2010 MotoGP Silverstone Saturday Insider

June 19, 2010
Scott Mathews
Contributing Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

There are few people worthy of getting an audience with Mathews but he makes himself available on occasion to the racers of the Grand Prix paddock. If they’re lucky, he might even mention their name. He’s Scott Mathews, and he’s bringing you the inside scoop on MotoGP.

Jorge Lorenzo
FIat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo strongly believes that he is capable of winning the upcoming round at Silverstone after taking pole position there.

Jorge Lorenzo believes a third victory in 2010 is within his grasp after he secured his first pole position of the campaign at Silverstone today. The Fiat Yamaha rider clocked a best time of 2.03.308 at the technical 3.667-mile Silverstone track to deny Randy de Puniet a shocking first career MotoGP pole position.

Lorenzo secured pole by just 0.126s and he said he was confident that he can add to his wins in Jerez and Le Mans that have left him holding a comfortable 25-point advantage over Spanish rival Dani Pedrosa.

“I tried to be fast from the start and I felt so great on the bike,” said Lorenzo. “I think I’m in good shape and it should be possible to finish on the podium. Today I started to understand the track quite a lot and it is quite different from the others with the tarmac being so cold and we used the soft tire for a long time. We made one run with the soft tire at the end and with this tire we could make the pole position. I’m more happy with the feeling on the bike than getting the pole position. It is really important to be on the front row for tomorrow because this gives us the best chance of another podium.”

Lorenzo was also impressed with French rider De Puniet, who is currently the leading non-factory rider in the MotoGP World Championship. He’s twice finished in the top-six this season and Lorenzo paid tribute to the LCR Honda rider’s improved pace.

Randy de Puniet
Randy de Puniet has finished in the top-six twice this season and took second in qualifying at Silverstone before crashing near the end of the session.

The double world 250GP champion added: “Randy is getting very fast and this year he is much faster than before. It is good for him and I enjoy that he is coming with us.”

Meanwhile Randy de Puniet played down his hopes of a podium in tomorrow’s British MotoGP race after he produced a breathtaking qualifying performance at Silverstone. The LCR Honda rider was in sparkling form and just 13 minutes remained when the former factory Kawasaki rider surged over 0.7s clear of the field. A lap of 2.03.434 left him just 0.126s behind Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo and De Puniet put in one last effort to try and snatch his first ever premier class pole position. With his RC212V bucking and weaving all over the fast and challenging Silverstone circuit, De Puniet was 0.3s up on Lorenzo’s best time in the first two sections when his challenge ended in a cloud of dust.
The Frenchman lost the front at the fast left-hand Farm Curve though he walked away with only a puncture wound to his right thumb.

He still claimed a stunning second to secure his first front row start in MotoGP since the Dutch GP at Assen in 2007.

“My target is to be in the top-six like the beginning of the season. I don’t want to dream too much at the moment. I have a good feeling here and I like this track. For me it is one of the best in the world. It is a little bit bumpy but I really like it. In my last run I gave my maximum to get the pole position and I was over three-tenths faster in the middle section of the track but I pushed too much and didn’t finish the lap. But for me it was a good session though the most important thing is the race.”

He shrugged off the thumb wound insisting it will not be a handicap in tomorrow’s 20-lap race.

“I don’t know what happened. Maybe I hit something on the track but my right thumb has an open wound but it won’t be a problem. I rode last year with a broken ankle so this will not be a problem. For sure this crash was helpful as I understand I must remain calm during the race!”

Although Casey Stoner was happy about his second-fastest time in free practice  the 07 world champion was concerned about Silverstones bumpy surface.
Casey Stoner had his worst qualifying run this season at Silverstone where he ended only sixth-fastest.

Casey Stoner reckoned the cool and chilly conditions at Silverstone today hampered his bid to finish higher than sixth on the grid for the British MotoGP clash. The Australian suffered his worst qualifying result of the campaign when he ended only sixth-fastest and over a second away from the fast pace set by world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo. The 2007 world champion ended with a best time of 2.04.394 to finish 0.062s behind factory Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden.

“I didn’t get a qualifying lap in. We tried running the hard tires but we are not generating enough temperature, so we used the softer option to find a race set-up and we will probably race with them unless there is a lot more temperature. The soft tire will last the race. I had one soft tire for qualifying and went out and Aleix Espargaro cut me off at the first corner. I lost that lap and the second lap I couldn’t generate enough grip. We are struggling to get tire temperatures but it seems the more laps we do the worse the tire temperature becomes and I have big grip issues on the left side, not the right.”

Stoner said the cool track conditions were not a factor with surface temperatures only reaching 27 degrees as air temperatures barely hit 16 degrees at a blustery Silverstone. Stoner also denied the notoriously bumpy surface had an impact on his pace and added: “The tarmac is not a big problem. The grip is okay but it is more our set-up not generating the temperature. We have tried putting more force on the rear but we lost too much turning on the exit, so it is not the track temperature, which is similar to yesterday. For me the air temperature is really cold and it is difficult, it is cooling off the tires too much.”

Forecast are for more favorable and hotter for tomorrow’s race and Stoner, who has yet to claim a podium finish in 2010, added: “We can hope for that but we will try some things in the morning to put some more load on the bike. This morning we had a good set-up but then we didn’t go in the right direction and now we have figured out we need to somehow put a lot more pressure on the front and rear. We are running at least 10 degrees less than anyone else on the tires.”

Stoner though did concede that his GP10 was having a hard time mastering the bumpy surface at the fast and challenging Silverstone track.

Taking the sixth-quickest lap of the day at Silverstone was Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa  who remains 25 points behind leader Jorge Lorenzo.
After being taken away from the track in an ambulance Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will be able to compete in Sunday’s race despite two bruised knees. 

“On the bumps our bike is really nervous, very stiff and very aggressive so we need to make the bike go over the bumps easier. But then we don’t generate the pressure on the tires for grip so it is a vicious cycle to get everything in balance.”

Spaniard Dani Pedrosa will be fit to compete in tomorrow’s British MotoGP race at Silverstone after a late and painful qualifying crash. The Repsol Honda rider was trying to improve his third position when he lost control of his factory RC212V at the Brooklands Corner left-hander as he was poised to finish his final flying lap. The triple world champion was then run over by his bike and failed to get to his feet as he appeared in some discomfort. The 24-year-old was taken away from the scene on a stretcher but by the time he reached the circuit’s medical center he was able to walk unaided and X-rays revealed no serious damage.

Pedrosa confirmed he had nasty bruising to both knees and his RC212V machine was severely damaged in the accident as it ran on and slammed nose first into a trackside barrier at high speed. The chassis was so badly damaged that marshals had to move the bike on its back wheel. Pedrosa, who ended third with a best time of 2.03.586, said: “I was on my last lap and I braked but when I went into the left I hit some bumps and the front moved a lot. I just had a little slide but I let go of the bike. I’m not sure what happened but the bike obviously hit me on both knees. At that moment it hurt but later the pain was going away and I’m going to be okay.”

American Nicky Hayden admitted facing a big struggle to get his factory Ducati working over the bumpy Silverstone surface ahead of tomorrow’s British MotoGP race. The Kentucky rider will start the 20-lap encounter from fifth on the grid having qualified on the second row for the fourth successive race. But the 2006 world champion is expecting a tough fight to claim his first podium of the 2010 campaign.

“The bumps are giving me a lot of problems and grip in general is bad on the old parts of the track. I’m spinning quite a lot, even when the tire is new and even the soft tire. We need to do some work because even though I ended up in a decent grid position it looks better than it is for the race. The soft and hard tires are the same compound on the left. It is not any softer and Bridgestone here had no info and didn’t expect this cold weather. But probably they could have had a bigger gap between the soft and hard tires.”

Nicky Hayden
After qualifying fifth on the grid American Nicky Hayden admitted he faces the tough goal of achieving his first podium of the season. 

Talking about his prospects for the race, Hayden added: “The race will be interesting because I’ve mostly ridden by myself just to see some other lines, but there are not a lot of lines here even with the width. It should be easier for overtaking because guys will make mistakes getting in a little hot over the bumps so you’ll have to get off the brakes and run wide, especially Turn One and Seven.”

Reigning World Superbike champion Ben Spies bounced back strongly from a heavy crash in this morning’s final practice to qualify his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine in seventh-place for tomorrow’s British MotoGP clash. The 25-year-old lost control of his YZR-M1 bike at the fast Farm Curve left-hander and he aggravated the left ankle injury he first suffered during practice for the recent French MotoGP race at Le Mans.

The Texan recovered to post a best time of 2.04.477 in this afternoon’s qualifying session, which was run in blustery and cold conditions that saw air temperatures peak at a chilly 16 degrees.

Spies, who was one of four crashes this morning with Andrea Dovizioso, Hector Barbera and Marco Simoncelli all suffering high-speed tumbles, said: “I’d seen a few guys crash and the track was pretty dirty so I’d decided to come into the pits and wait until it was cleared up. But by slowing down the tire had lost some temperature and when I went into the left-hander it just flicked me off. It was one of those really aggravating crashes I was only doing 70 percent of my normal speed when I got caught out. It is one of those crashes that really hurt even though it didn’t look that bad.”

Ben Spies
Ben Spies qualified in seventh at Silverstone and was one of four riders who crashed on Saturday, resulting in a sore left ankle.

Spies looked like scoring his best ever grid position in MotoGP when he held sixth-place in the closing minutes. But as he looked to consolidate his position he lost crucial time when Frenchman Randy de Puniet lost control of his LCR Honda at the Farm Curve on his final flying lap and he had to settle for seventh.

“Qualifying wasn’t too bad but I feel like it should have been a better outcome than what it is. I’m riding really hard and I was pretty close to being on the second row but I’d like the lap times to be coming a little bit easier. On the speed charts we’re down a bit and that is making it difficult and if I don’t get a good start it will make it hard to pass people. But I’m happy with my riding and the set-up of the bike and the lap times are consistent. I certainly tried as hard as I could and on the last lap I might have picked up another tenth to get on the second row but De Puniet crashed in front of me and that definitely cost me a small bit of time. My ankle is not too bad and shouldn’t be a problem in the race.”

Facebook comments