Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya - Friday 7th June - Report Day 12007-06-08 09:41
High temperatures and almost perfect riding conditions gave the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya an ideal start, with the riders taking to the track for the first time this weekend to get to grips with the Spanish circuit.
An early morning lap by Dani Pedrosa at his home track saw the Spanish rider topping the timesheets at the end of day one, clocking a time of 1'43.099 on his Honda RC212V. Two crashes last year for the Spaniard meant that he was not in contention for the victory in Barcelona, and Pedrosa once again hit the ground in the afternoon session as he looked to improve on his time.
Valentino Rossi, riding at one of his favourite tracks, was the afternoon's quickest rider, but unable to beat the marker laid down by young pretender Pedrosa. 'The Doctor' was just over two tenths of a second slower than the 21 year old, with today's times over a second off previous 990cc pace. Rossi's 2006 pole record looks to be safe for the time being, although this will mean little to the Italian as he works for pole position number four of 2007.
Under three tenths of a second slower than Pedrosa's time, John Hopkins was third fastest onboard the Suzuki GSV-R800. Hopkins was caught up in the first corner multiple crash last year, and has the potential to go well at Catalunya following on from a fine opening third of the season. He headed World Championship leader Casey Stoner, local rider Toni Elias and Ducati veteran Loris Capirossi in a top six consisting of only two riders who improved on their morning times.
Chris Vermeulen, Colin Edwards, Marco Melandri and Carlos Checa completed the top ten on day one, with qualifying tomorrow sure to throw up a few surprises at one of the most exciting tracks on the MotoGP calendar.
Answering back in the best possible style after his controversial Mugello collision with Alvaro Bautista, 250cc World Champion Jorge Lorenzo took provisional pole for Sunday's race at his home track with a 1'45.913 lap of the Circuit de Catalunya. The hot lap was faster than the previous pole record, set by Dani Pedrosa in 2005, and was just a tenth of a second faster than that of Lorenzo's arch rival and former team-mate Hector Barbera.
Last year's 250cc race winner Andrea Dovizioso took a provisional front row alongside 125cc victor Bautista. As at Mugello one week ago, the Aspar team riders were almost inseparable, with Alex de Angelis just behind the 2006 125cc World Champion and ahead of Mika Kallio, Shuhei Aoyama and Thomas Luthi.
Amongst the riders to crash today, the remaining two riders in the top ten had a coming together towards the end of the session with Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama colliding. The Barcelona-based Japanese rider ran off into the gravel and suffered no injury in the incident.
A 1'51.119 lap was enough to put Lukas Pesek on provisional pole for Sunday's 125cc race at the Circuit de Catalunya. The Czech rider, who relinquished his lead of the category last week after failing to finish the Italian race, was just over five hundredths of a second ahead of the morning's fastest rider, Mattia Pasini.
Today was a welcome chance for the riders to go round on a completely dry track, after their drenched Italian sojourn to Mugello. Behind Pesek and Pasini, Italian rider Raffaele de Rosa showed no ill-effects of his crash just 5 days ago to clock the third quickest time of the afternoon session.
Home team Bancaja Aspar had their three 125cc riders rounding off the top six, headed by their only non-Spaniard Gabor Talmacsi. The Hungarian, championship leader Hector Faubel and Le Mans race winner Sergio Gadea were separated by little more than a tenth of a second as they look to pick up race pace for Sunday.
British rider Bradley Smith, who knows the circuit well due to his experience in the Spanish championship, last year's race and numerous preseason tests, had a late push in the session to take a provisional seventh, ahead of Sandro Cortese and home duo Nico Terol and Pablo Nieto. Cortese crashed in the closing moments, and Pasini also took a light tumble.
Source: Dorna Communications
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