Marquez shines in morning before rain affects Friday afternoon practices
As the premier class action on the opening day of the 2014 Gran Premio d’Italia TIM concluded at Mugello, light rain restricted the riders’ activity – with Marc Marquez fastest on Friday courtesy of his FP1 best time.
Some late timed laps in FP2 for the MotoGP™ riders saw Ducati Team’s test rider and wild card this weekend Michele Pirro top with a 2’05.435 in the mixed conditions, with only Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar), Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar) joining him on a relatively meaningless afternoon timesheet.
If it rains again for FP3 the faster times from FP1 will dictate Q1 and Q2 participation and World Champion Marquez led the way in that morning session with a 1’48.004 best time, from Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) who was second by 0.382s.
As his 300th Grand Prix weekend got underway at the circuit where he has enjoyed so much success over the years, Rossi wore a special ‘#thisforSIC58’ message on his leathers in practice on the day that late rider Marco Simoncelli was inducted as a MotoGP™ Legend in a midday ceremony at Mugello.
Meanwhile, Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) made it three Italians in the FP1 top five which was completed by Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP).
The day’s top ten was completed Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team), the aforementioned Bautista and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) courtesy of their respective FP1 times.
Bautista and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) both escaped without serious injuries from big turn 1 crashes in FP1, Espargaro still learning his MotoGP lines at Mugello and Bautista high siding as he slowed to avoid contact with Karel Abraham.
Following the on-track activities at Mugello on Friday, Valentino Rossi was presented with a surprise cake by the Safety Commission to mark his 300th career Grand Prix this weekend.
- Marc Marquez 93 ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’48.004
- Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Yamaha Factory YAMAHA 1’48.386
- Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Pramac Racing DUCATI 1’48.434
- Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 1’48.518
- Jorge Lorenzo 99 ESP Yamaha Factory Racing YAMAHA 1’48.665
- Aleix Espargaro 41 ESP NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 1’48.743
- Stefan Bradl 6 GER LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 1’48.925
- Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR Ducati Team DUCATI 1’48.980
- Alvaro Bautista 19 ESP Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 1’49.030
- Bradley Smith 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’49.030
- Dani Pedrosa 26 ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’49.203
- Pol Espargaro 44 ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’49.308
- Colin Edwards 5 USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 1’49.818
- Michele Pirro 51 ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 1’50.030
- Hiroshi Aoyama 7 JPN Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 1’50.143
- Yonny Hernandez 68 COL Pramac Racing DUCATI 1’50.189
- Karel Abraham 17 CZE Cardion AB Motoracing HONDA 1’50.327
- Scott Redding 45 GBR Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 1’50.440
- Hector Barbera 8 ESP Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI 1’51.396
- Mike Di Meglio 63 FRA Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI 1’52.164
- Michael Laverty 70 GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART & PBM 1’52.748
- Broc Parkes 23 AUS Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 1’53.775
- Nicky Hayden 69 USA Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 1’55.369
Moto2™: Krummenacher fastest in damp final run, Rabat top overall
In the second Moto2™ practice at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM on Friday Randy Krummenacher was the quickest performer on a damp track, in front of Johann Zarco and Mika Kallio on the timesheet – with Tito Rabat fastest on Friday courtesy of the best morning time.
The afternoon pace was affected by light rain and a damp track and was around 17s off the morning pace, with Krummenacher (IodaRacing Project) setting a 2’09.070s best lap to lead by 0.110s from Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) and 0.287s from Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team).
The session brought crashes for Thitipong Warokorn (APH PTT The Pizza SAG) and Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3) who had a heavy high side at Turn 5 and appeared to be holding his right arm in pain after the accident. Warokorn walked away apparently unscathed from his spill.
Standings leader Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team), therefore, ended the day as the fastest Moto2 competitor, with his rapid 1’52.860 coming on used tyres at the end of FP1. For comparison, the Moto2 best pole lap at Mugello is a 1’52.369 time registered by Pol Espargaro in 2012.
Behind Rabat on Friday’s combined timesheet Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), Jonas Folger (AGR Team) and Alex De Angelis (Tasca Racing Moto2) all featured in the overall top five.
Moto3™: Second practice sees Alex Marquez on top
In the Moto3™ FP2 session on Friday afternoon at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM it was Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) who registered the best lap of Mugello, followed by Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) at the top of the timing screens.
The start of the outing was delayed by five minutes, with the red flags being waved due to technical timing problems as the first riders headed out. Light rain at the end of the session saw most riders stop early.
Honda rider Marquez (1’58.713) was top by a 0.001s margin from home rider Fenati on the KTM, with championship leader Miller 0.07s off the top on his KTM as the riders worked on their settings on the first day at Mugello.
Juanfran Guevara (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) on the Kalex KTM and Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) on another KTM completed the top five, with Miguel Oliveira the top Mahindra Racing representative in sixth.
Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo), Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team), Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) and Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) completed the FP2 top ten.
A crash for Scott Deroue (RW Racing GP) on his Kalex-KTM saw him carried away initially but he was ok and went back to his box, though he was unable to return to the track before the end of the session due to damage to his bike.
Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was one of the few riders to improve his FP1 time in the afternoon and was 14th in FP2, but third on the combined timesheet courtesy of the best lap of the morning session.
Andrea Locatelli (San Carlo Team Italia) returned after missing two races due to injury in 17th place overall on day one.
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.”
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).
Valentino Rossi – 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.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 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.”
Massimo Meregalli – 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.”
Bradley Smith – 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.”
Pol Espargaro – 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.”
Aleix Espargaro – 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”.
Colin Edwards – 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”.
Repsol HRC Report
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.
Marc Marquez – 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”
Dani Pedrosa – 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”
A light afternoon rain restricted the track activity during the first day of free practice at Mugello for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix: after the dry morning run, damp conditions has not allowed the riders to continue to work properly on their bikes in the second free practice session. Therefore, at the end of the day the classification remained the one established during the morning, with Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding in ninth and eighteenth position, respectively.
Regardless of the position, Alvaro Bautista is happy with the work carried out in the morning session, despite a fall in the final stages caused by Karel Abraham who was proceeding slow holding the line at Bucine, the fast corner before the start-finish straight. The Spaniard, who therefore was not able to further improve his lap times, felt the same good sensations encountered at Le Mans and is confident ahead of tomorrow. In the afternoon, Bautista completed only a few laps for a quick “shake down” on the bike with which he had the crash earlier in the morning.
His team-mate, Scott Redding, spent the morning session to learn the track – on which , however, he had already made a test on a MotoGP bike in 2012 – and to establish the best feeling with his Honda RCV1000R. The yougn Briton set a best time of 1’50”440.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (9th – 1’49″030) – “This morning I immediately felt comfortable on the bike: we tried different solutions on the rear, looking for a better grip, but overall I’m happy because I managed to keep a good pace. Over the past two years here at Mugello I have always struggled, but this year I have a good feeling, more or less as it happened in Le Mans two weeks ago; this means that the changes we tried during the post-race test at Jerez work also here, and that is really encouragin. Today I definitely could get a better lap time, because I was improving in every sector before the crash: we are a bit disappointed for what happened, because Abraham was proceeding slowly in a dangerous point; I’ve been forced to lean the bike a lot to avoid to touch him and as a result I lost grip and I crashed. Luckily I have no injuries, but it could have been worst. We’ll have to talk again about this topic. In the afternoon the track conditions didn’t allow to do any work on the bike and I completed only a few laps to make sure everything was working on the bike with which I had the crash in the morning”.
SCOTT REDDING (18th – 1’50″440) – “This morning the first free practice session was not too bad for me: it’s been easier for me to learn the track because I’ve already tested a MotoGP bike here in the past. My lap times were all very close and I think that the limit was represented by the softer front tyre: the front was pushing a lot on corner entry and I was losing ground especially in sectors 1 and 3. I wanted to try the harder front tyre in the afternoon, but it was not possible, so we’ll do it tomorrow, together with some small changes on the bike balance”.
FAUSTO GRESINI – “Unfortunately, due to the crash in the final stages of the morning session, Bautista couldn’t improve his lap time, but we know that we have a good potential because today Alvaro was immediately fast. We can improve and we hope that tomorrow the weather will help us to prove it. This also applies to Scott, who spent the morning to get familiar with the bike on a track where he’s always been very strong, already finding with his team some aspects to improve ahead of tomorrow”.
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.”