and put himself provisionally on course for a place in Q2 tomorrow. However, he admits he must improve his feeling with the bike if he is to challenge at the front this weekend.
Cal Crutchlow – 10th
(1’33.907 – lap 17 of 19)
“I’m struggling with the grip of the track, same as everybody else. We need to improve, we need to improve my feeling with the bike as you can see from what Marc (Marquez) is doing, even Jorge (Lorenzo) is going a bit faster this weekend than I am really. I just don’t have great feeling at the minute, with the tyres or the bike. Maybe it’s not the bike, it might be my feeling with the setting of the bike, but we need to improve. But I’ll try my best and the team are trying, they’ve done many things with the bike already this weekend and after the test here. The problem is that the grip is so low compared to last year and my bike doesn’t turn very well compared to last year’s bike. I’m struggling at the moment, but we’ll do our best to improve tonight and for tomorrow.”
Tough opening for Oliveira and Syahrin in Misano
Following his tendon injury on his right shoulder caused by his unfortunate crash during the British GP, Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira grit his teeth throughout Friday at the San Marino round to eventually finish the first two practice sessions just 1.587 seconds behind the top, although he was forced to sit out the two days test at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli a few days ago.
On the other side of the Red Bull KTM Tech3 garage, Hafizh Syahrin used FP1 and FP2 to improve his confidence. Thereby, the Malaysian lowered his lap time significantly by 1.245 seconds from the morning to the afternoon session to conclude day one half a second behind his teammate, ahead of tomorrow’s Free Practice 3, which is set to commence at 9.55 local time.
“The first day here in Misano for me was a bit of a step back because of my injury, but also the fact that we missed the test here, means we MISS a lot of references. I just have to ride and build my reference on the laps. At the moment, the power in my shoulder and the stability is a bit of an issue, so I will try to recover tonight and try to understand if it gets better tomorrow with exercise. Hopefully we can find a little bit more speed tomorrow in order to be closer to the front.
“This Friday was really difficult for me. I didn’t have the same feeling as during the test and obviously also not the same pace, which left me a bit confused. I hope, that we can improve tomorrow on the second day. We know where we need to go, but we still have to find out, which is the best way to improve the bike and also myself. Sector three is a huge weak point at the moment, so let’s see what we can do.”
Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini
MotoGP 2019 Round 13
Marquez and Lorenzo enjoy constant Friday improvements in Misano
Battling through the Misano heat, Marc Marquez ended the day as the third fastest rider while teammate Jorge Lorenzo found significant gains between sessions.
Without a cloud in sight, the Repsol Honda Team enjoyed a productive first day at the San Marino GP with an ambient temperature of 26°C and a track temperature of as high as 41°C in the afternoon. As a result of the earlier Misano test, the Repsol Honda Team were able to quickly establish a base setting and begin working on further refinements to meet the demands of the changing grip levels.
Marc Marquez continued to demonstrate the confidence aboard his Repsol Honda Team RC213V which has seen him open up a 78-point World Championship lead as he spent almost the entirety of Friday inside the top two. Able to steadily improve his time during the course of the day, Marquez and his team are pleased with what they achieved on Friday as they continue to focus their attentions on Sunday’s race. A best time of 1’33.171 ultimately saw the reigning champion end the day in third, 0.396s from Viñales.
Completing almost 40 laps across the two Free Practice sessions, Jorge Lorenzo was able to further assess his physical condition and deepen his understanding of the Honda RC213V around the Misano track. Improving his fastest lap time by over one second from FP1 to FP2, Lorenzo’s late 1’34.139 in Free Practice 2 saw him conclude the day in 17th overall and within one and a half seconds of the fastest time.
Running at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli resumes at 09:55 Local Time on Saturday, September 14, with Free Practice 3 – the final chance the riders have to enter the top ten to advance straight to Q2.
“Today was not so bad, it was quite similar to during the test with the Yamahas being strong and especially Quartararo and Viñales. Everyone is strong after the test. Anyway, we are continuing to work hard and find the best solution to improve on the small areas we need to. Like always, we spent the day trying things like different tyres and making the most of the track time. I am happy with what we have done so far.”
“I am pleased with how today went, especially in the afternoon we were able to make a clear step forward. Compared to Silverstone we are closer to the front and also I am in less pain. We were able to improve the rear grip which helped a lot with the conditions today. Tomorrow we will look to improve our overall pace to keep closing the distance and improving.”