Valentino Rossi Leads Friday Practice | Catalunya MotoGP

Yamaha Factory Racing's Valentino Rossi

2013 Catalunya MotoGP Friday Free Practice Results

Valentino Rossi’s record at Catalunya is beyond impressive. In the modern MotoGP era, the nine-time World Champion has finished on the Catalunya podium 10 times in the premier class, including six wins.

Though Rossi did anything but impress the last two season while with Ducati, finishing 7th and 5th at Catalunya, he quickly returned to his reigning ways at the Spanish Circuit Friday aboard the Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1.

Under scorching conditions, Rossi put in a best lap of 1:42.297 during the second free practice at the 2.937-mile circuit containing 13 corners. To put this time into perspective, the fastest lap at Catalunya is a 1:41.186, which was set by Casey Stoner in 2008 (Ducati).

VR46 finished 0.49 of a second ahead of his teammate, two-time MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo, and 0.260 of a second ahead of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I love this track; it is one of the best. The M1 is always great here in Catalunya. It is just Friday but I am very happy to be in front, although we have still a lot of work to do. We have to decide which tyre to use and we have some corners and sections where we have to improve for tomorrow. Anyway, it is great to be back on top.”

Lorenzo, who won at Mugello, led the first free practice, and most of free practice two, but was passed by Rossi in the final moments.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “We started very well but we tried two settings that didn’t work so well. We stayed with the same tires for the whole practice to understand why they are dropping in this weather so we could solve this problem that I think all the riders are having.

“We have to try and improve the bike in order to let me have more confidence, then I can stay in the middle of the 42 second mark which is my target. We don’t focus so much on the classification because not all the riders kept on the same tires during the practice, a new tyre can give you half a second or more. We have to trust the pace and the pace is good, one of the best of the grid.”

The top 11 riders were all within a second of Rossi, including the rider who crashed with the Italian during the first lap at Mugello two weeks ago – GO & FUN Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. The Spaniard was 0.455 of a second off Rossi’s pace, and followed closely by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who has scored two consecutive podiums at the last two rounds (Mugello, Le Mans).

Sixth fastest was Pedrosa’s teammate, the rookie Marc Marquez. In pre-race statements, Marquez know Catalunya was going to be a tough round. Next up was the quickest Ducati GP13 – the factory Ducati piloted by Nicky Hayden.

The American was 0.593 of a second back, and en route crossed the speed trap at the start/finish line at 210.8mph, beaten the record set by the Brazilian Alex Barros in 2004 (Repsol Honda).

Rounding out the top 10 were Hayden’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, and fastest CRT rider in the first five rounds of MotoGP, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro.

As for crashes, Bradl suffered a hard fall at La Caixa curve after loosing the front under braking. Tech 3’s Bradley Smith was taken to the Medical Center for a check-up following an accident at the sweeping Turn 3.

MotoGP reports that much of the focus of the day was on tire choice for the race, with the majority of riders already stating that the harder option front is a certain choice, whilst many will be using Saturday to decide between the softer or harder option rear.

2013 Catalunya MotoGP Free Practice Two Results:

146Valentino ROSSIITAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha333.81’42.297
299Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha336.31’42.3460.049 / 0.049
326Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda337.51’42.5570.260 / 0.211
419Alvaro BAUTISTASPAGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda338.41’42.7520.455 / 0.195
535Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha333.41’42.7760.479 / 0.024
693Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda338.11’42.8570.560 / 0.081
769Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati338.41’42.8900.593 / 0.033
84Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati338.71’42.9880.691 / 0.098
96Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda337.21’43.0050.708 / 0.017
1041Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART322.41’43.2040.907 / 0.199
1129Andrea IANNONEITAEnergy T.I. Pramac RacingDucati336.61’43.2720.975 / 0.068
1214Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART317.51’43.6441.347 / 0.372
1351Michele PIRROITAIgnite Pramac RacingDucati329.71’43.6481.351 / 0.004
1438Bradley SMITHGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha323.21’44.2471.950 / 0.599
158Hector BARBERASPAAvintia BlusensFTR312.81’44.4612.164 / 0.214
165Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki316.51’44.5862.289 / 0.125
1717Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingART318.51’44.5992.302 / 0.013
189Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter316.01’44.6092.312 / 0.010
1970Michael LAVERTYGBRPaul Bird MotorsportPBM316.41’45.3373.040 / 0.728
2071Claudio CORTIITANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki318.71’45.5133.216 / 0.176
217Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNAvintia BlusensFTR311.31’45.8343.537 / 0.321
2268Yonny HERNANDEZCOLPaul Bird MotorsportART315.41’46.2163.919 / 0.382
2367Bryan STARINGAUSGO&FUN Honda GresiniFTR Honda313.01’46.5774.280 / 0.361
2452Lukas PESEKCZECame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter309.81’47.2394.942 / 0.662