Damp and eventful first day at Valencia sees De Puniet on top
On the first day of the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana that was marred with damp and awkward track conditions it was Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet who went fastest in the premier-class ahead of Michele Pirro and Nicky Hayden.
In drying yet damp track conditions in the afternoon session, not many of the top-runners set a lap time, leaving it to the CRT contingent to test the surface. And it was ultimately De Puniet who set the quickest time in the high 1.36s, before retiring with a mechanical issue three minutes before the end. This moved San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro into second place, with the Italian just over a tenth of the French rider.
Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who had been fastest in the fully wet morning session, left it late to head out on track on a pair of slicks, as the leading duo had, and managed to jump up to third on the timesheets. Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham put in seven laps on his satellite Ducati, ultimately ending the day in fourth just over eight-tenths off the top.
Hayden’s teammate Valentino Rossi was the first prototype to emerge out on track with slicks, yet took it relatively easy, before putting in a lap that saw him come in fifth. Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci will be pleased to see his name in sixth on the time chart, with the Italian seemingly finding a good rhythm with his Suter-BMW machine.
Behind him in seventh, Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva was the first man out on track in difficult conditions, and was leading much of the session when still on wet tyres. Continuing the theme of CRT bikes in the top ten, Speed Master’s Roberto Rolfo finished the day in eighth place, ahead of Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison, who did well to recover from a crash in the morning session. Avintia’s Hiroshi Aoyama made his return to MotoGP™ aboard the BQR-FRT machine in tenth.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, as well as the Repsol Honda Team duo of Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner were among those not to complete a flying lap, with very little to be learned in such conditions. Katsuyuki Nakasuga also crashed, but escaped unhurt, while Italian rider Claudio Corti made his GP debut on board Avintia Blusens’ Inmotec chassis. He has also been confirmed as teammate to NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards for next season.
1 Randy De Puniet 1’36.965 FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
2 Michele Pirro 1’37.084 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
3 Nicky Hayden 1’37.389 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
4 Karel Abraham 1’37.782 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
5 Valentino Rossi 1’38.115 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
6 Danilo Petrucci 1’38.300 ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
7 Ivan Silva 1’38.304 SPA BQR-FTR BQR
8 Roberto Rolfo 1’38.905 ITA ART Speed Master
9 James Ellison 1’39.837 GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
10 Hiroshi Aoyama 1’40.497 JAP BQR-FTR BQR
11 Claudio Corti 1’42.993 ITA BQR-FTR BQR
12 Cal Crutchlow 1’44.384 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
13 Alvaro Bautista 1’44.564 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
14 Katsuyuki Nakasuga 1’45.180 JAP YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
15 Aleix Espargaro 1’45.426 ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
16 Dani Pedrosa 1’45.490 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
17 Hector Barbera 1’45.678 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
18 Jorge Lorenzo 1’45.945 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
19 Andrea Dovizioso 1’46.021 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
20 Casey Stoner 1’47.527 AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
21 Stefan Bradl 1’47.825 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
22 Colin Edwards 1’49.748 USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez was on record pace in the second free practice at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, finishing the day ahead of Pol Espargaró and Scott Redding.
Tuenti Movil HP 40’s Espargaró had looked to take top spot in the session having already beaten the track record, yet it was Moto2™ World Champion Marc Márquez who put in a stunning lap in the dying seconds with a 1.36’090, just under four hundredths faster than his compatriot. Márquez’s session was however not without incident, as a strong pass on Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi saw the Italian crash, with the champion later heading to his pit box to apologise. He was later penalised by Race Direction, and will start Sunday’s race from last on the grid. His team did not appeal against the decision.
In third, Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding put in a good showing with a lap less than two tenths off the top, ousting Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone into fourth. The Italian, who has been a bit off colour in recent races, will be pleased with his afternoon’s form, as he looks to defend third place in the championship. JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco continued his good showing this weekend, although briefly dropped his bike in the gravel after running wide.
Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi came in sixth, ahead of Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Nico Terol, who will hope to put on a good show at his home circuit, after having Turn 4 named after him. Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón, Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter and Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio completed the top ten, all within a second of the top spot. The only other crasher in the afternoon was TSR Galicia School wildcard Dani Rives, while in the morning, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s replacement rider Mattia Pasini crashed out of the session half way through, shortly after QMMF Racing’s replacement rider Rafid Topan Sucipto. All crashers walked away unscathed.
In the second Moto3™ free practice for the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana it was Caretta Technology’s John McPhee who took advantage of the conditions to top the day’s timesheets ahead of Jack Miller and Alex Márquez.
The afternoon Moto3™ session started wet, although the rain from earlier in the day had stopped. As riders went out on wet tyres, a dry line started to form, although the vast majority did not switch to slicks at the end with conditions still appearing a bit risky. It was however McPhee who thought otherwise and set a fast lap right at the very end on a pair of slick tyres to set the quickest time of 1.50’503, followed by teammate Jack Miller, who had also switched to those tyres.
Following the duo was Ambrogio Next Racing’s Alex Márquez just over six tenths down, with RW Racing GP’s Brad Binder in tow. Binder had appeared to be on a faster lap, yet was held up in the final few turns. In fifth, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger looked to be the quickest of the session throughout as he was consistently at the top of the timesheets when the track was still wet. He was almost evenly matched on pace by Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales, who will have to get a good result this weekend if he is to finish runner-up in the championship.
AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin ended the day in seventh, followed by reigning Moto3™ World Champion Sandro Cortese. Cortese will aim to finish the season with another win, yet did not look to be risking anything in the mixed conditions. Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi was ninth, just over 1.3s off the top, with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Danny Kent rounding out the top ten. The only crasher of the day was TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo in the wet morning session.
— Ducati Report
The first day of practice for the GP de la Comunitat Valenciana repeated a script that has been seen on several occasions during the 2012 season: uncertain weather conditions, with a track that was wet in the morning and damp in the afternoon.
Nicky Hayden quickly came to terms with the conditions, posting the fastest time in the full-wet first session and the third-best in the nearly dry afternoon outing. Valentino Rossi was unsatisfied with the settings on which he started the day, so he and his team made some changes that showed promise in the afternoon and could be explored further in the case of more rain in the coming days.
Both Ducati Team riders approved of the resurfaced track, which is much smoother.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 3rd (1:37.389)
“Things went really well in the wet this morning. Since we switched to the new frame, I haven’t had the same feeling in the wet as before, and it was clear after the wet race in Malaysia that we had to improve that. Today the team did a good job with a change to the rear, and I was able to go quite fast and had good feeling. It’s nice to have that back. This afternoon, the track was patchy, and I just went out for a couple of laps at the end. They did a really good job with the surface, which is a lot smoother than before. We know our bike does better on smoother tracks, but we still have to see what it’s like in the dry here. Tomorrow will be really busy because we’ll have to take advantage of every bit of dry time possible.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 5th (1:38.115)
“They did a great job with the resurfacing of the track because many of the bumps are gone. Grip still isn’t fantastic, but that’s pretty normal, as it takes some time. Anyway, the first impression is generally good. In the water this morning, we weren’t ready with the setup, but we changed it and, in the few laps that I did at the beginning of the second session, I saw that it went much better. If it continues raining tomorrow, it would be interesting to continue working with that. Also, in the final minutes of the session, with the drying track and slick tyres, the feeling wasn’t bad, but I didn’t push too much because the conditions weren’t ideal. Tomorrow we’ll see what weather awaits us, and we’ll continue in this direction.”
— Repsol HRC
The last round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship has had a slow start for the riders and fans at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit.
It was the first chance for the riders to test the new asphalt here, but unfortunately the variable weather has affected the first day of free practice of the GP of La Comunidad Valenciana. With rain in the morning session, the Repsol Honda riders only managed a handful of laps – Dani Pedrosa was second fastest with a top time of 1’45.490 and completed 17 laps. Teammate Casey Stoner, still wary of his ankle injury, completed just 14 laps with a fastest lap time of 1’47.527 and finished 10th.
In the afternoon’s FP2 session with mixed conditions, Casey chose not to take to the track. Dani, completed an out lap, but returned to the pit box deciding nothing could be learnt.
DANI PEDROSA 16th 1’45.490″We didn’t have so much time on track today. We had our first experience on the new asphalt in the wet and it seems like there are still some bumps, the worst point is turn 1, but we must wait for dry conditions to be able to judge the grip level of the new surface properly. Today it was important to go out in the morning because the weather conditions are not clear and it’s possible that we may have rain on Sunday. In the afternoon we decided not to go out, so let’s hope we have at least one dry session tomorrow to better understand the changes in the circuit and work on the best setup for the race”.
CASEY STONER 20th 1’47.527
“I went out this morning to get a feeling on the wet track but I’m still not willing to risk anything, especially in a wet practice session. Then this afternoon there was no point in going out, it was half wet half dry the whole session and not a lot to learn. It’s a little bit disappointing but hopefully we can get some better weather tomorrow and see what the new surface is like in the dry”
— Yamaha Report
The last race of the 2012 MotoGP season was yet another frustrating weekend opener for the MotoGP riders with mixed conditions making any valuable set up improvements impossible. A wet morning session allowed the riders to get a feel for the new tarmac surface of the circuit however with a half wet and half dry track in the afternoon there was little reason for them to venture out. 2012 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo wrapped up the morning wet session in third position and didn’t venture out onto the track in the afternoon.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga, standing in for the weekend in place of injured rider Ben Spies, took a tumble on the final corner in the morning’s rain soaked practice but was unhurt and able to continue. The 2012 All Japan Superbike Champion ventured out for just two laps in the afternoon session, choosing to sit out the remainder of the session along with Lorenzo.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga Position 14th – Time 1.45.180 – Laps 19
“Today the sessions were very strange with mixed weather. I had a small fall this morning and I’m very sorry for the extra work for my team to fix it. I was a little nervous but am much more relaxed now and hope to keep this mood for the weekend. Last year I finished sixth here in the race and I hope to improve on my performance this this Sunday.”
Jorge Lorenzo Position 18th – Time 1.45.945 – Laps 14 “Like a lot of times this year we’ve had quite an easy Friday with not so much training. In the morning we made a few laps but in the afternoon it was mixed so we decided not to take any risks. There is a new surface on the track and we need some time to test it, especially in the dry.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Again another tough Friday with not many laps done. This morning was quite wet and the feeling was not that bad in the conditions, not perfect yet but we’re happy with the grip so far. It’s pretty constant everywhere, which is a big improvement compared to the older surface. Let’s see how the grip is going to be in the dry as we haven’t been able to test it yet.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“It’s been another useless Friday, we didn’t test anything really so we hope the weather forecast will be better over the next two days. We will see what happens tomorrow. Nakasuga-san had a crash on the last corner but was not hurt so he will be back and fighting tomorrow.”
Rain disrupts final race preparations in Valencia
A cool and wet start to the final round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship at the Ricardo Tormo track in Valencia today prevented Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow from showing their usual high potential.
Dovizioso and Crutchlow were both eager to assess grip levels on a new surface at the tight and twisty track, but this morning’s opening practice session took place in torrential rain.
Italian Dovizioso was still one of the most competitive on tra ck and a lap of 1.46.021 secured him the fourth quickest time. He completed 19-laps and the time on a wet track could be crucial, with rain currently forecast for Sunday’s season finale.
Crutchlow also lapped comfortably inside the top 10 this morning, the British rider taking advantage of the soaking wet conditions to work on improving the rain setting on his YZR-M1 machine.
This afternoon’s second session commenced under grey and gloomy skies, though there was no repeat of the earlier deluge. The new asphalt though was slow to dry and it wasn’t until the final 15 minutes that a dry line started to appear and lap times began to tumble.
Dovizioso, who is making his final appearance for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad this weekend, opted against taking to the track in less than ideal conditions.
Crutchlow only completed a short six-lap stint earlier in the session when the track was at its wettest before he returned to the pits. With the track still not fully dry and with little data to be gained by lapping on slick tyres, Crutchlow didn’t take any further part in the action and he finished with a best time of 1.44.384.
Cal Crutchlow – Position 12th – Time: 1.44.384 – Laps 23 “Today wasn’t a great day to be honest. I was looking forward to seeing how the new surface was in the dry but unfortunately the weather was a disaster. In this morning’s session I should have been a lot faster and higher than eighth but I sat in the box for the last 10 minutes when the times were improving. I went out at the start of this afternoon’s session but the conditions weren’t wet enough for rain tyres or dry enough for slicks, so it was best just to stop and not take any risks. Hopefully we can get more time on track tomorrow because I’m looking forward to finishing the season with a strong result.”
Andrea Dovizioso Position 19th – Time 246.021 – Laps 19 “This morning was a strange session because this is the first time we have used the new asphalt and it was difficult to make any judgement in the rain. It took me a while to get a good feeling but at the end of the session I was happy with my pace and I am sure we have plenty of margin to improve and be faster in those conditions. That’s very positive and important because the forecasts are predicting rain for Sunday. This afternoon it wasn’t worth going out and I am sorry for the fans though that didn’t get to see all of us on track today. I could have used slick tyres but the lap times would ha ve been six or seven seconds off the pace and you learn nothing and waste a set of tyres.”