Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Motegi:
Strong Start in Motegi for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
Motegi (Japan), 10th October 2014
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi kicked off the first of the three overseas triple-header weekend’s with a flying start in the first practices for this Sunday’s Grand Prix of Japan.
Lorenzo remained calm and collected while he focused on staying ahead of his rivals. The Aragón race winner took his time at the start of the morning Free Practice session to warm up the bigger carbon brake disks, which are obligatory this year because of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit’s heavy braking character. Throughout the session the Spaniard was able to gradually improve his times and topped the standings with a 1’45.838 lap in the final minute.
The second 45 minutes session also saw him directly on the pace, posting multiple 1’45 laps to comfortably claim second place. His fastest lap of 1’45.580 was just four-tenths from the leader and leaves him second in the overall times.
Teammate Rossi showed that the heavy crash at Aragón has not slowed him down. Though heavy braking is challenging with his finger injury, the nine-time World Champion decided to ride without anesthetic injections and still managed to be at the top of the time sheets as the morning session began. The Doctor led the standings twice before finishing fifth with a lap of 1’46.184, just 0.346 behind his teammate.
Rossi had a similar session in the afternoon and was able to improve his time to a 1’45.890, less than 0.75 of a second from the top. The result leaves him in fifth place in the combined times ahead of tomorrow’s sessions.
99 Jorge Lorenzo
2nd / 1'45.580 / 16 laps
“After the race win in Aragon we knew that here maybe we had a chance to go faster and be more competitive with this normal tyre on the rear. Also we knew that last year we were competitive and had good grip. From the beginning we’ve been on the pace and better than we expected. The bike is working very well, we can improve some small details in the settings, chassis and electronics but in general the pace of the bike is very good so I’m happy.”
46 Valentino Rossi
5th / 1'45.890 / 19 laps
“I feel good on the bike and don't have any particular problems. I have some small pain with the finger, especially when I brake there is a little bit of pain but I am optimistic, I can brake in a good way and I’m comfortable, I’m just in a little bit of pain. In general the first day was not so bad, it was good practice and I’m quite satisfied. We still have to work a lot, because we still haven’t found the right balance but fifth position is not so bad. I have a good pace and it looks like the Yamaha works well here in Motegi.”
“We are very satisfied with our start today. Both Jorge and Vale have no major issues with set up and have started with good pace and speed. Of course we have some small details as always to work through so I am confident we can make more steps over the weekend to be even more competitive on Sunday. All in all a good start to our proper ‘home’ Grand Prix! It looks like the typhoon won’t arrive until Monday so we might be lucky with the weather also.”
Pedrosa 4th and Marquez 6th on first day in Motegi
The Grand Prix of Japan got underway today where Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez will have his first opportunity to clinch the 2014 title.
With limited track time due to treacherous conditions in 2013, neither Marc or teammate Dani Pedrosa wasted any time taking to the track this morning to rediscover their feeling at this tricky circuit. Marc had a small crash after running on in turn five early in this morning’s FP1 session, with the Spanish duo finishing 2nd (Marc) and 8th.
In the afternoon, Dani found a good rhythm and was able to test both option rear Bridgestone tyres but is still looking for the best setup in the brake point. Marc also tested both rear tyres and worked on his overall setup after losing valuable time from the crash in FP1. Both riders recorded their fastest time on their final laps of FP2, Dani finishing 4th in the combined times with 1’45.727 (lap 18/18) and Marc in 6th with his lap of 1’45.939 (lap 19/19).
4th - 1'45.727
"I think we had a good day of free practices. The track conditions were good and we were able to try out different tyres. In the afternoon we tried riding with the hard rear tyre, but we didn't use the hard front like others did. We will probably try that out tomorrow. Today we did some runs with a good pace, but we have to work harder to improve our lap times and be very focused on setting a good time in qualifying.”
6th - 1'45.939
"Today we struggled a bit compared to other circuits. We have not quite found the right setup yet, but thankfully it’s still only Friday and we have many practice sessions ahead and things to try out. The important thing is that I felt pretty good and, despite not being totally happy with the setup of the bike, we are not so far from the top. Let's see if we can continue in this way, improving over the course of the weekend."
GP of Japan: an excellent start for Andrea Dovizioso, who ends day 1 with quickest time. Crutchlow eleventh.
Andrea Dovizioso got his Japanese weekend off to the best possible start, the Italian rider ending the opening day of free practice at the top of the timesheets. The Ducati Team man was quickest overall at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, setting a time of 1’45.140, over four-tenths of a second quicker than Jorge Lorenzo in second place.
Dovizioso had already begun the day well with a third place in the morning’s opening free practice session behind Lorenzo and Marquez.
His team-mate Cal Crutchlow could only manage eleventh place in the first day’s timesheets, and was unable to improve his quickest lap due to traffic, but in any case he said he was happy with his pace.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st (1’45.140)
“I am very happy because, apart from my fastest lap which I set with a soft tyre, I also had a good pace with the medium option. We immediately got off to a good start this morning with the set-up, both regarding the chassis and the electronics, and this enabled me to push hard right from the early laps. Today was a great day but tomorrow I’ll have to try and shave off some more tenths from my lap time.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 11° (1’46.221)
“I’m not pleased with the result today but I am pleased with the speed. I thought we could have maybe been in the front five in that session but I got held up in my fast lap. I could have been a lot closer than what I was so I’m happy with this and it means we can work well for tomorrow. I had some problems in the session and didn’t get out in the first ten minutes due to a problem with the brake. Now I’m looking to rest because I’ve not been feeling well at all today due to a bit of flu, so maybe tomorrow I can have a better performance.”
BAUTISTA AND REDDING HARD AT WORK IN MOTEGI FREE PRACTICE
Today was a day of highs and lows for the Team GO & FUN Honda Gresini at Twin Ring Motegi, where is taking place this weekend the Grand Prix of Japan: Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding, in fact, closed the combined classification of the first two free practice sessions in 12th and 19th position, respectively, nevertheless working methodically in order to improve for the rest of the weekend.
Bautista, especially, was feeling comfortable straight from the morning session: the Spaniard found a better feeling with the bike compared to the last few races using the softer compound available, then he struggled a little bit in the afternoon when he tried the harder tyre, therefore improving his morning lap time by only 0.4 seconds.
Also his teammate, Scott Redding, spent most of the day doing tyre testing, trying both options available with the aim of identifying the best one for the race. Tomorrow the British rookie will try some changes to the suspension setting to try to better exploit the softer tyre.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (12th - 1'46"227)
“This morning I was feeling not so bad with the bike although track conditions were not perfect. Then, this afternoon we tried the hard rear tyre, but it was a bit more slippery compared to the softer one; in addition, at the same time I had a problem with the bike. At a certain point I started to feel a lot of vibration on the front end, on the straight and under braking; I don’t know if that was because of the tyre or the bike, we need to check it. For this reason I couldn’t improve my lap times and my final position is not so good, however I’m happy with the feeling: it’s not perfect, but it’s not as bad as in the last few races, so I’m confident for tomorrow. We have to work a little bit more and we need to fix the vibration issue, then we can do well”.
SCOTT REDDING (19th - 1'47"586)
“I’m quite happy about today because in the afternoon we closed the gap to the fastest Production Racer Honda, which is positive. We used the hard tyre most of today and when we put the softer one we were expecting to be even closer, but we couldn’t get it to work good, therefore we need to change a little bit the suspension setting for tomorrow to better exploit it. Overall I’m quite happy also because we were working most of the time with the harder option: at Aragon we used the soft tyre in the race and it was not good for us, so now I’m trying to push in the harder direction. However, today I didn’t get the full potential of the softer tyre, so we will see better tomorrow which is the best option for the race, making more laps with that”.
The NGM Forward Racing back on track at Motegi
The first day of the GP of Japan, 15th round of the 2014 MotoGP season, saw the NGM Forward Racing riders Aleix Espargaro and Alex De Angelis respectively in 13th and 17th position.
The Spaniard made a good start this morning finishing the FP1 in 9th position with a positive lap time of 1’46.404. In the afternoon, some electronics issues obliged him to spend some time in the garage, preventing him to use at the best the session to work on the bike set up. With a lap of 1.46.315, Espargaro finally closed 13th and tomorrow he will continue working in preparation of the race.
Also team mate Alex De Angelis started to work in the right direction in the FP1 setting a good 1.47.285 and closing in 15th position. In the FP2 Alex suffered some technical issues that prevented him to further improve his lap times. Despite this, the rider from San Marino is confident for tomorrow qualifying session.
“I’m not completely satisfied of today’s result. This morning I lacked a bit of confidence on the front. We worked on this direction and in the FP2 the feeling was better. Unfortunately due to some electronic issues I had to enter the pits and lost some time. I couldn’t do so many laps and this will complicate the work on the set up in preparation of the qualifying. Anyway I’m very motivated to do my best to recover the gap from the other guys”.
Alex De Angelis
“This morning in the FP1 we made a good start although I lacked a bit of feeling on the rear under braking. In the afternoon we tested some different solutions and I could improve a bit. It’s a pity that at the end of the session I had some problems when I had the soft tyre on and I couldn’t improve my lap times. We will keep on working tomorrow and I’m confident that we can make another step forward”.
At Motegi Hernandez starts off in the right way; Iannone is confident
The Pramac Racing Team started off the weekend with a very long and busy day at Motegi. Both Andrea Iannone and Yonny Hernandez who have worked hard to find the best settings, although with different results.
Andrea Iannone ended the morning session in eleventh position due to the setting of the bike that did not give the result looked for. Better in the afternoon session, despite a few problems, Andrea improved his lap time a by half a second finishing in ninth place, but was unable to do better because he had to change bike for a technical problem. Tomorrow's practice will be decisive, Andrea will have to make the most of the available sessions to do all the tests he was not able to do today.
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing) found a good setting and a good pace since this morning, so much so that he ended forth in FP1 1'46.113. In the afternoon session Yonny continued to work while keeping a good pace and only a small mistake on the final FP2 stopped him from improving the lap time. Yonny closed the second session of the tenth and hopes to be able to get the same result tomorrow in FP4, gaining direct access to Q2.
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing)
“Today we had to solve some issues, I managed to do a few timed laps with the new bike because it still needed work so I had to use the GP14. There is still tomorrow to understand what needs to be done and to do some tests that we wanted to do today. "
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing)
"I had a good feeling this morning and we worked hard this afternoon. Too bad for the small mistake in T3 and a bit of traffic in the last few laps stopped me from improving myself. I’m in the top ten and this is tomorrow’s goal. "
Motegi mission starts positively for Espargaro and Smith
Pol Espargaro returned to the scene of his Moto2 World Title accomplishment today to produce a strong start to round 15 of the 2014 World Championship at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan. The premier class rookie opened the day with a firm ride to 7th in the morning session having run at the front of the field straight from the beginning of the practice around the 4801 meter circuit. His best lap of 1’46.365 was barely over four tenths of a second from the leading time on his Monster Yamaha YZR-M1, after the announcement that Monster Energy will remain as the title sponsor for the Tech3 team for a further two seasons. In the later session, the young Spaniard continued his forward momentum at the stop and go Japanese circuit to storm to a best time of 1’46.041, putting him in 7th position at the close of the day. His performance today leaves the 23 year old rider fully primed for tomorrow where he will aim to qualify on the front two rows for Sunday’s 24 lap race.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Bradley Smith kick started his triple flyaway challenge in positive form to guide his Yamaha YZR-M1 to 8th position overall at the end of the day in Motegi. The young English rider began this morning by experimenting with setup options together with his Tech3 team in order to establish a strong base to work from for the rest of the weekend. He closed the first free practice by riding to 14th position as he remained full of optimism for the afternoon. When the latter session started, Smith progressed and produced a well calculated ride to confidently lay the foundations for Sunday's action by snatching 8th place and producing a time of 1’46.105. His time was fractionally behind 5th by only 0.2 of a second as he remains poised for a successful qualifying tomorrow at the Motegi circuit in Japan.
Position : 7th Time :1'46.041
"In all honesty it was quite a demanding day today. The track is not an easy one to ride due to the hard braking, as well as working out where the references are for each corner and we are still learning step by step. However, the final result itself is not bad at all and I am convinced that we have a large degree of improvement to make. For tomorrow, I certainly need to work on my riding style and afterwards we will try to fix some minor issues with the bike. At the moment we are losing most of our time in the intermediate sectors of the circuit and this is where we will focus on for tomorrow. Once we make these improvements I am certain that I will be able to have a strong qualifying where I intend to score a top grid position for the race on Sunday. "
Position : 8th Time :1'46.105
"I am happy with today's final outcome even if it was tricky at the start, but we found a good setting which gave us a solid direction to work towards. My final run was a big step forward plus I was lapping with consistent times at the end so although we have some work to do to refine this setting further, I am pleased with the job we have done. It is a technical track and it appears as though the softer compound of tyres it is giving the Ducati's and the open class riders an advantage so it’s vital that we progress with our hard work in order to get into the top ten and go straight into Q2. Moreover I think it will be crucial to get a perfect run in qualifying as some other riders are close and will certainly be in the hunt. Considering the tough start, the end result is positive and we will confidently continue to push onwards tomorrow."
BRADL 3rd FASTEST AT MOTEGI GP OPENING DAY
Motegi, 10 October: the MotoGP contingent completed the first day of action at Motegi race track with LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl immediately gaining a good feeling on the Japanese soil as he ended the day with a strong 3rd place (1’45.637). The German knew that his RCV would have been competitive and he did not make any special effort to qualify amongst the leading trio.
Stefan: “We are quite satisfied because we have been very fast for the whole day and 3rd place in the last free practice is quite good. Our pace shows that we have a good speed and we have been clear and immediate in taking decisions on our bike set-up. We took the right direction easily and now we have to keep an eye at the weather tomorrow to see if it’s getting cooler. But overall I am pleased with the job we have done today”.
Overseas tour of MotoGP has started. Abraham holds seventeenth position in Japan
Karel Abraham has started with seventeenth fastest lap free practices of Grand Prix of Japan, at Motegi. On the track, where four years ago the Czech rider reached for the first time in his carrier to podium in Moto2 class, he achieved time 1:47,406 and he is losing 2,266 seconds to the fastest rider, Andrea Dovizioso.
"We are quit curious about the weather forecast, for now, the weather is changing, so maybe it will be same weekend as it was in Aragon, Spain. The bike is not going very well, we have lot of problems with grip. In the morning session I had some troubles, but fortunately I handled it. We will discuss a lot about the tyres. For now, we neither confortable with type, nor with combinations of tyres. We will have to work a lot."
Marco Grana, Cardion AB chief mechanic
„We haven’t started that bad, we are second fastest Honda bike in open class. However we have problem with adhesion with front wheel, tyres are really hard. It is good in intensive breaking but in middle part of turn it is disadvantage and bike is behaving unpredictable. We are quite satisfied with time and we know have some space for improvements. Karel has not ridden the best lap yet. He could be faster by half of the second. We have prepared three types of setting to try for tomorrow. I believe, we are able to get under limit of 1:47 and stay in top fifteen.“
Aoyama makes strong start in front of home crowd
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider makes gradual progress to finish with sixteenth fastest time
Last year's Grand Prix of Japan winner Jorge Lorenzo started out on the front foot with the fastest time of the opening free practice session at Motegi this morning but it is Andrea Dovizioso who tops the overnight timesheets after the Italian overcame the Spaniard in this afternoon's second session. The Ducati rider found four tenths on his final lap as he established his podium credentials for Sunday's race; whilst there is still a long way to go his pace today was already close to the circuit record held by Lorenzo (1'44.969).
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider Hiroshi Aoyama has the responsibility of leading the home charge this weekend and it is one he is taking on with relish. The Japanese rider is determined to put on a good show in front of his friends, family and fans and he made solid progress with the set-up of his bike today, lapping sixteenth fastest before a small crash at the end of the afternoon. His team-mate Nicky Hayden continues his recovery from recent wrist surgery and after clocking a 1'47.829 this morning he was unable to improve in the afternoon as a series of small mistakes prevented him from demonstrating his true pace.
16th Hiroshi Aoyama 1.47.133 (33 laps): “The Grand Prix of Japan is always an exciting weekend for me and we made a pretty good start this morning. We're struggling for rear grip here but we worked hard between sessions today to improve the feel on the rear and the front. We improved but we still haven't found the balance to give me complete confidence. We put some new tyres in at the end of the session to try and drop the lap time. I pushed hard and loaded the front end so much that it washed out on me in turn one. I was lucky that the crash didn't have any major consequences and now we have to look at the data and work out why it folded without any prior warning. In general it has been a positive first day and now we have to try and build on it.”
20th Nicky Hayden 1.47.829 (35 laps): “I made a few mistakes this afternoon that cost me at least half a second off my best lap. This is not the best circuit for my wrist and I am struggling quite a lot in some of the corners under braking. We knew this was going to be a tough weekend for us but I am trying to give it my best shot. I have more mobility in my hand here, which helps, but some of the braking zones are really hard and I'm suffering to the point that I ran wide in a few places. At this circuit if you get one corner wrong, especially in the downhill entries, you really compromise the next section of track. We'll keep working and I am sure I will be more comfortable on the bike tomorrow.”
Redding puts in the hard work on opening day at Motegi
Motegi, Japan – 10 October 2014: Scott Redding was 19th on the timesheet today, after using both free practice sessions ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix for tyre testing.
The 21-year-old Briton spent most of the two sessions on the harder option tyre, as opposed to the Open Class only soft option rubber, as he worked to get the most from the tyre in case it’s needed for Sunday’s race.
Redding will switch to the soft tyre tomorrow, when he’ll work with his crew to find a set up to better exploit the characteristics of the softer rubber.
Scott Redding // 19th // 1’47.586
“I’m reasonably happy with today’s progress as, this afternoon, we managed to close the gap to the fastest of the Open Class Hondas, which is positive. We went with the hard tyre for most of the two sessions today and we were expecting to be even closer once we switched to the soft, but we couldn’t really get it to work. Tomorrow we will change the suspension set up to better exploit the soft tyre. It was good to get some laps in on the harder tyre today because we used the soft option for the race in Aragon and it didn’t really work for us, so now I’m trying to push with the harder tyre. However, today I didn’t get the full potential of the softer tyre, so we will see better tomorrow which is the best option for the race and then make more laps with that.”
Dominant Dovizioso sets the pace on the opening day at Motegi
Round 15: Japanese MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two
Motegi, Friday 10 October 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard. Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 22-22°C; Track 35-35°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 24-23°C; Track 33-33°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso was in ominous form on the first day of practice at the Japanese Grand Prix, the Italian rider setting a stunning a lap time of 1’45.140 in this afternoon’s Free Practice 2 session at Motegi to finish comfortably ahead of his closest competitor.
Taking advantage of the massive grip of the extra-soft rear slick that is available to the Ducati and Open-class riders this weekend, Dovizioso set a time that was four-tenths of a second under the current Motegi race lap record in this afternoon’s Free Practice 2 session to top the timesheets on day one. Second quickest in today’s practice sessions on combined times was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo, who after winning last year’s Japanese Grand Prix continued his affinity for the Motegi circuit with a personal best lap time of 1’45.580. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was third quickest today with a time of 1’45.637 and apart from Lorenzo was the only rider to set a lap time within half a second of Dovizioso’s benchmark time.
Weather conditions at Motegi today were fine, although cloud cover in the afternoon resulted in lower track temperatures compared to the morning, with today’s peak measurement of 35°C being recorded during this morning’s FP1 session. The favourable conditions this morning meant that all three front slick options; the soft, medium and hard slicks were utilised by the riders in the first session, but the medium compound front slick emerged as the clear preference among the riders by the end of the day due to its balance of braking and cornering performance. For the rear tyre, all three slick options were evaluated by the riders today with the softer rear slick options - soft compound for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders and extra-soft for the Ducati and Open-class riders - yielded the best performance. With cooler temperatures forecast for the rest of the weekend, the softer rear slick options are likely to be chosen by the majority of riders for the race.
Slightly cooler temperatures are forecast for tomorrow and the MotoGP™ riders will next be out on track for Free Practice 3 which starts at 0955 local time (GMT +9).
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Today the conditions were quite favourable with the warm track temperatures allowing the riders to evaluate many different tyre options right from the first session. It was pleasing to see how quick the pace was today with both Dovizioso and Lorenzo setting times quicker than the Motegi race lap record, so I expect to see a new outright lap record for Motegi set during qualifying tomorrow. One of the most important considerations at Motegi for the riders is good braking stability, and it seems that the medium compound front slick provides the required front-end feel as well as high cornering performance, so this option was preferred by almost every rider today. At this point of the weekend, it looks like the riders prefer their softer rear slick options, and with cooler temperatures forecast for the rest of the race weekend these are likely to be chosen for the race.”