Round Four – Jerez
Friday Practice Report
Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) went fastest on Friday in the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, but the Italian was by no means lonely at the top as his advantage over reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was just 0.012 by the end of play.
Danilo Petrucci – P1
“I’m happy with how this first day of practice went. I didn’t do a perfect lap, but it was enough to finish on top, and I was quite competitive especially in terms of pace. We made very few changes on the bike, finding a good rhythm also with the hard rear tyre, but FP4 tomorrow will be crucial to finalize the choice of the compounds for the race. Qualifying has been my weak point so far this year, so we’ll keep our guard up. I think tomorrow morning the lap times will drop further, but in the meantime we started off on the right foot. Our goal is to qualify on the first couple of rows on the grid, then to challenge for the podium on Sunday.”
Marc Marquez – P2
“Basically today was a normal Friday, trying to be consistent and working mostly for the race and on our overall pace. I feel good from the beginning and we kept improving. I’m happy but of course we have to keep working, we’ve started well. The new tarmac has great grip. When we came here with the old tarmac there was one setup and now it’s another setup. We started with a good pace so are trying some things and we don’t have the same problems we had in Austin which is helping me to ride constant and exactly like I want. There are many riders who are quick so we have to be careful!”
Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) was third and within a tenth though, with Jerez specialist Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) next up and just 0.039 behind ‘DesmoDovi’.
Andrea Dovizioso – P3
“It’s been a positive opening day, especially in terms of the pace we managed to keep with used tyres and high temperatures, not simply in terms of our overall position. We managed to improve the feeling with the bike as the day went on, and we’re among the frontrunners in terms of rhythm, but I still think Márquez has a small advantage. The standings may not show the whole picture, and anyway track conditions are supposed to further improve in FP3, so we’ll need to keep pushing to gain direct access to Q2 because I expect very narrow gaps. We have some room for improvement in the long, fast corners, where the wind also comes into play, and we’re still trying to find the limit with the new tarmac, as grip levels may change come race time. We need to stay focused.”
Jorge Lorenzo – P4
“This morning we were very strong and I was able to ride how I want and show the potential we have. I was very comfortable and able to make consistent lap times quite easily. In the afternoon we tried a setting on the other bike which wasn’t in the correct direction so we weren’t able to be as fast and it was hotter, which did not help. But we have been able to make good progress already at a track which I like and we are ready for tomorrow.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), meanwhile, was only a further 0.059 back in fifth to make it less than two-tenths covering the top five in a Ducati vs Honda duel for supremacy at the top: a factory rider settling in, last year’s winner, the points leader seeking his first MotoGP podium at the venue, a three-time premier class Jerez winner and the 2019 polesitter. Quite an opening day for the European leg of the season.
Cal Crutchlow – P5
“The track seemed quite greasy in the afternoon, we know the lap times here are always good in the morning. This afternoon was hot and really windy, but it was a positive session considering I didn’t feel very good at all. I had a few problems with my feeling with the bike, we’ll have to look at it tonight as the bike was not working very well on the bumps. Although it’s been resurfaced, it’s really bumpy out there and really easy to make mistakes and, if the bike is not up to it, you can lose a lot of time. So we’ll look at that and try to be more consistent tomorrow. Pole will be difficult, but we just need to make sure we’re in (Q1) tomorrow morning.”
If the initial Honda vs Ducati duel continues into qualifying, there was groundwork laid in FP1. Repsol Honda took a 1-2 and Marquez sat behind Dovizioso for a couple of laps, and in FP2 the numbers 93 and 99 spent some time circulating in tandem as bad luck-struck Lorenzo got straight back into the mix near the front at one of his most successful venues and Marquez followed him around.
But if gaps are the name of the game, the headlines need to expand. Fastest Yamaha Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was third in FP1 and ended the day right in the mix at 0.203 off Petrucci and just 0.008 off Crutchlow, with the Jerez Test’s fastest man, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), for close company and just 0.022 behind on the combined timesheets.
Maverick Vinales – P6
“It was a pretty good day, but, especially in FP2, I could only do two good laps, so there was no time to get into the rhythm and to get used to the bike. It‘s going to be important for tomorrow to make laps and understand the tyres and what the set-up for the race will be like. We have a few issues, so we need to keep working to try and solve them for tomorrow. The track conditions changed so much from FP1 to FP2, so I‘m not sure what to expect for tomorrow. I think a perfect set-up for FP3 won‘t be good for qualifying, because the temperatures change so much, but we‘re going to do our best.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P7
“The winter test was good, as you know, but the track looks like it’s about 80% new tarmac in new condition, so you never know if the settings will be as good from the winter test and we have four different tyres for the front and the rear. Today was a busy day as we had to check our set-up; we chose the bike from the winter test and it worked well, the lap time was good and the feeling was much better than the other bike. The setting looks okay and the pace with the soft front tyre and hard rear is what we want. So overall I’m pretty happy with the first day.”
The second quickest Yamaha – and fastest rookie by a stretch – was Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in P8, and the Frenchman completes a top six split by exactly three-tenths as Jerez shapes up to be a showstopper.
Fabio Quartararo – P8
“Today has been very positive. We’ve tried all of the many compounds for the different tyres and I’m very happy because I feel good with each one of them. We have found both a flying lap time and a consistent pace that is quite good. We will continue working on this tomorrow, but the first impressions are positive. The main difference between how we felt at the preseason test here in Jerez and now, is that in November I had only had 15 days experience with the bike. I’m also satisfied with the new asphalt here. We need to think about our strategy for tomorrow, but the most important thing is to get directly into Q2, which I think is everyone’s goal here. We will have to work hard to set a good lap time in FP3 and give 100% in qualifying.”
Back in action for his first wildcard of the season, meanwhile, Honda test rider and premier class podium finisher Stefan Bradl (HRC Team) took P9 and made it every Honda inside the top ten to further underline their threat in Jerez, with Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) doing similar for Ducati as he completed the top ten, 0.555 off Petrucci. As it stands, they’re the last two with a provisional place in Q2…
Stefan Bradl – P9
“It is nice to be back on track with the HRC Test Team and all of the MotoGP riders as well. Today was good, the weather allowed us to work a lot and make some good progress. There will be a lot of laps of Jerez this weekend but we have started well and are very happy with the lap time. Tomorrow we will look to keep this pace up.”
Jack Miller – P10
“The bike works well and the times are not very indicative. I could have done a lot better on the chrono but I made a small mistake downshifting. Anyway, I’m satisfied because it was a good day also because we went very well in race pace during a good long run.”
In terms of key drama on Day 1, there was a run on for Dovizioso, two crashes for Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and a crash for Hafizh Syahrin (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) after which the Malaysian headed to the medical centre but was cleared to return to action.
Karel Abraham (Reale Avintia Racing) crashed and wildcard Bradley Smith (Aprilia Factory Racing) crashed in FP2, with the Red Flag briefly shown due to track conditions. With only a couple of minutes left on the clock though, it wasn’t enough for more than one more lap.
So if the field can’t improve their laptimes in FP3, who stands to lose out? The biggest name not currently on course to move through to Q2 directly is Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), with the 2016 winner down in P16 after a tough opening day.
Valentino Rossi – P16
“We arrive here in Jerez, where we know we will have to suffer a little, because in the last few years we haven‘t been strong at this track. In fact, it’s like this again. We hope that we can be faster and stronger, but it was a difficult first day. I‘m not very fast and wasn‘t feeling very comfortable with the bike. We tried something in the afternoon, but we didn‘t fix enough. Now we have to check all the data and work hard this evening to try to improve. We don‘t have a particular problem. The bike is like it was in Austin, so it means the marriage between the tyres, the asphalt, and the bike isn‘t fantastic.”
It was also a tough Friday for the man who beat him to the top step at COTA, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), with the Spaniard down in P12 – although he’s already recovered from worse this season and is on a serious roll on Sunday form. Rins hasn’t finished outside the top six since Austria last season – and yes, he’s finished every race.
Alex Rins – P12
“I’m quite happy with today, we focused on bike set-up. At this GP, Michelin have given all the riders four different tyre compounds, so I’ve been trying different combinations of front and rear. The work has gone well today, and I feel that tomorrow will be a good day.”
Aiming to improve alongside them in FP3 are the likes of Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in P11, Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) in P13, fellow rookie Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in P18 and KTM’s Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who finished Day 1 in P14 and just 0.041 ahead of Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).
Franco Morbidelli – P11
“It took us a little longer to find the perfect setup for good grip level this afternoon. We noticed that when the temperature was higher, it was hard for us to feel comfortable and also go fast. We only used the soft tyre in the morning, so in FP2 we weren’t able to do a great time attack either. We worked hard and tested out the different compounds to try to understand the bike more and to adapt to riding in these hot conditions. In terms of the asphalt, Turn 8 is a bit bumpy, but apart from this small detail, the surface is fine. Looking ahead to tomorrow, in FP3 we will try to take a step forward with our flying lap, get into the Top 10 and claim a spot in Q2.”
Pecco Bagnaia – P13
“I wasn’t happy after the FP1 because we couldn’t find a good set-up. Things have been much better in the FP2 as I got on very well with the hard tyre. Unfortunately, the red flag didn’t allow me to make the most of the time attack but I’m still confident.”
Andrea Iannone – P15
“We’re working well. Today I compared the two bikes, which are set up differently, clarifying our ideas on a few aspects. We need to find the right compromise, but I found a better feeling than I expected to. Right now, it seems like we can do more, especially in braking. We need to slow the bike down better. It would be presumptuous to think we can close the gap in one day, so I prefer working on consistent improvements and I think that on this track, we can take a step forward.”
Aleix Espargaro – P17
“I managed to maintain a good pace, doing competitive lap times, but we know that we need to work hard to be consistent over the long distance. On this first day, we tested different solutions on various fronts: frame, electronics and aerodynamics, even putting the deflector on the rear swingarm in the morning session. In the afternoon I lapped without it to give our technicians a chance to compare the data. The temperatures changed a lot during the day, so it will be important to work well in anticipation of the race tomorrow. Even in FP2, with high temperatures, grip on the track was good, thanks to the new asphalt.”
Joan Mir – P18
“I’m satisfied with my work today, but we still have more to do in order to put in some fast laps. I’m still looking for some extra grip so I can push harder for a quick lap. I feel that my pace is strong nevertheless, and my settings are generally feeling good. Tomorrow we’ll keep working and hope to qualify well.”
The gaps from Miller completing the top ten and Mir in P18 are all less than seven-hundredths, however…highlighting the incredible level of competition once again.
MotoGP Friday Practice Combined Times
HDR Heidrun Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro is Friday’s fastest rider in the Moto2 class at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España thanks to his 1:41.819 set in FP1, with the Spaniard spearheading Red Bull KTM Ajo teammates Brad Binder and rookie Jorge Martin.
It’s a welcome return to form for the KTM duo, with Binder having been fastest in the Jerez Test and Martin impressive now he’s back much fitter after surgery, but the top three were split by just 0.116 and Navarro remains on a roll after his first Moto2 podium in Texas…
With scorching track conditions making it difficult for the riders to improve times, it was pretty much as you were from a cooler FP1 in terms of combined timesheets. But Navarro didn’t have it all his own way on Day 1, with a fast crash at Turn 11 at the end of FP2 slightly dampening his spirits – rider ok – and Martin also going down.
Texas winner and veteran campaigner Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) is fourth on the combined times, ahead of Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) in fifth, with both men quicker in FP1 than FP2. The Australian also produced a magical save during FP2 to keep himself upright. He was just 0.002 ahead of Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) though as the timesheets remained tight.
Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP 40) put in an outstanding effort to finish seventh overall and fourth in FP2, despite the Spaniard suffering a fractured wrist in Argentina and missing the Americas GP as a result, with Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) taking P8 as another to impress. Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) completed the top ten.
Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri’s (FlexBox HP 40), meanwhile, saw his day go from bad to worse in the afternoon. Two bike problems and two crashes across FP1 and FP2 leave the man at the top of the standings with some work to do on Saturday to move up from P11 and equal his pole position from last year. He’s just aheaad of rookie NTS RW Racing GP rider Bo Bendsneyder, with Italtrans Racing Team duo Andrea Locatelli and rookie Enea Bastianini completing the fastest fourteen and the provisional Q2 graduates.
Moto2 Friday Practice Combined Times
|17||F.Di Giannanto Ita||1’42.482||1’42.560||0.663|
Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took Friday honours in the Moto3 class at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, putting in a 1:46.795 in FP2 to edge teammate Tatsuki Suzuki by just under a tenth.
Reigning FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Champion and rookie Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) locked out the top three in an impressive day on home turf, just half a tenth in further arrears.
Friday in Jerez saw sunny skies allow maximum track time at the largely resurfaced venue, and it was all change in FP2 for Antonelli and Suzuki as the duo moved up from P21 and P26 respectively. But most of the action took place in the final 20 minutes, with FP1’s fastest John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) suffering a crash at Turn 1 with just under 20 minutes of FP2 remaining and the last eight minutes of tracktime for the day then getting busy with time attacks as riders scrambled to secure a place in the top 14 and provisional entry to Q2.
Fernandez was undoubtedly one of the most impressive on Friday to take third, edging out the aforementioned McPhee who was fourth overall with his laptime from FP1. Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), currently second in the Championship although equal on points with leader Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai), completed the top five at the venue where he took his first Grand Prix win back in 2017. Fellow former winner Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) also took his first World Championship victory at the track in 2012 and won again in 2014, ending Day 1 sixth quickest in 2019.
Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 rider Gabriel Rodrigo was seventh overall and split the two VNE Snipers riders, with Tony Arbolino just losing out to the Argentine rider by 0.003 seconds. It was a case of taking it in turns for the two teams as Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 rookie Riccardo Rossi finished Friday in ninth despite a crash; his laptime the one that put him third set in the morning session. Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) locked out the top ten.
The final four who would move through with a provisional place in Q2 are Championship leader Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai), Qatar winner Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia), rookie Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) and veteran Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP).
Moto3 Friday Practice Combined Times
|18||L.Dalla Porta Ita||1’47.479||1’47.985||0.684|
2019 MotoGP – Round Three
MotoGP Championship Points Standings
|1.||Dovizioso Andrea||Ducati Team||54|
|2.||Rossi Valentino||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||51|
|3.||Rins Alex||Team Suzuki Ecstar||49|
|4.||Marquez Marc||Repsol Honda Team||45|
|5.||Petrucci Danilo||Ducati Team||30|
|6.||Miller Jack||Alma Pramac Racing||29|
|7.||Nakagami Takaaki||LCR Honda||22|
|8.||Crutchlow Cal||LCR Honda||19|
|9.||Espargaro Pol||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||18|
|10.||Quartararo Fabio||Petronas Yamaha SRT||17|
|11.||Morbidelli Franco||Petronas Yamaha SRT||16|
|12.||Vinales Maverick||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||14|
|13.||Espargaro Aleix||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||13|
|14.||Bagnaia Francesco||Alma Pramac Racing||9|
|15.||Mir Joan||Team Suzuki Ecstar||8|
|16.||Oliveira Miguel||KTM Tech3 Racing||7|
|17.||Lorenzo Jorge||Repsol Honda Team||7|
|18.||Iannone Andrea||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||6|
|19.||Zarco Johann||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||5|
|20.||Rabat Tito||Reale Avintia Racing||1|
|21.||Syahrin Hafizh||KTM Tech3 Racing||0|
|22.||Abraham Karel||Reale Avintia Racing||0|
|23.||Smith Bradley||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||0|