Valencia MotoGP: Friday Rider Speak

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MotoGP Racer Quotes

The MotoGP grid had their final Friday practice of the 2010 season at Valencia in Spain. MotoGP returned to the three-practice format (45 minutes each, plus 45 minutes qualifying), with two of those practices occurring on Friday.

Jorge Lorenzo topped the time sheets on his Fiat Yamaha M1. The 2010 MotoGP Champion was followed by Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner for top times; both riders were the only to post under the 1:33 mark.

Third fastest went to an American, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards. But he was only 0.002 of a second quicker than the rookie Marco Simoncelli on the San Carlo Gresini Honda. And 0.002 behind Simoncelli was Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso.

Here’s what the riders were saying following Friday’s two practice sessions for Valencia MotoGP:

Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “Today was a good day. We started strongly from the first moment and I am feeling so confident, plus my bike is working very well here. We need to continue like this tomorrow and make a few small steps forward with our setting. I am so happy to be riding at home again, in front of the Spanish fans here at Cheste as the World Champion. I hope we are strong again tomorrow where I have a very special helmet to show everyone!”

Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “This morning was not so bad but the afternoon was not great. We weren’t able to improve the setting from the morning and we had a few problems; we have some work to do because at the moment we don’t have enough grip and the bike is difficult to ride.”

“The times are quite close but we are in still ninth so we need to find a way to improve tomorrow. We will have a look at the data and see what we can come up with tomorrow because for sure we need to improve the grip if we are going to be competitive this weekend. It’s a very important weekend, the last for me with Yamaha, so of course we want to try to be at the maximum.”

Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1) says: “I’m really happy to have made such a good start. I was only 11th this morning but knew my guys had a handle on how to improve the bike and this afternoon it just felt so easy. All the problems I’ve had all year with the bike not turning and running wide disappeared.”

“I could get into the corner hard on the brakes, carry lots of lean angle, open the throttle and the bike would just turn like it should do. It’s all too little too late but I didn’t feel like I was out there taking a lot of risks and I was nearly six-tenths faster this afternoon. Every lap I did was between 33.4 and 33.6 and that’s consistently over half-a-second faster than what I was able to do here last year.”

“I kept the same hard tire for the whole session and just switched it between the bikes and my best time was on the 20th lap, so I’m really happy with the tire performance too and think I could be in for a really strong weekend to finish the season.”

Ben Spies (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1) says: “I’m happy with the way today ended because I’m sixth but really close to Colin in third. I felt good this morning before I crashed. I was on the soft front tire and it is the one I don’t like so much. I was happy to make it through the whole session on it but I got a bit too greedy and lost the front going into the second corner.”

“I knew if I’d have swallowed some pride and slowed down or come in for the hard tyre it wouldn’t have happened. At least I didn’t aggravate the ankle, which is getting better as each day passes. Earlier this week it was really painful and I’m having a couple of issues back-shifting gears. But it is not going to be a problem for the race. I’m having lots of physio and when I’m not on the bike I’m using an ice pack a lot.”

“But after the crash in Estoril and what happened this morning, I needed to have a good session this afternoon just to build up some confidence and that’s what I managed. I’m really happy too because my fastest lap was on the 25th lap on the hard rear tire option, so we’ve obviously got a good race setting already. Every change we made to the bike made it a bit better, so with a few more tweaks overnight we should be looking even stronger.”

Casey Stoner (Ducati Team GP10) says: “Not too bad a day today. We had some problems over the two sessions with a small vibration in one of the bikes and we lost some time trying to work out what it was. We changed to the other one and we started to improve the setting a little bit but we hadn’t really got enough time or laps to really improve it.”

“I needed basically one more run to be happy with what we have but in general we feel quite good. We have had two sessions with very good weather so no problems. We just need to wait and see what the weather does tomorrow but if we can improve the situation of my preferred bike we would be happy.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP10) says: “Obviously today was not how we hoped to start the last race of the season. We started this morning quite good I was fastest in the first minutes of the session I think and then third, second… at least near the front but then it was very difficult to really improve from there.”

“I think did a low 34 in my first run but I didn’t find a lot of time since then so we have to try and understand why. Anyway, to be honest the position is not good for sure but we are not so far away in the lap times apart from the first two so we will see what we can do tomorrow to improve. It was nice having two full sessions today. We will regroup tomorrow and try to improve. I love this track, I love this race so it’s a long way from over. We’ll keep pushing.”

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “The feeling is more or less the same as in Portugal except that this is a left-hand circuit which means there is a lot of braking into left corners – this makes it hard for me. I’m still not going really fast and because this is a short lap, 1.2s is quite a big gap to the front.”

“Still, we have two more sessions of practice to go and I have the chance to improve my pace in those and move closer to the fastest times. We have to think about the race and improve things step by step tomorrow because there will be a lot of fans here supporting me and I really want to be ready for Sunday.”

Andrea Dovizioso
(Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “I have always struggled on this track but today we have got off to a good start and I’m confident on the bike. We did some useful work today and the lap times from both the morning and afternoon sessions were reasonable, although they are not fast enough yet to be competitive in the race so we have more work to do. We tested some different set-up options and gained a clearer idea of the direction we will follow tomorrow.”

“I’m fast in the first two sections of the lap, while I’m losing quite a lot in the last two sections. Our main area to improve is entering the corners and if we do this then it will give us a time advantage for the whole lap. I’m confident that we can move forward from our current position.”

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Gresini Honda) says: “Since Motegi we have made continual progress and especially over the last two rounds I have been able to lift myself up the standings. In Portugal we were fighting for the podium and here in Valencia we are fighting for top positions, even though Lorenzo has seven tenths over us.”

“The important thing is that I have gained confidence with the bike and even though the tracks are different the feeling is the same and we’re fast. Now we hope to reap the fruit of our hard work this weekend and especially next year. I have had some good races at Valencia since my days in the 125 class, when I fought with Stoner and Barbera for the win. I would love to be fighting with Stoner again in my first year here on a MotoGP bike. Our objective is the podium and that is what we are working for.”

Marco Melandri (San Carlo Gresini Honda) says: “For the first time I have found a better feeling for the bike, more confidence with the tires and I was able to ride with conviction. I am still struggling a little under acceleration because the power delivery is not consistent and it performs differently from lap to lap. We have improved it a little bit though and I think we’re in shape to have a decent race. I hope I can do it because I would like to leave everybody with one final good memory of me before I leave.”

Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda) says: “This morning I had not such a good feeling with the tyres and the bike. This afternoon it was better. We tried soft and hard tires and I had the better feeling with the hard tires, so we stuck to them. Unfortunately we still have too much power in some sections of the circuit and this caused wheelies with the bike and we have to work on that.”

Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki GSVR) says: “It has been quite difficult for us today because the conditions have been a bit colder than we expected. Like most times this season the day before first practice has been lovely, but then on the first day the temperature has dropped.”

“We are struggling to get a good and constant feeling from the tires, even though we tried both compounds. We have to try and discover something for tomorrow, the whole team is working hard to find a solution, but it is not easy. When it’s not that warm we have struggled to get the grip and that is how it has been today, so hopefully it will warm up for us tomorrow.”

Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSV-R) says: “This morning we tested different frame settings in the two bikes and I chose just one of them to continue with this afternoon. We tried a new spec with that setting, but the feeling was a little bit worse than this morning because I just couldn’t get the exit from the corners I was looking for with the softer tires.”

“It was a used tire and had done more than 30-laps, so we tried a new harder compound in the front and rear, but the feeling stayed the same. Tomorrow morning we will do the same setting from this morning, but with a few changes and we will see if we can improve – I certainly hope that we do.”

Randy De Puniet (LCR Honda) says: “I am pretty satisfied about both sessions. This morning I could make a long run already and started working on the race map which was our main issue last year in the middle of the race as our rear grip dropped a lot.”

“We still have some points to improve about engine power delivery and chassis set up but we have two sessions more to fine tune the bike tomorrow. I aim to take a front or second row start tomorrow in the qualifying because it is very difficult to overtake on this track. I feel excited about my 200th GP and hope to celebrate it with a brilliant result.”

Aleix Espargaro
(Pramac Racing Ducati) says: “I found it quite well today. I don’t like the thirteenth position but we are very close to the riders who precede us. We need to test some technical solutions that should significantly improve. I am confident that during the two sessions tomorrow we can make a significant step forward.”

Carlos Checa (Pramac Racing Ducati) says: “It ‘hard but I don’t give up. We are clothing down the gap from other riders and tomorrow I will try to join the group. We are still fun and the bike is becoming more and more suitable to my riding style. I want to do well at this very hard and technical circuit. I will give all my best.”