2012 U.S. Red Bull Grand PrixRespol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was the dominate rider Friday, leading both free practice sessions at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., the shortest track on the 2012 MotoGP schedule.
The Spaniard was quick in FP1, but it was in FP2 where Pedrosa showed the true performance of the RC213V, which features a new frame and engine for round 10 of the 2012 MotoGP Championship at Laguna Seca.During FP2, Pedrosa posted a best lap of 1:21.088, beating the circuit record set by Casey Stoner while with Ducati in 2010 (1:21.376). And just like in FP1, Pedrosa was followed by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, and Stoner.Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “We did a good job today, we managed to get a good lap time in the morning and improved it in the afternoon, although the grip level was very poor and we struggled a bit with the rear. The tires were working a little better in the afternoon, but it was hard to work on the consistency due to the lack of grip. I hope to be able to work on the pace tomorrow to prepare the race. The new bike is working good here, I will continue working on the set up tomorrow.”Lorenzo, who currently leads Pedrosa in the overall championship by 19 points, trailed Pedrosa by 0.334 during FP2.Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “This afternoon we tried the hard rear tyre but it didn’t work as well as the soft one this morning. We have to try the soft again tomorrow to improve the setting for the hard so we can decide which tire to use for the race. We also tried a different setting in the last ten minutes of FP2 but it didn’t improve anything so we lost that time. I’m hoping to improve both the feeling and also the lap time for tomorrow.”As for Pedrosa’s teammate, Stoner utilized a new new engine in the RC213V, but remained with the frame he has used all season. The Australian, who was 0.369 of a second behind Pedrosa, also got stuck in traffic during his hot lap, forcing him off the track.Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “It hasn’t been a particularly eventful day, we didn’t really get the package we were hoping for. We struggled a little this morning with stability on the soft tyre, we improved it slightly this afternoon on the hard tire but found the bike to be quite aggressive and there wasn’t much grip.“We have a few things to try tomorrow morning, if we can make some small improvements then we’ll be very happy with the bike. As it is now, we need to improve before we can say if we’re competitive or not.”Just as in the first free practice, fourth quickest in FP2 was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies, who announced he will depart with the factory Yamaha team at the conclusion of 2012 MotoGP. The Texan trailed Pedrosa by 0.620 of a second.And fifth fastest was the man who will be seeking Spies vacant seat, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian, who landed the satellite Yamaha on the podium four times this season, was the final rider to post within a second of Pedrosa, Dovi 0.933 of a second behind.Dovi’s teammate Cal Crutchlow was sixth quickest, though he suffered a crash at turn 10. Crutchlow, who was 1.170 of a second slower than Pedrosa, walked away unharmed.The fastest Ducati of the day was two-time Laguna Seca winner – the Nicky Hayden. The Kentuckian, who has re-signed with Ducati Team for another year, was 1.346 seconds off the top time. Hayden was followed LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, and the other Ducati Team rider, Valentino Rossi.Rossi suffered a crash at turn 3, which brought out the red flag due to crews having to repair the air fence. Rossi, who was 1.684 off the top time, was followed by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who also crashed at turn 3. Both riders walked away without injury.Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró was the fastest CRT in 11th, ahead of teammate Randy de Puniet. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards was in resurgent form coming in 13th, ousting Pramac Racing Team’s Toni Elías into 14th, who is standing in for the injured Héctor Barberá this weekend. Attack Performance wildcard Steve Rapp, who is running an in-house built APR CRT machine, ended the day in 22nd, just under seven seconds off the front.The 22-rider grid will return to Laguna Seca Saturday for the third and final free practice at 10:10 p.m. PDT, and qualifying at 1:55 p.m. PDT.Photos by Ara Ashjian2012 Laguna Seca MotoGP Free Practice 2 Results:
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!