Round 12 – Silverstone
Fabio Quartararo’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) record breaking 1m59.225s gave the rookie the advantage on Friday at the GoPro British Grand Prix. It was not without conjecture though as that crucial stunning lap was initially disallowed before a photo review. The Frenchman was also fastest in FP1 to make it a full Friday house for him on British soil, and with a significant advantage in both sessions.
Fabio Quartararo – P1
“The lap was really good and I’m pleased with the result – I gave it everything on the lap and I’m glad they gave both Valentino [Rossi] and I back our times. You can always go faster and there was a rider in front of me on my fastest lap, so we can go even quicker in qualifying. I think it’ll be possible to set the first 1’58 lap. The new asphalt is really flat and smooth and has a lot of grip; they’ve done a really good job with it.”
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) sits as Quartararo’s closest challenger, 0.251 back, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top three as Yamaha stormed the timesheets.
Marc Marquez – P2
“As soon as I went out this morning I felt like it was another track! I enjoyed riding it a lot more and I think so did everyone else. Last year we complained, but this year we have to say congratulations to the circuit because they did a great job. The lap times are coming, we are working in a good way and did one very good lap. But as always the most important thing is that we keep trying everything we need to. I had a small crash in my first run in FP2 because I am pushing and I couldn’t quite save this one! Aside from this it was a very good day.”
Maverick Viñales – P3
“I think the new surface is much better, we are riding much faster. The bumps are nearly all gone. There are just a couple in the last sector, but the rest of the track is really good. I had a small issue with the front tyre in FP1, which resulted in a crash, but we understood it pretty fast, so the problem is now solved. We need to keep working on the electronics to make them more consistent. Getting on the front row tomorrow in qualifying will be very important, so I expect to be close to it and start the race from one of those front places.”
FP1 started under cloudy Silverstone skies as the MotoGP riders got their first taste of the new asphalt, and it was Quartararo who came into FP2 with a half-second advantage over the rest. Marquez was again his nearest rival in the opening session and it was the number 93 who instantly led FP2, cutting Quartararo’s advantage to two-tenths on the overall timesheets.
Other early improvers were home hero Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), the British rider dipping into the 2:00s, while Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Crutchlow’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) climbed into the top 10 as well.
Temperatures in England – believe it or not – were soaring and it seemed the riders were struggling to improve their times from FP1 at first, with Marquez’ benchmark putting him over seven-tenths clear of the field for the first half of FP2. However, it wasn’t plain sailing for the seven-time Champion as at the Vale complex, Marquez crashed for the first time since Le Mans Q2 – but was instantly up and okay. FP1 P4 finisher Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) then moved into second in the session, but then came Quartararo to cut the gap.
With eight-minutes left, the time-sheets lit up as fresh Michelin rubber was slotted in for a thrilling time attack. Riders like Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) – 10th in FP1 – had slipped down to the lower ends of the timing screens, but the Australian soon jumped up to fourth overall and the two Yamahas were on barnstormers. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) looked set to go top overall and he did so with a new lap record, but ‘The Doctor’ didn’t stay there long as rookie Quartararo then hammered in his stunning 1m59.225s: the quickest ever lap we’ve seen around Silverstone.
Viñales then got overhauled by Marquez as he beat his compatriot with a 1m59.476s, with Rossi’s time putting him in fourth.
Valentino Rossi – P4
“It‘s a good start, it‘s a good Friday, because in both sessions I had a good pace and good feeling with the bike. At the end I did a good lap, but I was really on the limit with the white line, but from the bike I had the feeling that anyway I touched it. In fact, they had to review the image and then they gave me back my lap time, which is very important for tomorrow morning. We need to work to improve, but it looks like we‘re in good shape. Being in P4 is not too bad and the track is great. They did a very good job with the asphalt, there are fewer bumps and more grip, so it‘s a great pleasure and we will try to continue riding like this.”
Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) moved up into fifth and sixth respectively, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) strong on fresh tyres to end the day seventh on the combined times.
Cal Crutchlow – P5
“I’m happy to be here in Silverstone at the British GP, it’s always special and always a pleasure to ride, but it’s definitely hard work. I’m trying my best and felt quite good this afternoon, although I’m not as strong over one fast lap as I was in previous years, when it was one of my strong points. I think age must be setting in, I take time to get going! The new track surface seems good, although there are still a few bumps out there. We have to give the circuit credit though, they have done a good job. We need to be on the front two rows tomorrow in qualifying. I know how long the race is and how it works. They will all be going hard in the first laps as the grip is there for us to do it, so you need to be there in case it breaks up. We’ll give it a go tomorrow and see how we get on.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P6
“It’s nice to race here at Silverstone with the new asphalt and now the track is in a much better condition than last year. I’ve got a good feeling with my Desmosedici GP but we’ve still got a lot of work to do. In the afternoon the temperature went up considerably and it looks like tomorrow and Sunday it could be even warmer so it’ll be important to understand tomorrow what tyre choice to make. Today we focussed mainly on set-up work: we’ve improved some aspects but I’m sure there’s still some more margin. As I expected, there are a lot of quick riders out there, with a fast pace as well, but it’s still too early to see who is looking good for the race.”
Franco Morbidelli – P7
“Today we’ve worked to improve the amount of feedback I’m getting from the rear tyre. There’s still room to improve, but for the first day it’s gone really well. I hope that I can improve some more tomorrow, because there’s still a few areas where I don’t feel great. My speed is already good with both used and new tyres, but we can do better still. The new surface is quite nice; it’s smooth and nice to ride because you can really enjoy it now that there’s no bumps.”
Oliveira once again impressed to lead the KTM charge in P8, the Portuguese rider improving from P16 in the opening 45 minutes, with Miller’s aforementioned time enough to give him ninth overall. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) took tenth.
Miguel Oliveira – P8
“It was a positive day for us. Obviously, we started again with a good FP2 inside the top 10. We did a decent job today, understanding the new asphalt, the tyres, so it was quite interesting to go and really feel this new tarmac. Despite the small issue we had this morning, I could do well on each lap. It was just a matter of understanding what could be our pace, but anyway we know, the lap times will drop tomorrow, so we have to keep focused on trying to find more speed in order to be in Q2 directly tomorrow morning after FP2.”
Jack Miller – P9
“We did a good job today especially on the race pace and exploring many combinations of tires. I am satisfied with the way things went. In tomorrow morning’s FP3 we will focus on the time attack to try to qualify directly for Q2. The asphalt? They did a really great job.”
Danilo Petrucci – P10
“I’m quite satisfied, above all for the feeling that I had this morning. The track with the new asphalt is in an excellent condition, and in the afternoon we did some tyre testing to see which direction to take tomorrow and Sunday. Unfortunately, at the end of the session I wasn’t able to make the best use of the soft tyre to do a better lap time, unlike the other riders. We’ve still got some work to do to finalize a few details and above all see which tyre to choose for the race, but all in all it’s been a positive start.”
Takaaki Nakagami, another who had their laptime reinstated, ended the day in P11, just ahead of Aleix Espargaro. Espargaro just missed out after the lap-time reinstatements despite managing to get back out on his Aprilia Racing Team Gresini machine after his first bike cut out completely heading into Brooklands corner, the Spaniard ending the day in P12.
Aleix Espargaro – P12
“Today went rather well. I worked with two different bikes in terms of settings, but I was comfortable with both of them. We had a technical problem in FP2, but we were still able to do a good job. Staying in the top 10 here will not be simple. We will have to give it our all. The track has improved greatly compared to last year. There are not many tracks like Silverstone and the new asphalt does it justice.”
Pol Espargaro, team-mate Johann Zarco and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the fastest fifteen.
A recovering Jorge Lorenzo took a cautious approach to the opening day of practice but was still able to improve his lap times by close to one and a half seconds between FP1 and FP2. Ending the day 21st in FP2 and 22nd overall, Jorge Lorenzo is looking to make the most of his British GP weekend but knows it will be a balancing act between maintaining his physical condition and pushing to be closer to the front.
Jorge Lorenzo – P22
“Today it has been a hard day, but I guess that little by little I will get my pace back and I will feel better on the bike. It’s been very tough, because I still feel a lot of pain in my back and I’m missing a lot of the habits of riding. I lost a lot of muscle mass and being on the bike is very physically demanding, so it makes it difficult to be competitive. Regarding the new surface, I’m very happy.”
A fast and furious couple of sessions on Friday now sets us up nicely for Saturday. FP3 should be dry, so there’s still time for the top 10 to change ahead of qualifying.
MotoGP Combined Times
Campetella Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro went one better than he did in FP1 to finish Friday at the GoPro British Grand Prix as the fastest man in Moto2, setting a new lap record of 2:04.993 to edge out Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) and FlexBox HP 40’s Augusto Fernandez on Day 1.
FP1 saw Navarro and teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio sit pretty at the top of the times as Speed Up got off to a perfect start at Silverstone, but it was Navarro who came out all guns blazing in FP2 as he went 0.8 quicker than the fastest FP1 time with 33 minutes left on the clock. And that was all she wrote in the fight for P1 on Friday.
Gardner and Fernandez moved up the timesheets later, with Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) ultimately completing the top four ahead of a solid showing from home hero Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) in P5. The Brit has been on pole at Silverstone twice before.
Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) ended the day in sixth despite a tip off, rider ok, with Austria polesitter Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) for close company. Marquez’ key title rival Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) was P8, ahead of Austria winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and veteran Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2).
High profile replacement rider Bradley Smith put his Petronas Sprinta Racing machine in P27 on Day 1, but the Brit cut 1.3 seconds off his laptime from FP1 and there’ll surely be more to come on Saturday…
Moto2 Combined Times
|12||F.Di Giannanto||SPEED UP||2m05.764|
Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) set a new fastest-ever lap of Silverstone Circuit on Friday at the GoPro British Grand Prix, putting in 2:12.008 in FP1 and remaining unassailable come the end of FP2. The Italian’s half a second advantage was halved in the afternoon, however, thanks to Sama Qatar Angel Nieto’s Albert Arena as the Spaniard went quickest in FP2. Championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) was third quickest, just 0.028 off Arenas.
Sunny skies at Silverstone saw everyone able to stretch their legs, and most riders improved in the afternoon. Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power) was one of those who took the biggest leap forward, with the South African ending the day fourth overall as he cut more than two and a half seconds off his laptime. Tatsukia Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) also made big gains and completed the top five, just ahead of title contender Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team).
Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) was the second rider in the top ten, alongside Arbolino, who didn’t improve in the afternoon but he ends Day 1 in seventh, just 0.007 ahead of Austria winner Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers).
Replacement rider Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) impressed to end Friday in ninth, 0.014 off Fenati, with Stefano Nepa (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) another impressive performer on Day 1 as he took tenth.
Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing), and Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) were next up, ahead of home hero John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), who also renewed his contract on Friday. Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) locked out the fastest fifteen.
McPhee and Kornfeil both crashed in the morning, and there was an incident that saw Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) hit Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) in FP1. Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) and Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) also went down in the afternoon.
Moto3 Combined Times
|3||L.Dalla Porta Ita||HONDA||2m12.252|
Silverstone MotoGP Schedule
Sunday’s schedule will have a different running order and timetable to usual, with the main event preceding Moto2 this weekend and getting underway at 1300 local with equates to 2200 for those of us on Australia’s eastern seaboard.