Valentino Rossi set the fastest time in the opening MotoGP free practice session today. The Italian is looking to reclaim his crown as the King of Mugello, after Casey Stoner’s win last year ended a run of seven consecutive victories in the Italian Grand Prix for the reigning World Champion.
Rossi’s fastest lap was almost half a second faster than his Championship rival, and Fiat Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, who posted the second fastest time to make it a Yamaha one-two at the top of the timesheet today.
Rossi and Lorenzo established themselves at the forefront of the timesheet early on and Rossi continually improved his time as the session reached its climax.
With just 10 minutes of the session left to run the Italian, who is sporting a new Mohawk haircut for the Mugello weekend, finally broke the 1’50" barrier, setting a hot lap of 1’49.751.
Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi pushing up into third place with a late surge that left him just 0.608s off Rossi’s blistering pace, but the Italian veteran then crashed uninjured in the San Donato turn, ending his session early.
Colin Edwards enjoyed a good opening session and was fourth fastest, just over a second off Rossi and only one thousandth of a second ahead of Dani Pedrosa who was the highest-placed Honda rider today.
Ben Spies impressed on his first outing at Mugello by registering the sixth fastest time, just over two-tenths behind Pedrosa. Casey Stoner had the worst possible start to the hour-long practice when he experienced a run-off at Turn 15. The Australian had to take his Desmosedici GP10 down into the gravel to avoid hitting the fence, and eventually placed seventh in the session as he completed 15 laps, the fewest of the field.
Andrea Dovizioso Nicky Hayden and Héctor Barberá all set top-ten times as well, the rookie running off at Bucine shortly after Casey Stoner had vacated the gravel trap at the same place.
Rizla Suzuki rookie Álvaro Bautista made his return after sitting out the last race at Le Mans due to his collarbone injury, but was clearly still feeling some discomfort with a best time just over 5.5s off that of Rossi.
Valentino Rossi says: "I am so happy to be back here in Mugello and we did a good first practice. We worked well, trying a lot of different settings as well as soft and hard Bridgestone tyres, and we are quite fast. I still have pain in my shoulder but it seems that this track isn’t as bad and today I wasn’t suffering like I did in Le Mans. Of course we don’t know how the shoulder will feel over the weekend but at this early stage I’m quite confident. The important thing is to work at 100% to find the right setting and make sure we’re as fast as possible for Sunday."
Jorge Lorenzo says: "I’m happy about this session and I’m feeling quite good. It’s always difficult to be fast straight away here, because you need many laps to understand the track with all its changes in direction, but after I had done some laps I improved a lot. Now we have to try to improve some things on the bike. The most important thing is to get on the front row tomorrow and to do that we need to make some small changes. The weather is hot but it’s okay, I’m fit, well prepared and have a good pace already."
Davide Brivio (Rossi Manager) says:"A very good session for us. Yesterday we had a long meeting and came up with a plan for today, then we tried many different settings and now we have some good information. Valentino is already fast and in the lead so it looks like we’ve found a good base for this weekend. He still has some pain in his shoulder but we expected this; hopefully if we can set the bike up properly then we can make up for this and allow him to ride how he wants. We’ve made a great start to the weekend and we will try to continue tomorrow."
Wilco Zeelenberg (Lorenzo Manager) says:"We’re feeling relaxed and confident after this first practice in Mugello and Jorge’s lap time is good. We have some ideas to make things even better and we need to work on the ability to turn the bike, because this could be improved at the moment. The set-up is working well so far even if it’s not perfect, but we’re pleased with the second position. Of course Valentino is very strong here but we have no complaints so far with our performance."
Casey Stoner says:"I think I only managed three ‘proper’ laps and none of them were decent! I had a crash at the start, which obviously didn’t help. Basically when I went to grab the brakes at the "Bucine" corner there was nothing there! I tried to tip the bike into the corner but she was skipping wide so I just had to run her into the gravel. Stones got everywhere and that kind of stuffed that bike up for the rest of the session. It was a shame because we’d switched back to the old forks on that bike and even though I only had a couple of laps on them it was enough to make me want to use them on both bikes tomorrow. The feel with them is more aggressive but we have feel. The other bike had the new forks on but I just don’t have the same confidence with them and I was losing the front in the same kind of corners that I have been in the last races. Nothing we tried seemed to work today, it was just one of those days! All we can do is start again tomorrow – hopefully the weather stays good because we need laps."
Nicky Hayden says: "Today wasn’t as smooth out of the gate as we would have liked. The bike didn’t feel too bad but we were struggling in some of the downhill corners to get it to hold the line and change direction without using the brake to get the weight onto the front. We certainly need to take a good look at things together tonight and see where we can make it better because nothing came easy out there. It is not just a front-end thing, we need a little bit of improvement all over the bike. I know my guys will be working hard as always and tomorrow we need to get our head down again because this is such an important race for Ducati."
Colin Edwards says: "I’m really happy with today because the first three races have not been easy at all. Nothing had worked at all so far this season, so basically I completely changed the set-up of the bike today. I just told my team to change the set-up so it was completely the same as Mugello last year when I had my best result at this track. We changed riding position and got my weight moved forward because I’ve been having a problem keeping weight on the front this season. Now it just feels so natural and the bike does exactly what I want it to do. When I want the bike to do something it actually does it instead of me waiting and wondering why it didn’t work. Now it just turns and it feels like I’m spending much less time on the side of the tyre. I turn in now really quickly and don’t run wide or have to work hard to get the bike round the corner. I want to say a big thanks to Tech 3 and Yamaha because it feels like my bike again and I’m riding with much more confidence."
Ben Spies says: "This track is definitely a more difficult place to learn but it is a super fun track. There are a couple of corners that are really difficult to learn and it can take a while to get into a rhythm. But coming here on the back of a couple of bad results and being immediately this fast on such a technically challenging track is really good for me. It doesn’t feel like I should have been sixth and I guess that is a good sign. I thought I was doing fine so to see I was sixth, I was blown away with that because I thought I’d be about tenth or just outside the top ten. I’m still having a bit of trouble with the ankle I hurt in the practice crash in Le Mans. There’s quite a bit of ligament damage but the only time I really feel it is when I’m trying to tuck in tight on the straight. It’s not a major injury but it will take a few weeks to fully recover. On the bike it hurts but it’s not slowing me down. I’ll analyse the data tonight because as always when I’m starting fresh on a new track, there is more time to come from my riding and the bike. But to be sixth on my first day at such a difficult track is a good lift for my confidence."
Dani Pedrosa says: "We didn’t go crazy testing many things on the first day here in Mugello. We were focused mainly on testing Bridgestone’s tyre options because it’s very important to get that selection right to find the performance for race distance. The track conditions weren’t bad today although the surface was quite slippery, so times will improve. Stability and agility are very important at this circuit and we still need to work on the chassis set-up side to improve these areas. We were not especially fast today, but we were not looking for an ultimate lap time either. For the first day of practice we are going in the right direction and tomorrow we can move forward".
Andrea Dovizioso says: "It’s my home race and already we can feel the atmosphere building – it’s a special event for the Italians here at Mugello. To be honest I’d have preferred to have finished closer to the front because it’s quite a big gap to the leaders, but with some work on the machine set-up I’m sure we can move forward. I was slow mid-corner pretty much everywhere today, and you spend a lot of time leaned over here so that’s why we are quite a way off at the moment. The bike feels like it wants to run-on as I’m exiting the corner so this is the area we’ll focus on tonight. I’m confident we can improve from this position".
Marco Simoncelli says: "Things didn´t start out too badly but it´s fair to say that the changes we made as the session progressed did not have the desired effect. In the end we have finished twelfth so we need to rejig our ideas for tomorrow on how we work with the bike. The track conditions certainly aren´t the best and there are a lot of bumps that mean I can´t get the bike to go where I want. We are trying to solve this problem by improving the balance of the bike and get some more confidence in the front."
Marco Melandri says: "The Grand Prix has started out in a difficult way. The first run felt okay but after that we tried a few things to make the bike better and it just felt worse. By the end the feeling was terrible. Now we need to analyse the data and try to work out why the path we took was so wrong and what we can do to find the right way forward. The track isn´t in good shape – it gets worse every year and has a lot of bumps – but it is the same for everybody so that is no excuse."
Fausto Gresini says: "Unfortunately we´re a little behind and we are still a long way off finding the right set-up. We have made several changes without finding a way to get the most out of this bike at this track and at the moment both riders are struggling to get the power to the ground. We will have a look at the data from this session and try to work out what we can do tomorrow to get our strategy right. This is obviously an important Grand Prix for us, we want to do well in it and we will do our best to turn things around."
Loris Capirossi says: "Apart from the crash it has been a very positive day here in Mugello! We started with two different bikes and one was very good and gave me a good feeling. Overall I am very happy with the day’s work. I made the mistake and crashed at the end, it was my fault and I know what caused it so it is no big problem. I know we can still improve this weekend and I am confident for the race."
Álvaro Bautista says: "I had a very hard practice because I thought I was in better condition than I am. I feel better than I did at Le Mans, but it is still very hard to change direction and I don’t have enough strength in my left arm to ride the bike how I would like to. I am using all my body and this is making me go slower than I want. My target this weekend is to get more confident with the bike and to get a good feeling. I am determined to finish on Sunday, so that is my first goal."
Paul Denning (Rizla Team Manager) says: "After a difficult start to the year it is obviously encouraging to see Loris put the bike in the top-three. The guys have made some setting changes which have helped his confidence and feedback on the bike. There are still some decent steps to make, but I think we have a good base to work from for the rest of the weekend and although Loris’s bike ended up in the gravel trap at the end, let’s hope that has got it out of the way for the weekend.
"For Álvaro this afternoon was nothing more than re-acclimatisation and to find out what his body is capable of. After a visit to the Clinica Mobile this evening and perhaps some treatment to reduce the pain significantly tomorrow – which he didn’t have today – he should be in a position to improve a lot and to do his best to complete the Grand Prix on Sunday."
Randy De Puniet says: "People could be disappointed about our position in the classification but we have followed our standard TO DO list lapping on the same tyre throughout the session and we are pretty satisfied about the bike set up. We did over the race distance with the front and rear race tyre and we have been working on the race set up. I jumped onto bike number two with different settings but I felt more comfortable on bike number one. Anyway the overall package is quite good and I am confident ahead tomorrow’s qualifying: we can easily aim to a second row start but we need to improve the traction control".
Hiroshi Aoyama says: "My first impression was better today than on the first day in Le Mans. We made some quite big changes on the bike, but we still have to work on that. The new set up is positive, but it still is not perfect. It doesn’t work as smooth as I expected and we have to continue to try to get the best out of the machine."
Daniel Epp (Aoyama Team Manager) says: "We didn’t reach our target today. I am not quite satisfied with the result. We wanted to be more in front from the beginning this weekend, but it didn’t work out at the end. There is a lot to do for tomorrow."
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department) says: "The rear tyre choice was varied amongst the top riders today which shows that both the medium and the hard compound slicks are providing good performance and consistency. The hard compound slicks will provide better stability and durability, whereas the medium compound will give better edge grip so riders’ tyre choice will be based on these aspects. The track condition was reasonably good from the beginning of the session, which is why the laptimes were good and Valentino was able to lap faster than the existing lap record. After only the first practice, it is a good sign for the weekend. The medium slick tyre he used for his best lap is an improved compound for this season, as we used in Qatar and at Jerez, and I am pleased with its performance and wider temperature operating range."
Mugello, Friday, June 04, 2010
|ITA||Fiat Yamaha Team||Yamaha||322.4||1’49.751|
|SPA||Fiat Yamaha Team||Yamaha||322.4||1’50.120||0.369 / 0.369|
|ITA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||322.8||1’50.359||0.608 / 0.239|
|USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||330.2||1’50.772||1.021 / 0.413|
|SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||322.8||1’50.773||1.022 / 0.001|
Yamaha Tech 3
|AUS||Ducati Marlboro Team||Ducati||332.0||1’51.128||1.377 / 0.124|
|ITA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||325.8||1’51.255||1.504 / 0.127|
|USA||Ducati Marlboro Team||Ducati||336.7||1’51.387||1.636 / 0.132|
|SPA||Paginas Amarillas Aspar||Ducati||339.6||1’51.582||1.831 / 0.195|
|FRA||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||320.5||1’51.605||1.854 / 0.023|
|ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||320.4||1’51.717||1.966 / 0.112|
|ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||324.2||1’51.782||2.031 / 0.065|
|SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||334.5||1’52.202||2.451 / 0.420|
|JPN||Interwetten Honda MotoGP||Honda||322.6||1’52.399||2.648 / 0.197|
|SPA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||319.2||1’55.257||5.506 / 2.839|