Estoril MotoGP: Stoner Tops Friday FP

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2012 MotoGP Free Practice Results

The Portuguese Grand Prix got underway Friday with the first two of three free practice sessions at the Estoril circuit.

Conditions in the first free practice sessions (FP1) were similar to what occurred throughout the practice sessions last week for Jerez MotoGP – wet and damp. During FP1 at Estoril, the riders began with wet Bridgestone tires, and were only able to switch to slicks with about 10 minutes left in the 45-minute session.

When FP1 wrapped up, though, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies was the quickest rider with a 1:40.813, followed by the Ducati duo of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi, respectively.

But it was the second free practice sessions that the quicker lap times began due to dry track conditions. And the man on top was the same rider who won at Jerez – Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner. The Australian set the pace for Estoril MotoGP with a 1:38.396.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “We did a few laps this morning to try and understand the bike, to make sure everything was working and like Jerez we wanted to see where the wet patches were on the track.

“Then this afternoon, unfortunately there were still areas of the track that hadn’t dried out but we managed to get some good dry time, the bike seems to be working ok at this point and we have a fairly good idea of what we need to do tomorrow.”

But Spies wasn’t far behind, the Texan trailing Stoner by 0.321 of a second. Spies worked hard on improving his performance for the beginning of the season that wasn’t too remarkable; Spies finished 11th in both opening rounds (Qatar, Jerez).

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “It’s a good feeling today but it’s still early, it’s Friday. The most important thing is I have to thank my crew, they made a huge change to the bike, not only to the front but we also changed some rider position settings that I asked for and the bike seems good.

“Not only are the lap times fast, it’s much easier to ride at that speed than the slower times at Jerez. Right now the bike is quick and easy to ride, we need to make some more improvements to it. To be in the top three on the first day after two difficult weekends is a positive start.”

And the man who has followed in Spies footsteps aboard the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, Cal Crutchlow, was third quickest. The Brit was only 0.025 of a second behind Spies, showing once again his strength in 2012 MotoGP. As for Crutchlow’s record, he has finished fourth in both opening rounds.

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I’m happy with the way we have started this weekend. This morning was similar to the first session in Jerez and we couldn’t really learn anything with the track being so damp in parts. The problem was the patches were really big at the last corner and to be honest it was pretty dangerous, so we might have to look at that in the Safety Commission.

“We never changed the tires from this morning to the afternoon and that is a big plus. For that reason I’m really happy with the pace I was able to set, especially because we know that some other guys did put in a new tyre at the end to go a bit quicker. We were just concentrating on working on the race set-up and we still have plenty of margin to improve. The first two races have given me a lot of confidence and I am looking forward to carrying on the good start this weekend.”

Taking the fourth and fifth positions during FP2 were compatriots Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing), respectively. Pedrosa, who won at Estoril last season, was 0.401 of a second behind Stoner. The points leader Lorenzo, who has won at Estoril three times in the past four years, was 0.534 of a second behind his rival Stoner.

Behind Lorenzo was San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who was followed by three Ducati riders – Hayden, Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera and Rossi in ninth. Rossi was the final rider to post within a second of Stoner, the nine-time World Champion trailing by 0.961 of a second.

Rounding out the top 10 was Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso, who had some issues with his YZR-M1 and spent much time in the pits.

As for CRTs, Randy de Puniet took the top time on the Power Electronic Aspar ART (Aprilia). The Frenchman posted a 1:41.088, 2.692 seconds behind Stoner.

The 21-rider grid will be back on the Estoril track Saturday for the final free practice session (FP3) ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s Portuguese MotoGP.

2012 Estoril MotoGP Friday Free Practice Results:

Free Practice 1

Pos.Num.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
111Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha1’40.813
269Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati1’41.0860.273 / 0.273
346Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati1’41.5020.689 / 0.416
41Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda1’41.9431.130 / 0.441
519Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda1’42.2301.417 / 0.287
635Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha1’42.2911.478 / 0.061
74Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha1’42.3431.530 / 0.052
826Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda1’43.0782.265 / 0.735
968Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR1’43.2562.443 / 0.178
1017Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati1’43.2652.452 / 0.009
1114Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART1’43.2772.464 / 0.012
1251Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR1’43.5112.698 / 0.234
136Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda1’43.5272.714 / 0.016
145Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter1’44.9094.096 / 1.382
159Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda1’45.1484.335 / 0.239
1641Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART1’45.6364.823 / 0.488
1754Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART1’46.0045.191 / 0.368
1822Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR1’46.2715.458 / 0.267
77James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART1’52.42911.616 / 6.158
8Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati
99Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha

Free Practice 2

Pos.Num.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
11Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda1’38.396
211Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha1’38.7170.321 / 0.321
335Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha1’38.7420.346 / 0.025
426Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda1’38.7970.401 / 0.055
599Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha1’38.9300.534 / 0.133
619Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda1’38.9590.563 / 0.029
769Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati1’39.0290.633 / 0.070
88Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati1’39.1930.797 / 0.164
946Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati1’39.3570.961 / 0.164
104Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha1’39.6151.219 / 0.258
1117Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati1’40.2071.811 / 0.592
126Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda1’40.8982.502 / 0.691
1314Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART1’41.0882.692 / 0.190
1441Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART1’41.6343.238 / 0.546
1568Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR1’41.6383.242 / 0.004
1654Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART1’41.9733.577 / 0.335
1751Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR1’42.2523.856 / 0.279
185Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter1’42.5874.191 / 0.335
1922Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR1’42.8044.408 / 0.217
209Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda1’42.9844.588 / 0.180
2177James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART1’43.6655.269 / 0.681