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Jul 27, 2012

Pedrosa Continues To Set The Pace In MotoGP Free Practice Two At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Updated)

Dani Pedrosa (26).
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Monterey, California
July 27, 2012
Free Practice Two Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:21.088
2. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 1:21.422
3. Casey STONER, Australia (HONDA), 1:21.457
4. Ben SPIES, USA (YAMAHA), 1:21.708
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:22.021
6. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (YAMAHA), 1:22.258, crash
7. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 1:22.434
8. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 1:22.568
9. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (DUCATI), 1:22.772, crash
10. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 1:22.853, crash
11. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (Aprilia-ART), 1:23.835
12. Randy DE PUNIET, France (Aprilia-ART), 1:23.870
13. Colin EDWARDS, USA (BMW-SUTER), 1:24.732
14. Toni ELIAS, Spain (DUCATI), 1:24.739
15. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR), 1:24.774
16. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (DUCATI), 1:24.849
17. Mattia PASINI, Italy (Aprilia-Speed Master/ART), 1:25.000
18. Michele PIRRO, Italy (Honda-FTR), 1:25.065
19. James ELLISON, UK (Aprilia-PBM/ART), 1:25.166
20. Ivan SILVA, Spain (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR), 1:25.405
21. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (Aprilia-IODA), 1:25.422
22. Steve RAPP, USA (Kawasaki-Attack Performance), 1:28.016

More, from a press release issued by Speed Master:


The MotoGP class got out on the track today at the circuit of Laguna Seca, for the first of the two North American rounds of the 2012 season.

Pasini took advantage of this first day to familiarize and know the USA track, where he's racing for the first time in his two-wheel career. In the first free practice, the Italian set some good lap times that put him within the fastest CRT machines on track.
In the second session of the day, Mattia and his crew worked on the first few data previously gathered to try and make some initial improvement to the ART machine, with the aim of adapting the bike setting step by step to the layout of the Californian track. With his personal best lap of 1'25.000, Pasini put himself in seventeenth position at the end of FP2.

Mattia Pasini #54 - 17th with 1'25.000
"This first day went quite well. Laguna Seca is a new track for me, and it definitely isn't among the easiest ones to learn. We tried to complete as many laps as possible, in order to get to know the track and gather some important data. We didn't make too many changes to the ART machine, as we focused mostly on collecting information and on some small choices. We have a good margin of improvement and tomorrow we'll work to make some steps forward. I'm happy with these first two sessions."

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

Dovizioso and Crutchlow off to solid start in California

The second half of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship got underway in positive fashion for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow after both posted competitive lap times in practice at Laguna Seca today.

Andrea Dovizioso's bid to extend his fabulous run of form in the US Grand Prix started well in cool and cloudy conditions this morning when the Italian set the fifth quickest time.

This afternoon's second session took place under gloriously sunny skies and Dovizioso was able to improve his pace by almost 0.6s in much hotter conditions.

Dovizioso, who is chasing a fourth consecutive podium finish in Sunday's 32-lap race, finished with a best time of 1.22.021 that kept him fifth position and he was the fastest non-factory rider to lap the challenging Laguna Seca track, which features the jaw-dropping Corkscrew section.

British rider Crutchlow also enjoyed a satisfactory start to his preparations for round 10 of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship. Crutchlow had finished just 0.063s behind Dovizioso this morning and he was pushing hard to improve his pace in the second session when he fell heavily at Turn 10.

Crutchlow was able to walkaway from the spill unscathed and he showed his fighting spirit once again to improve his pace after the session was red flagged to replace a trackside air fence damaged in a crash involving Valentino Rossi.

Crutchlow returned to the track for the final 10 minutes and he improved his lap time to a 1.22.258 that put him in sixth position on the combined leaderboard.

Andrea Dovizioso 5th 1.22.021 46 laps:

"It has been a positive start to the weekend but the gap to the front is quite big. The second session was a bit strange because after the red flag there was a lot of traffic on track in the final stages and it was hard to get a clear lap in. I could have possibly done the same time as Ben (Spies) but certainly not the low 21s the top three were doing. My aim for this afternoon was to get closer to Ben and w e managed that. I was almost 0.7s behind him this morning but only 0.3s this afternoon, so that is a good step forward. We improved the bike so I am satisfied with the work the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did today. We still have some margin to improve and I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Cal Crutchlow 6th 1.22.258 46 laps:

"Today didn't really go according to plan because this afternoon I had a silly crash. It was my own fault and we have to look at the data to fully understand what happened. I didn't feel I did anything different in that corner to other laps but we will have to check. I've got a small cut on my right leg but fortunately nothing worse because it was a fast crash. I am sorry to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew though because they will be busy ton ight fixing up the bike. I am still reasonably happy because I was able to go back out again and gain a bit of time and in both sessions I was inside the top six, so we are pretty competitive. We need to calm the bike down a little bit but I will sit down with my crew tonight and come up with a plan that I'm sure will help me stay challenging inside the top six for the rest of the weekend."

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

Promising Start for Yamaha in Laguna Seca

Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies got off to a promising start today in the first two free practice sessions for the Grand Prix of USA on Sunday. Lorenzo was extremely quick to find his pace, dominating the morning session and wrapping up just 0.074 seconds form Dani Pedrosa in first. The afternoon saw more of the same, although ten minutes was spent with a set up that proved to be the wrong direction. Lorenzo finished day one in second, 0.334 seconds from provisional pole.

Ben Spies was also quick to find form, clearly at home on the US track. The Texan rider spent some time working on used tyres with a fast consistent pace, holding fourth position in the morning and the same in the afternoon. Spies finished the day just 0.286 seconds from his team mate.

Jorge Lorenzo Position : 2nd Time: 1'21.422 Laps: 30

"This afternoon we tried the hard rear tyre but it didn't work as well as the soft one this morning. We have to try the soft again tomorrow to improve the setting for the hard so we can decide which tyre to use for the race. We also tried a different setting in the last ten minutes of FP2 but it didn't improve anything so we lost that time. I'm hoping to improve both the feeling and also the lap time for tomorrow."

Ben Spies Position : 4th Time: 1'21.708 Laps: 39

"Today was good, we worked on a lot of laps on the soft tyre in the morning when the track wasn't so great but not too bad either. We did a lot of laps on the old tyres and the bike was pretty quick so I'm happy with that. The bike's got a good balance, we just need to fine-tune it to get a few more tenths out of it but I think for race pace we're looking good."

Wilco Zeelenberg
Team Manager

"It was a good first day, very consistent lap times from Jorge. Dani looks a little better at the moment but we are very good on pace. We have to try some things tomorrow to find out which tyre will work best in the hotter conditions. We have space to improve, we were as fast in the afternoon as we were in the morning and we believe there is still some space to step forward."

Massimo Meregalli
Team Director

"A good start, we found a good balance and a good rhythm, both bikes seem to be working really well. We are definitely on the right direction so we will work on some details for tomorrow and we will see if we can improve. We have to decide which tyre we are going to use for the race as it's not clear yet, at the moment both choices could be used."

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Ducati Team works on setup for Laguna Seca

The Ducati Team, which today announced Nicky Hayden's re-signing for next year, began its preparation for the United States Grand Prix that will take place on Sunday at Laguna Seca.

At the end of the first day of practice, Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi were seventh and ninth, respectively. The Italian crashed without injury ten minutes from the end of the afternoon session, and therefore wasn't able to try for a time with a soft tyre.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th (1:22.434)
"It's been a tougher day than I was hoping, especially after the great news this morning. In the first session I wasn't going that great, and then on the last exit we had a problem with the brakes. This afternoon we went quite a bit faster, but at the moment, the hard tyre feels a bit too hard and the soft is a bit too soft. We need to choose one and set the bike up to work with it. At Mugello we felt like we were the closest we had been in a long time, so to be over a second off on such a tight track here is just too much. We need to stay calm and chip away at it tomorrow."

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 9th (1:22.772)
"I crashed ten minutes from the end of the second session and couldn't use the new soft tyre that we had just put on. It was my mistake because I felt that I had much more grip and immediately pushed hard from the first lap, but I had a hard tyre on the front and when I entered turn three a bit wide, I think it was still a bit cold and I fell. The important thing is I'm fine, but it's still a shame because after that I rode with the hard rear and was sliding too much to improve my time. I think that our potential for being in the second group is pretty good, not far from Crutchlow and Dovizioso. We'll see tomorrow as we continue riding with the setting that I like the most, the one that I crashed with and that I didn't use with the soft tyre today."

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Pedrosa reaches record pace in Laguna Seca practice

Round 10: United States Grand Prix Free Practice One and Two
Laguna Seca, Friday 27 July 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 17-19°C; Track 29-34°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 19-18°C; Track 44-44°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa was quickest in both practice sessions and set a new record fastest lap to dominate the first day of action at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

After topping the timesheets in FP1, Pedrosa set a scorching time of 1'21.088 in FP2 to end the session 0.334 seconds ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo, while on the other Repsol Honda RC213V, Casey Stoner was third quickest in Friday practice and 0.369 seconds behind his teammate.

Weather conditions today were typical for Laguna Seca, with cloud cover and cool conditions greeting riders for the morning's FP1 session, though the skies cleared as the day progressed with a peak track temperature of 44°C recorded during FP2. In the cooler morning session all riders selected the softer compound slicks front and rear for FP1 to ensure the highest grip levels while getting used to the extra power of the 1000cc machines around Laguna Seca. With warmer track temperatures in the afternoon most riders switched to the harder slicks front and rear for FP2 as the improved track conditions saw a resultant increase in pace. Overall, lap times were much quicker than in the corresponding sessions last year, with the greater warm-up performance and feel of the 2012 specification tyres allowing riders to quickly find a rhythm around this challenging circuit.

MotoGP™ action returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Free Practice 3 at 1010 local time (GMT -7) and qualifying for the United States Grand Prix will commence at 1355.

Masao Azuma Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

"After a typically cool morning at Laguna Seca for FP1, the sun broke through in the afternoon causing much warmer track temperatures and so tyre choice varied considerably between the two sessions. The cool temperatures this morning meant that all riders went for softer slicks front and rear for FP1 to give them the best grip characteristics while getting a feel for the circuit, while most riders switched to the harder slicks in the afternoon as track temperatures increased. Lap times were very quick compared to the Friday practice sessions last year, so it seems the extra warm-up performance and feel of the 2012 specification tyres allowed riders to come to grips with the circuit quickly."

More, from a press release issued by Power Electronics:


Aleix Espargaró and Randy De Puniet continue to dominate new MotoGP class

Free practice for the USGP got underway at the legendary Laguna Seca circuit today with the MotoGP class supported on track by national championships as opposed to the usual Moto3 and Moto2 support categories. Dani Pedrosa set the pace in both sessions, followed in each by the same order of Lorenzo, Stoner, Spies, Dovizioso and Crutchlow. With ideal temperatures of around 20ºC the lap times were already inside the records from 2010 on an impressive opening day of action that was interrupted by a red flag with ten minutes remaining after a crash for Rossi caused damage to the air fences.

Once again there was very little to separate the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar pair of Aleix Espargaró and Randy de Puniet, the Spaniard edging out his French team-mate by just 0.035 seconds as the fastest CRT on track. Aleix improved by a massive 1.5 seconds between the two sessions whilst Randy's pace was up even more, by three seconds, after some technical setbacks during the morning outing. The pair lie eleventh and twelfth fastest respectively overnight with two MotoGP prototypes behind them.

11th Aleix Espargaró 1.23.835 (39 laps): "This is a totally new circuit for us with no prior data and the electronics didn't work as we'd hoped this morning. We reset them for the afternoon and the improvement was notable. I am happy with the first day but we'll try to keep improving tomorrow. In Italy we thought we'd struggle to compete with the MotoGP prototypes because of the long straight but we were closer than we expected and here it is the opposite. It is a slow and short circuit and we are some way off the top lap times. We have to improve power in the bottom three gears. We are using the same chassis that we tested at Mugello so we'll see if we can get more out of it tomorrow. I really like the Corkscrew but personally I am more impressed by the elevation change at the end of the main straight."

12th Randy De Puniet 1.23.870 (31 laps): "It hasn't been a smooth landing for us here at Laguna Seca, due to some electronic problems that held us back this morning. Luckily we were able to fix them for the second session. We worked against the clock to improve the engine braking and even though I am still not completely confident with the bike here I am sure we can get back to 100% tomorrow because we have so much room to improve. Despite the problems I feel optimistic because of the way we worked things out. Tomorrow we will keep working on the electronics and the gearbox. This track is so different to anywhere else and there is a lot of work to do."

More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

The MotoGP™ contingent was greeted by sunny Californian skies as it took to the Laguna Seca circuit for the first two practice sessions of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix on Friday, where Repsol Honda Team's Dani Pedrosa set the pace in the afternoon session ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner.

Pedrosa, using a new frame and engine, posted a time in the low 1m21s beating the previous circuit record. This displaced Yamaha Factory Racing's championship leader Lorenzo into second spot, who was just over three-tenths off the pace. Pedrosa's teammate Casey Stoner went third quickest by a narrow margin, yet was held up on his final hot-lap in the afternoon by traffic, forcing him to run off track briefly. Stoner has opted to use the new engine, yet prefers to stay with the frame he has used all season.

Fourth spot on the timesheet was occupied by Yamaha's Ben Spies, who earlier this week announced he will leave the team at the end of the season, whilst not disclosing any future plans. In fifth, Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso was in good shape looking to put in a solid performance, to aid in his challenge for the soon to be vacant factory seat. His teammate Cal Crutchlow posted the sixth quickest time of the day, despite suffering a heavy crash in the afternoon going into turn 10. He was fortunately unhurt in the incident.

Seventh spot went to two-times Laguna Seca winner, Ducati Team's Nicky Hayden, who earlier in the day confirmed a one-year contract extension with the Italian team. In eighth, LCR Honda MotoGP's Stefan Bradl had a good day on his first MotoGP outing at the Californian track, posting his fastest time in the afternoon session just under 1.5s off the top. Ducati's Valentino Rossi set the ninth quickest time of the day, yet also suffered a crash going into turn three, which prompted the session to be red-flagged for the damaged air-fence to be repaired. San Carlo Honda Gresini's Álvaro Bautista, who crashed at the same turn as Rossi shortly beforehand, came in tenth. Both riders walked away unscathed.

Power Electronics Aspar's Aleix Espargaró was the fastest CRT in 11th, ahead of teammate Randy de Puniet. NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Colin Edwards was in resurgent form coming in 13th, ousting Pramac Racing Team's Toni Elías into 14th, who is standing in for the injured Héctor Barberá this weekend. Attack Performance wildcard Steve Rapp, who is running an in-house built APR CRT machine, ended the day in 22nd, just under seven seconds off the front.

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Monterey, 28th July: under sunny skies the first day of practices got underway at Laguna Seca race track which hosts the tenth round of the calendar before the summer break. LCR Honda rookie Stefan Bradl placed his Honda RCV in 8th place (1'22.568) at his first outing at the "roller coaster" Californian track.

In order to become familiar with the track, Bradl and his crew chief flew to Monterey following the early June Catalunya Grand Prix to ride on an open track day. The German rode a Honda Fireblade learning the quirks of the track which he only knew from video games.

Stefan: "Considering that it was my first outing here and we had no data to fine tune the bike I am pretty satisfied about day one at Laguna. Other riders have more experience and they know the track whilst for me it's totally new. We are 1.4s to the fastest rider in the classification and not far from P4 and this is quite positive. Basically we can improve practice by practice and lap by lap but I am a bit worried about the front feeling. It's unusual for us because in the past we always had a strong front end feeling so we must fix it because it's really important here especially in the bank corners".
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