Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo
topped the timesheet in Friday's free practice at Portugal's Estoril Circuit. The Mallorcan rider was followed Honda's Dani Pedrosa
in second, and Lorenzo's teammate and rival, Valentino Rossi
, who finished third-fastest. Returning Ducati rider, Casey Stoner
, finished in fourth, just 0.36 behind Rossi.
Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi figure to battle it out at Estoril, the Spanish rider need every point he can muster to close up a 30-point gap.
Tech 3 rider, Colin Edwards
, finished practice in fifth. Pedrosa’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso
, who recently renewed his contract with Honda
for 2010, finished in sixth with fellow Honda rider, Randy de Puniet
aboard the LCR Honda in seventh.
, who has been demoted to the Yamaha World Superbike squad for 2010, piloted his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 into eighth, with Alex De Angelis of San Carlo Honda Gresini in ninth. De Angelis has yet to secure a ride for 2010.
Pramac Racing, Mika Kallio, who rounded out the top-ten in practice, has recently signed his 2010 contract and currently sits 15th in the points standings.
American Nicky Hayden
Marlboro Team, was 11th fastest. Hayden, who has had a difficult 2009 season, has finished atop the podium only once, on his home turf in Indianapolis. Suzuki
’s Loris Capirossi
, piloted his Rizla Suzuki into 12th ahead of his teammate, Chris Vermeulen
, who finished in 16th.
Young Italian and MotoGP rookie, Niccolo Canepa, Pramac Racing, finished in 13th ahead of Scot Racing Team’s Gabor Talmacsi, who was 14th - a full two seconds behind Lorenzo. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Toni Elias
, who has one podium to his credit for 2009, rounded out the top 15.
MotoGP Estoril Friday Practice Results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo – 1’37.185
2. Dani Pedrosa – 1’37.544
3. Valentino Rossi – 1’37.606
4. Casey Stoner – 1’37.966
5. Colin Edwards – 1’38.103
6. Andrea Dovizioso – 1’38.244
7. Randy De Puniet – 1’38.385
8. James Toseland – 1’38.591
9. Alex De Angelis – 1’38.629
10. Mika Kallio – 1’38.661
11. Nicky Hayden – 1’38.850
12. Loris Capirossi – 1’38.978
13. Niccolo Canepa – 1’39.033
14. Gabor Talmacsi – 1’39.393
15. Toni Elias – 1’39.567
MotoGP Estoril Practice Rider Quotes:
Jorge Lorenzo - Fiat Yamaha:
"It's good to be back on the bike after one month but also quite hard! I enjoyed today though and we did a good job and made an encouraging start. After a bit of work we were able to do a very good time and I am happy to be in front, it's important at this stage of the championship to make a strong start this weekend. We have one or two things to improve but we are in good shape. I am happy to see Casey back and also to see that he is already strong. Finally I want to mention the special sticker I have on my bike this weekend for Lukas Sembera, a young Czech rider who had a bad accident two weeks ago - I wish him all the best in his recovery."
Valetino Rossi - Fiat Yamaha:
"This is quite a difficult track to come back to after a long break because the braking is very hard and it's quite stressful on the arms, but I think it will be better tomorrow. We have a slight problem in the balance of the bike in these hard braking areas which we need to work on tomorrow to find a way to improve; we're already quite fast but we need to close the gap a bit more so we will make the most of our time tomorrow so that we're in good shape for qualifying."
Loris Capirossi - Rizla Suzuki:
"It was a bit of a strange practice today for us. The condition of the track was not too bad and we started the session with an unusual setting that put more load on the rear tyre, we didn't really find that it worked that well for us, but we were able to understand what is needed. On the last run I went out on my other bike and it had a different set-up and I was able to go a bit quicker. I think for us it was a difficult practice today, but it has given us a lot of ideas to do a lot better tomorrow - for sure I will be a lot faster!."
Chris Vermeulen - Rizla Suzuki:
"It was a bit difficult in the beginning, because I hurt my back in Australia about a week ago and it didn't make things very comfortable on the bike. It was tough to move around at first, but after a couple of changes to the settings things became a lot easier. We ran the softer compound tyre on the front and rear all session and my lap-times were getting quicker all the time. Towards the end of the hour I changed to my other bike - which had a different geometry setting - but unfortunately we had a couple of issues with that one and I had to come in early, losing a bit of track-time in the process. I am sure if I can get a bit fitter for tomorrow, we will be able to qualify well, because the bike feels as if it is in really good shape."
Casey Stoner - Ducati Marlboro Team:
"So far so good. It was great to be back out there on the bike today and I really enjoyed myself. Physically I feel about as well as you could expect considering that I haven’t trained properly for almost four months now and I’m pleased with that. One thing I did struggle with was arm pump, which I expected, and I needed a bit of a rest in the later stages of the session. I expect the problem to ease over the weekend but I have to be careful not to push it too hard and exacerbate it further. We only did a couple of laps at the beginning but the riding position and brake levers weren’t quite right, so I had to come in and change that. After that we were competitive and making constant improvements, until my final run when we made quite a big change to the setting and it didn’t work out. If it wasn’t for that the lap time could have been better. We have different swingarms on the two bikes but I only tried the carbon one today, so I’d like to try the aluminium one tomorrow and see where we go from there. As far as the new fairing is concerned it was impossible to feel the difference today because it is designed to help the bike handle better in strong winds, which unusually for this circuit we didn’t have today, and fast direction changes, which there are none of here.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Marlboro Team:
“It wasn’t as good as we’d have liked it to be coming out of the gate – I’d thought the gap to the front would be closer than that today so we’ve got a lot of work to do. We need to make a general improvement everywhere – there’s not one part of the track holding me back, I just need to find a little bit more speed in every section. We tried the new cowling in one run but it was just to get a bit of data and get an idea. We still haven’t decided what way we’re going to go with that for the rest of the weekend. It’s still early but I would have liked to start out stronger and we need to pick it up a bit tomorrow. I also want to say congratulations to my chief mechanic “Bibo” (Davide Manfredi), whose wife just had a healthy baby boy.”