Aragon MotoGP: Spies Tops Wet Friday Practice

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2012 Aragon MotoGP

The opening day of the Grand Prix of Aragon, round 14 of 18 in the 2012 MotoGP Championship, brought many challenges to the 21-rider grid due to consistent rain during both free practice sessions.

Hoping the rain would cease in the afternoon, only nine riders were on the 3.155-mile Motorland Aragon circuit during the morning session (FP1). That morning session was led by Ducati Team duo of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi, respectively.

But when the afternoon practice session arrived, the rain didn’t stop. This forced all riders onto the track, each one hoping to gather some data for Sunday’s Aragon MotoGP. One man who dialed in his YZR-M1 quickly was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies.

The Texan showed signs of comfort during the 45-minute second free practice, topping the time sheets with a 2:00.219. To put this wet time into perspective, the best lap at Aragon is a 1:49.046, which was set last season by the man who won at Aragon the past two years, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner. Unfortunately, Stoner will miss this weekend’s Grand Prix due to injury.

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “It was a good wet session so we’re happy with it, the bike feels good and we’re quick. We got a good setting with the bike sorted and we got some new information with the electronics so we’ll see what happens tomorrow with the weather. As long as everything keeps going smoothly then that’s all we need!”

Spies remained consistent throughout the session, and finished 0.066 of a second ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “At least we had a full wet session this afternoon to work with the bike and I felt quite good. I was catching the pace step by step, even though the grip was not very high in the rear, and we still have to adjust the setting a little more to improve in some corners. It looks like the weather forecast is also bad for tomorrow, so it will be important to take advantage of the morning practice to be well prepared for qualifying.”

Third quickest went to the man Pedrosa trails by 38 points in the championship, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo. The 2010 MotoGP Champion, who finished fourth at Aragon in 2010, and third last season, was 0.527 of a second behind Pedrosa.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “In the morning we could have practiced but we preferred to stay in the box and save the engine life a little. This afternoon with full wet conditions we could go out and see what the feeling is with the bike in the rain in case we have a wet race on Sunday. The track is very slippery, we did a lot of laps trying to find the pace but we didn’t try to do one hot lap. Ben and Dani were very fast but the important thing is we made a good comfortable pace.”

Hayden finished the day fourth fastest, and was the final rider to post within a second of Spies. Hayden, who continues to recover from a hand injury sustained at Indy, finished 0.777 of a second behind Spies.

Next up was Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso, who was followed by LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl. Seventh went to Dovi’s teammate, Cal Crutchlow, who had his fastest time cancelled due to cutting the track.

Rossi was eighth fastest, though his main bike sat int he garage with transmission problems. This forced Rossi onto his backup bike, and the Ducati Team couldn’t find an optimal setup on the GP12.

Rounding out the top 10 were Cardion AB Racing Ducati’s Karel Abraham and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who hopes to test some new Showa suspension ahead of Sunday’s GP.

Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet put in a solid performance to finish as top CRT machine in 12th, ahead of his teammate Aleix Espargaro. Turn 1 turned out to be a tricky spot for many of the riders, with numerous running off at the end of the straight as they pushed to improve their lap times, MotoGP reports.

The riders will return to the Motorland Aragon circuit Saturday for the third and final free practice ahead of an hour qualifying session.

 

2012 Aragon MotoGP Free Practice 2 Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 324.6 2’00.219
2. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 330.5 2’00.285 0.066 / 0.066
3. 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 323.2 2’00.746 0.527 / 0.461
4. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 322.4 2’00.996 0.777 / 0.250
5. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 325.3 2’01.379 1.160 / 0.383
6. 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 325.2 2’01.626 1.407 / 0.247
7. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 324.0 2’01.665 1.446 / 0.039
8. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 323.8 2’02.412 2.193 / 0.747
9. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 324.2 2’02.632 2.413 / 0.220
10. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 322.8 2’03.263 3.044 / 0.631
11. 56 Jonathan REA GBR Repsol Honda Team Honda 321.5 2’04.046 3.827 / 0.783
12. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 303.7 2’04.353 4.134 / 0.307
13. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 302.4 2’04.423 4.204 / 0.070
14. 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 307.3 2’04.542 4.323 / 0.119
15. 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 301.3 2’04.722 4.503 / 0.180
16. 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 299.8 2’04.858 4.639 / 0.136
17. 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 302.8 2’06.030 5.811 / 1.172
18. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 324.3 2’06.182 5.963 / 0.152
19. 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 304.0 2’06.368 6.149 / 0.186
20. 44 David SALOM SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 300.7 2’06.593 6.374 / 0.225
21. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 306.7 2’06.677 6.458 / 0.084