Casey Stoner set the pace on the opening day of the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, lapping almost four tenths quicker than his closest rival Jorge Lorenzo. With cool track temperatures of just 17ºC the onus for the riders was on finding grip around the short but technically demanding circuit and despite starting out with a setting he wasn’t comfortable with Stoner worked hard with his mechanics to find a solution by the end of the hour-long free practice.
Casey Stoner Speaks…
"We didn’t start out with a very effective base setting and I didn’t have a good feeling for the first few laps. Basically we didn’t have enough weight on the front and because of the track conditions it was difficult to get heat into the tyre, especially on the right side because there aren’t many right turns here. We knew what we needed to from the bike so I kept coming in and making small adjustments until we found it. It’s quite good, we still need to improve a lot but I’m really pleased with the job we did today and if we can make the improvements we have planned for tomorrow then we’ll be in a very good situation."
Nicky Hayden Speaks…
"It was a tough session and I had certainly hoped to be a lot closer to the pace than that today. It’s a track I really like and we know the bike works well here so the team and I have a lot of work to do. Track temperatures were quite low and I had a really hard time getting the tyres working on the front and rear. It’s also quite windy so I’m not sure if maybe a lot of sand and dirt has blown onto the track but it’s definitely tricky to find grip out there. That’s our target for tomorrow anyway."
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks…
"This is one of the few places I haven’t won in my career so I really want to try! Today was very good, I did many laps with a strong rhythm and with a consistent and fast pace. We are feeling strong and we hope we can continue to be competitive. Tonight we will look at the data from today and consider how we can make more improvements for tomorrow so that I can try to be on the front row once again."
Valentino Rossi Speaks…
"It’s really nice to be riding as the world champion without having to think about points and now I just want to finish the year with a good race. Today was not so bad, I’m not happy with fourth but we’re not far off and we worked well on the bike. We had some different settings to work on to try to improve our performance at this track and then at the end I was able to do some good laps all together. Tomorrow we have quite a lot of work to do, we need to try the harder Bridgestone tyre and try to make another step with the setting, but so far we have done a good job."
Colin Edwards Speaks…
"It felt like hard work out there today. This is a physical track and maybe it’s just because I’m getting older but the times didn’t come easy at the start. But at the end I felt pretty good. We started with two bikes and the first one I went out on I thought it was really good. The second bike was set-up based on comments I gave my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and Yamaha in Malaysia and it had different geometry settings. And it really helped the bike turn a lot better. One thing I’ve been missing a lot this year is the bike turning well. Once I get it leaned over and into the corner, my feeling was the bike was always running straight on for a while. But now when I get into the corner I continue turning instead of going wide. Fifth place in the world championship is still up for grabs on Sunday and while it is a tall order, I’ll be giving it my all for Monster Yamaha Tech 3. Those four guys at the front are in a different league and I need (Andrea) Dovizioso to have a bad weekend, but I won’t be holding back."
James Toseland Speaks…
"I needed some time to adapt myself back to the bike having done over 200 laps on the R1 in Portimao last week. I felt quite strong in the early part of the session. But when I wanted to start picking up the pace and going for some decent lap times I had a problem with the front tyre. There was a bit of a vibration issue and with the changes I lost time. The wind made it quite tricky as well today. In some faster sections of the track it was blowing me slightly off line. We gained some good information though and with ideas that we have to improve for tomorrow I’m convinced I can make progress up the timesheets. It is my last race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and I’m determined to finish with a strong result."
Mika Kallio Speaks…
"Today we have encountered some problem in the front and the rear part of the bike: for what it concerned the front part we have found the solution to use tomorrow, while we still have to analyze the data to find which technical solution to use to improve the rear tyre grip. I lose too much time from the beginning to half of each turn and here is where we have to improve the most."
Aleix Espargarò Speaks…
"There was a lot of wind today on track and this has complicated a bit my work. In the first half of the session I couldn’t manage to push to the maximum, but around the end of the session we have found some good solutions that gives us good hopes for the rest of the season. I don’t like this situation because also in the previous weekend on the Fridays I couldn’t be really competitive. It will be a really important aspect to improve next year."
MotoGP Valencia: Combined Free Practice Times
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
5. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
6. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
9. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
10. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
11. Mika Kallio (FIN) Ducati Marlboro Team
12. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
13. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
14. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
15. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha Factory Racing
16. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
17. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Scot Racing Team MotoGP
18. Alex Espagaro (SPA) Pramac Racing
Comunitat Valenciana: Record Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’32.582
Comunitat Valenciana: Best Lap
V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2006, 1’31.002