MotoGP 2013 – Round Six – Catalunya
Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi posted a late lap time to go quickest on the first day of free practice at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing teammate Jorge Lorenzo and championship leader Dani Pedrosa for the Repsol Honda Team.
Set in the afternoon session, which saw track temperatures of 53 degrees Celsius, Rossi completed 17 laps and achieved a best effort of 1’42.297, leading Lorenzo by just 49 thousandths of a second, with Pedrosa one and a half tenths off the pace with a time set in the cooler morning conditions. Alvaro Bautista recovered from a morning accident to go fifth for GO&FUN Honda Gresini, rounding out the top five behind Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who was only the second other rider in the top ten to set his quickest lap in the morning.
Repsol’s Marc Marquez ended Day 1 of his first premier-class home Grand Prix event in sixth position, having already pinpointed the Circuit de Catalunya weekend as one of the most difficult of the season. In seventh place, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden beat Alex Barros’ 2004 record for the highest top speed at the track, posting a 339.4km/h (210.8mph).
The first ten was completed by Hayden’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl and Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, who is one of six Spanish rides in the field this weekend. Despite finishing ninth, Bradl suffered another fall as the German lost control of his Honda at La Caixa curve after loosing the front under braking. The sixth Spaniard, Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera, ended the day in 15th position as Tech 3’s Bradley Smith was taken to the Medical Centre for a check-up following an accident at the sweeping Turn 3.
Much of the focus of the day was on tyre choice for the race, with the majority of riders already stating that the harder option front is a certain choice, whilst many will be using Saturday to decide between the softer or harder option rear.
1 Valentino Rossi 1’42.297 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
2 Jorge Lorenzo 1’42.346 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
3 Dani Pedrosa 1’42.445 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Cal Crutchlow 1’42.492 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Alvaro Bautista 1’42.752 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
6 Marc Marquez 1’42.857 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
7 Nicky Hayden 1’42.890 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
8 Andrea Dovizioso 1’42.988 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Stefan Bradl 1’43.005 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
10 Aleix Espargaro 1’43.204 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
11 Andrea Iannone 1’43.272 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
12 Randy De Puniet 1’43.644 FRA ART Power Electronics Aspar
13 Michele Pirro 1’43.648 ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
14 Bradley Smith 1’44.247 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
15 Hector Barbera 1’44.461 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
16 Colin Edwards 1’44.586 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
17 Karel Abraham 1’44.599 CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
18 Danilo Petrucci 1’44.609 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
19 Michael Laverty 1’45.337 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
20 Claudio Corti 1’45.513 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
21 Yonny Hernandez 1’45.824 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
22 Hiroshi Aoyama 1’45.834 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
23 Bryan Staring 1’46.577 AUS FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
24 Lukas Pesek 1’47.239 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
Pol Espargaro put his name atop the classification on the first day of Moto2™ practice in Montmelo for the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya on Friday. A favourite with the locals, the Tuenti HP 40 rider led Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Tom Luthi and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis as increasing heat left onlookers looking for shade.
Friday brought a sweltering start to the sixth race weekend of the season, with the top three riders unable to improve their lap times in the afternoon. Although Espargaro topped both sessions, it was his morning lap time of 1’46.985 that was the benchmark that saw off Luthi by one and three quarter tenths of a second. Behind De Angelis, Marc VDS Racing Team’s championship leader Scott Redding was fourth quickest.
Takaaki Nakagami completed the top five for Italtrans Racing Team, with Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jordi Torres sixth ahead of Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco and Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter in eighth. Tuenti HP 40’s Esteve Rabat posted the ninth fastest time of the day, with Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio completing the top ten with a time set in the morning session.
QMMF Racing’s Ant West suffered a small crash at Turn 5 in the morning, whilst a further two crashes came in the afternoon as his teammate Rafid Topan Sucipto and Blusens Avintia’s Kyle Smith suffered incidents. Some of the riders spoke afterwards about high tyre wear in the hot temperatures, although this may not affect the race, which is run much closer to mid-day than the preceding FP and QP sessions.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom ended the first day of free practice at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya in Montmelo top, holding off Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Isaac Viñales and Estrella Galicia’s Alex Marquez.
Salom set his best lap in the cooler morning practice, whilst it was Isaac Viñales who was quickest as Moto3™ practice continued in Barcelona on Friday afternoon. The Ongetta-Centro Seta rider led Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez and championship-leading younger cousin Maverick Viñales of Team Calvo, who ended the day in fourth.
The remaining top seven all posted their best times in the afternoon, with Marquez’s teammate Alex Rins in fifth ahead of a resurgent Efren Vazquez on his Mahindra Racing machine, and GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Niccolo Antonelli. The top ten was rounded out by Mahindra’s Miguel Oliveira, Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder and Caretta Technology-RTG’s Jack Miller, with Binder being the only one of the trio to set his fast lap in the afternoon.
There were falls for San Carlo Team Italia’s Francesco Bagnaia and Gresini’s Lorenzo Baldassarri, but worse news for Mugello pole-sitter Jonas Folger; having injured his right wrist in a motocross accident on Wednesday of last week, the German Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 rider – who finished 33rd in first practice this morning – is sitting out the remainder of the weekend.
Arthur Sissis – “It was not a good day. I had some problems and I did not feel entirely comfortable. Now we will look at what has not gone well today, in order to know what strategy to take in practice tomorrow. This afternoon we lowered our lap time and I felt more at ease, so as the laps go by we will find solutions. Tomorrow we will improve with more laps undertaken. I hope I can enjoy a good day, as it will be my birthday.”
Following a crash in which he bruised both of his feet, Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo was taken to the Medical Centre but declared fit to continue on Saturday.
— Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi wrapped up the first day of practice for the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya at the top of the time sheets as the fastest rider in sweltering conditions and a track temperature that topped 50 degrees. Having named the track as one of his top three favourites the nine-time champion was clearly enjoying being back at the Circuit de Catalunya on his YZR-M1. Rossi wrapped up the morning first practice in fifth position, just under half a second from the front. He upped the pace in the afternoon, diving under the circuit record in the last three minutes with a 1’42.297 lap on a fresh soft tyre to go top.
Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo was on typical form in front of his home crowd today and was quick to find his trademark blistering pace. Lorenzo wrapped up the morning session in first, 0.023 seconds ahead of fellow Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa. The afternoon saw a repeat performance as he led for the majority of the session, only passed by his teammate in the final minutes to leave him in second place, 0.049 seconds from Rossi in first.
Valentino Rossi – 1st, Time 1’42.297
“I love this track it is one of the best, the M1 is always great here in Catalunya. It is just Friday but I am very happy to be in front but we have a lot of work to do. We have to decide which tyre to use and we have some corners and sections where we have to improve for tomorrow. Anyway, it is a great to be in the first position.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 2nd, Time 1’42.346
“We started very well but we tried two settings that didn’t work so well. We stayed with the same tyres for the whole practice to understand why they are dropping in this weather so we could solve this problem that I think all the riders are having. It is always possible to improve so we have to try and improve the bike so I have more confidence, then I can stay in the middle of the 42 second mark which is my target. We don’t focus so much on the classification because not all the riders kept on the same tyres during the practice, a new tyre can give you half a second or more. We have to trust the pace and the pace is good, one of the best of the grid.”
Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very good first day in very hot conditions it was important to see how the bike behaved this afternoon. Jorge was not really pleased with the performance but I was actually pleased as we have a clear direction for tomorrow, this is what counts. It’s the first day, we are still second and Vale was fast with the soft tyre at the end. We found our direction to work in for tomorrow which is good.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“A really good starting point, having both bikes in the top two is a good result. We still have a lot of work to do. We have to perfect the set up and decide on which tyre to use in the race, so far we’ve done a good job so let’s see what we can do to make it even better tomorrow.”
Crutchlow fourth after fast start in Catalunya
Cal Crutchlow’s sky high confidence was once again reflected on the MotoGP timesheets after the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider challenged for the top three in both free practice sessions at the Circuit de Catalunya today. The British rider wasted no time in establishing a fast rhythm this morning when he stormed into the top three in FP1, a personal best lap of 1.42.492 only 0.070s off reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo’s best pace. With air and track temperatures soaring under gloriously sunny skies this afternoon, Crutchlow logged a best time of 1.42.776 in FP2 to clinch fifth spot on the leaderboard. Rather than use a soft Bridgestone rear tyre to improve his pace, the 27-year-old preferred to check endurance with the harder option to give the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team as much information as possible on tyre wear ahead of Sunday’s 25-lap race. Crutchlow was fourth fastest on the combined rankings with his faster pace in FP1 this morning meaning he was only 0.047s outside of the top three and less than 0.2s away from Valentino Rossi’s best pace of 1.42.297.
Today’s action proved to be another tough and painful learning experience for Bradley Smith, the rookie finishing 14th after a fast fall in the second session. After heavy falls during preparations for the previous round in Mugello left him with left hand and wrist injuries, Smith made a positive start to then Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya today when he set the 12th fastest time in FP1. As temperatures soared to a gruelling 28 degrees this afternoon, Smith had already dropped his pace to a 1.44.247 when he suffered a tumble at Turn 3 shortly after the halfway stage. Fortunately he was uninjured in the spill and he will now work closely with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew to find some improvements with his YZR-M1 ahead of tomorrow’s final practice and qualifying sessions.
Cal Crutchlow – 4th, Time 1.42.492
“I am really happy with today’s practice because we experimented a lot with the bike and found some very positive things that will help me for the rest of the weekend. This afternoon when the temperature really came hot I didn’t use a soft tyre and we can see from the timesheets how much of an advantage that was. I am sure if I had used the soft tyre I’d have been inside the top three but I preferred to do a long run with the hard tyre and it was positive. I need to improve a bit in the first sector but we have some changes planned for tomorrow that should help make me stronger and overall today I am really happy. I am convinced it is going to be a big fight on Sunday with the Spanish boys obviously wanting to put on a show here but I am looking forward to being part of the battle.”
Bradley Smith – 14th, Time 1.44.247
“Today was another tough day. I am not feeling so confident with the setting and I am missing some confidence myself. I am lucky I didn’t damage my body in the crash because it was another big fall. I lost the front and as I tried to save it the rear tyre gripped and threw me off. The bike hit my left knee and that’s why I was limping in the gravel but luckily I am fine. Right now I need to work hard and sit down with my crew to find where I am loosing most of the time. I don’t really know what is missing but we will find something tonight and approach it at 100% again tomorrow.”
— Repsol HRC
Round six of the 2013 Championship began today with the first two free practice sessions in preparation for Sunday’s race in Montmelò, Catalunya, and Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez had a productive day aboard their Honda RC213V machines in very hot conditions.
In the morning session, with a track temperature of 33ºC and air temperature of 25ºC, both riders opted the soft front and soft rear Bridgestone tyres to take the first feelings from the 4.727km Spanish circuit. Dani completed 18 laps and was 2nd fastest with a lap of 1’42.445 and Marc was 9th fastest with 1’43.641 after 19 laps in his first appearance here on a MotoGP machine.
In the afternoon, temperatures rose to 49ºC on the track with an ambient temperature of 28ºC. Dani went out early in the session with a new hard front, keeping the soft rear from the morning session, but before long he changed for a fresh hard rear and although he was unable to improve his lap time from the morning, it was crucial to test how the hard tyre performed. He completed a total of 17 laps taking his fastest (with the hard rear) on lap 12 with 1’42.557, placing him 3rd in the combined times for the day.
Marc started the FP2 session as he left FP1, with soft rear and soft front, but he also changed for both hard option tyres and improved from the morning session by 0.784 with a time of 1’42.857 on lap 10 of 18, placing him 6th for the day.
Dani Pedrosa 3rd 1’42.445
“Above all today, we focused on testing tyres. We were able to ride some laps with the soft tyres and also the hards, in order to see which are best suited to the track. Getting the choice right is very important at this circuit, because it is always hot in the race and it is usually a key to managing this. The tyres suffer a little when we lean the bike over, but we are working on this issue. We still haven’t decided which compounds we will use, so we will see what tomorrow brings and then go from there”
Marc Marquez 6th 1’42.857
“I am pretty happy with how the day went. We followed the normal Friday agenda; in the first session we were ninth, over one second from the top, then in the second session we cut the gap to half a second and finished sixth in the combined times. I am very happy with the work that we have done, but we still have things to improve and there are points on the track where I am still not comfortable. I have to improve my adaptation to the circuit and some details with the setup but the most important thing is that we have cut the gap and are working in the right direction”
— Ducati Report
Day one of the Catalan Grand Prix concluded with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso occupying the seventh and eight positions, respectively in the combined times from the first two MotoGP free-practice sessions.
Conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya were warmer today than has been the case at the previous rounds, and the two Ducati Team riders are doing their best to find the ideal settings for their Desmosedici GP13 race machines.
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 7th (1:42.890)
“It wasn’t a spectacular day, but the team has worked well and made some good improvements between exits, which helped us to increase our pace in the afternoon. With a new tyre, the bike is working well, but it becomes a problem when the grip goes away. I got into the 42s twice, and the gap to the next couple of guys is pretty small, but we’ve got to do anything we can to improve the longevity of the tyres.”
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 8th (1:42.988)
“I think we’ve still got a lot of work to do, as I’m not feeling comfortable on the bike in a number of ways. We must re-evaluate the riding position because this track is quite different from Mugello and requires different solutions. We’re not sure about the moved-back position, which had worked well at the test last week in Italy. For this reason, we tried a number of different setups. Pace-wise, we’re not so bad, but we definitely must improve because the pace always increases in the race, and those who are best prepared do better.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 – Dry. Ambient 25-28°C; Track 15-16°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 – Dry. Ambient 18-19°C; Track 28-29°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi lapped under the race lap record at the Circuit de Catalunya today to lead the field in a scorching day of action.
Having set impressive times on the harder rear slick option earlier in the FP2 session, Rossi switched to the softer rear slick, paired with the harder front slick option to set a time of 1’42.297 to end the day 0.049 seconds ahead of teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Third quickest overall today was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, the Spaniard setting his best time of the day – a 1’42.445 – in Free Practice 1. Clearly revelling in the conditions at his home circuit, Power Electronics Aspar rider Aleix Espargaro was the top CRT rider in today’s sessions, finishing tenth fastest with a time of 1’43.204.
Track temperatures soared today under a blazing Spanish sun, with a peak of 54°C recorded during the afternoon FP2 session. The hot tarmac resulted in many teams evaluating the harder option rear slick, with some riders able to set their best lap time of the day on this option. Front tyre choice today was also varied, with the softer front slick preferred in the morning FP1 session as the riders evaluated the condition of the track, before the trend shifted towards the harder front slick in the hot afternoon session. The warm track temperatures enabled riders to get up to pace quickly in FP1 and despite the very hot conditions in the afternoon, the pace quickened even more on what was reported by riders to be a good track surface.
Hot conditions are also expected for the rest of the race weekend, with the next session, FP3, scheduled for 0955 local time tomorrow (GMT +2).
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today’s very hot weather helped the riders set a good pace almost right away, and considering the conditions I believe our decision on Wednesday to change our original tyre allocation and provide harder front slick options was the right choice, as these handled the high track temperatures excellently. The riders tried all the slick options available to them today, though further evaluation tomorrow is needed until decisions about race tyre choice can be made. The good thing is that this weekend it looks like we will have similar conditions in each session, so the riders will have a lot of opportunities to test each tyre option. Today we saw that the pace for the top riders with both the soft and hard rear slick tyre options was very good, so the signs are promising for an exciting qualifying session tomorrow.”