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Nov 8, 2013

Marquez Stays On Top In MotoGP Free Practice Two At Valencia

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez (93) was fastest in MotoGP Free Practice Two Friday at Valencia. Photo courtesy of Dorna/motogp.com.
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Valencia, Spain
November 8, 2013
Free Practice Two Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Marc MARQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 1:31.220
2. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:31.286
3. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 1:31.378
4. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (YAMAHA), 1:31.502, crash
5. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:31.639
6. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 1:31.858
7. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 1:31.873
8. Bradley SMITH, UK (YAMAHA), 1:31.984
9. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:32.363
10. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 1:32.395
11. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (DUCATI), 1:32.596
12. Michele PIRRO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:32.756
13. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (ART-Aprilia), 1:32.809, crash
14. Claudio CORTI, Italy (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:33.172
15. Colin EDWARDS, USA (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:33.252
16. Hector BARBERA, Spain (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:33.270
17. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (IODA/SUTER-BMW), 1:33.304
18. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (DUCATI), 1:33.487
19. Randy DE PUNIET, France (ART-Aprilia), 1:33.727
20. Luca SCASSA, Italy (ART-Aprilia), 1:34.049
21. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (FTR-Kawasaki), 1:34.077
22. Michael LAVERTY, UK (ART-Aprilia), 1:34.132
23. Bryan STARING, Australia (FTR-Honda), 1:35.478
24. Damian CUDLIN, Australia (PBM-Aprilia), 1:35.644
25. Martin BAUER, Austria (SUTER-BMW), 1:35.832
26. Lukas PESEK, Czech Republic (IODA/SUTER-BMW), 1:36.353




More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Repsol Honda duo on top after first day in Valencia

It’s been a positive first day for the Repsol Honda team in Valencia, with Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa finishing on the top of the time sheets.

Championship leader Marc, winner in Valencia last year in Moto2, had a good start to the day finishing first in FP1 with just 0.024 separating the top three riders - Marc 1'31.557 (lap 20 of 21), Lorenzo 1'31.575 (lap 12 of 19) and Dani 1'31.581 (lap 10 of 18) - with all three lapping under the Circuit Record Lap set by Casey Stoner in 2008 (1'32.582).

In the afternoon’s FP2 session, times improved on the new asphalt and both Marc and Dani (who is the only rider to have won here in all three classes) bettered this morning’s times, using the hard rear tyre. Marc recorded a time of 1'31.220 on lap 16 of 20, and Dani was second fastest with 1'31.286 on lap 16 of 22.

Marc Marquez 1st 1'31.220
"It was good to start the most important week of the season and with a good feeling. We still need to improve our setup but we were fastest today - which is the key thing ahead of Sunday's race. Tomorrow we will continue in the same way but try to improve and take another step forward because I am sure that the rest of the riders will do so”

Dani Pedrosa 2nd 1'31.286
“Today we were able to work with the soft and hard compound tyres, but the track conditions weren't ideal and the bike was sliding a lot. We will have to be very focused, because the level of the other riders is high at the moment and everyone is riding fast. For tomorrow we shall concentrate on improving certain aspects of the bike and continue with the working method that we have been using”




More, from a press release issued by Yamaha Factory MotoGP Team:

Spanish Duel Begins in Valencia

Valencia (Spain), 8th November 2013

Action got underway today at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia ahead of this Sunday’s championship showdown, the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana.

As one of the two protagonists for the title, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo came out fighting in the two free practice sessions. With a blistering pace from the outset, Lorenzo wrapped up the morning run in second position, 0.018 seconds from Marc Marquez on top.

The defending champion carried his speed straight into the afternoon session, leading from the start. As rivals Marquez and Pedrosa increased the pace, Lorenzo made some set up changes and moved to second position behind Pedrosa. The last ten minutes then became a flurry of activity as the three Spaniards turned in hot laps, Lorenzo delivering a 1’31.378 to finish third in the combined times, 0.158 seconds from the top.

Teammate Valentino Rossi started the weekend’s action strongly in the morning practice. The nine-time world champion led early on before dropping to sixth, just 0.68 seconds from the top as the frontrunners increased the pace.

Rossi got straight down to business in the second practice, holding second on the timesheets from the beginning behind his teammate in first. By mid session the Italian was sitting in third place, having reduced the gap to the top to just over 0.3 of a second. As the later lap times tumbled Rossi was able to close the time gap from the morning session, finishing in fifth in the combined times with a 1’31.639, 0.419 seconds from first.

Jorge Lorenzo
3rd / 1'31.378 / 27 laps
“This afternoon was very windy so it was very difficult to make the same lap time of the morning but we managed to improve it a little bit. We adjusted the bike a little electronically and also the suspension. We are quite close to everyone and ready to keep working tomorrow.”

Valentino Rossi
5th / 1'31.639 / 27 laps

“Today was not so bad, especially this afternoon. I am quite satisfied with the practice. The level is very high and the top seven or eight riders are very close. This afternoon we were able to close the gap, I am now just 0.4 from pole position and I have quite a good pace. I’m quite happy with the work on the bike. I’m quite fast in the middle of the track but I lose some time on T1 and T4 so we have to work a bit. We have to try to do a good result for the last race of the season, stay close to the top three and see what we can do.”

Yamaha Factory Racing Wilco Zeelenberg
Team Manager
“The first day of practice is done. The boys are very tight at the top. We have space to improve but it looks like the weekend will be nice weather so different from the last couple of years here. Lap times are already quite fast but I guess tomorrow we will break lap records because the tarmac is good and the grip is very good. The boys are very close together so I think it will be tight tomorrow. So far we are happy with the result but of course we need to work and try to improve.”

Yamaha Factory Racing Massimo Meregalli
Team Director
“We are not leading but we are satisfied. For the first day we were able to get a lot of information. Both riders are quite happy. We are for sure going to work and improve the areas where we are suffering. We were also able to test both tyre compounds and we know we can make a step tomorrow.”




More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Crutchlow makes fast start ahead of final Tech 3 appearance

Cal Crutchlow warmed up for his final appearance in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in Valencia with an incredibly strong performance in today’s two practice sessions at the tight and twisty Ricardo Tormo track.

In gloriously sunny and warm conditions this morning, Crutchlow was an encouraging seventh fastest with a quickest pace of 1.32.434 that left him just 0.052s outside of the top six.

A strong breeze had picked up in advance of this afternoon’s second 45-minute session, but Crutchlow impressively slashed almost a second off his pace to surge up the rankings into fourth position, courtesy of a lap of 1.31.503.

Only dominant Spanish trio Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo lapped faster than the 28-year-old today, who is hoping to mount a podium challenge in his last appearance for the French-based Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad in front of a sell-out crowd on Sunday.

Crutchlow walked away unhurt from a crash on his last lap at Turn 11 to finish just 0.124s outside of the top three and 0.282s away from the best lap posted by Marquez, as he once again led the non-factory challenge in Valencia.

Teammate Bradley Smith also enjoyed a magnificent start to the final round of 2013, the British rider storming to the fourth best time this morning. Smith took full advantage of the surprisingly pleasant conditions to clock a best time of 1.32.086 that saw him eclipse the pace of Valentino Rossi and Crutchlow on the Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.

Smith was able to lap slightly faster in FP2 and he was eventually eighth on the combined rankings, but encouragingly he was just a fraction over 0.5s away from the top six, as he concentrated on assessing both soft and hard rear Bridgestone options ahead of the 30-lap race.

Cal Crutchlow 4th 1.31.502 – 42 laps:
“I am happy with my start to the weekend because this afternoon I made a big improvement and I felt fast and strong in FP2. I am disappointed that I crashed right at the end of this afternoon’s session. I didn’t have a bad feeling with the bike but I was trying to improve the bike in the corners and I lost the front. I was trying to roll through the corner faster but obviously I have found the limit. But it was a very positive session and I am in the top four and being so close to that Spanish trio gives us a lot of confidence for the rest of the last weekend. My crew did a great job again today and this is a difficult weekend knowing I am leaving after this race. But that makes me even more determined to ensure the last race is a positive one and we can end a brilliant time together on a high.”

Bradley Smith 8th 1.31.985 – 45 laps:
“The great thing about today is that I felt immediately comfortable on the bike. This morning’s fourth position though made the situation look a bit better than it probably was because I put in a brand new tyre right at the end of the session to set my fastest time. This afternoon I was able to improve again and it was good because we got time on the soft and hard Bridgestone options to assess both for the race. We still have a little bit to find with the setting on the hard tyre and we will try and use it again tomorrow to get as much information as possible before deciding what will be the choice for the race. But it has been a positive first day and I am quite close to the front so I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”




More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

There were perfect summer conditions today at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, site of the 18th and final round of the 2013 season, during which the world title will be decided.

Andrea Iannone concluded the day’s challenging pair of practice sessions, held with air temperatures ranging from 20º and 23º C (68-73° F) and on asphalt ranging from 21º and 26º C (70-79° F), with a best time of 1'32.596. Set on the penultimate lap of FP2, the time put him in 12th place in the combined times, only two tenths of a second from from the Ducati Team riders and a bit more than one second from leader Marc Marquez.

Some positive changes that were made between the sessions will serve as the starting point for the work of the Italian and the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team as they prepare for tomorrow’s important qualifying day.

Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
"This morning we started with a few problems, but then we checked the data and intervened in some critical points, and we managed to improve during the second session. This morning we tried the hard tyres for most of the session in order to understand their behaviour, and it wasn’t bad. Then we put on the soft rear tyre and were able to get closer to Nicky and Dovi. Unfortunately, I still don’t have much confidence with the front on braking; I can’t be as incisive as I’d like and I can’t take advantage of the front tyre. With these temperatures, however, the tyres react well and the track has good grip, as the asphalt is still pretty new. Still, the gap is roughly the same as always, even if we suffer the drop in tyre performance a bit less."




More, from another press release issued by Pramac Racing:

There were perfect summer conditions today at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, site of the 18th and final round of the 2013 season, during which the world title will be decided.

The Spanish race weekend’s first 90 minutes, which took place in air temperatures ranging from 20º to 23º C (68-73° F) and on asphalt that was between 21º and 26º (70-79° F), were very challenging for Yonny Hernandez, who is still suffering from a fracture of the little finger on his right hand, injured during the recent overseas tripleheader. In addition, the Colombian has no MotoGP experience at this track, and the search for an optimal set-up for tomorrow’s qualifying day did not go as desired.

Nevertheless, Yonny was able to slightly improve his time from this morning’s session, concluding FP2 with a best time of 1’33.487, recorded on the 19th of his 21 laps.

Yonny Hernandez – Ignite Pramac Racing Team
“We started well but then lap after lap, my hand hurt me more and more, and the pain slowed me down a little bit. I didn’t have any injections today, but I’ll take advantage of the medicine tomorrow, which is a more challenging day. I hope it won’t hurt me so much tomorrow because I suffered a lot today, especially in the second session, and we saw the result. In addition, like Phillip Island and Motegi, this track is new for me with a MotoGP bike, and I have to concentrate more on finding the right lines. Anyway, I'm positive and tomorrow I’ll do my best to get a good grid position.”




More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Dovizioso, Hayden ninth and tenth in free practice at Valencia, Pirro twelfth

The Ducati Team experienced an uphill start to the final race weekend of the year, with Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden finishing the first two free-practice sessions for the GP de la Comunitat Valenciana ninth and tenth, respectively, in the combined times.

In the perfect weather conditions of the morning session, Hayden and Dovizioso were ninth and tenth, and although they occupied the same positions in the afternoon session, they were in the opposite order. In preparation for tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying sessions, both riders will work with their teams in an effort to improve the turning of their Desmosedici GP13 race machines, particularly in the first and last sectors.

After having sat out the last few rounds to focus on his Ducati Test Team duties, Michele Pirro is back in the MotoGP paddock this weekend, this time in another appearance as a wildcard rider. The Italian was twelfth best aboard the test team’s Desmosedici.

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:32.363)
“The track surface is still really nice, but our normal limits remain. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for us to make our bike turn like the others can, so we’re limited and aren’t able to get close to the other factory riders. We’re still too slow mid-corner. Regarding the tyres, the soft is too soft on the right, and although there aren’t many turns in that direction, it still wears too quickly. With this temperature, I think we’ll have to go with the hard, although it doesn’t have much grip and is a bit difficult to manage.”

Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:32.395)
“The track surface has held up really well from last year and is in great shape, and although the wind made things a bit difficult in the afternoon, that’s the same for everyone. Our first couple of exits this morning were decent, but we haven’t improved enough since then, with either the bike or myself. I’m okay in splits 2 and 3, but the first and last ones are giving me some problems. We need to get the bike to brake and turn better, and we’ll keep trying tomorrow to put ourselves in a better position for Sunday.”

Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team, 12th (1:32.756)
“It’s nice to be back at a race after two months, so thanks to Ducati for the opportunity to do this again. It took me a few laps to get used to it again this morning, as we haven’t had any tests here. My bike doesn’t have any major updates, so it’s more or less the base for what we used in my last race. Now we’ll try to understand what to do for tomorrow to make further improvements, but anyway, I’m pleased that my gap to the other Ducati riders is around two tenths, which means my level is still good.”




More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:

BRADL IN GOOD FORM AT VALENCIA GP OPENING DAY

Valencia, 8 November: sunny and dry conditions welcomed the MotoGP riders for the first day of practices of the ultimate round of the season at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia. Following an intense three-week schedule over sea, LCR racer Stefan Bradl (6th overall – 1’31.858) took the 4.005Km race track today with the intention to chase the best set-up of his RCV ahead Sunday’s race as the German had an unfortunate history at the Spanish track: since his first appearance here in 2007, Bradl never completed a race. Now, after the fracture occur in Malaysia and the intense recovery programme, Bradl aims to put the word END to this unlucky record.


Stefan Bradl:

“Well... I think we achieved an acceptable position today and we gradually improved our pace from the morning to the afternoon. We struggled a bit with a lack of front feeling in the morning and it was difficult for me to turn the bike. But we adjusted the setting lap by lap getting a better feeling in the afternoon thus it was easier for me to go faster. There’s still something to improve about the bike balance but we are working on it. I am very happy about my conditions because the ankle is responding well and I had no painkillers so far”.




More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

As the MotoGP™ action on the first day of Free Practice at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana concluded it was Marc Marquez who set the pace with his teammate Dani Pedrosa only 0.066s behind him, and title rival Jorge Lorenzo 0.158s off the pace in third.

Despite the windy conditions in the afternoon’s FP2 at the Valencia track, Marquez stepped up the pace in the second half of the session, with his best time of 1’31.220 not far off Pedrosa’s pole record of 1’30.844 from last year. Pedrosa was very close to his Repsol Honda colleague, with both of them still looking for more grip – using both the softer and harder option rear tyres.

Lorenzo improved late on in the session on his regular number-one machine, having spent time before on his number-two bike with holes in the front bubble to cope with the windy conditions. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow had a great day as he ended up fourth overall despite a late low-side crash, from which he escaped unhurt. The Englishman rides in his last GP for the team this weekend before departing for Ducati.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, who is working with Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess for the last time this weekend, was fifth fastest on Friday, 0.4s off the pace. After his statements that he needs to get quicker for next year, he will hope for a strong push in tomorrow’s practice.

The top ten was rounded out by Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Ducati Team pair Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden. Bradl is keen to resolve front-end grip issues, whilst Batista is working with a new Showa rear shock provided for this weekend.

Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was unhurt after he crashed his ART machine, which was the new bike him and his team are testing this weekend for the Italian outfit. Despite switching bikes on Monday, Team Manager Gino Borsoi said that the team is pleased to help Aprilia until that day, hence why Espargaro is giving feedback on the new bike featuring a different frame, swingarm and engine. He ended the day 13th on the timesheet.


Moto2

Having topped the FP1 timesheet, new Moto2™ World Champion Pol Espargaro was fastest again on Friday afternoon at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, with his 1’35.548 lap keeping him 0.142s ahead of Tuenti HP 40 teammate Tito Rabat, and 0.426s in front of Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Thomas Luthi.

Espargaro will ride a Monster Yamaha Tech3 MotoGP™ bike in testing next week and the pressure is off in many ways, having already clinched the title, but he now intends to end the season on a high. The Spaniard dominated both sessions at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on Friday but almost had a clash with wildcard rider Gino Rea during the afternoon, with both riders just managing to avoid going down.

Behind Espargaro, teammate Rabat aims for a strong finish to the season in his last race for Sito Pons’ outfit, and that pair could do battle for the win on Sunday if today’s pace is anything to judge by. Switzerland’s Tom Luthi would also be a good bet for a podium finish, though having also lapped in the top five Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) and Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing) will aim to run at the front as the weekend progresses.

The top ten was completed by Jordi Torres, Mika Kallio, Nico Terol, Xavier Simeon and Julian Simon, all lapping within tenth tenths of a second of the leading time.


Moto3

The Friday Moto3™ Free Practice sessions at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana were topped by the trio fighting for the title, with Luis Salom leading Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales.

Salom’s best time of 1’40.403 from FP1 was the best of the day and the Red Bull KTM Ajo man’s best FP2 time was just a tenth of a second slower, as Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) topped the timesheet in the latter session with a 1’40.489 fastest lap.

Team Calvo’s Viñales was third best in both sessions and his FP2 time of 1’40.580 was his best time of the day, as the three Spanish title candidates flexed their muscles in front of the home fans.

German rider Jonas Folger (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) and Australian competitor Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG) were fourth and fifth overall respectively, but both were unable to improve on their morning best times in FP2.

The overall top ten was completed by Efren Vazquez (Mahindra Racing), Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) and Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold).

Khairuddin has had some costly crashes in recent weeks and he walked away from a big highside at the conclusion of the session, whilst Lorenzo Baldassarri was also unhurt in a light crash towards the end of the outing.

Brad Binder was taken to the Medical Centre with a suspected collarbone injury, as was Alan Techer, after both had FP2 crashes. Whilst Binder was cleared with shoulder contusion, Techer has suffered a left wrist fracture.
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