Press releases after qualifying for the MotoGP teams at Mugello:
Nature intervenes again at Mugello to deny Bautista
Publish Date: Saturday, July 02, 2011
The elements conspired against Álvaro Bautista and the whole MotoGP field today as this afternoon's qualifying practice fell foul of the weather as sporadic rain again affected the Mugello circuit.
Álvaro Bautista (P13, 1'50.460, 13 laps) had just put a new set of Bridgestone tyres into his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R to set about securing a good qualifying position for tomorrow's race, when large spots of rain started to fall onto the 5,245m Italian circuit. He returned to the pits hoping the shower would blow over, but the rain intensified and scuppered any chance he had of setting a competitive lap-time. Bautista had looked smooth and confident in this morning's dry practice session and was consistently inside the top-six as he made adjustments to his bike to get it dialled in for tomorrow's race. Suzuki's Spanish star will now be looking for a good start on Sunday afternoon to make up for the disappointment of today's qualifying and he hopes that he will be able to get in amongst the pack and produce a spirited performance in this weekend's race.
Only half of this afternoon's hour-long qualifying session produced conditions anywhere near good enough to set a fast lap-time on slick tyres and current championship leader Casey Stoner used that time to good effect to set pole position, his fifth from eight races.
Tomorrow's 23-lap race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) with Bautista and the rest of the MotoGP field hoping for better conditions to produce a good spectacle for the thousands of fans expected to fill the hillsides around the Tuscan circuit tomorrow.
"Terrible is the only word I can use to explain what this afternoon was! This morning I had a good session and felt like the bike was working well. We tried a different setting to give me less movement in the corners and we made a good step forward with this. This afternoon though the conditions were horrible because it rained a bit before the start of the session and then it stopped, so I started with a used tyre just to check the track, but maybe I spent too long out there with that. When we put in the new tyres to get a good lap it started raining, so it was difficult to set a fast time. We are near the back of the grid and I will try my best to make a good start tomorrow. I have a nice rhythm from this morning and I have to forget about this afternoon, even though it was important to get a good grid position - that has gone now - and I must try my best in the race and see what happens!"
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
"We showed good potential this morning with Álvaro inside the top-six for a large part of the session and he was still doing reasonable times right at the end on tyres with race distance already on them. We should have at least been in the low 49s this afternoon with the new tyres – and on the third row at worst – but the timing of our pit-stop to change to new tyres this afternoon couldn't have been worse as the rain started to increase. Álvaro also couldn't get the feeling he needed to push harder on the slightly greasy track, so he couldn't improve his time before the heavy rain fell. It's been a disappointing afternoon and we are looking for a significant improvement – both in the position and hopefully the weather – in the race tomorrow."
Stoner sets new Mugello pole record before rain stops play yet again
Round 8: Italian GP – Qualifying
Mugello Circuit, Saturday 2 July 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner stormed to his fifth pole position of the season at Mugello today, making the most of the half an hour of dry running during qualifying to lap 0.4seconds clear of the field, setting a new outright two-wheeled Mugello lap record in the process.
In a repeat of yesterday, light rain fell during the 125cc qualifying session but stopped just before the premier class session got underway. The track was sufficiently dry for every rider to start on slicks, and the laptimes soon tumbled as riders pushed hard to set fast laps early on, fearing another rain shower. That rain came at the half-way point of the session, by which time the top nine riders were all faster than the existing lap record on the circuit's new tarmac and using Bridgestone's asymmetric rear slicks for the first time here this season.
In the still slippery conditions most riders started using the softer option front and rear slicks, but as conditions improved the harder front tyre was soon favoured for its extra stability and wear resistance. Rear tyre choices remained mixed though. Stoner used a softer rear, but teammate Andrea Dovizioso was the highest placed rider to use the harder rear, finishing fourth fastest.
Yamaha rider and winner last time out Ben Spies finished second fastest ahead of yesterday's pace-setter Marco Simoncelli of San Carlo Honda Gresini, both of whom also used the harder front and softer rear tyre options.
As the rain fell steadily, only a handful of riders went back out on track in the second half of the session to complete some laps on Bridgestone's soft wet tyres.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
"The laptimes today were very fast, but still I think they would have been even faster given two days of totally dry running. As it is, each rain shower has reset track conditions instead of the grip improving throughout the weekend as we normally see. Nevertheless, the new surface itself is extremely good and the undulation is much less, so the circuit has done a very good job. Both Jorge during FP3 and Casey in qualifying have lapped faster than the outright circuit record today which was set on qualifying tyres in 2008. Now in the single tyre era we don't have qualifying tyres, only race tyres, so this indicates the level of the improvements. We were able to confirm race-distance durability of both specs of slick tyre this morning when we at least had a full 45minutes of dry running and slick tyre performance is looking good, but again valuable track time was lost this afternoon which is a shame for the teams and also the fans here. The tarmac is brand new here so it is very black in colour, and this made it very difficult for the riders to spot the wet patches or rain drops, especially when it was just damp at the start of qualifying. Today and yesterday the rain started falling around 1330hrs, and the race tomorrow is at 1400hrs local time so it will make conditions very challenging if we see the same rain tomorrow."
Front Row for Spies as More Rain Disrupts Mugello Qualifying
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies took second place in today's qualifying session at Mugello for the Grand Prix of Italy tomorrow. The Assen Grand Prix race winner took advantage of limited dry time at the beginning of the session to put in his fastest time on his tenth lap and final full lap of the heat. Spies then sat out the rest of the session, safe in the knowledge his grid position could not be beaten in wet conditions. The Texan had been fourth fastest in the dry morning final free practice as he continued to hunt the perfect set up for the Mugello circuit.
Jorge Lorenzo enjoyed a slightly more frustrating qualifying session. The Mallorcan rider was still hunting his fastest lap when the conditions changed, denying him the opportunity of a front row start and relegating him to fifth for tomorrow's race. The result was doubly frustrating as the morning's free practice witnessed a blistering pace from the World Champion, the fastest rider of the session with a 1.48.080.
Position : 2nd Time: 1'48.479 Laps: 10
"Everybody only got about ten laps in this afternoon, we only used on set of tyres so we have plenty for tomorrow. We're pretty confident we know which rubber we want to use after the qualifying session. I wish we could have had the whole hour in the dry but there you go, it was the same for everyone. We think we can make the bike a bit better for the race so we'll work on it and I'm looking forward to challenging for the podium."
Position : 5th Time: 1'48.756 Laps: 7
"I've been riding pretty good this morning. The bike has been working well but at the end in qualifying I couldn't improve. It is very complicated riding in wet conditions and the pole has been for the rider who took more risks. It's a shame because I hoped for more! My aim is to try to be in front. For this it's important to get a good start. All my team is focused to do another good race; they are working so hard for our home Grand Prix. After Silverstone and Assen we wish to come back to the podium!"
"Qualifying was a little disappointing with fifth spot on the grid. We used a different tyre package in the afternoon compared to the morning which cost a little time and as soon as we were ready to go with a faster one it started to rain. We know there is a lot more to come; the package is very strong so we have all confidence that we can do a good race tomorrow."
"It seems that the rain doesn't want to allow us to work properly! We are satisfied we have both riders on first and second row. We improved the set up a lot from yesterday for both even with the limited dry time so far this weekend. I'm personally positive about tomorrow's race I think both Ben and Jorge will be in front and both have the capability to fight for the podium."
Second row for Edwards, Crutchlow claims seventh
Colin Edwards will start from a season best grid position in tomorrow's Gran Premio d'Italia TIM after the American powered his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machine to a brilliant sixth place in a rain-disrupted qualifying session.
And British team-mate Cal Crutchlow will head the third row in seventh position after he finished just 0.047s behind Edwards in a session interrupted by the return of light drizzle that virtually wiped out the entire second practice yesterday afternoon at the Mugello circuit.
Light rain that fell during the earlier 125cc session had stopped ahead of MotoGP qualifying and Edwards and Crutchlow were able to take to the track on slick tyres as hot and humid conditions quickly dried the new Mugello tarmac.
But light rain began to dampen the technically challenging 5.245km track shortly after the halfway stage, preventing Edwards and Crutchlow from completing their final preparations ahead of tomorrow's 23-lap race. Both did return to the track for the final minutes to complete two laps on Bridgestone's rain tyres to gauge grip levels in case tomorrow's race is staged on a wet track.
Edwards was fifth fastest this morning, the American shaving almost a second off his best time from yesterday, and he secured sixth with a best lap of 1.48.974.
Crutchlow was 11th quickest in warm and sunny conditions this morning, the British rider able to knock 0.6s off his best time from yesterday as he made big strides in gaining more confidence with the front-end of his YZR-M1 machine.
Despite his lack of track knowledge, Crutchlow was quickly able to lower his times into the 1.49 bracket early in qualifying to claim fifth. He ended with a best lap 1.49.021 to knock a further second off his previous best time and another outstanding display from Crutchlow maintained his impressive record of qualifying in the top ten for every race in his rookie campaign.
Colin Edwards 6th 1.48.974 – 17 laps:
"That's my best qualifying result of the season and I'm really happy with that. The start of the session was really tricky because we all went out on slicks but there were parts of the track that were still damp. Your brain is telling you it is raining but you go out and push on slick tyres and that can be a bit unnerving. I gradually built up my pace and the track dried really quickly. I was on the soft front and soft rear tyre but the front was pushing a bit too much. I came in and changed to the hard front, kept the soft tyre on and I felt much better and did my fastest time with that combination. I went out on the rain tyres right at the end just to check the bike balance with the wet setting. It also gave me a chance to check the grip in the wet and it felt awesome, just like in the dry. Once again I want to thank the people at the Mugello track because the new surface is just unbelievable. A lot of the big bumps that seem to upset my rhythm have gone and it feels much easier for me to lap at the pace I know I'm capable of here. I want to say hats off to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew too because we changed the rear set-up of the bike for the dry and it gave me more confidence. I don't think it gives me a major advantage but I'm just more feeling of what the bike is doing, so I'm looking forward to a strong race tomorrow."
Cal Crutchlow 7th 1.49.021 – 16 laps:
"We made a big step with the feeling from the front-end this morning and I was a second faster this afternoon. The changes we made gave me more feeling but I still feel very much on the limit with corner entry and mid-corner. I'm scratching my head a little bit searching for a solution but we need to analyse the data tonight and come up with a plan to improve for the race. Colin just took that second row from me before the rain came but it is great for the Team that both of us are up there and I'm in front of some riders who've got a lot of experience at Mugello, so that is satisfying. I'm frustrated again though because I've lost more valuable track time. This job of learning the track and trying to be competitive is tough enough as it is, but with the sessions being disrupted makes it very difficult. I only went out in the rain to do a practice start and it felt fine. I also checked the grip in t he rain and in places it felt really good and in other parts it felt a little sketchy, so I'm confident I can get a good result in the wet or dry."
Stoner flies in Mugello with Dovizioso fourth and Pedrosa an impressive eighth before rain affects proceedings again
The promise of a substantial improvement in the lap times on the new Mugello asphalt has been accomplished today, on the second day of the Grand Prix of Italy, where Casey Stoner has been the main protagonist. The Australian Repsol Honda rider achieved the fastest lap in history at Mugello with a time of 1'48.034 and claimed his twenty seventh pole position in the MotoGP class, and the fifth of this season.
Stoner accomplished this twenty four minutes before the end of the qualifying session, when rain made an unwelcome appearance and ruined any possibility to better the lap times. Andrea Dovizioso has improved his feeling with the front of his RC212V and stands fourth on the grid, while Dani Pedrosa starts eighth after improving his time by eight tenths from yesterday.
Already this morning, six riders including Stoner and Dovizioso, had made the previous circuit record obsolete. The weather forecast predicts good weather for tomorrow, but nobody trusts the skies. Regardless, Stoner will be looking for another great result and some good points to consolidate his lead in the World Championship. Andrea Dovizioso will do his best to visit the podium again especially here at his home race, and Dani Pedrosa, who is suffering great pain in his return to racing, will try to make one of his notorious good starts to arrive with the front group from early on.
CASEY STONER – 1st - 1'48.034
"After the two sessions yesterday and also in FP3 this morning, we weren't too happy with the set up we had, so we were looking to utilise all of this afternoon's session. However, we made some changes to my second bike, which I made my fastest lap on and we've come out with a fantastic bike. I'm really happy to get pole here especially on a used tyre, the start of qualifying didn't look too good, there was some rain and it was difficult to know how much to push so we went with soft tyres on front and rear to try and get a good lap time before the rain arrived. Once I was on track I realised the rain hadn't affected conditions so much, so I came back in and made a change on the second bike and went back out with a hard front which gave us a little more stability and we managed to go a lot faster. The way the surface is working and everything in general is perfect, even with difficult conditions, we made the right choices at the right time".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 4th - 1'48.694
"I'm fairly satisfied with fourth position after the rain created strange track conditions, and I'm happy with our overall pace. Starting from the second row is fine on this track as there is a long straight before turn one. We made some modifications to improve my feeling with the front of the bike and as far as I could tell, they were positive. I wanted to do some laps with hard tyres in preparation for the race as on this track the tyre drops quite quickly, but it was not possible. The race will be long and physically demanding and it won't be easy to maintain the rhythm for all twenty three laps, but we are ready for this challenge and look forward to fighting for a good result. I'm confident tomorrow the Italian riders will put on a good show for the public here in Mugello!".
DANI PEDROSA – 8th - 1'49.398
"I was pretty lucky because the session was only 30 minutes old when the rain arrived and this is good for my injury. I made a few nice laps at the beginning of the session and I'm impressed with my lap time, eighth place on the grid is very good given my physical condition. I know that in the race it will be hard but I will try my best. I'll try the maximum during the 23 laps, 100% in my situation and we will see how much I can achieve. This morning I felt better because I had a good rest last night, but for sure lap by lap the shoulder is getting more and more sore and this afternoon it's been harder. I want to save energy during the warm up tomorrow morning to try to give the rest in the race".
MIXED CONDITIONS PLAY HAVOC WITH TONI'S QUALIFYING IN MUGELLO
Mugello, 02 July: uncertain weather conditions interfered with LCR Honda rider Toni Elias plan in the second day of practices at Mugello circuit which hosts the seventh round of the calendar. After yesterday's rain marred second session, premier class riders were anxious to rejoin the Tuscan track and this morning third free session was conducted in the dry.
But track conditions changed completely for the 60-minute qualifying session held under cloudy skies with light rain and Elias could not complete his TO DO list finishing the session in 16th position (1'50.742). Casey Stoner topped the timesheet followed by Spies and Simoncelli.
Elias – 16th: "I am not satisfied and this weather makes me nervous. I know it's the same situation for everybody but I had some things to adjust on the bike and could not test anything. In the first part of the qualifying when the asphalt was still dry I rode the standard bike I lapped this morning. Then I came in to make a couple of changes on the other bike but suddenly it started to rain and I could not complete my set up plan. I hope we can fix the bike in tomorrow's warm up".
BARBERÁ CONFIDENT OF RACE PROSPECTS AT MUGELLO
MAPFRE Aspar rider tenth on the grid after a host of set-up changes
Rain once again halted play in the MotoGP World Championship today as a light downpour midway through qualifying practice at Mugello saw the lap times and grid positions stall. Before that Casey Stoner had set the fastest ever lap of the Mugello (1'48.034) to seal pole position ahead of Ben Spies and Marco Simoncelli, the quickest rider this morning. Only a handful of riders chose to ride as the track eventually became wet enough towards the very end of the session.
Héctor Barberá has had a busy weekend trying to make the necessary changes that give him more feel and confidence on his Ducati. A completely new set-up yesterday failed to deliver the required response but a backward step today led to the Spaniard improving his pace and lapping just 1.6 seconds shy of pole position. With renewed confidence and motivation Héctor is hoping for further improvements tomorrow.
10th Héctor Barberá 1.49.663 (16 laps): "We have spent all weekend making changes and testing different things. The weather hasn't helped us but we took a step backwards this morning and the situation was better this afternoon. We went to a setting we already know and it gained us a second. I am happy because we are back on the right path after two races and we have a clear idea why. Just a return to the riding position and geometry that we started the season with improved my feeling. Apart from the improvements the important thing is that I am enjoying myself on the bike again and I hope I can show it tomorrow in the race."
Karel Abraham will start from the fourth row on the grid
Czech motorcycle rider Karel Abraham took eleventh place in the qualifying practice for the Grand Prix of Italy.
Trying to find the right set-up of the Ducati Desmosedici GP11, the Cardion AB Motoracing rider made significant progress at the Mugello Circuit and set a best time of 1:49,678 in the early stages of the qualifying practice which was disrupted by rain.
"I am quite satisfied," said Karel Abraham when he returned to the garage of the team Cardion AB Motoracing. "This result is good for us, although it's not as good as the results of the qualifications for the previous two races."
Twenty-one years old rider, who completed only eight full laps, continued: "We worked on the set-up of the motorcycle, especially on the front end which was - as well as yesterday - very unstable."
"We will try to make some changes in tomorrow‘s warm-up and then we will see," added Karel Abraham.
SIXTH STRAIGHT FRONT ROW FOR SIMONCELLI
"Super Sic" continued his fantastic qualifying form at Mugello this afternoon, beating his rivals and the weather to a front row position on tomorrow's starting grid. Even more impressive than his third fastest lap time was his race pace in a fully dry session this morning, when he led the field. Unfortunately mixed conditions and light rain this afternoon denied Marco the opportunity to complete the set-up work planned on his RC212V, which the team will now look to do in the morning warm-up. Hiroshi Aoyama continued to battle through the pain barrier following his practice crash at Assen just over a week ago and the Japanese rider was not totally comfortable with his condition or his feeling with the bike.
Marco Simoncelli (3rd 1' 48" 485) "I am on the front row and I am happy with that. Maybe I could have made a challenge for pole position but it had started to rain and I preferred to back off. I was actually improving my lap time about halfway through the session when I saw a few drops on my visor and with a lap time already in the bank I decided not to risk it. It was a tough session because you had to trust the grip even though there was water on your visor. Everything is pretty much sorted with the bike, my pace is good and tomorrow I will try to do the best I can. I hope we have a dry race and not conditions like today. I want to stay calm because everything is in place for us to do well so I just need to pay attention at critical points. They say it's hard to sleep here at Mugello but I like the atmosphere and to be honest it actually helps me sleep, even though I would really like to be out there with the fans."
Hiroshi Aoyama (13th 1' 50" 156 ) "It was a tricky session because of the conditions and unfortunately I wasn't able to find the right feeling with the bike, so hopefully we can do that in the morning and gain the confidence to push in the dry conditions. My physical condition is also a bit of a problem because I am still not fully recovered from the crash at Assen."
Fausto Gresini "A sixth consecutive front row is a very positive result. Today wasn't easy but Marco showed that he is in splendid form. Tomorrow won't be an easy race because I think there could be five riders with a chance of winning but Marco has a good pace so he'll be amongst them. 'Sic' is happy with his bike and the changes made to it despite a lack of dry track time and we will try to improve it further in the warm-up. Hiro is still hurting from the crash at Assen and doesn't quite have the right feel for the bike. We will try and give him some confidence ahead of the race."
WEATHER AFFECTS MUGELLO QUALIFYING. DE PUNIET FIFTEENTH
The starting grid for the Mugello Grand Prix, the world championship's fifth round, was determined in rainy conditions. The first half was held mainly in the dry, while the last part was compromised by the arrival of rain. Randy De Puniet rode his Ducati well during the final free-practice session, registering the ninth-best time, just behind the factory Ducatis. In the afternoon, the Frenchman wasn't able to repeat the performance, due in part to a problem with his brakes that slowed down the work on the bike's setup before it started to rain. He stopped the clock at 1:50.651, good for fifteenth place on the starting grid.
Marco Rigamonti - Randy De Puniet Track Engineer
"The weather is once again an unknown, even here in Italy. We weren't as clever as the others, who pushed hard from their first laps. We opted for the soft front tyre, but after he came in, Randy preferred to go back out with the hard. Then we had a problem with the brakes, and when everything was fixed, it started to rain. It's a shame, because during the final free-practice session this morning, our time was right with those of Hayden and Rossi; this afternoon definitely went worse."
Randy De Puniet – Pramac Racing Rider – 15th best time in 1:50.651
"This morning I was satisfied, the feeling with the bike was better than previous releases. I was pretty good considering the qualifications. But this afternoon we encountered several problems with the front brake. I was forced to stop, I have not had time to put on my helmet that it started to rain. And the qualifications, more than 20 minutes from the end, had already been compromised. I haven't had a chance to make a turn as it should, I hoped to be some position of ".
RAIN SHORTENS MUGELLO QUALIFYING. HAYDEN NINTH, ROSSI TWELFTH
Bad weather continued to affect the MotoGP world championship today at Mugello, where rain made a brief appearance that cut the amount of useful time in the qualifying session in half. Nicky Hayden found a good dry setup this morning that improved his feeling with the bike, but he couldn't take full advantage of it in qualifying.
Valentino Rossi, who had many things to try for his GP11.1's setup, was hurt more than others by the lack of track time and will start from the twelfth spot on the grid tomorrow.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th, 1:49.509
"This morning we made a couple little improvements with the bike and were feeling quite good. We didn't put in a new soft tyre at the end, so the gap looked worse than it was. I felt confident, but this afternoon the conditions were crazy. It was spotting rain in the beginning, but everybody put their heads down and went out full-gas. Then the conditions got worse and it was a shame for the fans that we were all sitting in the garage when we'd normally be doing a time attack. It rained yesterday and today around race time, so I went out for a little at the end and had a look at the new surface in the wet, just in case. The tyre choice is going to be interesting because we really haven't had any afternoon track time in the dry. I can't be happy starting ninth at Ducati's home race, but we'll try to make our fans proud."
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 12th, 1:49.902
"We had many things to try and the rain this afternoon ruined our plans, but that's no excuse for the gap, as the conditions were the same for everyone. It's true that we lost yesterday's morning session, and that we're still working on development. We expected to go better at Mugello, and instead we struggled here as well. I don't feel good with the front, so I lose a lot on corner entry, and I can't ride the bike well. As for the rear, we've made progress, and the GP11.1 has solved some issues. Acceleration is better, but we still have to work with the front. Obviously, we'll try our best in the race, although it will be hard, but in any case we'll gather experience that will be useful in the future."
THE MUGELLO CIRCUIT, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE PRAMAC RACING TEAM, IS CHOOSING THE PATH OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
A 252 kWp photovoltaic system has been installed on the roof of the Ferrari-owned venue's main grandstand. Carried out by Energy Resources SpA, the project ensures an annual production of approximately 300,000 kWh, equivalent to 20% of the circuit's overall requirements. The installation used 2,016 Pramac photovoltaic modules (MCPH P7), along with Power One 100 and 165 kWp inverters. Eighteen rows of 125 kWp framed thin-film modules have been mounted on the 2,911 square-metre grandstand, for a total of 2,016 panels. Through this project, the racetrack will reduce its CO2 emissions by 211 tons per year.
"This sends a clear message," said Mugello Circuit CEO Paolo Poli, "that it's possible to do top-level motorsports while fully respecting the environment. With this investment, we continue a journey embarked upon some time ago that has led us to certification of conformity to the ISO 14001:2004 law."
Paolo Campinoti - Pramac Racing Team Principal
"Once again, Pramac distinguished itself for the ecological sustainability that has characterized our company for a few years. It's a honor as the MotoGP Green Energy Team, contribute to environmental. We will completely avoid CO2 emissions, and we will lower the enviromental impact, all for the love and respect of our planet. We are very glad about this initiative, which was prepared thanks to the support of Energy Resources."