2010 MotoGP Championship – Round 18 – Valencia – Day One
Jorge Lorenzo’s hot lap of 1’32.690 at the end of the second free practice at Valencia on Friday handed the Fiat Yamaha rider the best time of the session and day, as the World Champion set about preparing himself for an attempt at an eighth pole position of the season on Saturday.
Following Lorenzo on the timesheet in the afternoon was Casey Stoner, who had been the fastest rider in the morning run. The Ducati man was the only rider in the session that did not improve on his time from earlier in the day and ended FP2 at 0.314s off Lorenzo’s pace. However, thanks to his earlier time he and the Spaniard were the only two under the 1’33” marker on Friday.
In third position Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was almost half a second off Stoner by the end of the session with his time of 1’33.466, with Italians Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) both within four-thousandths of a second of the American as they completed the top five.
Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was back on his M1 after a fall during the morning, and the American placed sixth in the order, with Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) and Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) – who had an early run-off – in the top eight. In unfamiliar territory in ninth position was Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha), who was almost a full second off Lorenzo’s pace. Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) completed the top ten.
Dani Pedrosa was 12th as he made a gradual improvement of almost two-tenths of a second on his morning effort whilst establishing a more comfortable feel on his RC212V.
Following up on his fastest effort from the morning Moto2 session German rider Stefan Bradl was the quickest in the second free practice, topping the timesheet with a best lap of 1’36.666 to underline his pace on the Spanish track.
The Viessmann Kiefer Racing rider, who won his first intermediate category race in the previous round in Portugal, led Julián Simón in the final order for the day by 0.181s, with Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing), Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing) completing the top five and all within three-tenths of a second of the leader.
Carmelo Morales (Racing Team Germany) was a further 0.233s back in sixth position, with Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Racing), World Champion Toni Elías (Gresini Racing Moto2), Simone Corsi (JiR Moto2) and Claudio Corti (Forward Racing) completing the top ten in the session.
Bradley Smith’s best lap of 1’40.116 made the Bancaja Aspar rider the quickest of the 125cc class, as he beat Marc Márquez to top spot on the timesheet by 0.103s.
Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider Márquez and his only remaining title rival Nico Terol (Bancaja Aspar) were separated by 0.295s in the session, as the latter showed no repeat signs of the engine problems that had marked his first practice earlier in the day.
Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing) and Pol Espargaró (Tuenti Racing) completed the top five and were the final two riders to get within a second of Smith. They were also the last two riders to break the 1’41” barrier for the day.
Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo), Adrián Martín (Team Aeroport de Castelló), Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX), Johann Zarco (WTR San Marino Team) and Luis Salom (Stipa-Molenaar Racing) completed the top ten. Tommaso Gabrielli (Ongetta Team) had a crash early on and completed just four laps in the session.
|1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’32.690
2 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 1’32.897
3 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 1’33.466
4 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 1’33.468
5 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1’33.470
6 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 1’33.528
7 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 1’33.535
8 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 1’33.568
9 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’33.661
10 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’33.684
11 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1’33.782
12 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’33.927
13 Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 1’33.954
14 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 1’34.154
15 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 1’34.248
— Yamaha Report
The season finale at Valencia got underway this afternoon and World Champion Jorge Lorenzo ended the day well in command of proceedings, setting a blistering final lap in the second free practice session. His team-mate Valentino Rossi, in his final race weekend for Yamaha, finished the day in ninth after struggling for grip this afternoon.
After the bad weather that has blighted the two last rounds, the Valencian sunshine presented a welcome change and raised paddock spirits on this final outing of the year. Lorenzo had a strong morning practice session, coming in second behind Casey Stoner, but the 23-year-old made some significant steps this afternoon and his final lap put him into the 1’32s, two tenths ahead of Stoner in the combined standings.
Rossi was fifth in the morning but ran into a few troubles in the afternoon, lacking grip and unable to find the right setting to allow him to use the bike and tyres to their full potential. He was only able to improve his time by a tenth this afternoon but the Italian and his experienced crew will use this evening to look over the data and find a new direction for tomorrow.
Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 1stTime: 1’32.690Laps: 39
“Today was a good day. We started strongly from the first moment and I am feeling so confident, plus my bike is working very well here. We need to continue like this tomorrow and make a few small steps forward with our setting. I am so happy to be riding at home again, in front of the Spanish fans here at Cheste as the World Champion. I hope we are strong again tomorrow where I have a very special helmet to show everyone!”
Valentino Rossi – Position: 9thTime: 1’33.661Laps: 35
“This morning was not so bad but the afternoon was not great. We weren’t able to improve the setting from the morning and we had a few problems; we have some work to do because at the moment we don’t have enough grip and the bike is difficult to ride. The times are quite close but we are in still ninth so we need to find a way to improve tomorrow. We will have a look at the data and see what we can come up with tomorrow because for sure we need to improve the grip if we are going to be competitive this weekend. It’s a very important weekend, the last for me with Yamaha, so of course we want to try to be at the maximum.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager
“A good practice day; the lap time is good, the position is good and Jorge’s feeling with the bike is very good too. We need to focus a bit on rear grip because the temperature is quite low. Normally we have a bit of issue on the corner entry but in fact that’s fine at the moment and instead we’re lacking a bit of grip on the exit of the corner, so that will be our main target for tomorrow. We compared both bikes and tried some different set-ups and it’s clear that one is a lot better than the other, which we’re pleased about because it’s the one we expected it to be. It’s the right direction for the race and for 2011.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“This morning we tried some different geometries and settings and then in the afternoon we continued in just one way, but it’s clear that we still have some work to do and we have some problems with grip. In the end we stopped a little bit early to consider the situation, and now we will look closely at the data to find the right way forward for tomorrow so that we can give Valentino a bike to allow him to ride how he wants here.”
Edwards and Spies set fast pace in Valencia
Colin Edwards was in fantastic form for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team today, the American ending the opening day of free practice for the final MotoGP race of 2010 Valencia in third position.
The 36-year-old was only 11th quickest in bright and sunny conditions this morning but a series of modifications to improve turning performance with his YZR-M1 machine helped him challenge for the top three throughout the second 45-minute session.
Edwards was also able to gain crucial information on the harder compound Bridgestone rear and set his best time of 1.33.466 on the 20th lap of his 23-lap stint in mild but cloudy conditions th is afternoon.
Brave Ben Spies also had a positive first day as he produced a performance full of grit and determination today. The 26-year-old is still limping heavily after he was unfortunate to dislocate his left ankle during a crash on the sighting lap ahead of last Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portugal at the Estoril circuit.
His preparations for the final round suffered an early setback when he crashed in this morning’s session at the second corner. But he made a brilliant recovery and in the closing stages of the second session, Spies was in the top three with team-mate Edwards.
Despite the ankle injury slightly hampering him while changing gears, Spies eventually finished sixth overall and his best time 1.33.528 was just over 0.4s quicker than his time set this morning. The afternoon session was a closely contested affair with Spies only 0.062s behind Ed wards and the top ten were split by less than one second.
Colin Edwards – Position: 3rdTime: 1’33.466 Laps: 42
“I’m really happy to have made such a good start. I was only 11th this morning but knew my guys had a handle on how to improve the bike and this afternoon it just felt so easy. All the problems I’ve had all year with the bike not turning and running wide disappeared. I could get into the corner hard on the brakes, carry lots of lean angle, open the throttle and the bike would just turn like it should do. It’s all too little too late but I didn’t feel like I was out there taking a lot of risks and I was nearly six-tenths faster this afternoon. Every lap I did was between 33.4 and 33.6 and that’s consistently over half-a-second faster than what I was able to do here last year. I kept the same hard tyre for the whole session and just switched it between the bikes and my best tim e was on the 20th lap, so I’m really happy with the tyre performance too and think I could be in for a really strong weekend to finish the season.”
Ben Spies – Position: 6th Time: 1’33.528 Laps: 49
“I’m happy with the way today ended because I’m sixth but really close to Colin in third. I felt good this morning before I crashed. I was on the soft front tyre and it is the one I don’t like so much. I was happy to make it through the whole session on it but I got a bit too greedy and lost the front going into the second corner. I knew if I’d have swallowed some pride and slowed down or come in for the hard tyre it wouldn’t have happened. At least I didn’t aggravate the ankle, which is getting better as each day passes. Earlier this week it was really painful and I’m having a couple of issues back-shifting gears. But it is not going to be a problem for the race. I’m having lots of physio and when I’m not on the bike I’m using an ice pack a lot. But after the crash in Estoril and what happened this morning, I needed to have a good session this afternoon just to build up some confidence and that’s what I managed. I’m really happy too because my fastest lap was on the 25th lap on the hard rear tyre option, so we’ve obviously got a good race setting already. Every change we made to the bike made it a bit better, so with a few more tweaks overnight we should be looking even stronger.”
— Ducati Report
Casey Stoner made a strong start at Valencia today, setting the pace in the first free practice this morning and lapping second fastest in the afternoon. Stoner was more than half a second quicker than his closest rival in the opening session and whilst his advantage was overturned in the afternoon the Australian showed his great potential with a string of hot laps at the end of the hour.
Nicky Hayden was sixth fastest in the morning after making a strong start but he struggled to build on his progress in the afternoon, producing his best work at the end of the session with a run of improved laps that closed the gap to third place to just two tenths of a second. Both riders will look to improve in tomorrow morning’s final free practice before the last qualifying session of the season in the afternoon.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd – 1’33.004
“Not too bad a day today. We had some problems over the two sessions with a small vibration in one of the bikes and we lost some time trying to work out what it was. We changed to the other one and we started to improve the setting a little bit but we hadn’t really got enough time or laps to really improve it. I needed basically one more run to be happy with what we have but in general we feel quite good. We have had two sessions with very good weather so no problems. We just need to wait and see what the weather does tomorrow but if we can improve the situation of my preferred bike we would be happy.”
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) 10th – 1’33.684
“Obviously today was not how we hoped to start the last race of the season. We started this morning quite good I was fastest in the first minutes of the session I think and then third, second… at least near the front but then it was very difficult to really improve from there. I think did a low 34 in my first run but I didn’t find a lot of time since then so we have to try and understand why. Anyway, to be honest the position is not good for sure but we are not so far away in the lap times apart from the first two so we will see what we can do tomorrow to improve. It was nice having two full sessions today. We will regroup tomorrow and try to improve. I love this track, I love this race so it’s a long way from over. We’ll keep pushing.”
— Repsol Honda
This morning the last Grand Prix of the season began in Valencia with the first two free practice sessions, at the end of which, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa ended up in fifth and twelfth place, respectively. Two sessions in which the Repsol riders started to make adjustments to the set up of their Honda RC212Vs, a job for which the Spanish rider did not feel sufficiently well-recovered.
After the wind and rain of the previous championship meetings, today the sun shone over the Valencian track allowing the first day of free practices to go ahead as normal. Conditions which Andrea Dovizioso made the most of to complete a good day in which he was third in the first session and finally fifth in the second, 780 milliseconds off the best time of the day set by Jorge Lorenzo.
The day was more difficult for his Repsol Honda Team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, who continued to suffer from his fractured collarbone injury incurred in Japan. At the Portuguese Grand Prix, during the race, Pedrosa lost feeling in his left hand and, in Valencia, this loss of feeling is occurring again. Although he continues to suffer muscular pain, this loss of feeling is worrying him most and is the main cause of his performance on track. Today Pedrosa set the twelfth fastest time in the two free practice sessions.
Dani PEDROSA >> 1’33.927 sec, 42 laps, 168 km
“The feeling is more or less the same as in Portugal except that this is a left-hand circuit which means there is a lot of braking into left corners – this makes it hard for me. I’m still not going really fast and because this is a short lap, 1.2s is quite a big gap to the front. Still, we have two more sessions of practice to go and I have the chance to improve my pace in those and move closer to the fastest times. We have to think about the race and improve things step by step tomorrow because there will be a lot of fans here supporting me and I really want to be ready for Sunday”.
Andrea DOVIZIOSO >> 1’33.470 sec, 40 laps, 160 km
“I have always struggled on this track but today we have got off to a good start and I’m confident on the bike. We did some useful work today and the lap times from both the morning and afternoon sessions were reasonable, although they are not fast enough yet to be competitive in the race so we have more work to do. We tested some different set-up options and gained a clearer idea of the direction we will follow tomorrow. I’m fast in the first two sections of the lap, while I’m losing quite a lot in the last two sections. Our main area to improve is entering the corners and if we do this then it will give us a time advantage for the whole lap. I’m confident that we can move forward from our current position”.
— Suzuki Report
Rizla Suzuki still has a lot of work to do in tomorrow’s final free practice session of the year after a challenging day today left them at the wrong end of the timesheets.
Loris Capirossi (P15, 1’34.248, 40 laps) couldn’t find the grip levels for his Suzuki GSV-R at Valencia today, despite trying both compounds of tyres to get the best performance from his machine. He will certainly be looking to improve considerably tomorrow to make sure he is in the best position for Sunday’s race.
Álvaro Bautista (P16, 1’34.296, 45 laps) was the hardest working rider out on the 4,005m track this afternoon as he completed 25 laps trying to get the optimum performance from his bike. He made a number of changes to the set-up of his GSV-R today and now has a clearer direction in which way to go tomorrow.
Today’s air temperatures just made it up to 20°C during this afternoon’s session, with track surface temperatures only getting to 26°C. The fastest time of the day was set by World Champion Jorge Lorenzo.
Tomorrow will see the last practice and qualifying sessions of the season as the riders make their final preparations for Sunday’s 30-lap Grand Prix, which will get underway at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT).
Loris Capirossi: “It has been quite difficult for us today because the conditions have been a bit colder than we expected. Like most times this season the day before first practice has been lovely, but then on the first day the temperature has dropped. We are struggling to get a good and constant feeling from the tyres, even though we tried both compounds. We have to try and discover something for tomorrow, the whole team is working hard to find a solution, but it is not easy. When it’s not that warm we have struggled to get the grip and that is how it has been today, so hopefully it will warm up for us tomorrow.”
Álvaro Bautista: “This morning we tested different frame settings in the two bikes and I chose just one of them to continue with this afternoon. We tried a new spec with that setting, but the feeling was a little bit worse than this morning because I just couldn’t get the exit from the corners I was looking for with the softer tyres. It was a used tyre and had done more than 30-laps, so we tried a new harder compound in the front and rear, but the feeling stayed the same. Tomorrow morning we will do the same setting from this morning, but with a few changes and we will see if we can improve – I certainly hope that we do.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium, Hard (both asymmetric)
Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest man after the first two free practice sessions of the Grand Prix of Valencia today, using the softer option slicks which incorporate Bridgestone’s extra soft compound rubber to set his best time on the last lap of the afternoon session, just 0.1seconds off the lap record. Ducati Team’s Casey Stoner also used the softer option slicks to finish second fastest, and was the only rider to go faster in the cooler morning session than he did in the afternoon.
After the washout of last weekend in Portugal, conditions in Valencia were fine right from the start of the day and track conditions were good, demonstrated by the fact that Stoner was already within 0.4seconds of the lap record in only the first session of the weekend. In the morning session most riders preferred the additional warm-up performance and edge grip of the softer option slicks, although some riders used the harder options to good effect even in the cool conditions. As the temperature rose into the afternoon most riders preferred the harder options, but even then Jorge was fastest on the softer option front and rear slicks, indicating a good performance overlap.
Stoner was the only man to dip below the 1m33second barrier in the morning, and Lorenzo was the only rider to do the same in the afternoon on his final lap. This put the leading duo ahead by a healthy margin, but behind the field was much closer with only 0.2seconds separating Colin Edwards in third from Nicky Hayden in tenth. It was a good day for the satellite teams with five satellite riders in the top eight: both Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders in 3rd and 6th, the San Carlo Honda Gresini duo in 4th and 8th and LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet in 7th.
Tohru Ubukata – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“From the laptimes we can see that right from this morning’s session track conditions were good and Casey was immediately close to the lap record, and in the afternoon Jorge got closer still. To be just 0.1seconds from the lap record after only the first day is a strong indication that conditions and tyre performance are both good this weekend and I can say that with a morning track temperature of just 16 degrees Celsius our softer option slicks worked very well. Jorge and Casey are very fast, but behind them the field is very close and at one point in this afternoon’s session the top 14 were separated by just 0.8seconds, so I think we have the ingredients for a close final race of the season.”