MotoGP Qatar: Friday’s Rider Quotes

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MotoGP Rider Quotes

Ducati Team’s Casey Stoner has started his 2010 season strongly, at a circuit where he has taken victory every year since 2007. After the first 60 minutes of free practice at Losail, he favored the harder option Bridgestone slicks to record the fastest time of the session, just over 0.2 seconds off his pole position time from 2009.

Completing the top three were the Fiat Yamaha pairing of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, separated by just 0.002seconds. Both riders also set their fastest time using the harder Bridgestone slicks.

Once again, this season the softer option slicks are distinguishable from the harder options by a white line painted around each sidewall on the softer front and rear tires.

Casey Stoner says: “Today felt really good – we had a similar rhythm to the test and I didn’t feel to be pushing too hard. I had a really good feeling from the start and actually when we changed the setting I went faster but didn’t feel as good, so we need to work on that. This is obviously a good circuit for me but we’re taking things steadily. The target for this weekend is to take away some solid points and make a good start to the season. It is early days and we’re not getting carried away. We set some good lap times today but everybody else will improve so we have to work hard tomorrow and make sure we stay on the pace right through until Sunday night.”

Jorge Lorenzo says: “I’m quite happy about tonight and about my hand; I tried riding for the first time without the extra hand protection and I was okay. I felt good on the bike and my thumb didn’t really hurt, it was a lot better than at the test. We still have a few things on the bike that we need to work on but we have made a good start. It was a pity to crash, I was pushing hard at the time and I just made a small mistake, touching the white line; these things happen and luckily I didn’t hurt myself. Tomorrow we’ll continue our work and try to improve more.”

Valentino Rossi says: “Honestly I expected to be faster today – the lap time is not bad but it could be better. The conditions are much better than during the test, it’s warmer and a lot less humid so I’m happy about that, but we don’t have enough grip and I was sliding quite a lot so we need to try to find a way to improve this. Stoner is always very fast here and I hope we can close the gap to him by making some small changes to our suspension. If we can stop the bike sliding then we will be a lot faster.”

Nicky Hayden says: “We took a little while getting going today. We had just a little bit of confusion around the tyre choice at the start – I just couldn’t get a feeling for the bike for the first twenty minutes when we were on the softer tyre but when we switched to a hard tyre things picked up straight away and I was able to improve the lap times. I went about as fast as I did at the test consistently so that’s encouraging. This is a good start to the season even if we have plenty of room for improvement.”

Ben Spies says: “I didn’t want anything crazy to go on with it being the first race. I wanted to be in the top ten for the first session of the year because the last time I rode the bike I fell, so I just wanted to clear my head and get off to a good start. To be in the top ten in the first session and right in sixth, I’m happy with that. We never really threw a lap time in and the session was pretty smooth. We went out on the hard tyres and it was good. We did our quickest lap on the 21st lap, which is close to a full race. Every time we went out the times were getting faster. Besides the top three guys, I think we’ve got pretty good speed, which is really important. We need to get some time on the softer tyre so when qualifying comes we can use it to its full potential. I still think we’ve got a second at least with fresh hard tyres on the bike, so I’m pretty happy about that.”

Colin Edwards says: “I left the test last month in a bit of a grey area and wondering about a couple of things because the bike has a different geometry this year and it’s changed the feel a bit. I’ve been trying to adapt to it but I need to make some changes and bring the set-up closer to what I had last year. Right now I’m not feeling all that comfortable. I feel like I’m chasing the bike on the front and it doesn’t turn until I open the throttle. With this bike you can’t ride it without momentum. That’s one of its strong points and right now I can’t take advantage of that. We’ll take some weight off the front for tomorrow night and in my opinion that will help. I think 12th is a bit of a false position because I’m sure with some changes I’v e got another second in me. Right now there’s too many corners where I can’t carry the momentum I want. But I’m confident we can improve a lot.”

Randy De Puniet says: “Following the good result we have achieved here less than three weeks ago we have decided to go immediately for a long run as we wanted to evaluate some traction control map for the end of the race. So I just came out and the feeling with the bike was good though the grip level was not as good as the test. Then we have continued making a 60-lap run on 1’57.0s which is quite good (almost half second faster than our lap time in the test). At the end we have compared the bikes to make sure that all is working well and we have got some data now to improve a little bit our engine management. We have kept the same set of tyres for the whole session so I am pretty sure if we have put a new set of tyres we could improve our lap time”.

Dani Pedrosa says: “Well, we made some progress in this session and there are some modifications that we tried that improved the feeling a little bit. We should be able to continue with that through the weekend, though today we had a couple of issues with the machine which meant we lost some testing time and didn’t make as much progress as we could have done.”

“My finishing position isn’t great today but the team is pushing very hard and we’ll continue that way. We remain optimistic for the two practice sessions tomorrow. Our lap times today were about the same as the test here three weeks ago so we’ll be looking to make a big improvement tomorrow and confirm the direction we’re going in”.

Andrea Dovizioso says: “I’m confident after this first session, and I think we can move further forward. We started with the same base set-up from the test here, but actually the track conditions were different and there was less grip tonight. We also discovered some small issues that didn’t allow us to use all the potential of the bike so I’m sure we can get quicker.”

“We tried a slightly modified swing arm tonight and we felt a small improvement with it, so we’ll use that tomorrow as well. Stoner’s lap time is very fast and our gap to the front is still big but anyway we need to analyse what we’ve learned from this session and use it to mover further forward in tomorrow’s sessions. Our target for tomorrow is to lap in the low 1m 56s”.

Alvaro Bautista says: “I am happy with what we have done this evening. The track condition was not as good as the test, but I’m still close to the best time I’ve ever done here. I’m only one-tenth off my best time and pleased with that. I had some problems getting the grip I wanted and it didn’t feel as good as the test, so I tried the other chassis to see if it was better. It was and I feel it is certainly a step in the right direction, so we will continue to work with the new frame for the rest of the weekend. I hope that tomorrow I can improve my time and I think that it will be possible. We have all done a good job today and because this is my first race there is not much pressure on me so I am happy with that and I can just get on and do my best.”

Loris Capirossi says: “It has not been so good tonight, because when I went out for my third run I tried some different things and I crashed. I then went out on the other bike and took it carefully to get the feeling back and towards the end of the session I was doing better and my time started to improve. Our potential is much better than what we did today, but I am not angry because I know we can improve a lot more tomorrow that should be quite easy to do because today was not good enough!”

Mika Kallio says: “I think today it was a good day for us. As always there’s some point of the track where we can do better. We managed to ride for some laps with both bikes and succeeded with both with very good results. Tomorrow we will have to decide what direction to take to be in the best condition for the qualifying session. The most important thing for tomorrow is to continue the good work done today and in this way I’m sure we can get a good result for the first starting grid of the season.”

Aleix Espargarò says: “The final position conquered is surely not the best, this is clear, but I am still happy for the work we have done. Also last year, in the four races I have done in MotoGP, in the first session I wasn’t so much better but on the second day things changed in a positive way. I am confident that tomorrow will go this way and I can aim at the top ten positions on the grid. We are not so far away.”

Marco Simoncelli says: “I have to say that I´m happy because we picked up from where we left off at the last test and the changes we made weren´t bad, the bike felt better. I actually feel more concentrated with the pressure of an hour-long session than over eight hours of a test so that´s helped too. I did my best time on a tyre with 23 laps on it so that is another positive sign. I think that if we can get some laps in behind some other riders and make the changes we have planned to the bike we can make another step forward tomorrow. My objective is to be in the top ten and I think on the basis of today it is within reach.”

Marco Melandri says: “That was a very negative session for us. Unfortunately we should have tried different geometry settings on the two bikes but I decided I wanted the same geometry on both so that I could focus on other areas of the set-up and it just wasn´t as good a base as in the winter test. We made a bad start to the session and things only got worse so it was a waste of an hour. Tomorrow we have to try and make up for lost time.”

MotoGP Friday: Combined Free Practice Times

1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
1’55.500

2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
1’56.026

3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
1’56.028

4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team
1’56.698

5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
1’56.793

6. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
1’56.818

7. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
1’56.998

8. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
1’57.031

9. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team
1’57.059

10. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team
1’57.105

11. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team
1’57.133

12. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
1’57.167

13. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
1’57.363

14. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
1’57.535

15. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team
1’57.605

16. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
1’58.035

17. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP
1’58.082

Losail: Record Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’55.153

Losail: Best Lap
J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2008, 1’53.927