The first MotoGP free practice of the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice weekend went with form on Friday afternoon at Mugello, as the top four riders in the World Championship standings ended the day in their corresponding positions.
That meant that Jorge Lorenzo was the man at the top of the timesheet, his best time of 1’49.870 on the 20th of his 27 laps in the hour long session giving him an early psychological advantage.
Since the Gran Premio bwin.com de España, where there were disappointing results for Ducati other than Casey Stoner’s best ever Jerez result, the Italian factory has taken several steps to improve their overall competitiveness.
A three-day test commences on Tuesday at Mugello, where Ducati test rider Vittoriano Guareschi will be joined by Troy Bayliss to focus on using the data from the opening three rounds of the season to further develop the GP9.
A slower pace on race day than in practice left Jorge Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha team scratching their heads at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España. The Spanish rider’s late crash was the result of pushing a bike on which he did not feel comfortable, and his crew are set to make a detailed analysis of the reasons for a lack of feel.
"We are a little bit disappointed, and we really didn’t expect either the result or the problems.
On another problematic weekend for James Toseland at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España the satellite Yamaha rider came away with just three points having qualified 13th and finishing in the same position.
Toseland’s supporters, and indeed his team, were expecting him to kick on in his second MotoGP season, after he learned the majority of the tracks on the calendar last year, so his early 2009 season results have been a major disappointment with just one top ten finish so far.
Reflecting on the Gran Premio bwin.com de España Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso admitted he must do better after finishing eighth in Sunday’s race and being overtaken in the standings by his team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who raced to a brilliant second place at Jerez.
Dovizioso qualified in eighth place and started the race well, despite his later complaints of traction problems, making it up to sixth place in the opening laps.
Grupo Francisco Hernando rider Sete Gibernau has returned to MotoGP this year precisely because of weekends such as the one he has just experienced at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España and the veteran competitor is looking forward to more great racing this year.
The World Championship’s visit to Andalusia for the early season ‘fiesta’ is always a special occasion and Gibernau was proud to be a part of it as he participated in his first European race since 2006.
Fastest on Friday at Jerez but struggling on Saturday, Valentino Rossi’s team made overnight changes before the warm-up which helped him to victory in Spain.
Having made a big step forward on Sunday at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España Valentino Rossi thanked his Fiat Yamaha crew for the changes they made to his bike, after qualifying, which helped him to his first win of 2009.
The MotoGP World Champion built on his two second places at Qatar and Japan with his Spanish success, to give himself an 11 point lead at the head of the standings after three races of his title-defence.
Recording his second podium in a week at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España on Sunday was a big surprise for Dani Pedrosa even after he qualified in second position for the third race of the year.
The 23 year-old from Barcelona is making great progress with his knee and arm injuries having had surgery due to a preseason crash shortly before the start of the 2009 World Championship.
Having caused a surprise with his great podium for Honda at their home race in Japan last week he looked like he had a good chance of a win on Sunday in Spain as he led the race for the first 17 laps.
Ducati’s Casey Stoner worked hard to get his first ever Jerez podium result on Sunday.
Not normally happy with third place finishes Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner was a relieved man after the Gran Premio bwin.com de España concluded on Sunday, as he stepped onto the rostrum at the Spanish venue for the first time.
Arriving at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España as the World Championship leader, Jorge Lorenzo had looked to extend his advantage with his first home victory in the premier class. He started from pole and did everything possible to chase a podium finish once Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa had broken free, but in the end the Spaniard paid a heavy price for taking too many risks.
Lorenzo crashed his Fiat Yamaha M1 when desperately trying to chase down Casey Stoner, his rival for third place.