|— Yamaha Report
Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi started the second half of the season in fine style today, finishing first and third in the first free practice session at Brno. However the team’s work was cut a little short when light rain fell at the end of the practice, forcing the riders to sit out the last ten minutes.
Fresh from his summer holidays, Lorenzo was keen to get back on to the bike he has ridden to such success so far this season. The championship leader found a comfortable rhythm straight away and he was able to try both Bridgestone tyre compounds before the rain started to spot towards the end. His best lap was over half a second quicker than Dani Pedrosa in second and the 23-year-old is hoping for better weather tomorrow to allow him and his crew time to finish the tyre work they began today.
Rossi is in much better physical condition following the summer break and he felt considerably stronger as he climbed back on board his M1 today, although he did report some pain in his leg and shoulder later on in the session. His improved fitness was evident throughout as he was consistently at the top of the time sheets, finishing just 0.065 off Pedrosa. He tried two different settings and will decide tonight which is working best before fine-tuning it tomorrow in time for qualifying.
Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 1st Time: 1’57.215 Laps: 19
“I am happy to be riding here in Brno again. It’s always difficult to go back to work after the holidays and this track is so different to Laguna, so wide and much longer; it took me a few more laps than usual to get going! Once I found my rhythm this was a good session and I felt happy on my bike, with a good setting to start from. We tried both rear tyres and we need more time to choose, because unfortunately it rained a bit at the end and we had to stop early. We’ll have to wait and see how the track is tomorrow but we hope for it to be dry so we can continue with what we started on today.”
Valentino Rossi – Position: 3rd Time: 1’57.821 Laps: 21
“I’m happy, this was a good practice and I feel good on the bike. After some laps I started to feel some pain in the shoulder and the leg but in general I am okay and my condition has improved a lot from the last race. We’ve done a good job on the setting and I was fastest throughout most of the session. It was a pity the rain came because we couldn’t make the final step, but hopefully we can improve again tomorrow. Even though I still have some pain I am quite a lot stronger, especially with the shoulder, so I don’t have such a big problem in braking.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager “We had 45 minutes in the dry and we went very well, Jorge had a good feeling with the bike. We have some doubts about the rear tyre and whether to use the hard or the soft – we made some adjustments and we needed to check the setting again but then it rained so we didn’t have the chance. But overall things are good and Jorge is feeling happy on the bike. We just need a bit more track time tomorrow to decide which rear tyre to use.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager “It was a good session because we tested two different settings and Valentino was almost constantly the fastest. Unfortunately it rained in the last fifteen minutes and we couldn’t make our final test but it’s okay, it seems we’re in good shape. Tomorrow we will continue to fine-tune the setting and hopefully make another step with the lap times.”
Edwards and Spies make positive return to action
The second half of the 2010 MotoGP campaign got underway in impressive fashion today for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo Colin Edwards and Ben Spies.
Refreshed after a short two-week summer break, Edwards was immediately able to set a fast pace on board his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine as he tried an experimental front-end geometry setting in today’s opening practice session at the Brno circuit.
Edwards was a permanent fixture in the top six throughout as he took full advantage of the improved turning performance from the revised front setting.
Making solid progress with the extra confidence created by the changes as the session wore on, Edwards clocked a best time of 1.58.497 to finish top non-factory rider in sixth position as he edged out former world champion Casey Stoner. The 36-year-old had been as high as fourth at the halfway stage.
Spies declared himself satisfied with his afternoon’s work as a best lap of 1.58.970 secured him the ninth fastest time.
Earlier bright sunshine had quickly given way to cloudier conditions when the session commenced and Spies’ hopes of lowering his lap times were thwarted when light rain started to fall in the final 15 minutes. The short rain shower fell at the worst moment for the 26-year-old, who was poised to undertake a series of laps on a new front-end geometry setting he was convinced would help him move further up the leaderboard.
Spies, who won one World Superbike race at the technical and challenging Czech Republic circuit last season, had been as high as sixth place and is confident with more time on the revised front-end setting that he can be challenging for a top six result in Sunday’s 22-lap race.
Colin Edwards – Position 6th Time: 1.58.497 – 17 laps
“I felt pretty good immediately and I feel like we should be in for a strong weekend if we can build on the momentum from today. A lot this season we have started on the back foot a bit and spent the whole weekend playing catch-up. But we’ve got a platform to build on and that’s mainly down to a new front-end setting we tried. Thanks to my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 because they came up with this experimental setting and it worked really well. We put more weight on the front and I like it better than what I started the session on. Now the bike holds the turn a lot better and I’m not running wide. We’ve put more force t hrough the front tyre to help it turn and I’m sure we can make another step tomorrow if we get dry conditions. I’ve never had a top six here before, so after this start I’m hoping to put that right on Sunday.”
Ben Spies Position 9th Time: 1.58.970 – 20 laps
“We started with the setting from Laguna Seca and I just couldn’t quite reach the pace of where I needed to be. But I know there is definite room for improvement. The first bike I just couldn’t get working like I needed and we’d got quite a bit different front-end setting in the second bike. Right when I started my out lap on the second bike though I could see sprinkles of rain. I was trying to get round as quick as I could to at least get one fast lap in to try and compare the different front set-up and I’m pretty sure we’ve found something with that direction. The second bike should make it easier for me to roll through the middl e of the corner because I was having to hold the brake a bit too much on the other bike to help it turn. I’m pretty frustrated because that bit of rain stopped me from getting in a few laps to properly try it and get some data. I wasn’t fussed about bettering my time, I just wanted to feel the difference. But I’m 90 per cent sure that the second bike set-up is the way we need to go.”
— Ducati Report
The MotoGP World Championship resumed following a brief summer break today, with the first free practice for the Czech Republic Grand Prix signalling the start of the second half of the 2010 campaign. Ducati Marlboro Team riders Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner spent the opening session adapting their machines to the demands of Brno, a very different kind of circuit to those visited in recent weeks.
Their cause wasn’t helped by a light rain shower around ten minutes from the end of the hour, which in Hayden’s case denied him the opportunity to experiment with the softer tyre compound. Action resumes with the final free practice and qualifying sessions tomorrow ahead of Sunday’s race.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 7th (1’58.532)
“The session didn’t really go the way I would have liked. We struggled from the start getting comfortable with the bike, trying to get it working better through the middle of the turns. We made it slightly better and the lap times came down by a couple of tenths but no more. We’ve also struggled a little bit for rear grip. We spent the session out on the softer tyre because we thought the track would be dirty but never really found the pace that we needed. We tried a few different things to get it smooth over the bumps but still didn’t find the grip we were looking for out of the corners. In the last two sectors we look okay so we’ll be working hard on the first half of the lap tomorrow. We have a long way to go but if we can improve through there I’ll be happy.”
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) 5th (1’58.286)
“It was certainly nice to be back in the saddle today and the bike felt quite good out of the gate. The two weeks away gave me time to think about some things and the team too, and together we were able to come up with some ideas that seemed to have worked. I have to say thanks to the team for that and for the job they did today – every change we made throughout the session made the bike more comfortable and improved the lap time so they all did a great job. The only bad thing is that they say there’s a chance of rain tomorrow and we didn’t get chance to try the soft tyre in the final ten minutes because we were ready to go with it but the track was damp. Having said that I did my best time on the hard tyre just when the spots of rain started to come down a little bit – I’m not sure what everybody else had in the bag but I’m sure we’re not miles away for the first session. Hopefully it’s the start of good things to come!”
— Repsol Honda
Repsol Honda Team riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso were quickly up to speed at the Brno circuit today as the first practice session took place in preparation for Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Czech Republic. Pedrosa spent significant chunks of the hour-long session in top spot and eventually finished in a competitive second place behind championship leader Jorge Lorenzo. Dovizioso was just 0.1s behind his team-mate in fourth place, and both the factory Honda riders were satisfied with the work they put in today at the 5.403km (3.357-mile) circuit.
With rain forecast to arrive at Brno – the Czech Republic’s second largest city – at some stage over the weekend, it was important for the MotoGP riders to make good use of today’s largely dry practice session. Indeed with ten minutes to go in the hour-long session a few spots began to fall, effectively ending the practice as the riders ducked into the pits. But before the rain came, Pedrosa and Dovizioso had looked in confident form as they began to fine-tune their Honda RC212Vs to match the fast and undulating curves of the Brno circuit.
Pedrosa’s RC212V recorded the fastest speed through the speed trap today (300.2 km/h), with Dovizioso second (297.0 km/h) and fellow Honda rider Marco Melandri third (296.1 km/h). A further practice and qualifying session will take place tomorrow, with Sunday’s 22-lap Grand Prix of the Czech Republic scheduled to begin at 14.00.
DANI PEDROSA – 2nd – 1m 57.756s +0.541s
“This was the first session after the summer break and I took it quite easy just to get into the rhythm and to get used to the bike again. Things went smoothly this afternoon and this was a pretty good start to our weekend. It was a pity that the session was interrupted at the end by the spitting rain, which was affecting the back side of the circuit the most, but before that came the feeling with the machine was quite good. Also because of the rain we couldn’t get through all the Bridgestone tyre testing we had planned, but it’s not a big deal. Tomorrow we will keep working on all areas of set-up and so far our direction seems on the right track.”
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 4th – 1m 57.873s +0.658s
“It was a good start for us and I’m reasonably happy with the job we did today – even though the lap times are not so indicative at this stage because they will come down quite a lot tomorrow if it stays dry. We didn’t have time to finish the full programme of work we had scheduled today because of the rain in the last ten minutes of the session. So we still need to do some more testing on the Bridgestone tyre options, and we’ll also make some set-up changes to get a bit more stability on the brakes. I hope that tomorrow we can have two try sessions because the forecast is uncertain, but anyway I’m confident for this race weekend.”
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI – REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
“Both Dani and Andrea had a good session and we can certainly use this practice as a solid base for the rest of the weekend. In fact we lost a few minutes at the end of the hour, but this was the same for all teams and we’re confident that both Dani and Andrea can be competitive in qualifying tomorrow. We’re starting the second half the 2010 MotoGP season this weekend and the motivation in the Repsol Honda Team is very high to get the best possible results on Sunday and for the rest of the year.”
— Suzuki Report
Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista recorded the 10th fastest time around the 5,403m Brno circuit in the Czech Republic during today’s first practice session.
Bautista (1’59.204, 18 laps) only used the harder compound rear tyre during the first three-quarters of the hour-long session and produced competitive lap-times. He was just about to test the softer option, but his plans were thwarted as rain began to fall and forced Bautista and most other riders to end the session early.
Loris Capirossi (P11, 1’59.216, 18 laps) was only 0.012 seconds behind his team-mate as he made a solid start to this weekend’s event. He too only used the harder compound tyres and is convinced with the softer version – and some adjustments to the electronic settings of the Suzuki GSV-R – he will be able to go significantly quicker over the weekend and move up the time-sheets.
Today’s practice was held in overcast conditions that produced light rain towards the end of the session. The quickest time of the day was set by Jorge Lorenzo on his Factory Yamaha.
Rizla Suzuki has one more practice session tomorrow morning followed by qualifying in the afternoon. Sunday’s 22-lap race is round 10 of the Championship and gets going at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT).
Álvaro Bautista: “It is good to get back to work after a short holiday and the first practice was not too bad for us. I started with the hard rear tyre and I didn’t feel like I had much grip and it felt like I lost traction a few times. We are working to improve this problem and in the last 15 minutes of the session we were going to test the softer tyre, but it started to rain so I couldn’t compare the different tyres. Tomorrow I hope we have good weather so I can test the soft rear and improve the grip to the back of the bike.”
Loris Capirossi: “I think we’ve worked well today to check the two bikes to see which one works the best around here. One certainly has a better feeling, but we still need to work on the electronics side of things, because I don’t feel very comfortable with the throttle connection. Overall it hasn’t been too bad and I think the track is good for us and we can improve quite easily tomorrow to get much better times than we did today.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “Both guys started on the harder rear tyre option, which seemed to work reasonably well at the start of the session, but became more difficult as conditions cooled off. Unfortunately neither Álvaro nor Loris got to use the softer rear, which the majority of the field were using to make better lap-times. We are not quite where we want to be, but we are also not too far away. We’re hoping for consistent conditions tomorrow so that the guys can get the absolute best out of the bikes and settings in preparation for Sunday’s race.”
— LCR Honda
The 2010 MotoGP World Championship recommences at Brno in the Czech Republic this weekend, following a 2-week summer break and the premier class riders joined the 5.403 Km race track today at 13:55 local time for the first free practice which was held in cloudy conditions with ambience temperature of 24C (34C on the asphalt).
Just three weeks after an operation on his injured leg LCR Honda MotoGP rider Randy De Puniet was back on his bike clocking the 16th fastest time of the day (2’00.184). The Frenchman aim is to finish this season as the top privateer so he worked hard in the last 15 days to be fit for the tenth round of the season but his first run out has not been easy. The 29-year-old made 16 laps aboard his RC212V in the 60-minute session struggling with pain.
De Puniet: “I knew that it would not be easy so this is exactly what I was expecting. Everybody thinks I came back too early but I feel fit even though my leg aches especially when changing gear. However I think I can improve my physical condition session by session and hopefully the pain will be less and less. Today I did not get any painkiller but unfortunately I suffered a small highside after few laps and hurt my leg on the bike. That’s was very painful! The guys moved the shift pedal to make me more comfortable and I am confident we can improve step by step”.
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard
Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo continued his strong form during the first hour-long free practice session at Brno, setting the fastest time by more than half a second. Having assessed both front and rear tyre compound options during the session, his best time came on the harder variants.
Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi finished second and third fastest, but both set their best times using the softer rear slick. The session was brought to a temporary halt when light rain started to fall in the last fifteen minutes of the scheduled hour. Many riders were using the practice to compare the performance of Bridgestone’s harder and softer option slick tyres and this halt interrupted their respective programmes. As the shower ceased, Hector Barbera, Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Loris Capirossi ventured back out in the closing minutes of the session and the track remained dry enough for them all to continue using slick tyres. The weather forecast over the next two days is mixed, suggesting a damp track tomorrow morning for the second free practice after overnight rain, followed by a fine qualifying session but a return to rain for Sunday’s race.
Tohru Ubukata – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“This session was cut short by the rain shower so many riders will have to continue their tyre compound comparisons tomorrow, mainly with regards rear tyre choice. Front tyre choice will be easier as all today favoured the harder front, but we saw amongst the top three that both the harder and the softer rear provide a similar level of performance. The conditions cooled towards the end of the session because of the shower, but the times are still half a second off last year’s record, set by Jorge on our tyres, so there is more to come this weekend if the weather remains good. This is uncertain however, so we are prepared with our soft compound wets.”