MotoGP, WSBK & MotoA’ Quote Machine Friday


Miller, Bagnaia, Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro split by 0.068 at Motegi

Miller tops the title rivals, Marquez fifth in a top ten covered by 0.288 on Friday
Friday, 23 September 2022

Jack Miller set the pace in a Ducati Lenovo Team one-two in an extended opening practice session at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, but it could hardly have been closer at the top as Miller headed the three closest in the title fight: Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) – and all four were split by just 0.068. Aragon GP winner Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), on the other hand, was just 14th-fastest after a late crash and he’ll be looking for more on Saturday.

With a special timetable in place for the Japanese GP, the premier class’s sole Friday practice session was an extended, 75-minute affair. While that gave teams and riders plenty of flexibility to work on race runs, the threat of rain in Saturday morning’s FP2 session, the only other running before the starting order for Q1 is set, meant that there was always going to be a big emphasis on single-lap pace. Even the appearance of the rain flag, 30 minutes in, for some very light showers was not enough to dissuade anyone, with riders coming on for fresh Michelin slicks at regular intervals.

Miller had a very brief spell at the top inside the first quarter-hour of the session, but it was not until his final run that he really laid down a marker. The ‘Thriller’ leapt from 17th to first with a 1:44.660 as he lapped Motegi with a brand-new soft front tyre and soft rear. Then, despite seemingly being held up by Team Suzuki Ecstar replacement Takuya Tsuda through the Hairpin, he went quicker again with the 1:44.509 which would not be beaten. Just for good measure, Miller clocked a 1:44.549 next time through which would be bettered only by Bagnaia.

By the time everyone had completed their time attacks, Miller was back on top, Bagnaia just behind, and Quartararo moved up with a 1:44.558. Aleix Espargaro, who was only 14th with a minute to go before the chequered flag came out, then pulled out a great lap to end the session fourth and just 0.068 seconds off the very best pace.

Fifth was also a fair bit to write home about as Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), who has never ridden around Motegi on a MotoGP™ bike before, rounded out the top five on a 1:44.645 and was top Independent Team rider to boot.

Then comes Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). At Honda’s home track, the number 93 claimed sixth with a 1:44.656 after also proving the initial pace-setter very early in the session. It was an encouraging result for the eight-time World Champion despite displaying obvious shoulder soreness when he got off his RC213V at the end of one run, in what is his second round back following surgery on his right arm. There was one mishap for MM93 though, when he got his leathers snagged on the onboard camera as a crew member wheeled his bike back into the Honda box. Teammate Pol Espargaro finished seventh on a 1:44.678.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira took eighth and ninth, respectively, while Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) rounded out the top 10.

Those who will be hoping weather forecasts of rain on Saturday morning don’t come true include Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) in 11th and Bastianini in 14th. Both had late crashes, Zarco at Turn 7 after Bastianini had gone down at Turn 5, and for the latter it could prove to be a big blow to the title hopes which he had breathed life back into with his win just five days ago at Aragon. Splitting them in 13th was Alex Rins, who debuted some eye-catching new aerodynamic pieces (pictured below) on the tail unit of his Team Suzuki Ecstar entry.

There’s just one more session before we find out for sure who is going straight into Q2 and who will be fighting to get out of Q1. Don’t miss FP2 on Saturday from 10:50 (GMT +9), before qualifying then gets underway at the later local time of 15:05. 3 riders within 17 points make grid positions more vital than ever…


Lecuona leads Rinaldi and Razgatlioglu in Friday Free Practice
The Spanish Rookie topped the combined timesheets in a strong showing from Honda
Friday highlights – WorldSBK

P1 – Iker Lecuona (Team HRC)

Lecuona led FP1, half a second quicker than the rest of the field. Despite being 12th in the afternoon session, his fastest lap from FP1 allowed him to keep first place in the timings.
He set his lap time on the soft ‘SCQ style’ front tyre in the morning session and was not able to improve in the afternoon session.

“P1 on this first day is not 100% real but it’s true that I have the speed. I worked alone all day. In the morning, in FP1, I put the SCQ tyre on because we need some data for the Superpole Race. I also used the SCX where my lap time is three tenths slower than Toprak and Rinaldi. I go close, I go alone, and I feel confident. In FP2, I worked for the race. I used just one set of tyres, the SC0, so the hard one just because Rinaldi won here last year by three seconds using it. We want to try. I feel good, I feel strong. We will see. Alvaro went very fast; I checked his pace and it was amazing. I’m very close to Jonny. We will see tomorrow, with the weather conditions, anything can happen. In Superpole, the realistic goal is to stay in the first two rows for the first time. I think I have the speed. In the race, I feel confident and strong, and my pace is similar to Jonny. I know Kawasaki struggle here a lot. Maybe we have the chance to fight for the podium.”

P2 – Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati)

Rinaldi was the lead Ducati rider in second in the combined classification.
He set his fastest time in the morning session, 0.535s behind Lecuona’s best time.

“It was a different Friday because the forecast for this weekend is strange, it looks like it will rain. So, we had to try every tyre that Pirelli bring us only in two sessions. This was our plan, not working too much on the set up or the electronic. In the end, we improved a little bit in those area. This morning, we tried the SCX and then B0800 rear tyre and this afternoon, I used only one set of tyrse to try to make race distance. I’m really happy about our pace and our speed but of course we can always improve a little bit. I think we are quite consistent.”

P3 – Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)

Razgatlioglu’s best time of 1’41.991s meant he was third overall at the end of Friday.
He wasn’t able to improve his best time in the afternoon, being only sixth in FP2.

“It was a good Friday for me. In every session, we tried to find a good set up for the race. But tomorrow, I think it will rain, and we will need to try some new set ups. We’re happy. The Ducati are very fast, but we’ll keep fighting in the race. For me, it’s a positive Friday. In FP2, we tried this new set up and I tried the shorter race simulation and I understood what was working or not. It was good to find the set up for this race. The afternoon was very positive. It looks like we are ready to race, our pace is not bad. I think we’ll be fighting for the win again.”

P4 – Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati)

Bautista was quicker in the afternoon session, setting a best time of 1’42.018s putting him in fourth place overall.
He ran a 15-lap race run at the start of FP2, 14 of them were in the 1’42s – most of them in the middle.

“Things have been very positive because we could do both practice in dry conditions. At the end of FP2, there were some drop of rain, but it didn’t change our plans. I’m happy with the feeling of the bike. In the morning, we tried different front tyres and also the rear from Magny-Cours. With the rear, I didn’t have the same feeling as in Magny-Cours. With the front, I didn’t really have good feedback in the morning but in the afternoon, we came back to our front base tyre and I felt much better. We also tried the SCX tyre and I tried to manage the tyre to do many laps in a row. The feeling was not bad. We worked a lot with the electronics, to use less power and a bit more TC control, to save the life of the tyre more than looking at the performance. We were consistent for 15 laps without destroying the tyre. So I’m happy because I’ve felt good also on the front.”

P5 – Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK)

Rea finished fifth overall, only 0.040s behind Bautista’s best time, and 0.662s behind Lecuona.
He also did a 15-lap race run but was only into the 1’42s on four laps, with the final two of them being towards the high end.

“Friday was not so bad. I was working a lot to try and understand the tyre. We know Barcelona is a difficult track. There is always some tyre drop. The first lap is always very fast and the last lap have some drops. So it was trying to understand the bike in different situations. In the afternoon, I was able to do a longer run to understand where that was coming, how we could adapt the bike for FP3 tomorrow. You never know if the rain is coming here. Let’s say in the wet it’s more of a lottery, because you can have wet, wet-wet, you can have drying wet, wet with drying line, … you never know how to deal the perfect set up. In the dry it’s clearer, you understand from Friday where you’re going to be, things to work on. But we’ll try to make the best possible.”

P6 – Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK)

Locatelli was sixth overall, but was third in FP2, just 0.067s from the top time.

“I’m really happy about the first day. The feeling with the bike was immediately really good, especially in FP1. Today, the feeling was a bit different in FP2 and also it wasn’t easy to do a lap time. But again, the feeling was not so bad and I think we have a good base set up here in Barcelona, especially after the test here in August. We worked very well, we were really fast here. Today I’m really happy and I have a lot of confidence with the bike so I want to continue on this line. Tomorrow we have the first race and it will be important to be in front. I think in the last rounds, we understood a bit more about the bike and also how we can do to use the new tyre, it was a difficult moment but today we have a good reference and we understand much.”

To note:

Xavi Vierge (Team HRC) was also impressive as he was fifth in FP2, finishing in seventh place overall.

Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) was the lead BMW rider in 10th place.

WorldSBK action resumes on Saturday from 09:00 (Local Time), followed by Tissot Superpole at 11:10 and Race 1 at 14:00.


Petersen Breaks Barber Track Record, Earns Provisional Pole
Action-Packed Day Leading Into This Weekend’s Finale At Barber Motorsports Park

BIRMINGHAM, AL (September 23, 2022) – To say that Cameron Petersen likes Barber Motorsports Park would be a gross understatement. Petersen, who won his first career MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike race here a year ago in a rainstorm, arrives in Alabama every year brimming with confidence. Well, that confidence level just skyrocketed today with provisional pole position and a new lap record of the 2.380-mile circuit.

Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Petersen was fast from the get-go, breaking the lap record in Free Practice 1 this morning before bettering that effort in Q1 with his 1:22.323 lap on his 18th go-around. The lap put him .595 of a second ahead of Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz.

“As long as I keep breaking it, I’m happy with that,” Petersen said when reminded his first lap record didn’t last long. “Honestly, I’m pretty damn surprised by that. Obviously, the track was a little bit more greasy this afternoon, but this bike is working so good. It’s crazy. I can’t take all the credit. The bike isn’t doing anything wrong and it’s allowing me to push to that level. I’m having fun.”

While Petersen had a perfect day, Gagne did not. With just a few laps under his belt in Q1, Gagne’s Yamaha YZF-R1 gave up the ghost and denied the defending MotoAmerica Medallia Superbike Champion any chance of a quicker lap.

Still, he was third fastest with his best lap coming on lap four, his 1:23.310 some two-tenths quicker than Tytlers Cycle Racing’s PJ Jacobsen, the New Yorker 1.5 seconds slower than Petersen’s best.

Fifth went to Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Danilo Petrucci with the Italian having a dreadful day on the Panigale V4 R. Although the bike had the same setup as when he’d run at lap-record pace during a test here in May, Petrucci was left scratching his head and in fifth with a best of 1:24.177 – 1.8 seconds slower than Petersen. Junior Cup – Yaakov Leads ‘Em

Altus Motorsports’ Kayla Yaakov picked up where she left off with the fastest lap of Barber Motorsports Park in Friday’s Q1 session. Yaakov, who dominated a wet race two at NJMP a few weeks ago, lapped at 1:36.243 to best Bauce Racing/JL62’s Joe LiMandri Jr. by .140 of a second and championship points leader Cody Wyman on his Alpha Omega Kawasaki Ninja 400 by .199 of a second.

The top nine Junior Cuppers completed the session within a second of Yaakov.

Supersport – The Champ On Top

Newly crowned MotoAmerica Supersport Champion Josh Herrin earned provisional pole position on his Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC Panigale V2, besting Landers Racing’s Rocco Landers by just .106 of a second with both riders doing their best on their 13th laps of Q1.

Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Tyler Scott was third fastest, half a second off Herrin’s best.

Unfortunately, four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes was knocked out of the season finale after just the sixth lap of Free Practice 1 when he was highsided from his Squid Hunter Yamaha YZF-R6 and suffered a broken left ankle. Hayes was set to go for a record-setting 87th AMA race win this weekend.

Yuasa Stock 1000 – Alexander!

Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Corey Alexander wrapped up the Yuasa Stock 1000 Championship a few weeks ago in New Jersey. Today, in Alabama, Alexander was again on top – this time in Friday’s Q1.

Alexander’s best was a 1:24.712 and that put him .393 of a second faster than his teammate Travis Wyman. Third fastest was Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim.

REV’IT! Twins Cup – De Keyrel’s Friday

Veloce Racing’s Kaleb De Keyrel won’t get the chance to run the number-one plate in 2023 after losing out in this year’s championship. But he’s trying to squeeze the most out of that number one while he’s still got it as he earned provisional pole position for the REV’IT! Twins Cup season finale.

De Keyrel’s 1:29.398 topped Robem Engineering’s Teagg Hobbs by .483 of a second with Hobbs’ teammate Ben Gloddy ending the day third fastest.

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