Estoril MotoGP

The MotoGP grid returned to the three-practice format for the final two races, and the first of two sessions on Friday was rained out at Estoril, which is only a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean.

Only two riders braved the track that was soaked from the Atlantic Storms in FP1, Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team rider Hiroshi Aoyama and Pramac Racing Ducati substitute rider Carlos Checa. Aoyama posted a 2:21.217, the only lap on the MotoGP time sheet by the end of the first 45-minute practice session.

But the skies cleared for Free Practice 2, although the track remained wet, and the man who topped all others was the 2010 MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Spaniard posted a 1:48.522 aboard his Fiat Yamaha M1, getting a quick start to the penultimate round of MotoGP.

Jorge Lorenzo says: “I love this track, I have won here both times in MotoGP so I am very happy to be here. Unfortunately the weather was terrible this morning and there was no point in riding, then this afternoon it was still very difficult, with a lot of water on the track and you had to be very careful.”

“I felt good despite the conditions and step-by-step we improved so that at the end, when it was slightly drier, I was able to set a good time and we are on top. Tomorrow we will have two longer sessions so we will be able to recover some of the lost time, let’s hope for no more rain!”

Lorenzo, who won the last two races at Estoril from the pole, was 0.135 of a second faster than the American Nicky Hayden. Hayden was searching for more traction on the Desmosedici GP10, but with rain in the forecast again for Saturday’s final practice session and then qualifying, the Ducati Team may not be able to fully refine their setup.

Nicky Hayden says: “Lately I’ve been quite fast in wet conditions but it takes me too long to get there. If it’s a wet race on Sunday and I’m going to be competitive then we need to be fast from the start so that’s an area we need to work on if it rains again tomorrow.”

The last man to break the 1:49 mark was Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi. The Italian posted a 1:48.883.

Valentino Rossi says: “This afternoon was a normal wet practice and I’m happy about my performance. I am close to the top, was fast from the beginning of session and had a good feeling with bike. Unfortunately we were losing a little bit in some sections of the track, especially the last one because the bike was moving a little too much.”

“We will try for tomorrow to improve the settings, it’s important that we made a good start this afternoon as this morning’s session was cancelled and it looks like the weather may not be very good over the weekend, so we will not have a lot of time to set up the bike!”

Hayden’s teammate Casey Stoner was fourth fastest on Friday, posting a 1:49.061. Stoner, who dominated at the last meeting at his home race in Australia, is seeking his fourth win in five races.

The final rider to be within a second of Lorenzo was this year’s “Rookie of the Year,” Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies. But only 0.063 of a second behind the Texan was San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Marco Melandri.

Rounding out the top ten at FP2 on Friday were LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet, San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli, Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso and Rizla Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi.

Three riders crashed at the second free practice session: Dovi, Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati rider Hector Barbera, Spies’ teammate Colin Edwards and Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista.

Dani Pedrosa, who returned to MotoGP action after missing the last three rounds in Australia, Malaysia and Sepang, was 13th fastest. Pedrosa continues to recover from his Motegi crash; during the wreck, Pedrosa broke his collarbone.

Mika Kallio’s substitute on the Pramac Racing Ducati for the final two races, World Superbike rider Carlos Checa, was the slowest rider on Friday, taking 17th spot on the Ducati.

2010 Estoril MotoGP: Free Practice 2 Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 302.2 1’48.522
2. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 311.6 1’48.657 0.135 / 0.135
3. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 301.7 1’48.883 0.361 / 0.226
4. 27 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Team Ducati 299.6 1’49.061 0.539 / 0.178
5. 11 Ben SPIES USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 304.6 1’49.721 1.199 / 0.660
6. 33 Marco MELANDRI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 307.5 1’49.784 1.262 / 0.063
7. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 298.4 1’50.043 1.521 / 0.259
8. 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 304.2 1’51.283 2.761 / 1.240
9. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 291.9 1’52.294 3.772 / 1.011
10. 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 284.9 1’52.575 4.053 / 0.281
11. 40 Hector BARBERA SPA Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati 285.8 1’53.131 4.609 / 0.556
12. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 264.5 1’53.510 4.988 / 0.379
13. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 277.8 1’53.592 5.070 / 0.082
14. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 281.9 1’53.769 5.247 / 0.177
15. 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Interwetten Honda MotoGP Honda 272.9 1’54.389 5.867 / 0.620
16. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 287.5 1’54.410 5.888 / 0.021
17. 71 Carlos CHECA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 266.6 1’54.444 5.922 / 0.034