2012 Brno MotoGP Friday Round Up: Red Flags, Crashes, Fast Ducatis And Future Ducati Riders

Friday would prove to be an eventful first day of practice at Brno. Thrills, spills and plenty of flag waving, mostly of the red variety, as crashes played havoc with the day's schedule. It started in the morning, during FP1 for MotoGP, when Valentino Rossi ran wide in the final corner and his rear wheel kicked up a couple of sizable rocks. The rocks hit Dani Pedrosa, on the top of his foot and the front of his fairing, destroying the screen. How fast was he going when he was hit by the rocks, one intrepid reporter asked? "I don't know my speed," Pedrosa quipped, "but the rocks were going like they were shot out of a gun."

And they weren't small rocks either. Asked what size they were, Pedrosa held up both hands, touching thumbs and forefingers together to make a circle. "Like this," he said. About the size of a grapefruit, then. Pedrosa said he had been worried that the impact had broken a bone in his foot, and the Spaniard was limping visibly as he got off his Repsol Honda, but the pain subsided as the session continued, reassuring him that there was nothing broken, just banged up and bruised.

It did not stop Pedrosa from being the fastest man in both sessions. The Honda was supposed to have problems at right-handed tracks, Pedrosa was asked. "We have a lot of chatter at the front and at the rear," he agreed. It was worse in some corners, but he was making up the loss in others. Pedrosa is due to test some new parts on Monday, and even more new parts at a private test in Aragon in two weeks' time. If this is how good the Honda is with chatter, it might be time for Jorge Lorenzo to start getting worried once Honda fix the bike.

The incident with Rossi and Pedrosa caused the session to be red-flagged, for the marshals to clear the track. It would be the first of three: the following session, FP1 for Moto2, Claudio Corti flung his Italtrans Kalex into the air fence, destroying a section which then needed replacing. Yonny Hernandez repeated the trick in the afternoon's MotoGP FP2 session, once again bringing out the red flags.

The falls causing the red flags were not the only crashes. In total, riders went down 21 times - that is 3 more than at Indianapolis on Saturday, a total which triggered a chorus of complaints that Indy was too dangerous a track - with Riccardo Moretti and Alan Techer being taken to the medical center with heavy bruising and a concussion, respectively. But for the most part, the types of crashes were different, riders lowsiding rather than highsiding, and generating more ignominy than injury.

Why the crashes? Was the track so greasy, as one photographer had noted upon his return from the track? Yes, most riders agreed, the track had been greasy, but it was more that the grip had not improved in the afternoon session as much as they had expected, and so riders were pushing harder, then being let down by the hot track temperature.

The track was also giving some cause for concern over tire choice. Most riders had tried both the harder and the softer tire, but few had been able to get the hard rear to provide any grip. Whether the soft tire would last the distance was a question mark. Dani Pedrosa was not so concerned; Valentino Rossi, on the other hand, was rather worried, and everyone wanted more time on the tires to check their durability. That may not be possible: rain started to fall just as night fell at the circuit, and it is predicted to keep falling through the morning and perhaps part of the afternoon. A similar pattern is predicted for race day, with a wet morning followed by questionable conditions for the afternoon.

For the first time in a while, Valentino Rossi won't be praying for rain in Sunday. The Italian looked much stronger at Brno than he has for a while - "You looked like Valentino Rossi," one veteran journalist quipped to the Italian - and the gap to Pedrosa was only half a second. The difference was not related to his decision to leave Ducati at the end of the year, Rossi said, explaining that the difference was much more about the track than anything else. Rossi has had problems in left handers with the Ducati, and Brno goes the right way round for the Desmosedici. Brno was also one of the best races for Rossi last year, and that confidence is carrying into this weekend as well. They still have some settings to try tomorrow, but Rossi is confident of going well if it's dry on Sunday.

Rossi also told reporters that he would no longer be working on developing the 2013 Desmosedici. The team were heading for Misano later this week for a private test, at which Rossi will try some parts that he will be able to use later in the season. But his role in developing the bike for the future is over, he said.

That role falls to Andrea Dovizioso now. "I don't want to talk too much about Ducati," the Italian protested, as he faced a barrage of questions about 2013 and whether he feared the same fate as Rossi and Marco Melandri on the bike. Would he be able to ride the bike? "You don't know until you try," Dovizioso reiterated. "When I switched from Honda to Yamaha, they told me many things about the Yamaha, which turned out not to be true." The feeling was different than he had been led to believe, Dovizioso explained, and so he would have to wait until Valencia to find out exactly how the bike would actually feel. While he had been reluctant to consider Ducati when he was forced out of Honda at the end of 2011, meetings with Filippo Preziosi and Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio were what had convinced him. They had made him believe in the Ducati project, Dovizioso said.

First, though, Dovizioso is hoping for some good results at Brno. Ending the session less than two tenths from Dani Pedrosa - and assisted by the absence of Casey Stoner - the Italian could go one better than the handful of third places he has had. Really, he would like to win, Dovizioso said. "But still there is Jorge and Dani. This is not a small problem." Just how close he can get we shall see on Sunday.

Back to top


... has far more than a mere brace of third places to his name - five so far this season.

I've noticed an increased 'anti-Dovi' vibe in the reporting of facts on this website - it's unnecessary, unfair and it disturbs me.

Just because Dovi didn't outperform Stoner and Pedrosa at Honda doesn't mean the guy can't actually improve over the course of his career - most folks on this site have made up their mind about Dovi based on what he did in the past - I see a rider clearly improving over time

Why is the notion that somebody might improve over time ( as experience grows) dismissed by the vast majority of folks?

Honestly, Dovi is a little ignorant in my opinion. His attitude towards Spies for the seat seemed really unjustified, considering that Ben has more of a right to it then Dovi. He has proved his worth on a factory machine, and the satellites are close enough to the factories at this point to let him show that potential. He is not a regular Race-Winner, and probably, unfortunately for us, never will be. The talent rising through the system is ready to replace Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Stoner and Rossi once they retire. Dovi has the talent, just the wrong Date of Birth.

I know how many a brace is, and I know how many podiums Dovizioso had. Doesn't prevent me from not thinking about what I type. It was late and I was tired. Should have picked it up.

I know heaps of people who have used this term incorrectly. They always say stuff like "a whole brace" of something, and they mean "many" or "lots" many rather than two.

Its a common mistake.

the term "brace" used as the the number two must be a UK thing. It certainly isn't used in Canada. I'm a physicist and engineer and I have never heard that term used. But maybe I'm slow...

if you want to get technical, you misspelled "it's" as "its" as in ..."everyone knows its two..."

My understanding is that the term "brace" comes from the somewhat arcane world of grouse shooting. When the beaters move across the moors driving the grouse towards the shooters they tend to fly up in twos or threes. The shooter has a double barrelled shotgun and can potentially hit two birds.

If he or she, does this it is referred to as a "bagging a brace of grouse."

Of course, someone else may know better !

It has the same latin root as brazos, which is Spanish for arms. That's why I originally thought it meant an armful. I believe the meaning comes from the idea of having one in each hand.

'I didn't know it was two until I looked it up.'

If David is writing in a manner that is incomprehensible to you, then it is perhaps best that you draw his attention to the fact - and request simplistic utterings.

Whatever, I think it only proper and just to report facts accurately and fairly.

Five is far greater than two - it's not even close.

Clearly you haven't followed this site long, or you'd know David isn't "prejudice" towards Dovi.

By all means, find another outlet for information instead of sitting around hoping for a better future. Good day!

Jesus, get off it. This is your third post saying the same thing. David said it was a honest mistake as he didn't mean it. There is no anti-dovi reporting here, only what you want to see.

"I've noticed an increased 'anti-David' vibe in the remarks section on this website - it's unnecessary, unfair and it disturbs me."

You could had email David if you're THAT concern.

David is doing a fine job but if you can't question or challenge anyone anymore just because he is the main guy on this website that isn't really free expression anymore either, isn't it?

You are defending the editor of a website when all we do is discussing the merit of a particular rider - suggest not taking it so personally

Dovi will either prove it to us down the line or won't - all I'm saying is that riders can improve over time and Dovi has had a stellar season so far especially compared to Factory supported Spies - yes there was some bad luck but still - the results show for themselves

In his first two years, Dovi was the highest scoring non-alien in the championship. Last year, of course, he placed third, which put him ahead of two of the aliens (one missed several races due to injuries, the other was on a Ducati). Right now he's running fourth place on a satellite bike. I'm not sure he'll ever crack that top step again but he is an excellent rider. I like the guy and would love to see him be a real contender. Until then he has an admirable record.

Dovi has had a fine year, clearly "best of the rest" after the Repsol pair and Lorenzo. But I have not noticed any bias against him on this website. I'm pretty sure it is a simple error.

The shift I have noticed, if there is any shift at all, is to come around to the view (which I happen to share) that signing up for the factory Ducati ride is a sensible gamble for a rider such as Dovi.

Looks like Pedrosa has his head down. Lorenzo should be concerned. The chatter seems to affect Dani less than it did Stoner at certain races. Or maybe Dani just didn't complain about it as much.

I have watched the Indi race 3 times, despite how boring it was. I was studying Dani's style since he got so much camera time. He is so incredibly smooth it's unbelievable. Casey is chucking the bike around like an animal - yes he was injured and yes he is usually faster than Dani - but it is feasible that Dani's style is better suited to riding with chatter. Who knows. Although, neither have been complaining about it as much recently.

Dovi made a brave move to go to Ducati and I wish him all the best. He is very fast and very hard to pass. Rarely makes mistakes. He is also more concerned about proving himself than Valentino was. Ducati are very lucky to have him. It sounds from this article that the media storm directed at Ducati just hit him full in the face, and he was a bit shocked.

Anyway, can't wait for the race. Hoping it will be tight between J Lo and Dani. J Lo must be worried about Dani's pace now - and his seeming new determination. He needs to get back on the top step or Dani could run away with this while Stoner is gone.

If anything Dani was more vocal than Stoner about chatter and tyres since the start of the season. Stoner being out of the title race has really taken the zest out of this season. Hope Dani and Jorge have some big battles.

Up to now, Lorenzo has dominated Pedrosa in 2012. He has placed ahead of Pedrosa 8 times, while Dani has had the upper hand 2 times in fair fights plus a 3rd time at Assen (where Lorenzo was punted off in the first corner). But the point margin is just 18 with 7 races to go. And Dani dominated the last time out and again today. Either man can win the championship. Game on!

It is interesting to re-score the 11 races so far EXCLUDING Stoner from the results... Lorenzo 240 points and Pedrosa is on 231, so a differential of just 9 points. So Casey has taken 9 more points from his teammate than from the Yamaha man. Jorge and Dani will not have Stoner to worry about for the next several rounds. But when Casey does return, I'd be shocked to see him give up a win to team orders. I hope it does not come to that. This will be fascinating to watch. I sure do hope the 6-engine rule does not decide this deal.

Despite all the 'now' pro- dovi talk on here.... he is showing a distinct lack of reality if he believes the change from Yam to Duke can be directly compared to his change from the Honda to the Yam... maybe even severe delusion..
It's oft repeated on here the einstein mantra(trying the same thing over... different result etc.,) but never has it been more relevant.. Without a completely new bike I don't see Dovi being any different than anyone else on the duke... Has done it purely for factory status, and of course he can't lose, not a crime but it is what it is... Dani looks uber dominant at the mo, so yes a rider can improve, and so can his bike of course.., even Rossi, who always had Danis number.....