After winning the first round of the 2011 series Honda’s Casey Stoner set the fastest pace during Friday’s practice.
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner continued to set himself apart from the rest of the MotoGP paddock on Friday by topping the combined free practice chart at Jerez. The Aussie secured a new circuit record of 1’39.551 during the first practice, becoming the fastest rider of the day ahead of teammate, Dani Pedrosa, and Marlboro Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, who finished 0.526 seconds off the pace of Stoner.
“The first session went well and I had a good feeling with the bike, we tried to repeat this in the afternoon session but the conditions weren’t perfect, it was quite windy,” Stoner said. “It seems to be a little smoother to ride here than in the past, but it’s a shame the weather wasn’t better so we could spend some time working on the settings. In general both bikes we tried seemed to work pretty well and we’ll pick up from there tomorrow to concentrate on the set-up. The grip level doesn’t seem to be so good here, I think everyone is struggling with this so that’s another element we need to work on tomorrow in time for qualifying”.
“I think we are doing a good job,” said Pedrosa. “The bike was working OK, it was moving a little but maybe because the grip was not so good today; other riders were also struggling with it and we saw some crashes in all the categories. Also the strong wind played a part in the afternoon, it was more difficult to control the bike especially on fast corners and we couldn’t improve the lap times. Let’s see if the track conditions improve tomorrow and if we can do better.”
San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli followed just behind his fellow countryman by 0.099 seconds in fourth with Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo rounding out the top-five times more than eight-tenths off the pace.
Pedrosa (above) was just 0.028 seconds adrift of Stoner in the first session on Friday with Rossi (below) coming in third.
“This morning the track was perfect with no wind but in the afternoon it came so the riding was more difficult,” Lorenzo said. “Finally we finished third, the gap to the front is less than before and we hope to improve the bike more for tomorrow. After the good race at Qatar we are more motivated and this is one of the special rounds of the year so we hope to have a great race on Sunday.”
Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso snatched the sixth-fastest lap on Friday despite suffering a fall during the final minutes of the session. He was uninjured and ultimately trailed Lorenzo by 0.244 seconds in the books.
Yamaha’s Ben Spies improved upon his time in the first practice session to end the day in seventh with a time of 1’40.887.
“It’s not been the best day today, I’m not very happy,” Spies said. “We need to make some changes and I’m confident we can improve. Having said that, the feeling I’m having with the bike right now with the speed we’re doing is not too bad. I’m not feeling very comfortable with how the bike is handling but it’s only Friday. We have tomorrow and we have Sunday morning and I’m confident we can get the bike working better. I think this track can be good for the M1, we just need to change the setting and see how tomorrow goes. Well work on it and come back in the morning and go faster.”
Frenchman Randy de Puniet closely followed 0.095 seconds afterward. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards rounded out the top-10, with Edwards securing his best lap in the first session only 0.005 seconds adrift of Hayden.
Japanese rider Hiroshi Aoyama claimed 11th in the order for San Carlo Honda Gresini. Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham was 12th more than a second and a half adrift of Stoner, with Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera 0.297 behind Abraham. Pracmac Racing’s Loris Capirossi and Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow finished out the top-15 times in 14th and 15th, respectively. Meanwhile, LCR Honda’s Toni Elias remained more than two and a half seconds off the pace in 16th, and John Hopkins’ first return to Rizla Suzuki since 2007 netted him last in the order after a lap of 1’42.305 during the second session.
“Today was basically just about getting a feel for the bike and getting used to being back in the team,” Hopkins said. “I wanted to get comfortable today and I didn’t want to go out and do anything stupid – that’s for sure! Since I was last in MotoGP they’ve changed to 45-minute sessions so that was a bit different, I would have liked a lot longer on the bike to get a better feeling, but that was not possible.”
2011 MotoGP Jerez Practice Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’39.551
Jorge Lorenzo picked up fifth in the order during practice at Jerez and was more than eight-tenths off the pace of Stoner.
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’39.579
3. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’40.077
4. Marco Simincelli (Honda) 1’40.176
5. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’40.420
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’40.429
7. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’40.887
8. Randy de Puniet (Ducati) 1’40.982
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’41.058
10. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1’41.063
11. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’41.292
12. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1’41.304
13. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’41.601
14. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1’41.810
15. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’41.854
16. Toni Elias (Honda) 1’42.157
17. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1’42.305
Interwetten Paddock Moto2’s Thomas Luthi earned the fastest lap in the first Moto2 practice session after strong winds hampered the afternoon session. Stefan Bradl of Viessmann Kiefer Racing picked up second in the order more than three-tenths off the pace after laying down a lap of 1’43.843. Meanwhile, Japanese rider Yuki Takahashi rounded out the top-three times with a lap more than half a second adrift of Luthi.
Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Marquez had to sit out the majority of the second session after mechanical issues, but still claimed the fourth-quickest time just 0.095 seconds behind Takahashi. After finishing the sixth-fastest in Session 1, Mapfre Aspar’s Julian Simon improved his time during the second session to finish fifth overall.
2011 Moto2 Jerez Practice Results:
1. Thomas Luthi (Suter) 1’43.528
2. Stefan Bradl (Kalex) 1’43.843
3. Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki) 1’44.044
4. Marc Marquez (Suter) 1’44.139
5. Julian Simon (Suter) 1’44.153
6. Alex de Angelis (Motobi) 1’44.199
7. Simone Corsi (FTR) 1’44.202
8. Aleix Espargaro (Pons Kalex) 1’44.248
9. Mika Kallio (Suter) 1’44.258
10. Andrea Iannone (Suter) 1’44.263
11. Claudio Cordi (Suter) 1’44.284
12. Scott Redding (Suter) 1’44.316
13. Michele Pirro (Moriwaki) 1’44.329
14. Jules Cluzel (Suter) 1’44.531
15. Dominique Aegerter (Suter) 1’44.541