MotoGP was back on motorcycle racing track today and a smile was back on the face of Marco Melandri at Jerez, where the Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider finally began to get a feeling for his RC212V following a disappointing first race in Qatar.
With the Grand Prix of Japan cancelled last weekend the championship moves on to Spain this weekend, with Melandri instantly finding improved front grip and raising hopes of a competitive race on Sunday.
His teammate Marco Simoncelli was satisfied with some of the changes made to his bike, if not his overall position, and is confident of further improvements with some alterations to his electronics tomorrow.
Marco Melandri (10th) says: "I´m happy because I finally have a `normal´ feeling with my bike again. In Qatar it was quite the opposite and I couldn´t work out what was going on, or why I didn´t like the forks so much. Ohlins have come up with a different setting and now the bike is working much better already."
"I have to thank the team and above all Fausto for working so hard back at home, doing everything possible to meet my demands. Now we are starting to understand what works and where we need to work to improve. I can´t wait to get involved in a good race to pay back Fausto and the team."
Marco Simoncelli (15th) say: "I´m not exactly happy but I´m not unhappy either. We know we have work to do but we´ve tried a few small solutions today that have improved the bike and I´m confident. We need to make some small changes to the electronics and try to improve the chassis setting too, but if we can find the right changes tomorrow we´ll definitely make improvements."
Fausto Gresini says: "I have to say that in comparison with the first Grand Prix of the season this is a very satisfactory first session. We have been working together with Honda to try and find some small ways to improve and after putting a few ideas into practice today it was nice to see that they paid off. Obviously this is only the first day and we have room for improvement with the set-up but for now I am happy. "
MotoGP Combined Free Practice Times
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 1’39.731
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1’39.875
3. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1’40.148
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’40.200
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1’40.359
6. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’40.716
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’40.913
8. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 1’41.034
9. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’41.093
10. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’41.190
11. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’41.200
12. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 1’41.277
13. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 1’41.293
14. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 1’41.297
15. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’41.533
16. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 1’41.742
17. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 1’41.837