A torrential downpour which ended just as the first free practice session began at the Sachsenring today made for a mixed opening to the German Grand Prix, with Valentino Rossi finishing a promising third and his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo ending the day in 11th, but just seven tenths off the lead.
The session began on a soaking track, which gave the riders an opportunity to work on their wet settings for the early part of the hour, before the tarmac rapidly began to dry out in the warm conditions and a dry line started to appear. Rossi was happy to find his M1 working well throughout the changing conditions, finishing up with some fast laps at the end when the track was almost completely dry. Lorenzo, who is still recovering from the separated shoulder and fractured foot he suffered at Laguna Seca, was content with his start despite his position in the time sheets. The 22-year-old was able to complete an important test on a dry set-up, which did not leave him enough time to set a fast lap at the end when times were tumbling, but he hopes to make more progress and feel stronger on the bike tomorrow.
Valentino Rossi Speaks… (Position: 3rd Time: 1’23.088 Laps: 29)
"This was quite a strange session because we had all sorts of track conditions and then at the end it was basically dry and I was quite fast. It was a good chance to work on the rain setting and I am pretty happy because the bike felt good and our times were also quick on the wet track. It seems we have a good setting immediately here for all conditions, because it continued to feel good as the track dried and the nature of the asphalt changed. We have some things to improve, especially the feeling and general balance in the faster parts of the track, so we will concentrate on this tomorrow. Right at the end we had a bit of traffic or we could have been faster, but anyway we’re still third so I think we are in good shape. It seems Bridgestone have brought good tyres for this track, of course there is no intermediate tyre which is always going to be a bit difficult in these sorts of conditions, but I don’t think it was a big problem today."
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks… (Position: 11th Time: 1’23.496 Laps: 28)
"I am not at 100% and in fact my injuries don’t feel as good as I had hoped on the bike, which is disappointing. I have decided for the first time to use the leathers with the airbag and I want to say that I feel much more safe! This isn’t the best track for me, the slow corners don’t really suit my style and when I am not at full fitness it makes it more difficult, but today was okay considering the conditions. During the early part when it was wet I was reminding myself of the track, and then when it was dry later on I didn’t really have enough time to go fast because we had some things to check on the setting. But there are 12 riders all very close together, within seven tenths of a second and I am not worried because it was a strange day and not one for making conclusions. The forecast tomorrow looks similar tomorrow but let’s hope it is wrong!"
Davide Brivio Speaks… (Team Manager)
"This was like a double session because we had some of it the wet and some in the dry. In some senses this was positive because we were able to test both our settings and collect plenty of information, which will help us whatever the weather on Sunday. It seems like we’re fast in both the wet and the dry so we’re feeling confident and will concentrate on the finer details tomorrow to perfect the set-up."
Daniele Romagnoli Speaks… (Team Manager)
"Today was a bit difficult because of the weather – it wasn’t a normal practice that’s for sure. We had an important test planned and in fact we changed bikes a little bit late once it was almost dry at the end, so we didn’t have time afterwards to start concentrating on setting fast laps, but we collected a lot of information which we hope will help us to improve. Hopefully it will be dry tomorrow and we can have a more ‘normal’ day on track."
Combined Free Practice Times
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
4. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
5. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
6. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
9. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
10. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
11. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
12. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
13. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Racing
14. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
15. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing
16. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Scot Racing Team MotoGP
Sachsenring: Record Lap
D. Pedrosa (Honda) 2007, 1’23.082
Sachsenring: Best Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’21.067