MotoGP Catalunya Practice

June 12, 2009
Chris McNeil
The race was decided as Rossi pulled away from Pedrosa in the latter stages to take second after Lorenzo for the the Fiat Yamaha clean sweep. With both teammates intent on wining the championship  expect more neck-to-neck races between the Spaniard and Italian.
Valentino Rossi, in case you haven’t heard, is pretty fast on a motorcycle…

The Fiat Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo topped the time sheets during the MotoGP Catalunya Grand Prix free practice session on a blazing hot Friday in Spain. The Catalunya circuit – just outside of Barcelona – reached temperatures as high as 120 ºF, which the Italian and Spanish Yamaha riders both seemed perfectly at home in.  The teammates swapped positions at the top throughout the session, but Rossi ultimately had the fastest time for day at 1’43.038. Trailing Lorenzo’s time of 1’43.340 by three-tenths was the Championship points leader Casey Stoner. A small crash towards the end of the session seemed to have not shaken the Australian’s form. Stoner’s Ducati Marlboro teammate Nicky Hayden posted a very positive sixth-fastest lap for the day, behind the two Honda riders Andrea Dovizioso and Randy de Puniet. 

MotoGP Catalunya Free Practice Times:
1. Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) – 1’43.038
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) – 1’43.340
3. Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro) – 1’43.636
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) – 1’43.684
5. Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) – 1’43.871
6. Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro) – 1’44.152
7. Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) – 1’44.340
8. Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) – 1’44.419
9. James Toseland (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) – 1’44.580
10. Marco Melandri (Hayate Racing) – 1’44.649
11. Sete Gibernau (Grupo Francisco Hernanado) – 1’44.678
12. Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) – 1’44.744
13. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) – 1’45.043
14. Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) – 1’45.101
15. Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) – 1’45.126
16. Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing) – 1’45.394
17. Niccolo Canepa (Pramac Racing) – 1’45.454
18. Yuki Takahasi (Scot Racing) – 1’47.654

MotoGP Catalunya Free Practice Rider Quotes:

Valentino Rossi – Fiat Yamaha – 1st, 1’43.038
“We made some changes to our base setting here and already it feels much better to ride. This practice went very well for us, we were strong from start to finish and to be in first position feels good. We have found out some very interesting things, especially about my feeling with the bike, but we need to keep on working because there are still some parts that we want to make better for tomorrow. I am really happy to be able to ride the bike how I want to finally but there is still plenty more work to continue with to make sure we’re in the best possible shape for tomorrow afternoon and Sunday.”

Jorge Lorenzo – Fiat Yamaha – 2nd, 1’43.340
“I always have a few doubts coming to each new track but today everything felt really good, my bike and my Bridgestone tires. I feel very comfortable and we can see that we have the potential to put on a really good performance here. We have a few things which we can improve so we will try to do that tomorrow but this is another good start for us. It’s very early to be making any conclusions about who will be fighting on Sunday though and for now we just have to stay focused. It feels great to be out in front of all my home fans here and I am really happy to have the FC Barcelona stickers on my bike!”

Casey Stoner – Ducati Marlboro – 3rd, 1’43.636
“We didn’t have such a good feeling in the beginning. We’re trying a few different things on one of the bikes and it’s working really well apart from in two areas. One is when I’m at full lean on the way into the corner, it feels a bit vague and wants to push me a metre or so wide. When I’m on the gas again it turns really well. The other point is that we’re not getting much traction, but we’re getting loads of corner speed and it’s turning really well. It’s a case of working to find a balance and unfortunately we lost a bit of time at the end because I tipped off it in the hairpin at the end of the back straight. Basically I’d had a couple of moments before that so I was being a little careful – probably too careful because I didn’t push the front hard enough in that corner and it went a little light and tucked. Anyway, we’ve ended up with some reasonably competitive lap times and I’m confident we can go much faster tomorrow. I’m happy because we know what we’re capable of and it’s just a matter of getting it done now.”

Nicky Hayden – Ducati Marlboro – 6th, 1’44.152
“I know it’s only sixth position but still I’m pretty happy because I was running up front throughout the session and having fun, which is what racing is supposed to be about! Basically “Vitto” (Guareschi) stayed on in Mugello and tested a lot and we have changed almost everything on the bike other than the handgrips! We’ve altered the electronics and the geometry a lot to help me get the bike turning and we’ve taken a big step. I don’t want to get too excited because it’s only Friday and we’ve got to keep working hard but I want to say that I am very grateful to the team and to “Vitto”, Filippo (Preziosi) and “Pippi” (Cristhian Pupulin) and the Test Team in particular. Nobody here has given up on me even after a few bad races and I have always made it clear I won’t give up on them. We have had to stay mentally strong and keep positive, even though that hasn’t been easy. Hopefully we’re on to something here and all the hard work will start paying off.”

Loris Capirossi – Rizla Suzuki – 7th, 1’44.340
“It has been an interesting practice for us because we tried many different settings and found quite a lot of things out. At the end of the session I tried the engine with the new specification and it seemed to be a bit of an improvement on what we are using at the moment, but we have to check the data because it makes the bike perform a bit differently. Overall it has been a good session, but we still need to work a bit more on the set-up to get it perfect for here. The engine does seem to be an improvement and I want to thank Suzuki for all the hard work, because for us this is very important!”

Chris Vermeulen – Rizla Suzuki – 12th, 1’44.744
“It’s been good to get a full session in sunny and warm conditions. I went out with the hard front and the softer of the two rears – which I kept in for the whole session. I tried some different chassis set-ups between both of my bikes and we have certainly got a good direction. At the end – with more than race distance on the tires – I did my fastest laps and moved up the order. The bike has felt reasonably good all day, but like I said we now have a direction to follow and we are sure that will help with both rear grip and durability of the tires, because with such high temperatures that will be important this weekend. Hopefully we still have a long way to go and I am sure we will be making big steps tomorrow.”
Mika Kallio – Pramac Racing – 17th, 1’45.394
“Just like almost all other weekends of race, in the first half of the first session we manage to stay in a good position, but after we changed set up of the bike we lose too many positions. Anyway the feeling with the bike has improved a lot compare to the last race in Mugello. I think that tomorrow, if we will manage to find the right balance on the bike we will make it to enter the top ten. With the new technical solutions the bike seems to have less power, most of all in the first three gears, but in the turns is much more easier to control. Tomorrow we will try to increase the power in the first three gears to understand the bike’s reaction.”

Niccolò Canepa – Pramac Racing – 18th, 1’45.454
“When we have some technical updates we need some time to adapt to it, but we have to consider our self satisfied on how things went today. As base set up we have done a really good job and race after race we get closer to the other riders. This is a track where I have ridden before for only a few laps, but I liked it straight away. Tomorrow we will fight to improve our position for Sunday’s starting grid.”

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