Dazzling Dovizioso handles wet conditions best on opening day | Misano MotoGP

The MotoGP™ FP2 outing saw Andrea Dovizioso top the timesheets at the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, with Yonny Hernandez and Dani Pedrosa just behind him on combined times.
The MotoGP™ FP2 outing saw Andrea Dovizioso top the timesheets at the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, with Yonny Hernandez and Dani Pedrosa just behind him on combined times.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) put in a best time of 1’49.195 in a rain affected FP2 to lead the way despite a crash early in the session. Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing) produced a best time of 1’50.310 in the morning to lead FP1 and was second overall, but did not improve in the afternoon practice which he finished fifth.

Pedrosa was second in FP2 and third best overall with a time of 1’50.356 on the Repsol Honda RC213V. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Danilo Petrucci (Octo IodaRacing Project) completed the overall top five.

Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) were all in the top ten.

Rossi was one of several crashers in the morning session but was not hurt in the accident. Iannone was another morning crasher and he took a heavy ankle blow but was able to continue riding after lunch.

Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing), Iannone, Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB) all had FP2 falls too. Teammates Scott Redding and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Alex De Angelis (NGM Forward Racing) fell in the final minutes of practice but were fortunately unharmed.

Indeed Friday saw a record number of crashes for a single day in Grand Prix racing across the three categories, with the rain causing 62 falls in total.

MotoGP 2014 - Misano - Friday Combined Practice Times
MotoGP 2014 – Misano – Friday Combined Practice Times
Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing) produced a best time of 1’50.310 in the morning to lead FP1 and was second overall, but did not improve in the afternoon practice which he finished fifth.
Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing) produced a best time of 1’50.310 in the morning to lead FP1 and was second overall, but did not improve in the afternoon practice which he finished fifth.
Dani Pedrosa was second in FP2 and third best overall with a time of 1’50.356 on the Repsol Honda RC213V.
Dani Pedrosa was second in FP2 and third best overall with a time of 1’50.356 on the Repsol Honda RC213V.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo IodaRacing Project) completed the overall top five.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo IodaRacing Project) completed the overall top five.

Moto2: First day’s action concludes with determined Folger on top

In a wet Moto2™ FP2 at the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, the top three riders were Jonas Folger, Julian Simon and Hafizh Syahrin.
In a wet Moto2™ FP2 at the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, the top three riders were Jonas Folger, Julian Simon and Hafizh Syahrin.

With the rain failing less heavily by the end of the afternoon Moto2 session the majority of riders managed to improve on their morning times, with Folger (AGR Team) leading the way courtesy of a 1’52.449 best effort – three seconds quicker than he went in FP1.

Behind him in the top three, Simon (Italtrans Racing Team) and Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) were respectively 0.189s and 0.615s off the German’s pace.

Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team)  and Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) both ended the day in the top five.

Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team), Gino Rea (AGT REA Racing), Ricard Cardus (Tech 3), Randy Krummenacher (IodaRacing Project) and Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) completed the top ten.

Thitipong Warokorn (APH PTT The Pizza SAG), Sam Lowes (Speed Up), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2) and Morbidelli took early falls. Dominique Aegerter (Technomag CarXpert), Cardus, Simon and Simeon crashed in the closing stages of the session, as did Cortese who took his second tumble late in FP2. None of the riders were hurt in the incidents.

MotoGP 2014 - Misano - Friday Moto2 Combined Practice Times
MotoGP 2014 – Misano – Friday Moto2 Combined Practice Times

Moto3: Moto2 bound Rins ahead in wet Friday practices

As the Moto3™ FP2 run concluded in wet conditions at the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini it was Alex Rins who – despite a crash - set the best time just as he had in FP1. Behind him on the combined timesheet were Niccolo Antonelli and Jack Miller.
As the Moto3™ FP2 run concluded in wet conditions at the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini it was Alex Rins who – despite a crash – set the best time just as he had in FP1. Behind him on the combined timesheet were Niccolo Antonelli and Jack Miller.

With his move up to Moto2 for 2015 also confirmed today, Rins’ best time of the day of 1’55.049 in FP1 was a second ahead of Antonelli’s fastest lap, also from the morning session. Miller was 1.285s behind the pace setting Spaniard.

The fastest time for a Moto3 bike around Misano is 1’42.707, set by Jonas Folger last year, which gives an idea of how the Friday pace was affected by the ongoing rain. FP2 pace was even slower than in the morning, with the riders generally three to five seconds down on their FP1 times.

On the combined times Andrea Locatelli (San Carlo Team Italia) and Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completed the top five. Meanwhile, Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing Team), Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia), Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) and Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team) rounded out the top ten.

After numerous crashes in the morning session there were several spills in the afternoon as heavy rain and standing water hindered the riders. Teammates Rins and Marquez, John McPhee (SAXOPRITN-RTG), Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia), Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo), San Carlo Team Italia riders Locatelli and Ferrari, Philipp Oettl (Interwetten Paddock Moto3), the aforementioned Antonelli and Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) all fell during Free Practice 2.

Miller, Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Gabriel Ramos (Kiefer Racing) fell in the closing stages, with Turn 6 claiming the most victims. None of the riders were seriously hurt.


MotoGP 2014 - Misano - Friday Moto3 Combined Practice Times
MotoGP 2014 – Misano – Friday Moto3 Combined Practice Times

Yamaha Report

There was little fun to be had today by the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders in the first two practice sessions for Sunday’s ‘Grand Prix di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini’ at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

Persistent rain throughout the day meant both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi had their wet riding skills tested to the max on the treacherously slippery track.

Lorenzo started slowly, finding his confidence in the wet and was able to make a big improvement over the two sessions, taking nearly four seconds off his time by the end of Free Practice 2 to finish in eighth in the combined standings.

The morning practice saw Rossi as one of the many GP riders to have their session interrupted by a fall. Luckily the Italian was unhurt and ready to continue. Like his teammate Lorenzo, Rossi was able to make a big improvement in the afternoon wet session, taking just over two and a half seconds off his lap time to finish in tenth overall.

Despite all the work in the wet the weather is now forecast to be dry with sunshine for the remainder of the weekend, meaning the team will start again from the beginning in the third practice tomorrow in the hunt for the best dry set up for the track.

Jorge Lorenzo – 8th / 1’51.541 / 15 laps – “At least we didn’t crash because today almost everyone did. We have been one of the few lucky ones. The pace has been very difficult to find. I needed a lot of laps to get onto a good rhythm. The tyres didn’t give me so much confidence, that is one of the reasons, but the other is me. I needed more time than the others to build my confidence but I found it in the end to get eighth position. Obviously we need to improve the bike in the rain as our competitors are faster but I also need to improve my riding.”

Valentino Rossi – 10th / 1’51.738 / 17 laps – “Today was a difficult day for everybody, especially in the morning. Unfortunately we had to go on the track with a hard option tyre. It was very dangerous and very difficult, especially because the grip of the track was very low and the asphalt is a bit damaged so there were a lot of crashes. This afternoon it was coming better with a softer tyre and the feeling with the bike improved a lot. Personally speaking we are still not fast enough. We tried some different settings for the rear part of the bike mainly but I don’t have enough feeling and I don’t have enough grip in the corner entry, so we have to work and we have to improve.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “We’ve experienced very difficult conditions today in the wet looking for the best set up for both Vale and Jorge. It looks like we have a lot of work tonight for tomorrow but as we have already done in the last GPs, we will work hard and be ready. We are positive, the weather forecast for the weekend is getting better and better so we expect dry conditions from tomorrow morning and a dry race.”

Espargaro dodges rain to be quickest Yamaha on day one at Misano

Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro began the opening day of action at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in superb form, storming to sixth position despite the treacherous conditions caused by a continuous downpour of rain throughout the day. The young Spanish rider started the first session positively but fell midway through, however he remained resolute and after running on foot back to the pits, he recommenced his practice campaign before finishing in eighth. In the afternoon, the reigning Moto2 World Champion set a best lap of 1’50.761 having valiantly battled through the unchanged slippery conditions. This time was the fastest of all of the Yamaha MotoGP bikes as well as remarkably being only four tenths of a second from third place in what was an impressive performance for the premier class rookie. In addition, the 23-year-old Spaniard posted the quickest sector time in T2 as he now optimistically looks towards tomorrow’s qualifying session where a position on the first two rows is the aim.

On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Bradley Smith endured a tricky start to round 13 at the 4226 meter Misano circuit as he gallantly battled through the relentless rain. The 23-year-old rider initially began the morning practice optimistically but lucklessly fell on his first lap and then took the decision to sit out the remainder of the session. The British star intended to bounce back strongly this afternoon and he worked with his team to tirelessly rebuild the Yamaha YZR-M1 as fast as possible to compete on the Misano track. As the FP2 session progressed, Smith posted a series of competitive lap times which positioned him inside the top ten as he consistently improved, yet a crash near the end of the practice prevented his run from proceeding any further and left him in 18th position in the combined standings. Despite this unfortunate end, the British rider remains confident and will now refocus on the qualifying tomorrow where he will determinedly intend to assert himself right behind the factory MotoGP bikes.

Pol Espargaro – 6th / 1’50.761 /18 laps – “Overall I have to say that I’m satisfied with our result today, even if the weather conditions were far from ideal. The track was really slippery this morning and with the hard Bridgestone wet tyre compound it would wasn’t difficult to crash out. However, the softer option we got for this afternoon improved the situation significantly. Finally we had some grip and I felt comfortable on the bike, which is crucial in these conditions. Yet, the standing water on the track still made it difficult to ride and I believe the surface of the circuit is a bit risky in wet conditions, which was illustrated by the numerous crashes today. In any case I am convinced that we learnt more than what we would have done during another dry session and I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend with the hope that the conditions will improve tomorrow.”

Bradley Smith – 18th / 1’53.329 /16 laps – “The track conditions were very tricky today with the rain falling, but firstly I want to say sorry to the team for the two crashes I had. However, with these conditions it is very easy to make a mistake and the slightest error can cost you a lot. Both of mine were quite comparable as I fell during the braking in the straight. They were strange crashes and there was not a lot I could do to control them as it was not about being too quick or carrying too much angle, nor opening the throttle too soon. Moreover, it was the straight braking that caught me out which is usually ok on these bikes. Before I fell, the times I was producing were quite competitive plus, had I not lost the last five laps, we could have certainly improved more and been inside the top ten. Yet, despite today’s tough start I am looking forward to tomorrow where we will come back stronger, hopefully with some better weather.”

Wet start for the NGM Forward Racing Team

The first day of the San Marino and the Riviera of Rimini Grand Prix was characterised by the bad weather with both free practice sessions on the wet.

Sixth in the FP1 and twelfth in the combined free practice times, the Spanish Espargaro worked on the wet set up of the machine. Despite two crashes, fortunately without consequences, Aleix could improve his feeling and is confident for the race weekend.

It was a hard day of work also for his teammate Alex De Angelis who finished 11th in the morning session. A crash without consequences in the FP2 prevented him to improve his lap time and he finally finished in 20th position. The rider from San Marino is determined to do well in his home GP and tomorrow he will continue working on the bike set up.

Aleix Espargaro – 12th / 1’52.164 / 14 laps – “Due to the rain in both sessions, there was no grip and we struggled as the asphalt was very slippery. The final result doesn’t reflect our potentiaI so I’m confident for this weekend. I crashed twice loosing the front, but fortunately without consequences.”

Alex De Angelis – 20th / 1’54.105 /18 laps – “It was a difficult day as the track was very slippery and it rained in both sessions. Anyway, compared to the session on the wet that we did at Brno, the feeling with the machine has improved and today I could ride in the group. A small crash prevented me to improve my lap time but all in all I’m optimistic for tomorrow.”

Ducati Report

Dovizioso shows great form on first day of free practice for TIM San Marino and Rimini Riviera GP with fastest time in the wet. Crutchlow eleventh

Andrea Dovizioso produced a great run in today’s free practice sessions at the Misano World Circuit, where the TIM San Marino and Rimini Riviera GP, round 13 of the MotoGP World Championship, is being held. The Italian rider powered his Desmosedici GP14 to the top of the overnight leaderboard after the first two free practice sessions. Despite a crash on his out-lap in the afternoon session, Dovi then went on to set the quickest time of the day – 1’49.195 – in conditions made more difficult by heavy rain.

Due to a technical problem in the second session, for the moment his team-mate Cal Crutchlow remains outside the top 10 in the standings.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st (1’49.195) – “Of course I am very happy because it’s always a pleasure to set the quickest time! It was a pity about the crash at the start of this afternoon’s session, but we did manage to understand the reason why and then thanks to the modifications we made for the final run, we made a big step forward and this allowed me to regain feeling in the bike and set the fastest time at the end of the session. We have good pace, also in the wet, and I think that we will manage to be quite quick in the dry, seeing as we did a test here less than one month ago.”

Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 11th (1’51.757) – “We had some technical problems in the afternoon session, so I am disappointed with the position. I’m sure that our potential is obviously a lot better than what we’ve shown so far, and that’s a positive from today, because I felt quite comfortable and confident in the rain conditions. I used the harder front tyre in the morning and crashed: it was a strange session, and the track is obviously really slick in the rain but I’m fine with no injury.”

Repsol HRC Report

For the first time this season, the MotoGP riders have endured a fully wet day on track in both FP1 and FP2 at a very greasy Misano circuit.

With nine riders falling in the FP1 session, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa showed caution as they took to the rain drenched track aboard their Honda RC213V machines. Marc completed only seven laps and finished second fastest with a time of 1’52.003 (lap six) with Dani recording just six laps and finishing 10th with his time of 1’54.450 on lap five.

The rain persisted into the afternoon session and due to the poor grip level of the Misano tarmac in the wet conditions, Bridgestone made more soft compound wet tyres available to the riders. Dani improved by over four seconds from FP1 and finished second fastest with his time of 1’50.356 recorded on his final lap of twelve, placing him third for the day in the combined times. Marc improved by 1.484s and ended FP2 in third place with 1’50.519 on lap six of seven, placing him fourth for the day.

Dani Pedrosa – 3rd – 1’50.356 – “Today we were only able to put in a few laps because the track was so slippery. The tyres didn’t have any grip in the morning and we had to change from the intermediate to the soft compound – and even then the problem wasn’t resolved. Tomorrow we will see if we have dry conditions and can get more grip, but I’m sure that this will also be difficult.”

Marc Marquez – 4th – 1’50.519 – “Today was a strange day, as it looks like the rest of the weekend will be totally different; there is a chance of some rain tomorrow afternoon, but the race is forecast to be dry on Sunday. So today was a day for doing our homework and only staying out for as long as strictly necessary, because it was very risky and you have to avoid these kinds of situations, at least in my case. I felt good putting in only five or six laps in each run, and as I felt confident I decided not to do much more than that.”

Gresini Honda Report 

The first day of the Grand Prix of San Marino and Riviera di Rimini at the Misano circuit was affected by the rain that forced the MotoGP riders to face the first two free practice sessions in very treacherous conditions. Like many others, also the Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini riders crashed due to the slippery surface, luckily without consequences.

Scott Redding finished the day in 13th place with 1’52”213, closely followed by his teammate Alvaro Bautista, who set  1’52”298.

Alvaro Bautista (14th – 1’52″298) – “For sure the conditions today were really bad, this morning I saw that it was so risky, so we preferred to complete not too many laps, but in the afternoon we were able to make more laps, but the track condition was still bad, my feeling was like riding on ice, very complicated. I was improving my feeling on the bike and my lap times step by step, I was improving my lap times every lap, but I crashed with two minutes to go. At the end this two sessions probably are useless, because we expect dry conditions tomorrow and Sunday for the race, so we will start from scratch tomorrow. Normally this track has not so bad grip, but perhaps the cars racing here some days ago left some rubber on the braking points, which made the surface more slippery when wet”.

Scott Redding (13th – 1’52″213) – “It’s been quite a good day: my feeling was not so good this morning, but then the situation improved in the afternoon, I felt pretty good and we were able to be quite fast in the beginning, then I had a small crash in the end, but the track conditions were really strange. When the rain stopped to fall, the track quickly became very slippery. I lost the front under braking, but everything is okay and all in all I’m quite happy so far. We just have a few small things to try to make more comfortable for me beacuse I have some wheelie and quite a lot of spinning, but our base now is not bad”.

Fausto Gresini – “Riding today was really difficult and therefore we saw many falls. Also our riders crashed, but in these conditions we need to accept it. In a few words, it’s been a kind of useless day: now we reset everything ahead of tomorrow’s practice and qualifying, on track which should be dry”.

Drive M7 Aspar Report

Sixteen degrees and constant rain were not the conditions the MotoGP riders were hoping for as the series landed on the Adriatic coast of Italy today but it proved to be a cold and wet start to the GP of San Marino. More than half the riders in the field suffered crashes today, seemingly due to the fact that they were forced to use the harder wet tyre due to there not being sufficient quantities of the soft option. As a result, Bridgestone have resolved to bring more soft tyres for tomorrow. Yonny Hernández set the pace in the morning session and he looked set to stay on top in the afternoon until fellow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso put in a late lap to seal top spot.

There was little for the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team riders to take from a day that saw Hiroshi Aoyama crash early in the opening session at Misano. The Japanese rider was one of several riders to scuff their leathers today but thankfully he escaped without injury, whilst his team-mate Leon Camier gradually built his confidence and speed to clock his fastest lap right at the end of the afternoon session. With qualifying to come tomorrow, Aoyama lies fifteenth on the overnight timesheets with Camier in nineteenth.

15th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.52.584 (23 laps): “The track conditions were dreadful today here at Misano and the bike had no grip. I also crashed early in the first session and didn’t do as many laps as I would have liked. The mechanics did a great job and we improved the feeling in the afternoon but the rear tyre still didn’t seem to be working properly. It looks like we weren’t the only ones with this problem because there were lot of crashes today. The positive thing is that despite the lack of grip out there we were able to improve significantly from the morning to the afternoon.”

19th Leon Camier 1.53.699 (22 laps): “It’s strange because usually I am fast in the wet but today I struggled. At the start the bike had no grip at all but then I built my confidence and feeling. There are some points on the track where there is rubber from the car racing here. Some corners have quite good grips but others don’t have any at all so you have to be careful even putting your knee down. If the weather is like this again tomorrow we have some changes planned and if not we’ll push ahead with the original idea for today. We made some mistakes at Silverstone but we won’t be making them again here.”

Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather:   FP1 – Wet. Ambient 16-16°C; Track 17-18°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 – Wet. Ambient 16-16°C; Track 18-18°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso led the field on a challenging opening day to the San Marino and Rimini Grand Prix race weekend, the Italian rider’s lap time of 1’49.195 in a wet Free Practice 2 helping to warm the hearts of the Italian fans on a damp day at Misano.

Both sessions at Misano today were subject to wet and cool conditions, but Dovizioso showed his affinity for the Misano circuit by ending the day 1.115 seconds quicker than his closest rival, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez who was second quickest today. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was in third place on the timesheets and a further 0.046 seconds behind Dovizioso’s benchmark time. Both Dovizioso and Pedrosa set their best time on the soft compound wet tyres front and rear in FP2, while Hernandez set his quickest time of the day on a set of hard compound wet tyres during FP1.

Track temperatures at Misano today were the coolest yet recorded this MotoGP™ season, with a peak of just 18°C today and with both sessions experiencing heavy rain, only wet tyres were used. For the first session of the weekend, FP1, all riders used the main wet tyre at Misano, the hard compound wet, but after the grip level of the Misano asphalt in wet conditions was found to be unexpectedly low, almost every rider opted to use the alternative, soft compound wet tyre in FP2. To ensure maximum rider safety, Bridgestone elected to expand the wet tyre allocation for the San Marino and Rimini Grand Prix by providing four extra sets of soft compound wet tyres to all riders.

Forecasts indicate the worst of the weather has passed, with tomorrow’s FP3 session likely to take place in dry conditions.

Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “Today’s heavy rain and cold track temperatures combined to create a very challenging environment for the riders. The general rider feedback is that the grip level of the Misano tarmac in the wet was quite poor, particularly under braking. All riders used the hard compound wet tyre in the morning FP1 session, but given the harsh conditions almost every rider elected to use the soft compound wet tyres in the afternoon FP2 session. Due to the lack of grip of the wet tarmac, after FP1 we decided to make more soft compound wet tyres – which are the alternative wet tyre at Misano – available to all riders for the rest of the weekend to ensure maximum rider safety. Tomorrow’s FP3 session could be an exciting one, as if it is dry it will be the first chance for riders to assess the different slick options while at the same time, the riders will be pushing hard to finish in the top ten in order to qualify directly for QP2”