Fiat Yamaha Report
Local hero Jorge Lorenzo looked back to his best today, finally fully recovered from his broken hand and on fast form in Jerez to finish practice in second place. His Fiat Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi is now the one recovering from injury but the World Champion was happy to find he was able to ride well enough to keep in touch, setting the fifth fastest time.
Lorenzo always enjoys this race and has taken pole position for the last four years, twice in the 250cc class and twice with Yamaha in MotoGP. Able to use his hand properly today for the first time since the opening test of the season, last year’s runner-up was delighted with his form and found he had a strong race pace from the word go. His time today was just off last year’s lap record and 0.144 off fastest man Casey Stoner, but he and his team hope that a few small tweaks tomorrow will see them on their best game for tomorrow’s qualifying session.
Having damaged his shoulder in a recent motocross accident, Rossi’s primary concern today was finding out how strong he felt on the bike and how hard he was able to push. He and his crew were relieved to discover the situation was not too bad; the 31-year-old was able to ride 25 laps without any painkillers and was only 0.628 off Stoner’s time. He hopes that improvements to his setting, a bit more rear grip and possibly some pain management will put him closer to the front for the rest of the weekend.
Jorge Lorenzo (Position: 2nd Time: 1’39.875 Laps: 30) says: "I’m really happy with this first day. Everything has gone well and I don’t have any pain in my hand anymore. I feel as good on the bike as I felt last year when I got pole, although my aim is to make sure I don’t repeat the same mistake in the race this time! I always feel like I ride well here and I’ve already got a good pace; with some small modifications we can be even better. I don’t think the perfect MotoGP bike exists but our Yamaha is definitely nearly there, maybe we just need a bit more top speed… Tomorrow my aim is to improve my pace just a bit more to be consistently in the 39s; I’m excited about the weekend."
Valentino Rossi (Position: 5th Time: 1’40.359 Laps: 25) says: "The shoulder is a bit sore, especially in the two or three harder braking areas, but the most important thing is that I can ride! Of course this pain makes it more difficult but I was able to do 25 laps today without painkillers, and the pain didn’t get any worse as the session went on. I didn’t take any painkillers because I wanted to understand the level and so tomorrow and Sunday we will consider something for the pain. Today we used two different settings and now we will decide which direction to go in for the rest of the weekend. We need to find a bit more rear grip in order to be more competitive, because at this moment this is slowing us down more than the shoulder."
Wilco Zeelenberg (Lorenzo Team Manager): "Jorge loves this track and it showed today, with him on the pace immediately. The bike is giving him a lot of confidence already, which helps us a lot because we can just concentrate on making small improvements. We need to try to improve the grip a little bit but this is a good start. Tomorrow we’ll try to find a couple of tenths so that we can mount a strong qualifying challenge."
Davide Brivio (Rossi Team Manager) says: "The best thing is that Valentino can ride okay, even if he is not at 100% with his injury. We have had two things to think about today, the set-up for the bike and the situation with his shoulder, and this session has been more about finding out our level in both of these areas. With regards to the set-up, we have worked in two different ways today and now we will decide which is best in order to improve our pace for tomorrow."
MotoGP Combined Free Practice Times
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
3. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
6. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
7. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team
9. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
10. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
11. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
12. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team
13. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
14. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team
15. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
16. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team
17. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP
Jerez: Record Lap – V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2009, 1’39.818
Jerez: Best Lap – J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2008, 1’38.189