Cal Crutchlow excites home fans with strong pace as British GP gets underway at Silverstone
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) topped the timesheets on Day 1 of the Octo British Grand Prix, two tenths ahead of the first of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo – with nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi heading teammate Maverick Viñales, last year’s winner.
Cal Crutchlow – P1
“Obviously we are pleased with how today went, we tried every option of tyre there was and in the last run I kept the used front, which was a little dangerous with a new soft rear. It was just to make sure we were in the top ten because you never know what can happen tomorrow morning – if there’s oil on the track and the times aren’t as fast for example. We are working very well as a team as always and trying our best – and at the moment that’s first place! They’ve resurfaced a couple of corners here and they were a lot better, so how about we resurface the whole track?! It’d be a lot easier for all of us. The problem is that wherever we share a track with F1, the tracks are bumpy within a year, so I understand the concerns of the organisers. I felt ok either way, an hope for a good day tomorrow.”
Valentino Rossi – P2
“It was a good day, because first of all we had fantastic unbelievable weather for Silverstone and the track is in a good condition. Riding the MotoGP bikes on this track in these conditions is a great pleasure, a lot of fun. From the first lap I had a good feeling with the bike and I feel good with the balance, with the setting, so I was quite strong. We have a lot of work, a lot of things to do, but we are quite competitive. About the new procedure, for me it can be OK, but if they modify the rules for the problem in Brno, between Espargaró and Iannone, also with this procedure, it will be exactly the same. It doesn’t change a lot. Later we will go and speak with the Safety Commission and we will see also what the other riders think.”
“I feel good. Honestly, with the race pace we were quite competitive and I felt great on the bike again. I was riding in my own style and it was really nice to be as competitive again as we were at the start of the season. In the time attack I didn‘t feel as good, especially with the front. It was the first time I tried the hard tyre, so I was not trusting the bike enough. Anyway, I‘m there, so I‘m happy and quite confident that we can do a really good job tomorrow. In my opinion the new flag-to-flag procedure is quite good. Later we have to decide with all the riders and Dorna at the Safety Commission, but I think it was quite OK. The space was a lot bigger, so for me it was nice.”
Fourth fastest on combined timesheets was an impressive showing from Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) riding through the pain barrier, ahead of reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). Marquez had two crashes in the afternoon, but got back on track – rider ok.
“The crash I had at the beginning of FP2 changed our plans for the session a bit. It was my fault, as after seeing the sun here at Silverstone, I went out with a bit too much confidence on cold tyres. So after that, I had to use my second bike, which had a completely different setup. We tried to find a good base, to adapt to what we had, but I wasn’t completely comfortable and I couldn’t ride well and had another crash when I tried to push harder. The good thing is that even struggling, we were able to find a good rhythm and not be far from the top guys. We already have some ideas for tomorrow to improve our feeling with the front, so we’ll focus on that area besides trying to make a good choice with the tyres.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) was the fastest Borgo Panigale machine on Day 1 in P6 overall. The Majorcan is also the man with the most premier class victories at the track – and got back to pitlane at the end of FP2 with a little help from Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing).
“Today was quite a positive day: I had some good sensations, I felt at ease on the bike and the weather was nice and sunny all day, something rather unusual here in England. At this moment our main problem is the bumpy track surface which makes it quite difficult so tomorrow we’ll have to work some more on the suspension to try and resolve it. At the end of the session we decided not to fit the soft rear tyre and save it for tomorrow, also because my time was good enough to get into the top ten.”
FP2 was also marked on Friday by a trial run of a new flag-to-flag bike swap procedure at the end of the session, with teams given a new angle for the bikes and a lollipop man in place to ensure safe releases. The Safety Commission will now discuss the trial.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Pol Espargaro put in a rockstar performance on Friday, running third for some time in FP2 before ending the day in seventh. He headed rookie Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who was eighth fastest as he attempts to keep his momentum from Austria after getting back in the battle at the front.
Johann Zarco – P8
“I am pretty happy that we had clear weather conditions today at Silverstone and this was good for my confidence. This morning, it took me some time to find the references on the track, but overall, I felt good because I used the same tyre and I finished in the top ten. In addition, we started to work on trying to find a good setup. Then in the afternoon, we knew that the conditions would be even better so we tested some tyres, which were positive and then in the end it was necessary to use the soft compound in order ride the quickest lap that I could. However, I’m not totally satisfied about this last lap, but the most important thing is that I’m inside the top ten. We can work on the bike and improve the feeling more, so I hope that we have the same weather conditions tomorrow and we can keep this positive momentum going.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was P9 at the end of action on Day 1, but the Championship challenger was only 0.008 off eighth in the incredibly tight top ten – which was completed by Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) on home turf.
Andrea Dovizioso – P9
“Today we focussed mainly on the tyres, trying out all three rear compounds we had available: we didn’t work very much on the set-up and so we are not quite right in that area. I’m not very worried about my times today because, even though there are a lot of riders with a good pace, I think that we still have a few cards to play tomorrow, seeing as the weather conditions appear to be stable and so we’ll have time to improve our speed.”
Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) were P11 and P12 respectively at the track where the GSX-RR won last year.
Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager
“It’s a positive day for us, with both riders very close to the Q2 in 11th and 12th place. We did a good job. With Andrea, we still have some things to improve and we can work on these to try to put him in the position to be faster, so that´s where our focus will be. Alex had positive sessions; he improved a lot and I believe he is also enjoying the track. He has a good pace with the hard tyres, but the time attack was also positive, very close to direct access to Q2. We look forward with positivity.”
Andrea Iannone – P11
“I’m pretty happy but not completely satisfied. We’re working hard and trying to improve. We don’t have any major issues that we have to face, just small things that can be fixed in order to be more effective. So far we haven’t worked much on the settings. We just started from the base settings we had in Austria, which was the evolution after the Brno test. We needed to double check, and they turned out to be positive. Tomorrow we will try to make bigger modifications on the machine to see how it reacts, and to see if we can improve the things that are missing. We also tried many tyres. So far the hard and the medium ones didn’t completely satisfy me but with the soft one the feeling is better, although we need to better understand how it might behave throughout the duration of the race.”
Alex Rins – P12
“I’m really enjoying riding the Suzuki GSX-RR on this track. The layout is exciting and so far my feelings on the bike are positive. I think this is one of the best Friday’s of the season. I´m feeling good and I think we are moving towards the right direction. We have some ideas for improving tomorrow, so I can’t wait to go out on the track again and try to improve. “
The fastest fifteen on Friday was completed by Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team), teammate Karel Abraham and Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing).
Two big names further down the timesheets were Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) in P17 and Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in P19 – both looking for improvements tomorrow.
Dani Pedrosa – P17
“Today was difficult because in both sessions, we struggled a lot with the suspension setup and weren’t able to find good stability on the bumps. I couldn’t control the bike well, as it was moving and shaking a lot, which meant I wasn’t able to ride fast. We’ll keep working with the team to find a solution. It won’t be easy but we’ll do our best as we’re coming from some very positive races and we’d like to continue at the same level.”
Jack Miller shaved 0.8s off his best time from FP1 to end the opening day of action less than a second away from the top six, with improving acceleration a key target for tomorrow’s track action. Times are tight and despite being only 1.6-seconds off Crutchlow’s Friday benchmark that was enough to see the young Australian ranked 18th on combined times today.
Jack Miller – P18
“We seem to be missing a little bit of acceleration here but my general feeling with the bike is quite positive. The first sector here is always difficult, but the bike was working well in the fast changes of direction. I didn’t get the best potential out of a new soft rear tyre today but I was happy with my speed because I did my best lap completely on my own.”
MotoGP 2017 – Round 12 – Silverstone – Friday Combined Practice Times
CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda Honda 2’00.897
ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 0.241
ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 0.695
MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 0.714
LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Ducati Team Ducati 0.758
ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 0.935
ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 0.988
DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Ducati Team Ducati 0.996
REDDING Scott 45 GBR Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 1.036
IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1.077
RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 1.175
BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 1.200
ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 1.201
BAZ Loris 76 FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1.305
PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 1.353
PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 1.511
MILLER Jack 43 AUS Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1.610
FOLGER Jonas 94 GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1.683
BARBERA Hector 8 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 1.838
RABAT Tito 53 SPA Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1.963
LOWES Sam 22 GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 2.578
SMITH Bradley 38 GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 3.517
Alex Marquez seeks his first victory outside Spain at Silverstone
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) went fastest overall on Friday at the British GP, staking an early claim on a third win of the year at a favoured venue for the rider from Cervera. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took P2 as he seeks to bounce back from a crash out of contention in Austria, with Mattia Pasini (Italrans Racing Team) rounding out the top three as he improved and moved up in FP2.
Álex Márquez – P1
“I was really fast today in both sessions and that gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the weekend. My rhythm was very good although I would be happier if we could find a bit more consistent grip from the soft rear tyre. That will be something to focus on but I love this track and have always gone well here, so it is pleasing to get the first day out of the way with such good speed. We need to keep focused and make sure we are in this position for the rest of the weekend. The bumps are bad here but I don’t think about it too much. It’s the same for everybody and I just focus on myself. I find that if I don’t think about the bumps I don’t feel them and that seems to work!”
Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) had taken control of FP1 towards the end of the session with a serious benchmark, but had to settle for P4 by the end of action – nevertheless fastest Suter and with an improvement in the afternoon.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) got the weekend off to a good start as he locked out the top five, pushing hard for a result after the recent announcement of his graduation to the premier class next season. Another man recently announced as on the move for 2018 is Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten), winner at the British GP last year, who took P6 – just ahead of the man he’s chasing at the top of the standings, Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS).
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) and Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) took P8 and P9 respectively, with second Forward rider Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) rounding out the top ten despite a crash in FP2 – rider ok.
Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) was eleventh quickest, ahead of a solid start to the weekend for RW Racing GP rider Axel Pons in P12. Stefano Manzi (Sky Racing Team VR46) made a big impact on Day 1 – as he did in the race in the lightweight class at Silverstone last year – in P13, with Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) and last year’s Moto3™] winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) locking out the fastest fifteen.
Remy Gardner built up his speed and cut 1.073 from his FP1 time to seize 16th after delivering a promising performance on day one.
Remy Gardner – P16
“The first day went quite positively for me at Silverstone, and the test that we did in Austria recently has really helped us and I can tell. In FP2, we used the number 3 tyre and it took me a while to understand where the most grip was. Then, I pitted and we made another change which made me feel a lot better. I returned to the track and I could see on the sector times that I was strong in the first two parts of the track, but then every lap, there would be traffic which would end my progress. It’s disappointing but we know that we are not far from the top and my ideal time is good. Tomorrow, we will work a bit more and then I am sure that we can qualify well for the race on Sunday.”
Aron Canet tops both Moto3 sessions to reign Friday at the British GP
Aron Canet (EG 0,0) was fastest under sunny skies on Friday morning at Silverstone, and repeated the feat in the afternoon to go fastest on Day 1 by a tenth – heading key rival Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers). 2016 rookie podium finisher Bo Bendseyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was third on combined times.
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), who took a podium last time out despite still suffering the after effects of his crash at the German GP, was fourth quickest on the opening day in the UK – half a tenth quicker than his teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio. Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) completed the top six.
Championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) had a more muted first day following his domination of the Red Bull Ring – P7 on the combined timesheets and behind most of his key rivals. The Majorcan did take a top ten finish as a rookie last year, however, and will be pushing to move up in qualifying.
Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) was the rookie superstar on Day 1, going eighth fastest to head Austrian GP front row starter Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team). Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completed the top ten.
RBA BOE Racing Team’s Gabriel Rodrigo – polesitter in the last two Grands Prix – took P11, with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) taking P12, P13 and P14 respectively.
John McPhee flew the flag in fifteenth at home, with the British Talent Team rider optimistic about moving forward on Saturday – and the midfield incredibly tight.
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