MotoGP Jerez 2015 Day One Round Up
Jorge Lorenzo quickest in both sessions on the opening day of the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez
Double MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo bounced back from his poor start to the season to dominate the first day of practice in front of his home fans at the Spanish GP in Jerez.
Movistar Yamaha’s Lorenzo was a man determined to make amends for his poor start to the season, and finished both Free Practice sessions on top. The Spaniard set his fastest time in the morning, as FP2 saw riders focus more on their setups as they took advantage of conditions similar to the forecast for the race on Sunday.
Jorge Lorenzo P1 – “My mentality from this morning was to go for it and don’t think too much, just try to ride according to my instinct and it worked very well, especially in the morning. In the afternoon we tried the hard rear tyre that was very bad, with lots of spinning for everyone and I decided to go back to the softer one, since that one is much better in cold but also in warmer conditions.
“Yamaha and I did great things together in the past. In the last two years I felt less good, but we focused on the year and now it seems we’re coming back stronger. We will have to demonstrate it tomorrow and especially on Sunday. Yesterday was a great day for me and I am very grateful that Yamaha has faith in me even in very hard moment. I want to show my form again on the track tomorrow with my speed.”
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro took advantage of the softer tyre available to him to finish just 0.049s behind Lorenzo in second. He also set his fastest time in the morning as track temperatures soared in the afternoon.
Aleix Espargaro P2 – “The day has been positive and particularly in the afternoon’s session we set a good pace. We had some improvements with the chattering on the rear and I also feel competitive in the hot temperatures. For me, tomorrow will be a good qualifying test. We will aim to be very close to the pole, but we also have a strong pace for the race. Of course it is only the first day but it’s been a good start.”
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (+0.254s) sported a modified grip on his Honda RC213V, designed to ease the pain he is suffering from the fractured little finger on his left hand. Marquez, who made it an all-Spanish provisional front row, was clearly not that hampered by his injury, as he set the third fastest time of the day in the afternoon session.
Marc Marquez P3 – “We can be happy that my hand has responded quite well today – as well as could be expected. It hurts a lot but at least I can put in the laps. We’ll see if tomorrow it is better if it doesn’t swell up. As for the bike, I’m feeling pretty good with it and we are working well, but we need to improve some things – especially in the afternoon – when the track temperature rises. The race will be at this time, so we have to improve the setup accordingly.”
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+0.337s) was in fourth, ahead of his teammate Andrea Dovizioso (+0.361s) as they showed just how competitive the GP15 is around the Jerez circuit.
Andrea Iannone P4 – “To sum it up, I’d say that today we went pretty well, even though we have not yet reached an ideal set-up. Today we did a bit of experimenting, in the sense that we are trying out two quite different set-ups on my GP15, trying to understand what is the right path to follow on this track. I am still a bit undecided, but in any case the sensations are positive and the bike is working well, and above all I am sure I have a bike with a high potential also here at Jerez. In the three previous races the GP15 has always been competitive and so I am pretty optimistic about this weekend”.
Andrea Dovizioso P5 – “Today went well and I am pleased: after the good sensations in Argentina here we have a good pace and we are also quick on this track. We still have work to do, because here at Jerez the drop in the tyre towards mid-race is quite significant and it’s always very difficult for everyone to find the ideal set-up, with the aim of being constant for the entire 27-lap race. We did some major modifications and we also found some positive aspects, and now we have to get a good overall picture of the situation, but it was a positive first day for me”.
The biggest surprise of the day was Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci finishing ahead of CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (7th) as the leading satellite rider in sixth. Crutchlow was third fastest in FP1, but ended the afternoon session in seventh after failing to improve on his time.
Cal Crutchlow P7 – “It has been a positive first day, we’ve been going through the motions here at Jerez. I’ve not been well for the last few days with flu so firstly we had to make sure I was okay to ride today. I felt not too bad on the bike and the CWM LCR Honda Team did a great job, they’re all working well again.
“This is another new circuit for me on the Honda but we were able to get a feel for it here and run through some tyre options. We also worked on the engine brake control system, which is where we need to improve the most. We will look to continue with that tomorrow and hopefully have a better day.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro was eight fastest overall, ahead of the current Championship leader Valentino Rossi. Rossi once again struggled in practice, finishing down in 13th in FP2, and ending the day in ninth overall, 0.698s behind his teammate Lorenzo.
Pol Espargaro P8 -“It was a strong start to the weekend and I’m pleased with our efforts and how the first day went overall. The morning session was really positive and I was happy as we had a good feeling on the bike as soon as the wheels started moving. The lap times came quite easily too as I was comfortable and content with my Yamaha. Yet in the afternoon our plans were disrupted by a technical issue. As a result, we had to change the bike which altered our working plan that we had in place for the session and this especially impacted upon the tyre situation as we didn’t want to use too many new tyres today. So, we didn’t extract the full potential of the session however, we were able to improve the lap time and we remain close to the top riders. It was a good start to the weekend even if I had to sprint back to the pit box after my bike stopped!”
Valentino Rossi P9 – “It was a difficult practice, especially this afternoon. I think I could have gotten a better position but I decided to use just the harder option and work with just that tyre, because we thought that was the best tyre for the race. Unfortunately the performance is very low and the lap time isn’t good enough, so I think that also the soft can be an option too, but it will be difficult. With the high temperature in the afternoon the track makes you slide a lot and it’s very difficult to control the bike. We had a lot of troubles in acceleration, because we suffer from wheel spin and the bike isn’t stable. We are not good with the setting yet, so we have to try and improve for tomorrow morning. We have a lot of things to do; a different balance of the bike, different tyres and other options.”
Maverick Viñales P10 – “The weekend had a positive start. At the moment we are in Q2 times, which is good, but we know that tomorrow we will have to cut times and get closer to the low 1’39 bracket if we want to be competitive. We also worked on the pace today. We still need almost half-a-second a lap, but I think we can do it. Tomorrow we will finalise some aspects of the set-up and this should make us even more competitive. We tried both tyres today and honestly there’s not such a difference between the two of them in terms of single lap performance, but we still need to test a couple of things in FP4 to make a final decision for the race. At the moment we would choose the hard tyre because it would give us more endurance for the final laps of the race.”
Scott Redding received updated chassis components ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix and the 22-year-old Briton was quick to adapt to the revised bike during this morning’s first 45-minute free practice, finishing just 0.7s off the fastest time of the session. The track temperature had risen considerably ahead of this afternoon’s second free practice and, with grip levels dropping, Redding was unable to improve upon his time from this morning, which was still quick enough to secure him 12th place on combined times.
Scott Redding P12 – “My feeling with the bike is quite good, but we’re struggling to find the time we need to progress up the timesheet and we don’t really know why at the moment. The bike is working well under braking and on corner entry, but it feels like we just lose a little bit when I first touch the throttle with the rear spinning. We’re trying to find a solution for this ready for tomorrow, but the feeling with the new chassis is already good and we just need to make small improvements for the lap time now. Overall it’s been a positive first day, but we need to continue working hard tomorrow to make sure we go straight through to Q2.”
Hector Barbera was the leading Open class rider in 11th on the Avintia Racing Ducati, as he impressed during FP1 alongside Stefan Bradl (13th), Loris Baz (14th) and Eugene Laverty (15th).
Stefan Bradl P13 – “It was a difficult session this afternoon. I fell in the warm-up lap and that affected our work schedule. I had little grip on the rear and, when I started to push, I fell. We have to analyze the data to understand what happened in order to improve. I came back on the track on bike two, but it had a very different setup as we planned to try different things. The track temperature between morning and afternoon has risen significantly and this made the work even more difficult.”
Loris Baz -P14 – “Jerez is a very special track. The track conditions change rapidly from morning to afternoon. This morning the feeling was good and I was able to push. In the afternoon session the confidence was not the same and I was not so comfortable while riding. We must continue to work to get ready for qualifying. We can improve.”
Eugene Laverty P15 – “This has probably been my best Friday in MotoGP so far because I didn’t have to spend the first two sessions learning the track. We were in the top fifteen all day so it’s been a positive start. We could have dipped into the 1’39s this morning but it was more difficult this afternoon because the track temperatures increased so much and the bike started to slide. We have worked hard to find more rear grip here. We did a great job in practice in Argentina and Austin but struggled for grip in the race so we want to make sure that doesn’t happen again here. On one hand I want to make sure we are ready for the race but at the same time I can see the top ten from where I am and it would be nice to try and get into Q2 tomorrow. But clearly the race is the most important thing so that is the main focus. Today we worked with a variety of suspension configurations and we have to check over the data to find a balance between being fast and being consistent.”
Bradley Smith P16 – “All in all, today has been quite a challenging one for me, yet despite the final position, we managed to gain a lot of valuable information which leaves me positive of improving for the rest of the weekend. The team and I tried the different front and rear tyres as well as a new setting on my second bike. Although we didn’t discover anything hugely promising with the setup, we definitely have a clear direction to head towards tomorrow in order to have a good qualifying. Of course it will be vital to get into the top ten in the morning so that we can advance to QP2. We still have a lot of work to undertake, but I feel optimistic of a strong race this weekend as we know which areas need to be amended, so we will be ready to do better tomorrow.”
Alvaro Bautista was one of few riders to dramatically improve their time in the much warmer afternoon session to finish 18th on day one – “I tested various solutions, even frame setups, in order to continue improving my general feeling with the bike. I had hoped to draw from the experience of the testing we did here in November, but the conditions are too different and the track has changed a lot. In the morning I had to do a lot of work. The changes we made allowed me to improve in the afternoon but I still have work to do, especially in the braking sections and managing the throttle. Today I’ll work with the team to try and find solutions that will bring more improvements during the sessions tomorrow.”
Nicky Hayden was 19th fastest – “Jerez is a circuit I always enjoy riding at and I had a good feeling with the bike here last year so we were optimistic for today but I struggled to get comfortable. It was tough to work today because there was such a drastic change in the track temperature from the morning to the afternoon and after finding a good way forward this morning we struggled to build on it. The lack of rear grip made it difficult to get the bike turned and we are losing a lot of time in the two fast rights at the end of the lap. We took a step backwards which helped us to understand the situation a little better but we have to work hard tomorrow and bear in mind the conditions we are going to face in the race. We are gradually improving the electronics and understanding it more and more so hopefully we can make more progress here this weekend.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, once again standing in for the injured Dani Pedrosa, set the 20th quickest time – “Unfortunately Dani wasn’t able to return to racing at his home Grand Prix so I am replacing him again. Compared to the last two races this first day has been positive for us. Obviously we still need to improve but at the end of FP2 I had a better rhythm and was able to be faster but made some small mistakes. It’s not easy but we must progress further tomorrow as we know all the other riders will also.”
Jack Miller was satisfied with his first day’s work at the Spanish Grand Prix today as he got to grips with another new circuit to him in the MotoGP class. Just one year on from starting the Moto3 race from pole position at this circuit the CWM LCR Honda rookie set a competitive pace on his Open class machine in this morning’s opening free practice, when he lapped just two seconds shy of what would prove to be the fastest lap of the day in 21st position.
Like the majority of riders Miller was unable to improve his lap time in the afternoon as track temperatures at Jerez de la Frontera soared from 23ºC to 43ºC but he is hopeful of continuing his progression tomorrow, as he looks to build on his Open class ‘victory’ at the last event in Argentina two weeks ago.
Jack Miller – (23rd – 1’41.201) – “I hasn’t been a bad day today. It’s nice to be back at a European circuit, it’s a little smaller and tighter here than the last couple of tracks we have been to and we have found some problems with rear grip so we’ll be looking to work on that tomorrow.
“The important thing is that we are making progress and as long as we can continue to do that I’m looking forward to picking up in Sunday’s race from where we left off in Argentina.”
Marco Melandri finished the day 24th quiuckest – “Today we basically started over from scratch since we found high temperatures and completely different conditions compared to the tests we did here in the autumn. That means that there is a lot of work to be done, although between the first and second sessions we were able to improve our times. Tomorrow we’ll try to close the gap behind the riders ahead of us.”
With mild temperatures present right from the start of FP1, most riders went straight to using the medium compound front slick, with only a few riders opting for the soft compound front to assess the grip level of the track in the first session. Rear tyre choice saw a general preference for softer rear slick options in FP1, but the hotter temperatures in FP2 saw many riders evaluate their harder rear slick option; hard compound for the factory Honda and Yamaha riders, and medium for the rest of the field in FP2.
At this stage of the race weekend all three rear slick options, and the two main front slick options – medium and hard – are viable race choices depending on the particular riding style and bike setting of each of the entrants. More evaluation will be undertaken during tomorrow’s practice sessions to help each rider decide their best race tyre combination, with the next opportunity to do so being Free Practice 3 at 0955 local time (GMT +2) tomorrow.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “We had a good mix of cool and hot conditions today which enabled the riders to assess many different tyre combinations, and as is usually the case at Jerez, as track temperatures increased in the afternoon the tarmac became quite greasy. The flowing nature of this circuit requires optimal bike balance, so the way the front and rear tyre work together in braking and cornering is critical to achieving good performance. Our compound selection for Jerez, which we have changed slightly for this year, performed well in this regard. All of our slick tyre options were used today and riders were able to lap quicker than race record pace in both sessions, so I am happy that no matter what the conditions are for the race that our tyres will provide good performance to all the riders. There is no clear preference on race tyre choice at this stage, this should become clearer tomorrow as the riders continue to assess the different options available.”
Rabat returns to form in Jerez
Reigning Moto2 World Champion Tito Rabat confirmed his return to form during the first day of Free Practice in Jerez.
The Spaniard, riding in front of some passionate home support, topped FP1 with a 1’43.198. Although he could not improve his time during the afternoon session, it was good enough to remain on top of the overall timesheets at the end of the day.
Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes was second overall, just 0.136s behind Rabat, as he continued to impress, despite ending FP2 in seventh. Simone Corsi (+0.170s) on the Athina Forward Racing Kalex finished in third, as he was one of the few riders to improve their time in the afternoon session, in conditions that should be similar to what they will face during the race.
AGR Team’s Jonas Folger (+0.215s) set the fastest time in FP2 to end the day fourth overall, ahead of the current Championship leader Johann Zarco on the Ajo Motorsport Kalex, who finished in fifth.
Sandro Cortese was sixth on the Dynavolt Intact GP bike, with QMMF Racing Team’s Julian Simon in seventh. Belgian Xavier Simeon was in eighth, with Lorenzo Baldassarri (9th) and the returning Axel Pons (10th) rounding out the top ten.
Anthony West was 14th quickest.
Vazquez on top after day one in Jerez
Leopard Racing’s Efren Vazquez ended the first day of practice at the Circuito de Jerez on top, after setting his fastest time in FP1.
The Spaniard made the most of the home support to set a 1’47.088 in the morning session, and despite not being able to improve in FP2, his time was good enough to put him on top of the overall timesheets.
16-year-old Fabio Quartararo showed why his talent has everyone so excited, as he ended the day second overall. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider delivering on his potential at a circuit he has raced at before to finish just 0.168s behind Vazquez.
Husqvarna Factory Laglisse’s Isaac Viñales (+0.323s) was third, ahead of the current Moto3 Championship leader Danny Kent (+0.333s) in fourth.
Ongetta-Rivacold’s Niccolo Antonelli finished the day in fifth overall, with Quartararo’s teammate and fellow rookie Jorge Navarro in sixth.
Up next were the three Red Bull KTM Ajo bikes of Karel Hanika (7th), Miguel Oliveira (8th) and Brad Binder (9th). Gresini Racing Team Moto3’s Enea Bastianini rounded out the top ten, with under a second separating the leading thirteen riders.
Remy Gardner, Australia’s sole entrant in the Moto3 category, was 28th in the 34-rider field – “Second free practice has gone better than first today. At the end of second one I’ve found some traffic and made a little mistake that made me lose some positions in the time sheets but I know what to do for improve a bit and I’m also sure what’s the appropriate way to do it. Tomorrow I’ll try to be closer to the top because I need to start from a better grid positions to get points”.