2011 Laguna Seca MotoGP Friday Round Up - A Fast Yamaha, And Two Slow Ducatis

Friday brought typical Monterrey Peninsula weather to Laguna Seca: cool and overcast in the morning, with temperatures rising and the sun out in the afternoon, but surprisingly, the times did not really tumble during the second session of practice. The difference between the fastest time in each of the two sessions was just a quarter of a second, despite a much warmer track.

Jorge Lorenzo was fastest in the afternoon, but more impressive than his best time was the string of fast laps he reeled off: 7 laps in 1'22.2 or better, and a lot better race pace than either Dani Pedrosa or Casey Stoner, despite the two Hondas being just over a tenth off Lorenzo's best lap. Lorenzo was, unsurprisingly, rather happy, though he claimed that there were improvements to be made with the front end, which is a worrying prospect for the competition.

Things are less happy over at Honda, with Stoner is once again struggling with grip. The hotter it gets, the less the grip, and as Stoner is one of the riders who likes the hardest tire he can get, he is having more problems than he would like with the softer mixture of tires that Bridgestone have brought. Last year's soft option is this year's hard tire, and this year's soft tire is another step softer, and Stoner is suffering because of it. Despite some pretty big changes, Stoner is still not competely comfortable with the bike.

Dani Pedrosa could profit most from the situation, the Spaniard having less trouble with his Repsol Honda than his teammate Stoner. Pedrosa's shoulder is still painful, but not so much it is slowing him down. His problems, like Stoner's, are more to do with the grip available at the Laguna Seca circuit than anything else. But Pedrosa is closer to Lorenzo than Stoner at least.

Ben Spies is still a half a second off his factory Yamaha teammate, but is confident there is still half a second in his bike. That might still put him a tenth or so behind Lorenzo, once the reigning World Champion gets the best out of his M1, but it will also leave him in with a chance. Spies has already told Dean Adams of Superbikeplanet.com that if he sees a chance he will take it and hang the consequences, and so far, Spies can't be written off.

Unlike the Ducatis. While Valentino Rossi has decided - or rather, been persuaded by long-time crew chief Jeremy Burgess - to stick with the GP11.1, Nicky Hayden will be switching back to the old bike, according to Cycle News. Burgess has persuaded Rossi that the GP11.1 is the future, at least for the time being, and they should see what they can do with that bike first. Hayden, meanwhile, wants his best chance of success in front of his home crowd, and switching to a new bike at Laguna was never going to be his favored option. He had pushed Ducati to have a GP11.1 at the Sachsenring, so he could test the bike there before making a decision about Laguna, but that had proved impossible. Instead, after trying the bikes back-to-back, he has gone for the safe option and will be racing the old bike, the GP11, saving the GP11.1 for the test after the next race at Brno.

But whatever Hayden rides, Ducati are in a deep hole. The factory Ducatis were just 10th and 11th in FP2, and both are behind Randy de Puniet on the Pramac Ducati. Hayden may be hoping for a miracle, but miracles are few and far between. It's a very long year in Bologna.

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...make the world spin a little faster? This time zone thinggie is getting me impatient!!

This is the one time of the year (besides Indy with a 2 or 3hr difference) that I don't have to confusedly click "showing Race local time" to "Showing Your local time" and I don't have to wake up at 5am just to catch the race :P

-Southern California Resident

I've to get up at 2:30 am in the next two days to watch the QP and race (I'm from south India and the time difference between here and Laguna Seca is 12 hrs and 30 mins)

And I still wake up at 3 or 4 am to start watching the races on 12 race weekends a year. The Asian and Australian rounds are even more convenient than the US rounds. I hate to watch them delayed. I feel uncommitted.

Now you know why Aussie racers are so committed to winning - just to be a fan in Australia takes dedication, determination and sacrifice.

Does anyone else have problems with the MotoGP video feed? No matter what internet connection I'm on, it pauses often and switches screen-rez backwards and forwards a lot. I'd guess the MotoGP servers are pretty overwhelmed during the whole event--I think they need more bandwidth.
Netflix, Hulu, and any other streaming services work flawlessly so I'm sure it's the Dorna site and not my device. It's still better than waiting for TV to screen just the race, but it's also pretty frustrating.

I have the luxury of a highspeed fibre-optic link here at work, where everything works at lightning speed, and all other streaming feeds work well, but the live video feed from MotoGP is always a problem. It gets progressively worse over the weekend, as more and more people log in, and becomes awful on race-day. I've complained to them a number of times, and working in IT I can pick an overloaded service when I see it, but they just dismiss it and say it must be a problem at my end.

The very same problem - or strategy if you prefer - affects Eurosport player here in the UK for who wants to watch the Superbike championships online. Oh wait, there is a difference. They do not even answer to complaints. They just write in the FAQ that if there is a problem with the streaming quality you should check your connection!

David: are you going to expand your business to real time broadcasting any time soon?! :)

I've went back and forth with MotoGP.com tech support about the inability to see Live Streaming (looking at archived clips is no problem), they determined that there is an incompatibility with Adobe Flash and the latest Mac OS. I'm not sure if this is correct because I can't stream on my other laptops/desktops BUT I can on my iPad. It is most definitely not a bandwidth issue.

With 20 people coming to watch the race, passing the iPad around would not be...optimal. Gonna have to suck it up and watch SpeedTV's we'll-suddenly-interrupt-this-race-with-a-commercial coverage.

Like matteo, two of my friends and i have Eurosport Player and we all have problems with excessive Buffering and poor picture quality, despite following advice in their FAQ section and contacting them for further information.
For some unknown reason it does seem to of improved slightly lately, but it is still far from good. Yet if i watch Motogp action online on the BBC sport section the quality is excellent.

The problem with overloaded servers during races has been around for some time, that's why I cancelled the service couple years ago. A subscription is certainly not much money today but it bothers me to reward shitty service with continued patronage.

The full season subscription is what, 100 euros? I cant remember what I paid exactly but live hd streaming was worth that to me. However, what I am actually getting is a choppy, cutting out broadcast that I usually have to watch in lower quality or reload several times, including switching from stream A to B etc. Shitty service isn't worth anything in my books. MotoGP too claims that the issue is on my end, but everything else works flawlessly on several computers including live HD streaming. Blame the customer, nice one.