Lorenzo in the lead on day one at Catalunya

2012-06-01 17:59
On the opening day of the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s local rider Jorge Lorenzo who set the fastest time of the day in sunny conditions ahead of a resurgent Álvaro Bautista.

With a lap of 1.42’099, Lorenzo topped the combined timesheets of the day, ahead of San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Bautista, who was showing some tremendous form in front of his home crowd finishing as top Honda. Third place went to Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who has once again been strong all weekend, and will no doubt be hunting his first ever podium this Sunday.

Behind him, by just over one tenth, is his Italian teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who showed significant improvement from his eighth place in the morning session. Surprise inclusion in fifth place is Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá, who was just over half a second down on his compatriot Lorenzo. In sixth spot, Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner stuck with just the hard tyre compound to work on set-up issues, and was the only rider not to go faster than in the morning session.

Yamaha’s Ben Spies also showed a marked improvement over his previous outings, by finishing seventh overall, in a bid to get his season’s points challenge underway. Behind the American, Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa also stuck with the hard tyres and could not repeat his feat of second place this morning, and had to settle for eighth.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl was only marginally behind his factory counterpart, after having recovered from a small crash in the morning session. Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who in the afternoon could not match his morning session’s boast of top Ducati, rounded out the top ten. Valentino Rossi’s podium last time out was not a sign of things to come, as he finished the session almost 1.5s off the top in 12th, after having switched to his second bike with different gear ratios shortly before the end of the day. Rossi, who like the Repsol Honda pair also only used the hard tyres, said afterwards that the issue was related to rear grip problems.

Top CRT spot went to Power Electronics Aspar’s local rider Aleix Espargaró in 13th, no doubt buoyed by his home support. Bautista’s teammate Michele Pirro suffered mechanical problems early on and had to push his bike into the pits, while Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini crashed out of practice 14 minutes before the end. In the morning practice, Yonny Hernandez also suffered a bike failure and had to switch to his second machine.


Moto2™

Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi set the tone for the Moto2™ contingent this weekend at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya ahead of Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró.

Lüthi was on the pace all weekend as he topped the timesheets in both of the day’s practices, albeit suffering a crash eight minutes before the end of the afternoon session. The Swiss rider will no doubt still be brimming with confidence though, as his time of 1.46’597 was over half a second quicker than second placed Espargaró. The local Catalan currently lies in the championship lead by one point and will be looking to put on a good show for his home crowd.

Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding was also fast all day, as he was third quickest across the day, ousting Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone into fourth. Iannone secured pole position at the Catalan circuit two years ago and looks to be on good form once again, despite putting his bike into gravel earlier in the day. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex De Angelis lies just fractionally behind in fifth, ahead of S/Master Speed Up’s Mike Di Meglio in sixth.

Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami put in a strong showing in seventh, ousting Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio into eighth. JiR Moto2’s French rookie Johann Zarco continues to impress as he recorded the ninth quickest time, ahead of GP Team Switzerland’s Randy Krummenacher, who recovered from a crash in the morning session.

Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez had a torrid first day at his home race, finishing the combined timesheets down in 16th. Speculation was rife that his hand injury from the previous round was to blame, yet the rider soon dismissed this and sighted set-up issues for the lack of pace.

De Angelis’ teammate Yuki Takahashi suffered electrical problems on his bike early on in the second practice, but managed to head back out on track, whilst QMMF Racing Team’s Elena Rosell suffered a crash late on in the session. Rosell was unhurt in the incident.


Moto3™

Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi started the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya in style as he set the fastest time of the Moto3™ field on the first day of practice ahead of Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales.

Le Mans race winner Rossi set the quickest time of the combined timesheets in the second practice session of the day with a lap of 1.52’624, ousting local favourite Viñales, who was just over one tenth behind. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese was marginally behind in third, giving spectators hope of a close battle on Sunday.

Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira set the fourth fastest time over half a second behind Cortese. The Portuguese rider has been in good form all day, as he looks to kick start his season after not finishing the last three races. In fifth, Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent was starting to show some of his pre-season form, as he looks to emulate his championship-leading counterpart. Sixth place is occupied by Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati, who, like Oliveira, will be aiming to put two unsuccessful previous rounds behind him.

Bankia Aspar’s Hector Faubel will be looking to put in a good showing in front of his home crowd, as he put his machine in seventh, and is followed by AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin in eighth place. Ninth went to JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, who was the only top ten rider to set his best time in the morning session. RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom completes the top ten.

The only crasher of the day was Italian youngster Luigi Morciano, who high-sided himself of his Ioda Team Italia bike, with Technomag-CIP-TSR’s Kenta Fujii doing very well to avoid the crash. Morciano walked away from the crash unscathed.

Source: MotoGP

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