Estoril MotoGP Friday: Simoncelli Reigns

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2011 MotoGP FP Results

Last year at the Portuguese Grand Prix, then Rookie Marco Simoncelli finished fourth, which was the best finish so far in his MotoGP career.

During that race, Simoncelli missed out on the podium by a mere 0.059 of a second aboard the San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V.

On Friday, Simoncelli returned to the Estoril Circuit with a year of MotoGP competition under his leathers, and began his quest to be a top contender this weekend. Despite a crash in Free Practice 1, Simoncelli took the top time.

And then the Italian who won at Estoril in the former 250cc class took the top time in Free Practice 2, making him the fastest rider on Friday with a 1:37.663. This gives Simoncelli some incentive as he looks to redeem some points after crashing out at a wet Jerez earlier this month.

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) says: “The day went well and I am happy. I was fast already in the morning but with few small changes we were able to stay at the top in the afternoon.

“I had a little crash but I’m not worried because I know exactly what I did wrong. I have always gone well at Estoril and so far this year it is looking more than promising. Last year I was in touching distance of the podium so a good result on Sunday would be to improve that 2010 performance by two or three positions.

“In the dry we can be in the mix. We started out with the same setting as Jerez and it went really well. We will have to see what happens in the wet but we shouldn’t have the same problems as Jerez. We’ll see tomorrow but for today we are happy.”

Second fastest out of both sessions Friday was the reigning MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Yamaha Factory Racing rider of Spain, who has won the last three meetings at Estoril from the pole, was only 0.061 of a second behind Simoncelli.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing M1) says: “My feeling is good because we have always been in the first positions. In the morning we finished fourth, in the afternoon second. We are close to the first rider. We have to improve a little with our bike, especially with the braking and in particular the first sector of the track.

“If we can improve this, maybe we can be closer to the top. I hope the weather stays dry but we are prepared for anything. Obviously we prefer the dry then the wet conditions. To be honest, the pole position is not my goal. My aim is to finish the race on the podium. If we can’t, then we will just to try to finish. The important thing is not to crash and to get some points.”

Taking third fastest on Friday was Repsol Honda Dani Pedrosa. He was just 0.003 of a second behind his fellow countryman Lorenzo. Pedrosa, who had pins surgically removed from his collarbone following Round 2 in Jerez, has never one at Estoril, and will be looking for his first victory there this Sunday.

Fourth and fifth fastest went to the two men involved in the controversial crash at Jerez: Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi and Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner. Both riders finished with identical lap times: 1:38.102. Rossi has five wins at Estoril, but Stoner has none.

The fastest American was Colin Edwards aboard the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1. He was followed by the rookie Karel Abraham on the Cardion ab Motoracing Ducati GP11.

The final two Americans competing in the 2011 MotoGP Championship finished eight and ninth fastest Friday: Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden, respectively.

Rounding out the top 10 was Hector Barbera on the Mapfre Aspar Team Ducati.

Returning to the track since breaking his femur at the opening round in Qatar six weeks ago was the sole Rizla Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista. He was last in both practice sessions, but running strong for a healing rider.

2011 Estoril MotoGP: Free Practice 1 Results

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 302.1 1’38.032
2. 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 299.2 1’38.241 0.209 / 0.209
3. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 300.6 1’38.259 0.227 / 0.018
4. 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 292.1 1’38.413 0.381 / 0.154
5. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 307.7 1’38.569 0.537 / 0.156
6. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 294.8 1’38.781 0.749 / 0.212
7. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 298.9 1’38.862 0.830 / 0.081
8. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 304.1 1’38.895 0.863 / 0.033
9. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 293.5 1’39.042 1.010 / 0.147
10. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 289.5 1’39.779 1.747 / 0.737
11. 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 296.7 1’39.848 1.816 / 0.069
12. 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 299.3 1’39.856 1.824 / 0.008
13. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 293.8 1’40.129 2.097 / 0.273
14. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 304.0 1’40.199 2.167 / 0.070
15. 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 306.3 1’40.407 2.375 / 0.208
16. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 296.1 1’40.469 2.437 / 0.062
17. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 290.2 1’41.034 3.002 / 0.565

2011 Estoril MotoGP: Free Practice 2 Results

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 308.0 1’37.663
2. 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 297.4 1’37.724 0.061 / 0.061
3. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 301.4 1’37.727 0.064 / 0.003
4. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 299.3 1’38.102 0.439 / 0.375
5. 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 300.2 1’38.102 0.439
6. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 297.2 1’38.203 0.540 / 0.101
7. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 282.2 1’38.473 0.810 / 0.270
8. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 301.1 1’38.563 0.900 / 0.090
9. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 307.4 1’38.596 0.933 / 0.033
10. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 297.1 1’38.611 0.948 / 0.015
11. 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 291.3 1’38.645 0.982 / 0.034
12. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 295.8 1’38.658 0.995 / 0.013
13. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 295.9 1’38.760 1.097 / 0.102
14. 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 302.9 1’38.912 1.249 / 0.152
15. 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 297.4 1’39.021 1.358 / 0.109
16. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 294.0 1’39.137 1.474 / 0.116
17. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 289.2 1’40.173 2.510 / 1.036

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