Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner graced the top of the timesheets during free practice around the Valencia circuit on Friday.
Despite posting the top-time, Stoner hopes to improve his time before Sunday’s finale. The Aussie said, “We still need to improve a lot but I’m really pleased with the job we did today and if we can make the improvements we have planned for tomorrow then we’ll be in a very good situation.”
The 2009 champion, Valentino Rossi, made a rare mistake sending him and his Fiat Yamaha off track and into the gravel, but still finished the session fourth-fastest. “Today was not so bad, I’m not happy with fourth but we’re not far off and we worked well on the bike. We had some different settings to work on to try to improve our performance at this track and then at the end I was able to do some good laps all together,” said the Italian champ.
LCR Honda’s Randy De Puniet turned the fifth-fastest lap ahead of Alex De Angelis on his San Carlo Gresini Honda.
Posting the seventh-quickest lap during free practice was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards. The American finished the day ahead of Pedrosa’s Honda teammate Andrea Dovizioso, and Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi.
Valentino Rossi took his Fiat Yamaha off-road through the gravel during Friday’s free practice session. The Doctor is pushing for a win at the final round at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.
Another Ducati pilot, Nicky Hayden, took the 10th on the timesheets. The Kentucky Kid was +1.649 seconds off the pace of his teammate, Stoner, and said traction was the problem. “It was a tough session and I had certainly hoped to be a lot closer to the pace than that today. Track temperatures were quite low and I had a really hard time getting the tires working on the front and rear. It’s also quite windy so I’m not sure if maybe a lot of sand and dirt has blown onto the track but it’s definitely tricky to find grip out there,” commented Hayden.
Pramac Racing’s Mika Kallio, whose 10th-place finish at Sepang secured him the 2009 Rookie of the Year Award, came in 11th with the lone Kawasaki of Hayate Racing’s Marco Melandri +0.163 slower in 12th.
Fellow Yamaha rider, James Toseland finished a scant +0.008 seconds ahead of San Carlo Gresini’s Toni Elias in 14th.
Wildcard entry and 2009 World Superbike Champion, Ben Spies clocked the 15th-quickest lap. The American lapped +2.239 seconds off Stoner’s pace.
2009 World Superbike Champion Ben Spies managed the 15th-quickest lap during Friday’s free practice. The American is making a wildcard entry during the final round in an effort to gain additional seat-time before the 2010 MotoGP season begins.
MotoGP Valencia Friday Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1’32.813
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’33.195
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’33.241
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’33.499
5. Randy De Puniet (Honda) 1’33.910
6. Alex De Angelis (Honda) 1’34.106
7. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1’34.123
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’34.382
9. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1’34.427
10. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’34.462
11. Mika Kallio (Ducati) 1’34.696
12. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki) 1’34.859
13. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1’34.865
14. Toni Elias (Honda) 1’34.873
15. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’35.052
MotoGP Valencia Friday Rider Quotes:
Casey Stoner – Ducati Marlboro:
“We didn’t start out with a very effective base setting and I didn’t have a good feeling for the first few laps. Basically we didn’t have enough weight on the front and because of the track conditions it was difficult to get heat into the tire, especially on the right side because there aren’t many right turns here. We knew what we needed to from the bike so I kept coming in and making small adjustments until we found it.”
Jorge Lorenzo – Fiat Yamaha:
“This is one of the few places I haven’t won in my career so I really want to try! Today was very good, I did many laps with a strong rhythm and with a consistent and fast pace. We are feeling strong and we hope we can continue to be competitive. Tonight we will look at the data from today and consider how we can make more improvements for tomorrow so that I can try to be on the front row once again.”
Valentino Rossi – Fiat Yamaha:
“It’s really nice to be riding as the world champion without having to think about points and now I just want to finish the year with a good race. Tomorrow we have quite a lot of work to do, we need to try the harder Bridgestone tire and try to make another step with the setting, but so far we have done a good job.”
Loris Capirossi – Rizla Suzuki:
“We had a bit of vibration from the bike today and with only an hour of practice we struggled to find enough time to get the best solution to fix it. We did a couple of setting changes to try and improve it and in the end we found a good situation, but it is still not perfect. We have to look at the data to find out what is causing the vibration and try to improve things for tomorrow. I am sure if we can get things right we can be very fast here and have a good end to the season!”
Chris Vermeulen – Rizla Suzuki:
“It’s been quite cold here in Valencia today and at start of the session I found it quite difficult to get heat into the tires, which meant I couldn’t get them working as well as I would have liked. After we overcame that the bike worked quite well and I started to make my way up the timesheets. We made a lot of progress throughout the session even though we came across a couple of issues that made me to lose a bit of track time and possibly caused me to miss out on the period in the session where I could have got my best lap-time. I think we’ll be able to get things spot-on for tomorrow and go a lot quicker than we did today. I’ve not been feeling too good this week, but hopefully all’s well that ends well and I can get over it quickly and be back on the pace in time for the race.”