The MotoGP paddock experienced another three-practice format this weekend at Estoril, with two sessions on Friday and another to come on Saturday before qualifying. The first session in Portugal was hindered due to heavy rain, wind and an electrical storm which resulted in times being slowed significantly. In the afternoon session, however, Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo stormed to the top of the timesheets. The new World Champion and winner at Estoril for the past two years posted a time of 1’48.522, beating Ducati’s Nicky Hayden by a margin of 0.135 seconds.
“I love this track, I have won here both times in MotoGP so I am very happy to be here,” said Lorenzo. “Unfortunately the weather was terrible this morning and there was no point in riding, then this afternoon it was still very difficult, with a lot of water on the track and you had to be very careful. I felt good despite the conditions and step-by-step we improved so that at the end, when it was slightly drier, I was able to set a good time and we are on top. Tomorrow we will have two longer sessions so we will be able to recover some of the lost time, let’s hope for no more rain!”
Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, rounded out the top-three times and was the final rider to break through the 1’49 mark on Friday.
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden began his weekend well in Portugal by posting the second-quickest time behind Jorge Lorenzo.
“This afternoon was a normal wet practice and I’m happy about my performance,” Rossi said. “I am close to the top, was fast from the beginning of the session and had a good feeling with the bike. Unfortunately we were losing a little bit in some sections of the track, especially the last one because the bike was moving a little too much. We will try for tomorrow to improve the settings, it’s important that we made a good start this afternoon as this morning’s session was cancelled and it looks like the weather may not be very good over the weekend, so we will not have a lot of time to set up the bike!”
Ducati’s Casey Stoner, who is looking for his fourth win of the season at Estoril, placed fourth in the books. The Aussie was the last rider to be within one second of Lorenzo. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Ben Spies and San Carlo Honda’s Marco Melandri were the fifth and sixth-quickest riders of the day respectively, and were separated by less than six-hundredths of a second.
LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet was in the lead in the early half of the session, but ultimately his time was good enough for seventh in the books. San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli, Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso and Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi filled out the top-10 times with the eighth, ninth and tenth-fastest laps respectively in the final session of the day.
Dani Pedrosa placed 13th in the session as he continues to recover from his injuries sustained during a practice crash at Motegi. World Superbike’s Carlos Checa, filling in for Pramac Racing’s Mika Kallio, took 17th in the books and was nearly six seconds off the pace of Lorenzo as he continues to reacquaint himself with a GP bike.
2010 MotoGP Estoril Practice Results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’48.522
2. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’48.657
3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1’48.883
4. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1’49.061
5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’49.721
6. Marco Melandri (Honda) 1’49.784
7. Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1’50.043
8. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1’51.283
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’52.294
10. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1’52.575
11. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’53.131
12. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1’53.510
13. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’53.592
14. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) 1’53.769
15. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’54.389
16. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1’54.410
17. Carlos Checa (Ducati) 1’54.444
In the second Moto 2 session of the day at Estoril Fimmco Speed Up’s Gabor Talmacsi ran the quickest during practice ahead of Mapfre Aspar’s Julian Simon and 2010 World Champion, Toni Elias. The field had much better conditions than in the first session, which saw Scott Redding take the fastest lap in front of MZ Racing’s Anthony West and Technomag CIP’s Kenan Sofuoglu. Ultimately, however, Talmacsi claimed the top time across both sessions and was the only rider to dip below the 1’51 mark.
Sofuoglu rode well in both sessions, earning a best lap of 1’51.949 to take fourth on the timesheets. Raffaele De Rosa of Tech 3 Racing was the fifth-quickest of the day as he ran 1.892 seconds off the pace of Talmacsi. JiR Moto2’s Alex de Angelis, winner of the previous race at Phillip Island, rounded out the top-six times with his lap of 1’53.233.
One rider who significantly struggled in Portugal was Fimmco Speed Up’s Andrea Iannone. The Italian placed back in 34th and was more than seven seconds off the pace of the leader.
2010 Moto 2 Estoril Practice Results:
1. Gabor Talmacsi (Speed Up) 1’50.916
Scott Redding (#45) had the fastest time during the first Moto 2 practice, but struggled in the afternoon session where he was more than five seconds off the pace.
2. Julian Simon (Suter) 1’51.304
3. Toni Elias (Moriwaki) 1’51.359
4. Kenan Sofuoglu (Suter) 1’51.949
5. Raffaele de Rosa (Tech 3) 1’52.808
6. Alex de Angelis (Motobi 1) 1’53.233
7. Yonny Hernandez (BQR-Moto2) 1’54.214
8. Dominique Aegerter (Suter) 1’54.247
9. Yuki Takahashi (Tech 3) 1’54.302
10. Stefan Bradl (Suter) 1’54.556
11. Alex Baldolini (I.C.P.) 1’54.568
12. Thomas Luthi (Moriwaki) 1’54.594
13. Robertino Pietri (Suter) 1’54.665
14. Ricard Cardus (Bimota) 1’55.040
15. Valentin Debise (ADV) 1’55.169