Although the reigning MotoGP Champion Casey Stoner topped the time sheets with a 1:42.755 in the first free practice session for the Catalunya Grand Prix, his main rival found something extra during the second free practice Friday, and stole the top time.
The pilot? Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, who shares two race wins with Stoner up to this weekend’s fifth round at Catalunya. The Spaniard set posted a 1:42.099 lap during FP2, the second of three practices (FP3 on Saturday ahead of qualifying).
The YZF-M1 rider finished up FP2 0.207 seconds ahead of another Spaniard, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “The feeling is good today, we started this morning two tenths behind Casey, then this afternoon from the beginning we’ve been in first position.
“We tried the hard rear tire which is very important for this track because it’s a real possibility for the race on Sunday. We must improve some little details, especially the braking as we are arriving in the corners at a very high speed but generally we are good. This is a special race for me so close to my home, I really want to be fighting for the podium and the victory for the fans who have come to see me.”
Bautista reported feeling more comfortable on the RC213V at his home circuit, and this showed in his lap time.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V MotoGP) says: “It has been a really good start and the guys have done a great job. This morning I was struggling for rear traction but this afternoon it improved a lot.
I didn’t have a good feeling on the hard tire no matter what we changed on the setting but on the soft tire my pace was decent. Tomorrow we’ll try to see if we can do full race distance on the soft tire because it would be a great option for us if we can. We’ll work in that direction tomorrow and hopefully we’ll get some joy but for now we’re happy anyway.”
Third quickest, 0.348 of a second behind Lorenzo, was Monster Yamaha Tech 3′s Cal Crutchlow, who continues to chase his first podium finish of MotoGP this Sunday. But his biggest challenger so far in 2012 MotoGP was only 0.145 of a second behind – teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who improved on his eighth-place time in FP1.
The highest placed Ducati was a surprise, with Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera taking the fifth fastest time, 0.540 of a second behind Lorenzo. Finishing 0.703 of a second behind his teammate Lorenzo was Ben Spies; the American was followed by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who suffered a crash in the morning session.
The last rider to post within a second of Lorenzo was Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who was ninth quickest. Rounding out the top 10 was this morning’s leader, the man eight points behind Lorenzo in the 2012 MotoGP Championship – Stoner. The Repsol Honda rider struggled with set up, and was the only one on the 21-rider grid to not go faster than his FP1 time.
As for Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, who took his top finish on the Desmo at Le Mans (second), the nine-time World Champion finished 12th quickest, 1.439 seconds behind Lorenzo and 0.207 of a second behind the man in 11th, Cardion AB Racing Ducati’s Karel Abraham. Rossi, who like the Repsol Honda duo only used hard tires, attributed his poor time to lack of rear grip.
As for the CRT (Claiming Rules Team), the top spot went to Power Electronics Aspar’s local rider Aleix Espargaró in 13th, no doubt buoyed by his home support. Bautista’s teammate Michele Pirro suffered mechanical problems early on and had to push his bike into the pits, while Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini crashed out of practice 14 minutes before the end. In the morning practice, Yonny Hernandez also suffered a bike failure and had to switch to his second machine, MotoGP says.
The grid will be back on the Catalunya circuit Saturday for the third and final free practice session ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s GP.
2012 Catalunya MotoGP: Free Practice 2 Results:
|1.||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||334.0||1’42.099|
|2.||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||333.7||1’42.306||0.207 / 0.207|
|3.||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||334.0||1’42.447||0.348 / 0.141|
|4.||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||335.6||1’42.592||0.493 / 0.145|
|5.||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||335.0||1’42.639||0.540 / 0.047|
|6.||11||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||333.4||1’42.802||0.703 / 0.163|
|7.||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||336.6||1’42.870||0.771 / 0.068|
|8.||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||336.0||1’42.943||0.844 / 0.073|
|9.||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||334.6||1’43.057||0.958 / 0.114|
|10.||1||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||336.6||1’43.134||1.035 / 0.077|
|11.||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||332.7||1’43.341||1.242 / 0.207|
|12.||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||336.4||1’43.538||1.439 / 0.197|
|13.||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||316.6||1’44.738||2.639 / 1.200|
|14.||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||320.7||1’44.771||2.672 / 0.033|
|15.||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||312.0||1’45.631||3.532 / 0.860|
|16.||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||Suter||313.8||1’45.868||3.769 / 0.237|
|17.||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Avintia Blusens||BQR||317.4||1’46.450||4.351 / 0.582|
|18.||22||Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||316.0||1’46.500||4.401 / 0.050|
|19.||54||Mattia PASINI||ITA||Speed Master||ART||313.6||1’46.503||4.404 / 0.003|
|20.||77||James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||312.0||1’46.836||4.737 / 0.333|
|21.||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda||299.2||1’47.436||5.337 / 0.600|