MotoGP Laguna: Friday First Practice Rap

Laguna Seca Quotes

MotoGP kicked-off at Laguna Seca with Casey Stoner leading Free Practice 1 (FP1) going just over two-tenths of a second faster than Jorge Lorenzo, as he got within 0.021s of the Spaniard’s 2009 pole position time in the opening practice session at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.

Inside the final five minutes the Casey Stoner posted his best effort of 1’21.699, just two-tenths outside Dani Pedrosa’s race lap record, leaving him 0.233s clear at the top of the timing sheets.

Casey Stoner says: “Today we tried a few different things with the setting because we still need to find a better feeling with the front and also we need to adapt the braking because there are a lot more bumps here in the braking zones than there were last year. In general we have to be happy because we’re setting the pace at the moment but we have to continue this tomorrow. In a lot of races this season we’ve been fast on a Friday but not able to improve and lost ground to the others so we want to make sure that doesn’t happen here. I’m not looking to be first in practice, I would like to be first at the end of the race on Sunday.”

Nicky Hayden says: “The session didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped but we got a good base and learned a few things. Casey going so fast is a good thing for us because it shows the potential of the bike at this track even though we know he is really special around here. From our side we need to work a little on the gearbox tomorrow because the engine is quite different to what we had last year. It’s maybe something we need to look at tonight. This track is really tricky because there are so many second and third gear corners so we need to find something that works in every one of them.”

Fiat Yamaha rider and Championship leader Lorenzo was the only other rider under the 1’22” mark, as he also made a fast start to his weekend with a best of 1’21.932.

Jorge Lorenzo says: “This was a good first practice and everything came quite easily; we didn’t find any big problems and I was able to be at the front from the start. That said it looks like Casey is very strong here and we will have to work hard to catch him! I think I need to make some small changes to my riding style tomorrow rather than big changes to the bike setting and hopefully this will help us to find a few tenths and make sure we can fight on Sunday. A lot can change and I hope we can improve some more tomorrow.”

Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) was sixth and also the last rider within a second of Stoner, as the recovering Italian put in a best time 0.961s off that of Stoner’s. He hinted there may have been some slight pain from his injured shoulder, but that his leg was coping with the compression in the infamous Corkscrew downhill esses.

Valentino Rossi says: “This track is a bit harder for me than Sachsenring and I have more pain than I had there, mostly in the ankle but also in the shoulder at the breaking point before the Corkscrew. Aside from that I think we can be better tomorrow; we haven’t put everything together yet to be at our full potential on the track and if we had a few more laps today we could have been a bit further up. We used the hard tyre at the end but the track was maybe a bit dirty for it. Tomorrow we will try the soft tyre also in the front. I like the special livery; it’s something different and fun. Tomorrow I will have a helmet to go with it!”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies was the highest placing American rider in the session, the rookie – albeit riding on one of the few tracks he has experienced before – setting a best time of 1’22.640 towards the end to secure fifth.

Ben Spies says: “It is funny but I know this track so well, yet having not been here for a while it took me a bit of time to remember it. I’m pretty happy to be in the top five after the first session and I’m also pleased with the lap times by the end. Coming home and being in front of my home crowd, I can’t be disappointed with my position after the first day.”

“I’m sure we can make the bike a lot better because I had a couple of small issues that are easy to fix. I want the bike to absorb the bumps a little better but it is nothing that is really holding me back too much. We got an upgrade and I’m grateful to Yamaha for that and I’m definitely in the ballpark for th e rest of the weekend. I need a few tenths per lap but I think I can be much closer to the front tomorrow. At the end I put in a string of laps that weren’t super-fast, but I was really consistent and I’m happy with that.”

Colin Edwards says: “I’m really happy to be back on home soil and racing in front of the American fans and I’m also happy because the practice session went pretty good. The track felt the cleanest it has ever done on the first day and I was happy with the bike to show more of my true potential. I started on the soft front and rear tyres and I wasn’t able to turn as good as I wanted but right at the end we switched to the hard options and I went almost half-a-second faster.”

“I’ve already made my mind up to use the hard front for the race and I’m sure with some more changes we’ll be able to get some more feeling. But the hard tyre gives me more confidence. I’m happier with the performance of the bike too and I want to say a big thanks to Yamaha for giving me their support as always. The improved specification just makes it feel easier and more comfortable to do the lap time and I’m confident of a strong weekend.”

Andrea Dovizioso was the highest placing Honda rider in the session as he took his factory RC212V around in a best time of 1’22.225, just over half a second off Stoner’s pace. The Italian’s Repsol Honda colleague Pedrosa, who won last year’s race at the track, was fourth quickest at a further three-tenths down on his teammate’s time.

Dani Pedrosa says: “I know we can improve quite a lot from today so I’m reasonably confident about the rest of the weekend. After the first run this afternoon we made some settings adjustments to the bike, which didn’t improve the pace as we’d anticipated and there are a few areas we need to work on in order to move forward.”

“For the first day the lap times at the top are quick already but I’m not worried about the gap because I know we can improve from here. We need to work to increase the grip at the rear and also get some more stability at the front. Last year here we were also not so fast on the first day so we’ll keep working and get ready to take a step forward tomorrow”.

Andrea Dovizioso says: “I’m happy with the start we’ve made to the weekend today. We got into a good rhythm quickly and we’re faster than we were last year here. This year’s RC212V is much more controllable and so it’s quite a lot easier to get into a rhythm and set quick and consistent lap times. On our last run out of the pits we tried some new electronics settings for traction control and the feeling was generally good.”

“Of course we need to continue working on this and testing them tomorrow to understand the changes better, but it’s a positive step. The asymmetric tyre Bridgestone has brought here is working well. I used the harder Bridgestones for my fastest laps so I’m confident we can find a good race setting and also qualify well tomorrow”.

Marco Melandri says: “It has been a good day, working on two different geometry settings to try and recover some feeling for the front and we came up with some positive solutions. Tomorrow we´ll make some more changes to try and take that small step towards the front guys. I feel better than I did in Germany but it will be a tough race because of all the left-handers. It will be hard to keep my pace up to the end of the race but the important thing will be to get the first half right and then grit my teeth to hang in there to the flag.”

Marco Simoncelli says:: “A `smashing´ debut! I made a little mistake in turn four on my third lap, shifting up a gear when I was still leaned over too far and I dropped it. It was a shame because I had started well and apart from that I made constant progress throughout the day. My feeling with the bike still isn´t great because we have some problems with the front that is making it difficult to hold my line and I don´t have enough confidence. We have to improve on that and I´m confident we can do so tomorrow. The new electronics package makes the bike feel sweeter and easier to handle. At the moment I can´t say for sure how much of a difference it can make to the lap time but it should be a big help for the race.”

Álvaro Bautista says: “It’s a totally new circuit for me and a very difficult one to learn. It is so different from any other circuit because it is like a row of mountains – always up and down. Some corners are very difficult because you cannot see where they go, so you have to find very clear reference points for where to be and where to brake. It is difficult in one hour to learn all this, especially because I had a braking problem that caused me to lose about half the practice, so I never had the time I wanted out there.”

“At the end I went a bit quicker and found the points I was looking for. After a good sleep tonight I think it will be easier to ride the circuit. The bike is working well, but I do have a bit of a problem exiting the corners as I’m going a bit wide, but we can certainly change that tomorrow. We will take things step-by-step tomorrow and learn the track, then get quicker in qualifying so we are ready for the race on Sunday.”

Loris Capirossi says: “It’s been tough today, but we never thought it was going to be easy. We tried to get the right feeling on the bike because we just couldn’t get it turning right, but we now have an idea how to resolve that tomorrow. This year we have tried to go in a different way with the bike, but we have not really understood whether it is the right way or not, because we have tried to get more rear grip and have a shorter bike. ”

“For me that is sometimes the right way, but sometimes I struggle as well, and here is a racetrack that I am really struggling on. I am very positive for tomorrow though because I am 100% convinced we will improve and we will keep our fingers crossed that the rest of the weekend will be a lot better for us.”

Aleix Espargarò says: “What a beautiful track! In the first laps it seemed like I was walking around: I was studying which were the best lines to follow and after a few laps I could begin to push more. There are some spectaculars curves, which I really enjoy and you almost have to take them with your eyes closed. The corkscrew leaves you breathless. Tomorrow morning we will use the bike without any modifications: the most important thing for the moment is to increase the trust with the circuit.”

Mika Kallio says” “I can’t complain with this beginning of the weekend on a totally new circuit for me. There are many blind turns where is hard to understand which are the best lines. Anyway I really had good time on my bike today and the eleventh position is a good starting point. I am trustful that tomorrow we will be able to improve also thanks to the support of my technical staff.”

Roger Lee Hayden says: “For the first 1-hour session it was not so bad and I had fun! For this first outing all I wanted to do was to get some miles on the bike. I have not used carbon brakes for a long time and some of the other aspects of the bike are quite different to what I am used to. As the session went on the guys made some changes to the bike to make me feel more comfortable on the machine. At the end we just run out of time but I am happy as I finished the session quite close to some of the guys in front of me. I am looking forward to getting back on the bike tomorrow to see how much faster I can go”.

MotoGP Laguna Seca- Free Practice 1

1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 1’21.699
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1’21.932
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 1’22.225
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’22.559
5. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’22.640
6. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 1’22.660
7. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 1’22.902
8. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’22.971
9. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’23.021
10. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 1’23.693
11. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 1’23.825
12. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’24.002
13. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 1’24.326
14. Alex de Angelis (ITA) Interwetten Honda MotoGP 1’24.615
15. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’24.710
16. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1’25.031

Laguna Seca: Record Lap – C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’21.488
Laguna Seca: Best Lap – C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’20.700

Free practice continues for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix from 9.55am local time on Saturday morning (GMT -7) with qualifying at 1:55pm.