Determined Marquez leads the way at Brno MotoGP on Friday
Undefeated thus far in his title defence season, Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was quickest on the overall Friday timesheets, with all the riders setting their best laps in FP1 as the rain fell just as FP2 got underway. In the morning session Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) trailed Marquez by just 0.037s and 0.052s respectively.
Behind the front three, it was Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) also in the top five. Rossi is set to make his 245th GP start in the premier class on Sunday, equalling Alex Barros who currently holds the record for most starts in the top class of Grand Prix racing.
Friday’s fastest top ten was completed by Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3).
In FP2 Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) topped the timesheet ahead of Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) with 2’03.179 and 2’04.462 times, as they got laps in on dry set-ups before the rain fell. Barbera crashed just before the FP2 session concluded, as the Spaniard started his 200th GP weekend.
Marquez, Pedrosa, Rossi, Crutchlow and Lorenzo were the fastest five riders in the wet afternoon conditions.
Moto2™: First day concludes with leader Rabat on top
Standings leader Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) set the fastest time of the day in FP1, with his 2’03.126 effort quicker than anyone could manage in an FP2 session which commenced on a wet track, with the sun almost drying the asphalt by the end of the second session.
Second quickest overall was Rabat’s teammate Kallio who was just 0.142s behind the Spaniard on the combined timesheet – with his best lap from FP2.
Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert) were third and fourth overall, courtesy of FP1 times. It was confirmed on Friday that Aegerter will test the NGM Forward Racing team’s Forward Yamaha bike in a MotoGP™ test at Brno on Monday.
Completing Friday’s combined top ten were Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team), Jonas Folger (AGR Team), Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing), Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3) and Maverick Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40). Viñales in tenth was 0.549s off P1.
Moto3™: Alex Marquez on top as Czech action continues
Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) put in a 2’07.969 lap in the final stages of the session, with his teammate Rins also increasing his pace at the end to finish 0.334s behind in second place. Experienced Frenchman Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) trailed P1 by 0.443s in third.
Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team) had a similar lap time to Masbou in fourth place whilst Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3) was fifth.
Bastianini had topped the morning FP1 timesheet and was running towards the top in FP2 before a big highside which saw him taken away for medical checks on his right ankle. Bastianini faces a fitness test on Saturday morning having later been diagnosed with a fractured right calcaneus (heel).
The top ten was completed by Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46), Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG), Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG).
There were also crashes early in the session for Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) and Juanfran Guevara (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) without serious consequence.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi made a strong start to this weekends Grand Prix České Republiky in this mornings first practice session, but were frustrated by wet weather in the afternoon.
After a successful weekend in Indianapolis, Lorenzo kept the momentum going today in Brno. The Spaniard was enjoying the flowing Czech circuit and was quick to top the timesheets, rival Marc Marquez taking over just half way through the session. Lorenzo finished Free Practice #1 with a best time of 156.840, only 0.037 off the lead, moving him to second place.
Teammate Rossi displayed a good race pace during his long stints in the morning. The Italian consistently lapped in the 157s and topped the leaderboard multiple times. His fastest lap was a 1’57.532, securing him fifth place.
The teammates were both eager to improve on their times during Free Practice #2, but only three minutes into the session it started to rain, putting the action on hold. With 19 minutes left on the clock all the riders went back out in the pouring rain to work on a set-up for wet conditions.
Towards the end of the session Lorenzo and Rossi started to quicken their paces but they were unable to improve on their times from this morning.
Jorge Lorenzo – 2nd / 1’56.840 / 14 laps – While riding in the dry conditions this morning I was quite surprised by our performance. It was good from the beginning but I felt that we had a lot of things to adjust, so the margin for improvement was high. Unfortunately it rained in the afternoon. In those conditions we are still quite far from the fastest. We need to work on our set-up for the wet, because it seems like its going to rain tomorrow, but not on Sunday. We want to be fast tomorrow if it rains; in case of dry conditions I think we are quite good.
Valentino Rossi – 5th / 1’57.065 / 12 laps – This morning we rode the bike with the dry tyres and dry setting. Unfortunately we had some rain this afternoon. Its a shame because we have to try something to improve the setting, but at the same time I did get to do some laps in the wet. I tried the bike with the wet tyres and the first impression was not so bad, but we have to work to improve. We have to prepare the bike as soon as possible because we lost one practice session and need to have a clear idea of what we will do in case of a wet situation. We have to work with the team and be ready for tomorrow. In the wet conditions we lose a little bit in acceleration. The problem is that, though Im in the third position, my rivals are one second faster. It looks like they are very strong.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – We started really well this morning; it seems that our base set up is already a good level for the Brno circuit. We still have some areas where we can make several steps so it was frustrating to have the rain come down this afternoon, stopping us from continuing our work from the first practice. It looks like it’s going to be dry for the race but maybe wet for qualifying so we are working to try and make sure we are prepared for all eventualities.
Espargaro and Smith blaze through mixed conditions on first day at Brno
Rookie Pol Espargaro opened his inaugural MotoGP account in the Czech Republic with a positive finish on the opening day of practice at Brno for the eleventh round of the 2014 World Championship. He kicked off his free practice campaign by initially leading the bright and sunny FP1 session, before eventually finishing in 9th position with a time of 157.634 that was only eight tenths of a second from the top position. Around midday the clouds rolled over the undulating Czech circuit which is hosting its 27th MotoGP event this weekend and the rain proceeded to fall as soon as the afternoon practice session began. Yet Espargaro powered through the tricky conditions before finishing with a best time of 209.412 in 8th position and additionally clinched the overall top speed of the session with 306.9 km/h. The reigning Moto2 World Champion will aim for a strong result in qualifying tomorrow in view to Sundays race as he plans to further build on his current, impressive placement of sixth in the World championship.
On the other side of the garage, Bradley Smith ended the opening day of practice in tenth position in the combined standings after the rain in the afternoon prevented him of beating his morning practice time. The young British rider who has extended his contract for an additional year with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 squad after the announcement earlier this week, began the opening day of practice with a best lap of 157.816 having experimented with various aspects of his Yamaha YZR-M1 as he sought to establish a solid setup. In the afternoon session, the 23-year-old rider braved the slippery track surface at the 5403 metre circuit to finish in ninth with a best time of 209.722. His pace in the tricky conditions was highly impressive, clocking the quickest sector times out of all the Yamaha MotoGP bikes in the first half of the circuit whilst his perseverance saw him riding the most, with 15 laps undertaken. Tomorrow he will look to qualify on the front two rows following his hard fought sixth place finish in Indianapolis.
Pol Espargaro – 9th / 1’57.634 / 15 laps – It has been quite an eventful first day here in Brno and we collected a lot of useful information for the weekend. This afternoon has been the first time that we could test the bike in full wet conditions and the truth is that I’m really happy about how the session went. The grip with the rain tyres is amazing and I nearly touched the curb with my elbow even though it was wet! I have to thank Bradley because I did many laps behind him and I learnt a lot about the line and how smooth I have to ride with the wet surface by following him. I rode some competitive lap times and the rhythm was consistent as well, so of course there is room to improve but we have started in a positive fashion. During this morning’s session, I was probably riding a bit too aggressively and in a way that the Yamaha should not be ridden around this track so I think we can certainly be much faster. Moreover we have struggled in a few areas, for example at the exit of the corner where the bike is sliding quite a lot and overall I’m lacking a bit of grip at the moment, but for sure we can resolve this issue for tomorrow. During FP2 we actually planned to try the harder tyre compound which I felt very confident with in Indianapolis but the session turned out to be a wet one, so we will have to wait until tomorrow.
Bradley Smith – 10th / 1’57.816 /15 laps – All in all it was a good day for me today, even though the conditions were mixed. Overall, Id say that we have been lucky with the weather so far this year, but we must always expect the rain to come at some point as it did today. In the morning I tried both bikes and we now have a very clear direction of which way we want to go in terms of a dry setup. I was clearly able to undertake a much quicker pace in the final run this morning, so we will continue with this setup. In the afternoon session I was instantly comfortable on the wet surface and my lap times were comparable to the other riders who stayed out for nearly 30 minutes. The track eventually started to dry and I didnt push right on the limit straight away as the aim was just to obtain some more valuable data. This is especially useful as it looks like there will be more mixed conditions tomorrow, but overall I am pleased with what we achieved today.
Espargaro 4th with De Angelis making his debut on changing conditions at Brno
NGM Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro set todays fourth fastest time at the GP of Czech Republic with his best lap time of 157.002, less than two tenths from the provisional pole. It was a positive start also for new teammate Alex De Angelis, who made his debut on a Forward Yamaha this morning with a very positive feeling.
The second free practice session was spoiled by the rain. Both Espargaro and De Angelis spent FP2 working on the wet set-ups but the section was not really productive as the track started to dry after the first 20 minutes. De Angelis, who constantly improved in the FP1 and finished 19th, expected to improve his lap time in the FP2, but with the rain he had to start to understand the new machine on the wet.
Aleix Espargaro – 4th / 1’57.002 /14 laps – This morning we struggled with the front because the bike doesnt turn as I would like. We made some big changes for the FP2 and the first impression was positive but I couldnt confirm the solutions we were testing as it started to rain. It was a pity because then the track started to dry so we couldnt really use the session to refine the set-up. If we have these conditions on Sunday it will be a very difficult race, because half track was completely dry while another half was wet.
Alex De Angelis – 19th / 1’59.959 / 13 laps – Its great to return to MotoGP and Im happy with the result we got this morning. We started with a standard setup with a lot of traction control just to get the feeling with the bike. Lap by lap we improved and Im satisfied. The plan was to continue to work in the afternoon, but due to the rain I had to try the wet set-up. I struggled more in the FP2 and it was not easy to understand the bike in these changing conditions. Anyway Im confident that I can improve during the weekend.
The Ducati Team riders, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, finished the first two free practice sessions in seventh and fourteenth place respectively at the Automotodrom Brno, where round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship is taking place. Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro, who is entered as a wild-card in the Czech round, was in eleventh.
In the first morning session, all the riders were able to lap on a dry track, but the arrival of rain at the start of FP2 meant that no one could improve their times in the afternoon.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 7th (1’57.169) – “This morning we started off very well, and our lap times were always close to the guys at the front, even at the end of the session with the same tyres I had used throughout. We still have to improve the front of the bike, especially when exiting turns, but all things considered it was a good start. The afternoon session wasn’t very useful for working in the wet, because there wasn’t much water, but it’s always important to go out in these conditions: we might even encounter them on Sunday in the race, so in any case it was a useful session.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 14th (1’58.340) – “Today didn’t go to plan unfortunately and in the first session we really struggled. We had some plans for the second session then the rain came so we were disappointed with the situation because tomorrow morning maybe it will be wet as well and that means we are not in the top 10. We have to assess the situation tomorrow but I was pleased with the feeling in the rain with my GP14; it was a lot better than in Assen, so I think we made some progress there. I have to find a better feeling with the dry bike and hopefully tomorrow can be a bit better for us.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 11th (1’58.340) – “This morning I was quite happy because, despite not riding a bike for almost two months, I had already managed to improve my time from last year by one second: it’s positive because it means that the bike has improved. Unfortunately the afternoon session was ruined by the rain: I had a few set-up problems in the wet, which I was unable to resolve before the end of the session. I hope that tomorrow the weather improves and I’ll try and get into the top 10.”
Drive M7 Aspar Report
The MotoGP riders had two very different sessions to open the Czech Grand Prix weekend. The first took place in the dry and was a comletely normal session, topped by Marc Márquez with Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa close behind. The difference between the three was just 0.052s at the end of the opening runout. In the afternoon, rainfall almost immediately after the session had started sent the riders to their garajes, reemerging ten minutes later onto a completely wet track. On the combined timesheets for the day, Márquez, Lorenzo and Pedrosa continued to lead the way, but things are very close indeed at Brno.
In the morning session the DRIVE M7 Aspar riders worked normally, but in the afternoon rain obliged Hiro Aoyama y Leon Camier to ride with caution. The duo had practically an entire session in which to ride in wet conditions, and Aoyama gathered plenty of data for the future. Camier rode DRIVE M7 Aspar Honda for the first time last weekend, and was able to continue his learning process today under almost completely new conditions. At the end of the day, Aoyama placed seventeenth and Camier twenty-second.
17th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.58.895 (33 Laps): “This morning in the dry we tested out some things with the front end and with the rear. These changes allowed us to improve the setup of the bike at the end of the session. We also gathered a lot of information that has helped us make plans for a clear direction in the second session. We had further things to try out in the afternoon, but the rain forced us to change our plans and we were unable to contrast what we did in the morning. The feeling was great in the wet, but we lost a bit of grip with the front. The front wheel slid out a lot and it was not easy to adapt when turning the bike. In conclusion, we have to check that our dry setup from today is a good one, and in the wet we need to improve the front end. It looks as if the weather is going to be a little strange this weekend, so we shall have to try to adapt to whatever it brings.”
22nd Leon Camier 2.00.445 (30 laps): “At Indianapolis we understood the direction to take to improve, so today we worked with that in mind. We are trying to take another step forward, to try to brake later and turn the bike in better. The adaptation was relatively simple, but trying to push more on this bike is another matter. This morning I felt comfortable in the dry, but in the afternoon I found it hard to understand how to use the tyres and set the bike up for the wet. It is important to continue gaining confidence and find out where the limits of this bike are. There is no doubt that the main keys to further progress with my confidence are tyres and brakes. With this bike you need to load weight on the front to help you to turn in quickly. I had hoped to continue to learn about the bike and take steps forward, but the rain this afternoon hindered that a bit. Still, I’m happy because the team have once again helped me a lot to learn from the different situations that I’ve encountered so far.”
The Czech Republic Grand Prix weekend kicked off today at Brno with the first day of track action, characterized by a first free practice session in dry conditions and an afternoon session held on a wet track. In both conditions, Team GO& FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding proved to be the fastest rider aboard the Open Class Honda RCV1000R, ending the morning with the 13th fastest time, 1’58”301, and with the eleventh best performance in the afternoon, 2’09”869.
His teammate Alvaro Bautista has unfortunately been slowed down, as happened in Indianapolis, by severe rear grip issues: the Spaniard this morning set the 15th fastest time, 1’58”698, then he struggled even under rain in the afternoon, when he set the 18th fastest time in 2’11”004.
Alvaro Bautista (15th – 1’58″698) – “Here we have the same situation of Indianapolis: we have zero feeling from the rear tyre, and due to this I I’m struggling also with the front end; I cannot enter the corner as fast as I want, the rear is sliding everytime. This situation is frustrating because I really can’t do anything: I simply can’t ride. During the second free practice session, we had the same problems in the wet. This afternoon we wanted to test some set-up adjustments for dry conditions, but it was impossible, so today was a disaster. We will try to work on the suspension setting tomorrow, in order to find something which can help us”.
Scott Redding (13th – 1’58″301) – “I’m happy with this morning’s free practice session on the dry, because this is a difficult track for me and also for Honda I think, but actually I felt immediately pretty good. I used the same tyres all the session and I made my fastest lap on the last run, and this is also very good. Finally in the afternoon I had the opportunity to test the bike in full rain conditions: I was a bit nervous and also a bit scared, let me say… However, actually it was not bad, and confidence came quite quickly. This is good because now we have some data and we can work a little bit more on the setting for wet conditions. It was the first time for me with full wet and I think it was not bad because I was again the fastest Open Honda, like in the dry. Tomorrow I would like to close a little bit the gap to the group of bikes in front of me, because there is still a big gap, even if it will be difficult because on this track you need power in a lot of places”.
Fausto Gresini – “On a very difficult track for his bike, Redding made a very good first day of practice today, thus confirming the big step forward he had showed at Indianapolis. Moreover, Scott was the fastest ‘Production Racer’ rider in both dry and wet conditions. Bautista unfortunately continues to have no confidence with his bike: the lack of rear grip is slowing down him a lot. The situation, of course, was even worst in the wet. I am sorry for this situation, we would like to bring back Alvaro in the positions that we know we can achieve, therefore tomorrow we will continue to work hard, trying some other set-up adjustments”.
Repsol Honda Report
Temperamental weather has once again played its part on the first day in Brno. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was fastest for the day after leading this morning’s dry session with a time of 1’56.803 on his final lap of 17. Teammate Dani Pedrosa finished third, just 0.052 off Marc, with 1’56.855 on lap 16 of 17.
As black clouds emerged over the Czech circuit, the riders exited onto the track to begin FP2. Light rain began to fall and only two riders recorded times in the almost-dry conditions (Iannone and Barbera) as all riders returned to the pits for rain tyres. Heavy rain arrived and remained for most of the session. Although some parts of the track dried out, it wasn’t possible to change back to slick tyres as there were still areas of the 5.4km Brno track that remained very wet, meaning nobody bettered their FP1 times.
Marc was fastest in the wet conditions, with his time of 2’07.846 (lap 10 of 12) and Dani was just two thousandths off his teammate with 2’07.848 (on lap 11 of 13), with Iannone and Barbera’s times from the 50/50 conditions out of reach.
Marc Marquez – 1st – 1’56.803 – “I am happy with how the practices went today as the track has changed substantially compared with how it was when we tested here. I expected this, and we adapted our setup accordingly in the sessions – although I am still not entirely satisfied. In the afternoon when the track was wet – especially at the start of FP2 – I was able to lap consistently and I felt good which is important. We will see what the weather is like tomorrow and if we can have a good qualifying session”
Dani Pedrosa – 3rd – 1’56.855 – “Today went well for us. We had one practice in the dry and the other in wet conditions, and I think that overall we need more dry track time in order to be able to test out different tyres and setups. It’s been a good day and we can’t wait to get back to work tomorrow”
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez showed supreme pace in all conditions on the first day of practice for the Czech Republic Grand Prix, clocking the quickest time of the day in the dry morning Free Practice 1 session before also producing the best time on wet tyres during a rainy Free Practice 2.
During the first session of the race weekend, Marquez lapped the Brno Circuit in 1’56.882 on the combination of the medium compound front and rear slicks to lead a tightly-packed field. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo was second quickest overall and a mere 0.037 seconds off Marquez’s time, with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa just fifteen-thousandths of a second further back in third place. On one of the longest circuits on the calendar, only 0.387 seconds covered the top eight places on combined times today, enhancing Brno’s reputation of being a venue that produces extremely close racing.
Cool but dry conditions occurred for the morning FP1 session, before rain started right at the beginning of the afternoon FP2 session which necessitated riders switching to wet tyres. Today’s peak track temperature of 31°C was recorded right at the start of FP2 before the rain started to fall. In the first practice session, almost every rider initially headed out on track on the soft compound front slick paired with their softer rear slick option; medium compound for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders, and soft compound for the Ducati and Open-class riders. Once the grip level of the Brno tarmac had been evaluated, some riders switched to the medium compound front slick in the second half of FP1, but due to cool conditions and afternoon rain, no riders evaluated the hard compound front or rear slick tyres. Although Marquez was the quickest rider on wet tyres in the damp afternoon session, it was Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone who topped the times in FP2 as he and Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera managed to set a quick lap on slick tyres on their first flying lap before the rain intensified. Only the soft compound wet tyres were used by the riders today.
The current weather forecast indicates a good chance of rain falling tomorrow afternoon which could see both qualifying sessions being run in wet conditions, however the forecasts at this stage of the race weekend show that there is only a slight chance of a wet race.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department – “It was challenging for the teams and riders to ride the track in both dry and wet conditions, but as the forecast shows rain is possible tomorrow it was valuable to get some wet track time today to work on bike setup. The cool and unsettled weather this afternoon meant that the riders were unable to evaluate as many different slick tyre combinations as planned and with similar weather forecast for tomorrow afternoon, tomorrow’s FP3 session could be the best opportunity for riders to try some different slick options. The tyres appear to be working well for everyone here at Brno as we have riders from each manufacturer within a few tenths of each other, and I hope to see this close competition continue through to qualifying and the race.”
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