Motegi MotoGP: Pedrosa Tops Friday Practice

2012 Motegi MotoGP Friday Practice Results

The man with the best shot at beating Jorge Lorenzo for the 2012 MotoGP title, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, was fastest Friday on the opening day of the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan at Twin Ring Motegi.

Pedrosa, who trails Lorenzo by 33 points with four rounds remaining, posted a 1:46.088 during the second free practice at Motegi, which became a new fastest lap at the track and beat his record set in 2011 of 1:46.090.

But not far behind was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, the Spaniard 0.102 of a second back. Behind Lorenzo, who lead the first free practice ahead of Pedrosa, was Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian was 0.194 of a second behind Lorenzo.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Today was a perfect day for practice. The track conditions were very good, the warm temperatures helped as did the new surface, so we were able to do the job we wanted. The main target today was to test the tires and we completed some good laps on both hard and soft compounds.

“The asphalt is new and the grip is quite good, so the lap times are pretty fast from the beginning. We also did some work on the suspension and the mapping to will keep improving on this tomorrow.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “We started in a very good way here, much better than in Aragon where we had issues with the life of the rear tire. We have a very good pace and with a little change in the electronics were able to go a bit faster. We tried with the hard tyre, for me it’s not better than the soft although we can go fast on it. For tomorrow I think the soft one will be better. The Hondas are very good here but our bike is also so I think we can fight with them for the victory.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “It has been a really good start to the weekend because I did my time with the hard tyre and that looks like being a probable choice for the race. The good thing is I am very competitive already but I know we can improve on the last part of the entry to the corner.

“I don’t feel comfortable in that area, but even if I don’t feel 100% confident with the bike and ready to push as hard as I know I can, I am very close to the fastest two. I believe I will be able to follow Dani and Jorge on Sunday and that is basically my aim for the weekend. It will be difficult to fight with them for the victory but I am certainly looking to be battling for the podium again on a track that I really like.”

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl set the fourth fastest time of the day despite a short run off track in the afternoon, with the German keen to make amends for his DNF last time out in Aragón.

In fifth was Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, who jumped up the timesheets with an unexpected hot-lap towards the end, leaving him just half a second off the top. Behind him in sixth, Yamaha’s Ben Spies will be looking to improve for tomorrow’s qualifying, being almost eight tenths down on his teammate with the hard tire.

Seventh spot is occupied by Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner, who looked strong on his first day back from injury, despite pitting frequently to dial in his bike’s set-up. He had a less than ideal start in the morning, as his number one bike stopped with a technical issue just two corners into his out-lap.

San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista finished the day in eighth, and will aim to jump further up the order tomorrow as he continues to work on his Showa suspension, which continues to cause his front tyre to jump heavily under braking. In ninth, Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow had a subdued session for his standards, while Ducati’s Nicky Hayden completes the top ten, with the American doing well to ride with a fractured right radius.

Top CRT spot went to Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró, who did well to overcome a crash in the morning session. His teammate Randy de Puniet crashed out of the afternoon practice early on, but was able to re-join on his second bike, albeit with a contusion to his left knee. Other riders that crashed out were Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham and Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernández.

2012 Motegi MotoGP Free Practice 2 Results:

Pos.Num.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
1.26Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda307.81’46.088
2.99Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha294.11’46.1900.102 / 0.102
3.4Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha294.01’46.2820.194 / 0.092
4.6Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda294.21’46.4280.340 / 0.146
5.46Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati298.01’46.6870.599 / 0.259
6.11Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha291.01’46.9120.824 / 0.225
7.1Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda295.01’46.9780.890 / 0.066
8.19Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda297.71’46.9830.895 / 0.005
9.35Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha293.51’46.9840.896 / 0.001
10.69Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati289.61’47.5921.504 / 0.608
11.21Katsuyuki NAKASUGAJPNYamaha YSP Racing TeamYamaha291.31’47.8011.713 / 0.209
12.8Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati283.71’48.2322.144 / 0.431
13.41Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART286.11’48.4702.382 / 0.238
14.17Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati285.31’48.7572.669 / 0.287
15.14Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART283.21’48.7702.682 / 0.013
16.5Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter285.51’49.5393.451 / 0.769
17.77James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART283.51’49.6523.564 / 0.113
18.51Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR274.91’49.7703.682 / 0.118
19.84Roberto ROLFOITASpeed MasterART287.71’50.2924.204 / 0.522
20.68Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR289.41’50.3334.245 / 0.041
21.22Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR281.41’50.9244.836 / 0.591
22.9Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter278.61’51.2705.182 / 0.346