Determined Dovizioso leads the way on new bike at MotoGP Aragon
Dovizioso (Ducati Team) set the best time of the opening day at the Spanish circuit, putting in a 1’48.285 lap on softer option rubber and on his new GP14.2 machine, to outpace Marquez – who was on a hard tyre – by 0.043s.
Marquez is looking to repeat his 2013 victory in front of the home fans and he was 0.406s ahead of his Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa, who was third in FP2.
In fourth place overall Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) was around half a second behind his future teammate Dovizioso, as he also enjoyed riding the new GP14.2 following a test on the machine earlier this week at Mugello for both riders.
Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) was just ahead of his brother Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) as the Spanish pair ended the day fifth and sixth respectively.
Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completed the top ten as the factory Yamaha riders failed to match the pace of Dovizioso and the factory Hondas. Lorenzo and Rossi trailed Dovizioso by 0.684s and 1.027s respectively.
It was a difficult day for Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) who was forced to abandon his new Ducati in FP1 as it caught fire and then only made it out on track again towards the end of FP2, to set the 17th fastest time overall.
Moto2: Opening day’s action ends with impressive Rabat ahead again
Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) set the fastest time of 1’53.838 to lead by 0.263s from Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) and also set an impressive pace throughout the session, registering consistently fast laps around the Spanish track.
Kallio trailed by 0.307s in third place and he will be determined to reduce that gap on Saturday as he aims to break his colleague’s winning streak and fight back in the title race.
Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) was fourth quickest overall, courtesy of his best time from FP1 which saw him lead that session. Spanish pair Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team) and Maverick Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) ended the day fifth and sixth respectively.
The overall top ten was completed by Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Sitag), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert), Jonas Folger (AGR Team) and Ricard Cardus (Tech 3).
Britons Gino Rea (AGT Rea Racing) and Sam Lowes (Speed Up) both crashed during Free Practice 2. Louis Rossi (SAG Team) was also forced to drop his bike at low speed to avoid hitting a barrier after running on. All three riders were ok.
Moto3: In-form Rins ahead in afternoon practice at home circuit
The category’s form rider Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) set a 1’58.788 lap to top the timesheet and end the day as Friday’s fastest Moto3 rider at the Spanish circuit. Local rider Rins outpaced his teammate Marquez by just 0.018s, whilst Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) trailed in third place, only 0.097s behind Rins.
Also in the top five, approximately 0.15s and 0.2s off the pace respectively were Juanfran Guevara (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) and Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3) in fourth and fifth.
Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing), Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team), Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) and standings leader Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completed the top ten. Miller was 0.567s off the pace in FP2 having led the way in FP1.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia) was involved in an early crash when Jorge Navarro (Marc VDS Racing Team) lost control of his bike, catching Khairuddin’s rear. Both riders were unharmed.
The first free practice sessions got underway today for this weekend’s Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón at the Motorland Aragón circuit in Spain. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi faced a challenging kick-off to the weekend with a number of set up challenges to resolve. With track conditions very different to when the team tested at Aragón earlier in the year, there was no advantage to be had from the taken data.
Local hero Lorenzo was able to rise to third in the morning session, just over 0.5 seconds from the top but dropped to seventh in the afternoon practice, increasing the distance to first to 0.684 seconds. The results leave him in seventh in the combined times ahead of tomorrow’s sessions.
Teammate Rossi was facing the same issues as he pushed to tame his YZR-M1 on the sweeping circuit. The Misano race winner finished the morning in sixth position, 0.947 from first and dropped to just over the second from the top in the afternoon to finish in tenth in the overall times.
Jorge Lorenzo – 7th / 1’48.969 / 17 Laps – “We are using a completely different tyre to the rest of the riders. Valentino didn’t like so much the hard front, I don’t know if he tried the soft in the last laps but for me it was better with the softer option. Tomorrow we will do some more laps to see if it will be constant for the duration of the race. We didn’t start in the best way possible, we are very far from the front, but the thing that worries us is that we are far from my ideal time here from last year so we have margin to improve. I feel great physically and mentally but the bike needs to improve a bit. We are going to test a different set up for tomorrow so I’m looking forward to continuing.”
Valentino Rossi – 10th / 1’49.312 / 18 Laps – “Together with Yamaha and Bridgestone we decided to try the hard rear to understand if it’s good option but it proved difficult. At the same time I struggled with the front as I was suffering some under steer so we decided to try the soft front; that was not so bad. We made some important data for tomorrow because we tried all the combinations. We need to work a lot as we suffer with rear grip and corner speed. The bike is difficult to ride and I’m not fast enough so tomorrow we have to improve a lot.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “It’s been a difficult first day, unfortunately we couldn’t get the bike to work as we wanted to. We have a number of challenges to resolve in set up to progress as the condition of the track now is completely different to when we tested here. We tested various tyre combinations so we are closer to understanding the choices and we’ll know more after the next sessions. We will work hard tonight to find solutions and we fully expect to make significant steps forward tomorrow.”
Bright start in sunny Spain for Espargaro
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro signalled his intent for the weekend by completing the opening day of practice forcefully in 6th place in front of his home crowd at the MotorLand Aragon circuit. The reigning Moto2 World Champion began the day by finishing in 8th position with a best time of 1’50.120 which saw him miss the second row by only 0.178 of a second after running strongly throughout the practice. The 23 year old rider continued his forward momentum into the afternoon as track temperatures increased and powered to a best lap of 1’48.966. This time was just behind the 3rd placed rider by only two tenths of a second and was set on his third lap as he also posted the quickest Yamaha speed of 334.4 kmh. The superb start leaves the young rookie poised for success at Aragon and tomorrow he will aim to qualify inside the top six in front of his passionate fans and then blaze to a competitive result in the 23 lap dash on Sunday.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Bradley Smith worked on establishing a comfortable setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1 before confidently finishing in 9th place in dry, sunny conditions at Aragon. The British rider completed the morning session in 10th after posting a time of 1’50.246, only three tenths of a second from the top six. As the afternoon practice began, the young rider battled onwards in the fiercely competitive premier class to complete the session inside the top ten with a best lap of 1’49.011. In addition, the distance to the 5th placed rider was impressively minimal with a gap of only 0.073 seconds. The work undertaken today together with his performance, leave the 23 year old charged with grit as he optimistically looks towards the qualifying shootout tomorrow at Aragon.
Pol Espargaro – 6th / 1’48.966 / 37 Laps – “Today was a really positive way to kick of the weekend for me. My feeling with the bike was good from the word go, which could partly be due to the fact that I’ve ridden a lot of races here, but for whatever reason all the movements felt truly natural. I was able to run competitive lap times which kept me on the virtual podium for the majority of the session this afternoon, but still I think Valentino and Jorge’s rhythm might be a bit stronger and for sure they will get up to speed tomorrow. Also we still have some margin to improve and I’m looking forward to trying the softer tyre compound in FP3 or 4 as we just ran the harder compound today. I know the situation in qualifying will not be an easy one due to the tyre difference with the Ducati’s and the open class bikes but I’m really looking forward to the race on Sunday and I hope that all of our hard work will pay off.”
Bradley Smith – 9th / 1’49.011 / 37 Laps – “I am pleased with the job we did today and especially in this afternoon’s session, we made a big step forward with the bike and have a definite direction to follow for the rest of the weekend. We focused a lot on braking stability as well as my technique in order to be smoother and more consistent. I can safely say that we improved this and I certainly feel that we did a good job today. At the moment, the lap times are close in the classifications but the Honda’s seem to have a small advantage so we need to work hard to catch them up. Also today, the soft tyre compound might have given the open class bikes and the Ducati’s some advantage however, I am confident that the grip level of the track will keep improving which will allow us to close in on them tomorrow. Nevertheless it was a positive day and I look forward to continuing the good work for the rest of the weekend.”
Espargaro, fifth fastest time at Aragon
It was a very positive day for the NGM Forward Racing Team with Aleix Espargaro and Alex De Angelis respectively 5th and 15th.
The Spaniard set the second fastest time (1’49.185) during the FP1 characterized by cold temperatures (15° the air and 17° the ground). Aleix further improved his lap times in afternoon when the warmer temperatures changed the track conditions (23° the air and 36° the ground). With 1’48.938, just 0.653 from the provisional pole, Aleix Espargaro set the fifth fastest time and he will keep on working tomorrow to improve the set up in preparation of the race.
18th in the morning session, team mate Alex De Angelis improved his lap time in the afternoon signing a promising 1’50.408 (15th). Alex, who has not completely recovered from the scaphoid fracture, preferred to ride a bit conservative today.
Aleix Espargaro – 5th / 1’48.938 / 36 Laps – “I like Aragon a lot and it’s a kind of home GP for me. This morning was quiet cold but I had a good feeling especially in the second half of the session. In the afternoon, with warmer temperatures, we struggled a bit as we lacked of grip on the front. Anyway I’m confident that we can improve and tomorrow we will continue to work on the bike set up with the hard tyres in preparation of the race”.
Alex De Angelis – 15th / 1’50.408 / 28 Laps – “All in all it was a positive day as I could improve my lap times in the afternoon session compared to the FP1. I had to be a bit more careful as I have more pain in the second part of the session, but in general I’m optimist. Tomorrow we will continue to work on the traction control and on the bike set up to make the bike turn better”.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) got his GP of Aragón weekend off to the best possible start as the Italian rider powered to the quickest time of the day in today’s two free practice sessions at the MotorLand circuit.
After using his regular GP14 machine in the morning, Dovizioso then stepped onto the ‘evo’ version of the Ducati Desmosedici, denominated GP14.2, for his second run in the afternoon session. After returning to the pits for a few adjustments, the Italian then went out again to immediately set the quickest time of the day in 1’48.285.
Cal Crutchlow also concluded his first day of free practice in a positive way. After encountering a few problems with his bike in FP1, which did not allow him to complete the scheduled number of laps, the rider from Coventry took to the track in a determined way in the afternoon and immediately found a good feeling with his GP14. After being held up by a slower rider during his fastest lap, Crutchlow finished the day in eleventh place.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st (1’48.285) – “I did a really great lap at the end! I am very happy with the time I set, especially because I didn’t do a perfect lap. We still have to work on pace, because as always here at Aragón the rear tyres drop off a lot in performance after just a few laps. I can confirm that the GP14.2 is narrower and also more comfortable, and so it goes better from that point of view, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 11th (1’49.373) – “Today was more positive than the other race weekends. We had some problems in the first session so I never got enough laps in time on the bike. We worked hard in the second free practice, and in the session I felt quite comfortable and my pace was not so bad. Unfortunately in my fast lap I got held up by a slower rider waiting for a follow. We will change the engine tonight and hopefully it will help us to improve tomorrow.”
Repsol HRC Report
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have enjoyed a productive first day at Motorland Aragón, round fourteen of the MotoGP season.
It was a cool morning with the ambient temperature just 15ºC and track 17ºC. Marc finished the FP1 session in 3rd with his time of 1’49.290 (lap 7/16) and Dani finished 5th with his fastest lap of 1’49.715 (lap 16/17). However, as the temperature rose to 23ºC in the afternoon and the track doubled to 36ºC the riders were able to improve considerably. Marc, who led most of the FP2 session after being the first to lap under Dani’s circuit lap record from 2013 (1’48.565), improved by almost a second with his time of 1’48.328 (lap 9/18) and finished 2nd for the day just 0.043s behind Dovizioso who used a super soft rear tyre in his last exit. Dani also improved by a second with his time of 1’48.734 (lap 15/18) and finished 3rd in the combined times for the day.
Marc Marquez – 2nd – 1’48.328 – “This is one of my favourite tracks on the World Championship calendar, our first day went well and I enjoyed riding in front of the home fans! I felt good on the bike and had a good pace, which is what we were focusing on the most today. The track was quite slippery but I like it like this! However, tomorrow we will try to define which tyres to use and refine the setup, then see if we can get onto the front row for Sunday and have a great race.”
Dani Pedrosa – 3rd – 1’48.734 – “The practice sessions went well today. We tried the soft and hard tyres and it is still difficult to say which is better on the rear, but the intermediate worked well for us on the front. We have to keep putting in laps at this circuit to improve our feeling, because this is a track where the tyres give plenty of grip at the start and then performance drops off, so you need to get used to finding pace with used tyres. I think that getting a clean lap for setting a good time on it will be vital to qualifying tomorrow.”
Drive M7 Aspar Report
The MotoGP riders were welcomed to the Motorland in Alcañiz by some late Spanish summer sun and ideal temperatures of 23°C as the first free practice sessions of the GP of Aragon took place in perfect conditions. Marc Márquez announced this week that this is one of his favourites circuits and the series leader did his best to set the pace in both the morning and afternoon sessions, which saw a drastic rise in temperatures, only to be denied by Ducati pair Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso.
After two months out DRIVE M7 Aspar rider Nicky Hayden returns to action at the GP of Aragón, the Kentucky rider completing 33 laps today across the two sessions as he re-accustomed himself to riding a MotoGP bike. His first impressions were positive and even though he needs to recover strength and competitive fitness, he was able to ride without pain for the first time in several months today. Nicky improved his lap times by a second from the morning session to the afternoon, finishing the day in eighteenth position. His DRIVE M7 Aspar team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama also made good progress today, adapting his set-up to the change in temperature whilst assessing both the hard and soft tyre options.
18th Nicky Hayden 1.50.890 (33 laps): “Today I was happy just to be riding again and especially without pain. We don’t like to be so far down the time sheet but we know it will take a little time to readapt. The important thing is that I didn’t have any problem riding the bike and now it’s just a question of patience whilst I recover the strength in my arm and fingers to be able to brake properly. We improved this afternoon compared to the morning session and we are not too far off where we were before the operation. You have to consider that the rest of the guys have improved their pace since then. So now we have to work to get back to their level again. I will continue with the rehab and recovery sessions to get back to 100% as quickly as possible.”
14th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.50.283 (36 laps): “It was quite fresh this morning and then the temperatures increased quite a lot in the afternoon so it was easy to get confused with the set-up of the bike. Personally I had a very different feeling from one session to the next but we tried to find the right balance for the bike and it looks like we went the right way. We have also tried to get the bike turning better and to improve the response in corner exit. The feeling was positive so we will keep going in the same direction tomorrow. We tried both the soft and hard option tyres but we didn’t have time to work out which is the best option for the race. The objective tomorrow will be to complete a long run so that we can make the right choice for the race.”
Gresini Honda Report
he Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini was back on track today for the first two practice sessions of the Grand Prix of Aragon: Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding faced a complicated day, with the Spaniard only thirteenth fastest in 1’49”711, slowed down by rear grip issues, and the English rookie who set the 19th fastest time, unable to improve in the afternoon, affected by front end issues on his Open Class Honda RCV1000R machine.
Expecting a difficult qualifying session, being unable to exploit the full potential of the tyres on a flying lap, tomorrow Bautista will work together with the team focusing on race pace, with the aim of achieving a good rhythm over the distance.
His teammate Redding instead will try a different front fork setting in an attempt to be faster under braking and on corner entry.
Alvaro Bautista – (13th – 1’49″711) – “Today, unfortunately, we found the same problems we had in the other races: we struggle with rear grip issues and my feeling on the bike is always the same on every track, so it’s difficult to ride. We cannot exploit the full potential of the tyres on a single flying lap, so tomorrow we will focus on race pace, looking for a better overall feeling with the bike in order to be at least consistent over the race distance, without thinking too much about the fast lap, an aspect on which we struggle a lot compared to our rivals”.
Scott Redding (19th – 1’50″912) – “It was a difficult day, we’re struggling again with the front end: braking and corner entry are the weakest points at the moment, so we will work on that tomorrow to try to improve the situation. We have already some ideas, probably we will try some different front fork settings, and then we will see. The positive thing is that at Misano I dind’t have feeling I couldn’t feel what the front was doing, but here I know what’s happening. This is good because I can help the guys to fix the problem: we did one more step in the right direction, now we just need to keep working on this way to find something better”.
Fausto Gresini – “Both Bautista and Redding found some problems today and as a result we were unable to obtain good lap times: with regard to Alvaro, we will focus our work on the race pace of Sunday’s Grand Prix, since we expect a difficult qualifying session in which, however, we will give our best, as always. Scott is struggling to find the right feeling with the front end of his bike, but the situation has already improved compared to what happened at Misano; this means that the team is working in the right direction, so we are confident that we can fix the problem quickly”.
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 – Dry. Ambient 13-15°C; Track 15-20°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 – Dry. Ambient 22-23°C; Track 36-38°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Under sunny Spanish skies, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso lapped under the current Aragon Circuit Record Lap in this afternoon’s Free Practice 2 session to lead proceedings on the opening day at the Aragon Grand Prix.
As the session drew to a close, Dovizioso set a scorching lap time of 1’48.285 to finish the day 0.043 seconds quicker than Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who was in second place on the timesheets today. Third quickest was Dani Pedrosa on the other Repsol Honda RC213V, with a personal best lap time of 1’48.734. The three quickest riders on the first day of practice at Aragon set their best times using different tyre combinations. Dovizioso was quickest using the medium compound front slick paired with the soft compound rear slick, which is only available to the Ducati and Open-class riders at Aragon. Marquez’s best performance came while using the medium compound slicks front and rear, while Pedrosa’s best lap time was set on the combination of the medium compound front and the hard compound rear slick.
Although conditions today were fine and sunny, the day started with the coldest temperatures yet recorded for a MotoGP™ session this year, as the track temperature at the start of Free Practice 1 was just 15°C. In the afternoon FP2 session, the track temperature peaked at 38°C which enabled riders to set an incredibly quick pace at the Aragon circuit. The almost perfect track conditions in the afternoon resulted in many riders trying a wide range of tyre combinations, with both the soft and medium front slicks yielding positive results. For the rear tyre, all three asymmetric slick options; the soft, medium and hard compounds also received praise from the riders with all of these specifications to be further tested tomorrow. With such strong performance achieved by riders on all the tyres in the Aragon allocation, further evaluation is required tomorrow before riders can home-in on their preferred race tyre combination.
Similar weather conditions are forecast for tomorrow with the next MotoGP™ session, FP3, starting at 0955 local time (GMT +2).
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “This morning was extremely cool and so I was pleased to see that the enhanced warm-up performance of our 2014 tyre allocation for Aragon resulted in the session being completed in a safe manner for all the riders. Aragon is a technical circuit, so it’s important that the riders were able to fully trust their tyres in what were the coldest conditions we have seen so far this year. With the warmer temperatures in the afternoon, the pace was much quicker and the riders were able to evaluate many different slick tyre combinations, yet at this stage it is difficult to say which tyre combinations will be used for the race on Sunday. Compared to last year the pace on the first day is over half a second quicker, so it is quite likely that we will see a new Circuit Best Lap set in qualifying tomorrow.”