Marc Marquez was the pace setter in MotoGP™ FP2 at Jerez from Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Dovizioso, but Espargaro was Friday’s fastest rider overall.
Repsol Honda’s World Champion Marquez – who is participating in his 100th Grand Prix – led the way in the later practice at the Gran Premio bwin de España with a 1’39.757, though neither he nor his rivals were able to match Espargaro’s 1’39.357 morning best.
NGM Forward Racing’s Espargaro was second quickest in the afternoon, trailing Marquez by 0.216s as the track temperature in the south of Spain rose to 53°C. The third best rider in FP2 was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), who was 0.271s behind Marquez.
In fourth place on the FP2 timesheet was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi (0.368s) who was just ahead of his colleague Jorge Lorenzo – the latter reaching the 200 Grand Prix milestone this weekend.
Completing the afternoon top ten were Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar), whilst there were crashes for Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar), Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) – though none were seriously hurt.
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) returned to action in 15th on the timesheet but was able to complete 16 laps in FP2 despite his hand injury.
Aleix Espargaro 41 ESP NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 1’39.357
Jorge Lorenzo 99 ESP Yamaha Factory Racing YAMAHA 1’39.714
Marc Marquez 93 ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’39.757
Dani Pedrosa 26 ESP Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1’39.860
Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 1’40.028
Valentino Rossi 46 ITA Yamaha Factory YAMAHA 1’40.125
Alvaro Bautista 19 ESP Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 1’40.560
Stefan Bradl 6 GER LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 1’40.644
Yonny Hernandez 68 COL Pramac Racing DUCATI 1’40.686
Andrea Iannone 29 ITA Pramac Racing DUCATI 1’40.742
Bradley Smith 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’40.758
Nicky Hayden 69 USA Drive M7 Aspar HONDA 1’40.788
Pol Espargaro 44 ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 1’41.918
Michele Pirro 51 ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 1’40.924
Hector Barbera 8 ESP Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI 1’40.928
Colin Edwards 5 USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA 1’41.252
Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR Ducati Team DUCATI 1’41.353
Scott Redding 45 GBR Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA 1’41.374
Karel Abraham 17 CZE Cardion AB Motoracing HONDA 1’41.578
Danilo Petrucci 9 ITA IodaRacing Project IODA-SUTER 1’41.589
Michael Laverty 70 GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART & PBM 1’41.914
Broc Parkes 23 AUS Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 1’42.171
Mike Di Meglio 63 FRA Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI 1’42.220
Moto2™: Simeon quickest in final session whilst Rabat best on combined times
Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) was the top man in Moto2™ FP2 at the Gran Premio bwin de España, with Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) second, Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) third and Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) fastest overall on Friday.
A lap of 1’43.752 meant Simeon was just 0.088s faster than Cortese in second, whilst Cortese’s fellow Kalex rider Takaaki Nakagami was a 0.239s behind the FP2 leader.
However high track temperatures meant that none of the top 11 riders improved their FP1 times. Rabat led the way on combined times with a 1’43.486s from the cooler morning session.
Rabat continued his strong practice form in fourth and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag CarXpert) was fifth, both riders involved in FP2 incidents with Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), resulting in some heated gestures.
The top ten in FP2 also included Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing), Jonhann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham), Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3) and Moto2 Rookie Jonas Folger (AGR Team).
Just one second separated the top 18 riders in FP2 as Moto2 continued to prove its competitiveness. Maverick Viñales (Pons HP 40) and Alex De Angelis (Tasca Racing Moto2) both suffered crashes but were able to walk away unhurt.
Azlan Shah (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) also crashed at Turn 4 in the closing seconds of FP2, though fortunately he too was uninjured.
Moto3™: Vazquez leads second practice, Viñales best overall
The Moto3™ FP2 session at the Gran Premio bwin de España saw ambient temperature hit 31°C and track temperatura reach 48°C in Jerez, as Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) led the way from Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing).
Vazquez has made a good start to 2014 and he was 0.074s ahead of Argentina race winner Fenati in this practice run, with a best time of 1’47.725. Oliveira trailed by 0.17s in third.
The frontrunning FP2 pace did not match that of FP1 with the day’s fastest to overall riders being Calvo Team’s Isaac Viñales (1’47.388) and Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez (1’47.699).
The FP2 top five was completed by championship leader Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and the aforementioned Marquez.
The top ten in the afternoon outing was completed by Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0), John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG), FP1 pace setter Viñales, Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team) and wildcard Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing Team).
There were crashes for Hafiq Azmi (SIC-Ajo KTM) and Bryan Schouten (CIP), though fortunately both walked away unharmed.
The first European round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship got underway on track today with two free practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Gran Premio de Espana.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were both quick to find a very competitive pace. The pair made progress despite a scorching track temperature of just under 50 degrees making a lack of grip an increasing issue into the second session.
Lorenzo ended the day in second in the combined times with a best lap of 1’39.714, 0.357 seconds from first. Teammate Rossi ended in sixth with a 1’40.125 second lap, less than four tenths from Lorenzo.
The major challenge for both riders proved to be a lack of rear grip so the team will now work to make improvements for both set ups ahead of tomorrow morning’s third free practice session.
Lorenzo and Rossi also tested a new chassis for their YZR-M1 to improve the bike’s stability under braking. Positive results were obtained, giving Yamaha’s Japanese engineers a clear direction to continue development.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith experienced a tough first day of practice at the Circuito de Jerez. Bradley Smith’s chances of improving his FP1 time lucklessly ended prematurely due to an enormous crash at turn 11 at the end of the FP2 session, which the British rider fortunately walked away from uninjured. Smith started the day positively, and aimed to improve his lap time of 1:40.758 set in free practice 1 in the afternoon session, but his time was cut short by the crash. He finished in the combined standings in 11th position overall, but remains hopeful of bouncing back tomorrow and qualifying in the top six, in view to a positive result in Sunday’s 27-lap race.
Rookie Pol Espargaro steered his Yamaha YZR-M1 around the Andalucian circuit to clinch 11th in FP2, and 13th in the combined times today as he continues to progress and gather experience in the premier class. The reigning Moto2 world champion improved his FP1 lap time by a tenth of a second in the afternoon session, despite having suffered slight traction issues due to the greasy track surface. He aims to qualify competitively tomorrow for race day and then add to his impressive top eight finishes that he has obtained in his rookie MotoGP season so far, in front of his home fans.
The Spanish GP saw NGM Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro on top of the first day of practices. The Spaniard found a very good feeling with his Forward Yamaha already in the FP1 and he was able to ride fast from the beginning, setting a very good 1’39.357. In the afternoon, with the ground temperature of 49° degrees, Aleix struggled a bit with the soft tyre as the track was very slippery, but despite this he was able to set the second fastest lap time of 1’39.973, +0.2 behind Marc Marquez. With a lap time of 1’39.357 Aleix Espargaro closed on top of today’s combined times classification.
Team mate Colin Edwards found a positive feeling with his machine in the FP1. He was able to work on the set up and finished in 17th position with a lap time of 1’41.252. Tracks conditions changed a lot in the afternoon and Colin struggled with the electronics and couldn’t ride as he he would have wanted.
Jorge Lorenzo – 2nd, 1’39.714 – “The track changed so much from the morning to the afternoon, it was much more slippery and we had to try the different rear tyre. Like in Qatar it gave us the same problems with less grip and the bike then feels nervous. We are much closer than before though and I think we can close the gap.”
Valentino Rossi – 6th, 1’40.125 – “We tried a different chassis today especially for the braking stability and the first impression is not so bad, it’s just a small step to understand the way to go. The track is very greasy so it’s difficult with the front and rear tyres with the high temperatures. It’s difficult to control the bike and it slides a lot. Compared to the other top guys the pace is not so bad so it looks like we have worked well so far and now have to continue.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “It’s definitely a positive start to the weekend. For sure we were able to take advantage of all our experience at this track. The bike is working well but of course we have some things to change to improve. Compared to the previous races this is a very different start. The only real issue we have is rear grip. We are focused now on several steps to improve it and then we have to work on a long distance run. We are strong under braking so we are satisfied for the first sessions. Both Jorge and Vale are both reasonably happy overall and both have good pace but are also keen to make the next steps and improve even further.”
Bradley Smith – 11th, 1’40.758 – “Today was a tough day, but the most important thing is that I am ok after that huge crash and that I didn’t get any injuries. We didn’t find a good set up with the bike, despite trying many different options and I also struggled a lot with my the rear grip and my confidence with it. I tried the soft and hard compounds of both tyres, and provided Bridgestone with as much information as possible so that we can find a solution. We have a lot of work to do tomorrow, and seriously need to look into our setting. We are not close for the moment, and need to undertake a drastic change to get higher up the grid, but I am still confident that I can qualify well here in Jerez.”
Pol Espargaro – 13th, 1’40.918 – “It looks like afternoon was better than this morning’s session in terms of performance, however there is a lot we need to improve on to get up to speed. We just tested the hard rear tyre in the afternoon, and struggled, so it will have to be the tomorrow morning when we try to set the fast lap time, when the track temperature is a bit cooler. I am confident I can get into QP2, however there’s still a lot to improve. We have to discover which settings we need to change on the bike in order to advance. Despite everything, my feeling is a bit better than this morning, so there are some small steps of encouragement but we need to make more.”
Aleix Espargaro – 1st, 1’39.357 – “I’m satisfied of how we started here in Jerez. This morning we found a good set up and I was able to push from the beginning. In the afternoon the track was very slippery due the torrid temperatures and it was more difficult to push as I was loosing the front, especially with the soft tyre. The most important thing is that we have a good pace with the hard tyre and that we lapped with the full tank. We will keep on working in preparation of the race. It’s great to close the first day on top but my priority is to get a good result in the race and a podium is my target as well as my dream”.
Colin Edwards – 17th, 1’41.252 – “This morning we started the session in the right direction and I was quiet comfortable on the bike but in the afternoon the track conditions changed a lot. The front was closing and I struggled with the electronics. I didn’t use the soft tyre, we will try it tomorrow”.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) powered to an encouraging fifth place with his Desmosedici GP14 on the first day of free practice at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Andalusia. Towards the end of the afternoon session the Italian put on a super-soft tyre and went on to set his quickest time of the day in 1m40.028s, a few tenths away from the top slot.
Cal Crutchlow spent much of the day settling back in again on his Desmosedici GP14. This morning the British rider returned to the track for the first time since his crash at Austin, in which he injured his right hand. Still suffering a bit from the pain, Crutchlow didn’t focus too much on setting a quick time and at the end of the day dispelled any doubts about his participation in the race.
After replacing Crutchlow at Termas de Rio Hondo, Michele Pirro, who is racing as a ‘wild-card’ at Jerez, managed to find a good feeling with his usual Ducati Test Team GP14 machine. The Italian hopes to continue positively tomorrow his testing work.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th (1m40.028s) – “Today we didn’t go at all bad! We wanted to try the hard front tyre but once again we were unable to use it well, and for this reason at the start we weren’t very quick. Towards the end of the session we put on a medium front, the one that in my opinion most of us will use, and the bike improved considerably. Then we fitted the extra-soft rear right at the end of the session and I set my quick time. Here it’s important to be in the top 10, but it’s more important that the 33 (the medium tyre) works, even though in my opinion it’s too soft.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 18th (1m41.353s) – “I think that went as we expected today. The position doesn’t really reflect where we should be but I’m just happy to be back riding this weekend with the team. We never used the soft tyre like maybe a lot of riders in front of me did. Today was about getting back some feeling with the bike, because I’m feeling a bit rusty. My hand is sore changing direction but braking doesn’t seem so bad at the moment. I’m optimistic again about riding tomorrow and I think we can take some information from today and build on it for practice and qualifying.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 14th (1m40.924s) – “All things considered today was quite positive because I’m trying to get back up to speed again with my bike. I’m quite happy because I’m enjoying myself more than in Argentina! I didn’t manage to improve with the soft tyre, I’m a bit disappointed about that because for sure I could have taken three or four tenths off the time. We’re working hard and we’ll try and make a further improvement tomorrow.”
Repsol HRC Report
Under blisteringly hot weather conditions in Spain, both riders went out on track this morning looking for the best setup for the twisty Andalusian track. Both Marc and Dani spent the morning session on the soft rear Bridgestone tyre, as the track was still quite ‘green’ and the asphalt just 24ºC. As temperatures rose in the afternoon – air by 10ºC to 31ºC, and track to 49ºC – both riders took the opportunity to use the medium compound rear tyre.
Marc was able to improve slightly on his morning time by 0.092s with a time of 1’39.757 on his third lap of eighteen, placing him fastest in FP2 and third fastest for the day. Dani didn’t improve in the afternoon (fastest time in FP2 1’40.491) and his time of 1’39.860 from the morning placed him fourth fastest for the day.
Marc Marquez – 3rd – 1’39.757 – “Today was a positive first day at a track where I had a lot of difficulty last year. It seems as if this year we are at the same level as the faster riders like Dani, Lorenzo and Rossi right from the start, and this is obviously important. With that accomplished, we have also tried to work on things, but it was much easier to set a fast lap and pace this morning, than when the temperatures rose this afternoon. I think that everyone had grip issues, due to the track temperatures reaching 50 degrees. Tomorrow, we will try to take another step forward and work towards qualifying and the race”
Dani Pedrosa – 4th – 1’39.860 – “I think that today went well, but we also need to work hard because of the track conditions. It is a lot different riding in the morning compared to in the afternoon, and in both cases there is not sufficient grip. In any case, the race takes place in the afternoon and we will have to work to make sure that the heat has as little effect as possible on performance”
Scott Redding Report
Scott Redding ended the opening day of the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez in 19th position, after encountering rear traction issues in today’s sweltering conditions.
The 21-year-old Briton has racked up may laps of the Jerez circuit aboard both 125cc and Moto2 machinery, but he was surprised by just how small and tight the track feels on a 250BHP MotoGP machine.
Scott will return to the track tomorrow for FP3, before once again heading into qualifying with the aim of being the first production Honda RCV1000R rider on Sunday’s grid.
Scott Redding // 19th // 1’41″374 – “The temperature went up and the grip went down in the afternoon, so my best time of the day came in the cooler conditions of this morning’s opening session. Today was difficult because, after testing at wide open circuits like Losail and Sepang, Jerez seems very small on a MotoGP bike. It’s something I will need a little time to adapt to, because so much happens in such a short space of time. We’ve also got an issue with rear traction, which we need to find a solution for tomorrow. There are a lot of long corners here, so the feeling with the rear needs to be good.”
Drive M7 Aspar Report
The first day of the Spanish Grand Prix took place under sunny skies and in warm spring temperatures at Jerez today, where the afternoon heat made for drastically different track conditions from the first free practice session to the second. The lap times were much closer than they have been in the three rounds so far this season, with Marc Márquez’s dominance finally coming under threat. With two Yamahas, two Hondas and a Ducati making up the top five positions and just 1.3 seconds covering the top ten, Sunday’s race could be the closest of the season so far.
The DRIVE M7 Aspar Team made a positive start to the weekend with Nicky Hayden lapping eleventh fastest in this morning’s session and tenth in the afternoon. The American was pleased to close the gap to the top riders in respect to previous races and after clocking a 1’40.788 this afternoon he ended the day in twelfth place on the combined timesheets, 1.4 seconds off top spot. His team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama clocked his best lap of the day in the morning session and even though he improved his feeling in the afternoon a crash towards the end of the session impeded his chances of going faster. The Japanese rider finished sixteenth fastest, 1.8 seconds off the top.
12th Nicky Hayden 1.40.788 (38 laps): “We have worked hard today and it has gone pretty good. The track conditions changed totally from the morning to the afternoon because of the heat and we had to go through all of the front tyre options to work out which was best. The lap times here are tighter than they have been and we are closer to the top than we have been at other tracks so far this season. That makes things more fun and we can look forward to the rest of the weekend with a slightly different approach. In this heat it is going to be a tough weekend and with so many long and demanding corners it will be physically quite difficult over race distance. Anyway, compared to past races Jerez has started well for us so we’ll see what happens over the weekend. We have noticed the lack of power here is less compared to the factory bikes but we need to try and get a bit more acceleration out of the slow corners if we can.”
16th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.41.183 (36 laps): “The feeling this morning was different to Argentina, quite strange. It seems like the tyres have much more grip here and that has changed the behaviour of the bike. Then the track changed a lot from the morning to the afternoon. We tried the hard tyres on both the front and the rear and I wasn’t sure at the start but we kept pushing and trying to adapt the bike to them. At the end of the session we put a new, softer tyre in and tried to go faster but I tucked the front and crashed. Maybe we tried a bit too hard today but the feeling is good so we just need to look into the reasons for the crash. The important thing is I am not hurt.”
NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro was quickest overall on the first day of action at Jerez, the Spaniard piloting his Forward Yamaha M1 to a time of 1’39.357 in this morning’s Free Practice 1 session.
The flowing layout of the Jerez circuit favours good corner speed over sheer power, and Espargaro was able to extract maximum performance from the Open-class only extra-soft rear slick to set a time quicker than the current Jerez race lap record. Second quickest overall was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo, whose personal best time of 1’39.714 also came during FP1. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was quickest in the afternoon FP2 session and third overall with a lap time of 1’39.757.
Conditions today were hot and dry at Jerez, with track temperatures reaching a scorching 55°C towards the end of FP2; approximately 20°C warmer than recorded in FP1. Grip levels were reported by the riders to be normal for FP1, but the extremely high temperatures in the afternoon caused greasy track conditions which resulted in only ten of the twenty-four riders being able to improve on their lap times from this morning.
For both sessions today, the medium compound front slick was the most popular option, although many riders also evaluated the hard compound front slick in the warmer conditions during FP2. All three rear slick options were used today, with the riders showing a tendency towards choosing their softer rear option; extra-soft for Ducati and Open-class, soft for Factory Honda and Yamaha in the cooler morning session, and progressing to their harder rear option for FP2. With temperatures forecast to remain at a similar level for the rest of the weekend, today’s FP2 session provided a good opportunity for teams to assess their preferred tyre options for qualifying and the race.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “It was very hot today at Jerez and we had quite a large variation in track temperatures between the morning and afternoon sessions. As track temperatures got above fifty degrees in the afternoon, many riders commented that the tarmac felt greasy and so it was difficult to improve their lap time from FP1. At this stage it seems like the riders are considering all of the rear slick options as a possible choice for the race, but we need more time tomorrow to see what will work best in what we expect to be hot conditions on Sunday. Front tyre choice is still open as well, but considering how warm it is only the medium and hard compound front slicks are viable race options. The pace for the first day was very quick even though teams didn’t have the benefit of using setup data from a pre-season test like in previous years, so our new asymmetric rear slicks seem to have given the riders a good boost in performance and safety.”
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