Cal Crutchlow quickest on opening day at Mugello for MotoGP 2017 Round Six
MotoGP 2017 – Round Six – Mugello – Italian GP
After Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) led the way in FP1 under the sunny Tuscan skies of the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, two-time GP winner Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) struck back in the afternoon to take to the top late in FP2 – just heading ‘DesmoDovi’ by 0.029 on combined times. German rookie Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) impressed to complete the top three.
Cal Crutchlow – P1
“This race is very important for my Team and it’s a good atmosphere. I don’t feel fantastic with the bike as I’ve not been feeling too good over the past couple of days. I have a couple of injuries, but I was quite happy with the overall performance today”.
“We still have to improve, in the middle of the corner the feeling of the bike is not great when turning – although that could have been the tyre we’re using. Hopefully we can improve that tonight and then do better tomorrow”.
Andrea Dovizioso – P2
“We have started the weekend really well, much better than I expected, and it’s always important to start strongly in a race weekend. My feeling is good and we were able to keep a good pace even in the heat of the afternoon, but we were not as quick as we would have liked mid-corner, and this will be where we will focus our work. In any case we are really competitive, and today we also managed to try all the tyres available because it was important to have feedback for tomorrow and for the race.”
Jonas Folger – P3
“I am really happy with today’s result and it was a super way to begin the Mugello round. Of course, I am satisfied with my lap time, but I am even more pleased because I am comfortable on the YZR-M1 and I already feel confident at this track even though it’s my first time here on a MotoGP bike. There is a big difference between the soft and hard tyres on this asphalt, so we tried the harder compound for a long time before eventually switching over at the end. Tomorrow we have to see how far we can go on the softer tyre because Johann did a lot of laps with this option and he was strong, so therefore, it could be a good option for the race. Anyway, we had a great day and I am looking forward to getting back on the track.”
Another impressive performance as action opened in Italy saw Ducati test rider Michele Pirro end Friday in fourth with his time from FP1, just ahead of Championship leader Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Viñales’ fastest was also from Friday morning to put him fifth on combined, with the 2013 Moto3 World Champion suffering a big crash in the afternoon at Arrabiata 2 – rider ok.
Michele Pirro – P4
“It was a positive day for me, because we managed to work well both this morning and this afternoon and we were also quick with used tyres. Unfortunately we are still struggling a bit in the third sector and so we have to focus on improving this aspect. I want to thank the team because they have given me a very competitive bike, and tomorrow we will try and take the Desmosedici as far to the front as possible.”
Maverick Vinales – P5
“It was a big crash, so I‘m really lucky to walk away from it. There was some damage done, but I‘m still OK. I went back to the box and headed out on a totally different bike, with a few things that I didn‘t like and a full tank, but I was still feeling good, putting in 1‘48.0s laps in these hot temperatures, which was quite nice. I think I‘m going to be alright for the rest of the weekend. If the session just now was OK, I think on Sunday I will be much better. We still need to modify some things on the electronics, but I feel good.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“Though it‘s not clearly reflected in today‘s time sheets, actually we had quite a good start to the weekend. Maverick showed he has a great race pace this morning in FP1. It was unfortunate that a fall in FP2 prohibited him from bettering his fastest lap from the morning, because he lost some valuable track time. Still, given the fact that he set this morning‘s time on the medium compound, we know that his fifth place in the combined times is only a vague indication of his form out on track. Today, Valentino made his first kilometres on the bike since his motocross incident. He used some light painkillers for FP2 and managed to make some good progress in the afternoon. He has surprised all of us with his quick recovery and his speed on the track in both sessions. I’m sure tomorrow he‘ll feel even better both physically and on the bike.”
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was another whose fastest was an FP1 effort; his best just 0.005 off Viñales to give the Frenchman P6 on Day 1. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) improved in the afternoon from a more muted position in FP1 to go seventh, with Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) just behind the ‘Baby Samurai’ in some much improved form at the Italian GP.
Johann Zarco – P6
“The first day went positively for us and I am confident for the rest of the weekend. The team and I worked with the soft tyre, which gave me a good feeling, and I was able to ride some solid lap times. However, this morning, I had to force the bike a bit, yet I found more control in the afternoon and here, I was very consistent and I enjoyed myself. It was a bit challenging to be faster because it was quite hot, and the grip level on the track is good but this means that when the temperature rises, it becomes trickier to improve, just like at the Jerez circuit. Anyway, I am still inside the top ten which is really important and I have to keep it until the end of FP3 so that I can get into Q2. I will keep working and there is some information to analyse, but overall I am happy. In addition, it may be possible for us to use the soft tyres for the race, however, we will confirm this tomorrow, yet it could be the right option to fight for another podium.”
Dani Pedrosa – P7
“Today we worked to adapt the bike’s setup to the track and new front tyres. We struggled a little bit with the grip, but anyway, we’ve been able to test a few things on the bike and also work on the tyres. Our rhythm was constant and that’s positive, and we’ve gathered some information that we’ll use tomorrow to further improve the feeling and the lap times. We’ll try to be fast tomorrow in FP3 as that’s important for qualifying, and in FP4 we’ll work more on the race pace.”
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) was ninth, with the top ten on Day 1 completed by five-time World Champion and five-time Mugello winner Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team).
Jorge Lorenzo – P10
“This morning, even though I was not totally at ease on the bike, I managed to set some good times. Unfortunately on the last lap, when I had fitted a new tyre, I found some traffic in the last corner and was not able to improve my lap time. In the afternoon we focussed on lapping with used tyres in view of the race, but we didn’t manage to be really quick. In general, I can’t be too satisfied because I’m still missing something in the settings to be able to ride with more confidence and set quicker times.”
Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Danilo Petrucci took P11 and P12 respectively, with reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in thirteenth – just ahead of home hero Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) as the nine-time World Champion recovers from a motocross crash ahead of the event.
Marc Marquez – P13
“Considering that for once the weather was very good from the beginning, and so are the forecasts for the whole weekend, we decided to work and try a few things on the bike setup and prepare as well as possible for the race. We worked on a few very different solutions, looking to improve the confidence in the front, and we therefore didn’t use the soft rear tyre option and sacrificed the fast laps a little bit. We’re struggling a bit, but I’m still quite happy because our rhythm isn’t so bad. It seems like we’re getting closer step by step. Tomorrow we’ll put it all together and try to be closer to the top.”
Valentino Rossi – P14
“Today’s sessions were very important to get an understanding of my condition. This morning I suffered a lot, I had a lot of pain on the right, especially on acceleration, but this afternoon the situation was a bit better. I struggled physically, especially with my breathing, because I’m not at 100%, but it is getting better. We hope that tomorrow and Sunday the situation will improve. Usually Friday is the most difficult day, so we had to suffer a bit, but we tried.”
Jack Miller is still not in peak physical condition after his monumental high speed crash in FP4 at Le Mans 13 days ago, but he showed his trademark grit to tackle the numerous physically demanding fast changes of direction at the 5.24km Mugello track. Today’s practice provided further evidence of the closeness of the competition in MotoGP this season, with Miller down in 17th position but he was only a second away from the top three. Improving turning performance to help him accelerate more aggressively on corner exit will be a key target to improve overnight for Miller and his crew.
Jack Miller – P17
“I’m still recovering full strength after the big practice crash in Le Mans but I feel reasonable on the bike. We kind of expected to struggle a little bit here with the straights and I need to find a little bit more feeling from the front. As soon as I release the brakes I seemed to run a little bit wide and I’m not able to finish the corner. And turning off brake is so crucial at this track. It hasn’t been a bad day and I’m happy with my pace on race tyres. I think we can find some serious time if we can get the bike dialled in for the latter part of the chicanes, so I have confidence to really wind the power on to drive it out on to the straights. Now, the front feels a bit light and we will focus on improving in that area tonight.”
Ramon Aurin – Jack Miller Chief Engineer
“This is the first weekend that we have had the new stiffer construction front tyre from Michelin in the allocation and it looks like we don’t have the bike setting quite right for its different characteristics. We couldn’t test it last week at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya because Jack needed time to focus on his recovery from the Le Mans crash. But it seems we have too much weight on the rear and that is pushing the front. The issues seem to be worst in the chicane, so we have listened to Jack’s feedback and tonight we will study the data to understand what changes we can make to the bike to improve his feeling with the front.”
MotoGP 2017 – Round Six – Mugello – Italian GP – Friday Combined Practice Results
1. C. CRUTCHLOW LCR HONDA 1’47.365
2. A. DOVIZIOSO DUCATI TEAM 1’47.394
3. J. FOLGER MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1’47.543
4. M. PIRRO DUCATI TEST TEAM 1’47.595
5. M. VIÑALES MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’47.669
6. J. ZARCO MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 1’47.674
7. D. PEDROSA REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’47.699
8. H. BARBERA REALE AVINTIA RACING 1’47.708
9. A. BAUTISTA PULL&BEAR ASPAR TEAM 1’47.728
10. J. LORENZO DUCATI TEAM 1’47.747
11. A. IANNONE TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’47.807
12. D. PETRUCCI OCTO PRAMAC RACING 1’47.950
13. M. MARQUEZ REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1’47.980
14. V. ROSSI MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP 1’48.000
15. S. REDDING OCTO PRAMAC RACING 1’48.111
16. A. ESPARGARÒ APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’48.129
17. J. MILLER TEAM EG 0,0 MARC VDS 1’48.560
18. T. RABAT TEAM EG 0,0 MARC VDS 1’48.664
19. L. BAZ REALE AVINTIA RACING 1’48.751
20. S. LOWES APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI 1’48.842
21. K. ABRAHAM PULL&BEAR ASPAR TEAM 1’48.925
22. P. ESPARGARÒ RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 1’49.524
23. B. SMITH RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 1’49.640
24. S. GUINTOLI TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 1’50.054
Alex Márquez (SPA) soars in Mugello
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) hit back against FP1’s fastest – teammate Franco Morbidelli – at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, going fastest in FP2 to top combined practice times on Day 1 from fellow title hopeful Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia). Morbidelli completed the top three with his time from FP1.
Veteran Italians Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) gave the home crowd more to cheer about as they completed the top five, ahead of a familiar name as the fastest rookie – Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46).
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) made his return to the Moto2 fold in style as he came back from a recurring arm injury to take seventh on Friday, just heading teammate Miguel Oliveira well inside the top ten.
Championship challenger Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) was ninth fastest, with Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) completing the top ten after fighting for the win last year.
Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) took P11 despite a crash in the morning, ahead of Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40), Yonny Hernandez (AGR Team), Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP).
Tech3 Racing Team rider Remy Gardner conducted a positive performance at the breathtaking Mugello circuit to end up in 14th at the close of day one. The young Australian’s personal best saw him finish just over a second from the front as he confidently aims to continue his progress tomorrow.
Remy Gardner – P14
“Today was pretty positive for me. In FP1 we had a few issues but we sorted them out which is obviously pleasing. Then in the afternoon, things went well and we made an improvement, plus we used the softer tyre, which allowed me to make a big jump forward in my lap time. The team also made another good adjustment which helped again, but during my last lap, I was quick in the first two sectors yet unfortunately, Syahrin held me up in T3. If this didn’t happen then I’m sure that I would have been only 0.7 of a second from first. Anyway, it was not qualifying so we can look forward to tomorrow and let’s see what happens.”
Fabio Di Giannantonio just beats Bulega to Friday honours
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was fastest on Friday in the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, heading the timesheets from compatriots Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Aspar Mahindra Moto3). The Mahindra rider was a standout performer on Day 1, with solid showings in both sessions.
British Talent Team rider John McPhee was back in the mix in fourth after briefly leading the way in FP2, with key rivals in the points standings Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) and Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) completing the top six.
Juanfran Guevara continued his impressive 2017 pace in seventh on the combined timesheets after also completing the top five in FP1, with the morning’s fastest Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) some hundredths quicker in the afternoon to end the day in P8 overall.
Estrella Galicia 0,0 pairing Aron Canet and Enea Bastianini completed the top ten, just ahead of fastest rookie Tony Arbolino (SIC58 Squadra Corse), who impressed in both sessions for a solid start to his first home GP.
The sole crasher on Day 1 was Sky Racing Team VR46’s Andrea Migno, who was unhurt and ended Friday in twelfth, with Jakub Kornfeil (Peugeot MC Saxoprint), Jules Danilo (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) and Livio Loi (Leopard Racing) locking out the fastest fifteen on Friday.