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Oct 12, 2012

Pedrosa Tops MotoGP Free Practice Two At Motegi

Dani Pedrosa (26).
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Motegi, Japan
October 12, 2012
Free Practice Two Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:46.088
2. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 1:46.190
3. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:46.282
4. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 1:46.428
5. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (DUCATI), 1:46.687
6. Ben SPIES, USA (YAMAHA), 1:46.912
7. Casey STONER, Australia (HONDA), 1:46.978
8. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 1:46.983
9. Cal CRUTCHLOW, UK (YAMAHA), 1:46.984
10. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (DUCATI), 1:47.592
11. Katsuyuki NAKASUGA, Japan (YAMAHA), 1:47.801
12. Hector BARBERA, Spain (DUCATI), 1:48.232
13. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (Aprilia-Aspar/ART), 1:48.470
14. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (DUCATI), 1:48.757, crash
15. Randy DE PUNIET, France (Aprilia-Aspar/ART), 1:48.770, crash
16. Colin EDWARDS, USA (BMW-Forward/SUTER), 1:49.539
17. James ELLISON, UK (Aprilia-PBM/ART), 1:49.652
18. Michele PIRRO, Italy (Honda-Gresini/FTR), 1:49.770
19. Roberto ROLFO, Italy (Aprilia-Speed Master/ART), 1:50.292
20. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR), 1:50.333, crash
21. Ivan SILVA, Spain (Kawasaki-BQR/FTR), 1:50.924
22. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (BMW-IODA/SUTER), 1:51.270

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

Dovizioso makes impressive start in Yamaha's home race

Andrea Dovizioso made a flying start to Yamaha's all-important home race in Japan today, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider finishing third fastest in both practice sessions at the Twin Ring Motegi.

With the stop and go nature of the 2.983 miles circuit perfectly suited to Dovizioso's hard braking style, he wasted no time in showing his potential in gloriously sunny conditions this morning.

A best lap of 1.46.919 put him third behind Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa and he continued that impre ssive form into the second session. Once again he was able to finish the fastest non-factory rider in third position to boost his hopes of recording a seventh podium of the campaign on Sunday.

Dovizioso improved his pace by almost 0.7s in FP2 and his best time of 1.46.282 was only 0.092s behind World Championship leader Lorenzo in second place and 0.194s away from Pedrosa's quickest pace.

The opening day turned out to be the difficult challenge Cal Crutchlow had predicted, with the hard braking nature of the Twin Ring Motegi not best suited to his braking and cornering style.

Crutchlow dedicated the majority of his time on track today to improve his feeling in the hard braking zones, but he was never able to find a comfortabe set-up with his YZR-M1 machine and he finished ninth on the combined leaderboard.

Crutchlow remains confident he can make big progress tomorrow and his best time of 1.46.984 was less than 0.1s away from a top six position.

Andrea Dovizioso 3rd 1.46.282 - 34laps:
"It has been a really good start to the weekend because I did my time with the hard tyre and that looks like being a probable choice for the race. The good thing is I am very competitive already but I know we can improve on the last part of the entry to the corner. I don't feel comfortable in that area, but even if I don't feel 100% confident with the bike and ready to push as hard as I know I can, I am very close to the fastest two. I believe I will be able to follow Dani and Jorge on Sunday and that is basically my aim for the weekend. It will be difficult to fight with them for the victory but I am certainly looking to be battling for the podium again on a track that I really like."

Cal Crutchlow 9th 1.46.984 - 36 laps:
"Today wasn't the start I was hoping for at all because we worked very hard to improve the bike but I was unable to find a comfortable setting. I am way down on the timesheets and a long way behind Andrea and we are both on the same bike and the same tyres, so it is clear that we have a lot of work to do to improve tomorrow. Nothing we tried seemed to work and give me the feeling I wanted and I certainly need to improve and be faster with the hard tyre because that might be the tyre I need to race with. There isn't one particular place where I am struggling. We have quite a few issues but I will sit down with my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew tonight and see if we can come up with a solution to help me be more competitive tomorrow."

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

Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies made a strong start to the Grand Prix of Japan today in the first free practice sessions. Championship leader Lorenzo was straight to the top of the time sheets as the morning session began and was unchallenged for the duration. Team mate Spies was also quickly up to speed, initially running in second behind his team mate before dropping slightly to fifth, 0.7 seconds from the front at the end.

The afternoon session saw more of the same class leading pace from Lorenzo, topping the session from the start and only surpassed by Championship rival Pedrosa towards the end by 0.102 seconds. Spies also continued to improve from the morning session, making steps in the set up to bring his time down by nearly half a second. The Texan completed day one in sixth in the combined times with a 1'46.912.

Jorge Lorenzo Position : 2nd Time: 1'46.190 Laps: 33

"We started in a very good way here, much better than in Aragon where we had issues with the life of the rear tyre. We have a very good pace and with a little change in the electronics were able to go a bit faster. We tried with the hard tyre, for me it's not better than the soft although we can go fast on it. For tomorrow I think the soft one will be better. The Hondas are very good here but our bike is also so I think we can fight with them for the victory."

Ben Spies Position : 6th Time: 1'46.912 Laps: 27

"Today wasn't bad, the second session was a bit slow in the beginning but we got going pretty well in the end. We didn't try the soft rear but focused on trying to make the hard tyre work in case it's the race tyre. I think it's unlikely as everyone who went out faster than us at the end was on the softer option, so to be eight tenths off on the hard is not so bad. I think with the soft we'll see a true result of where we can be and what the bike is capable of."

Wilco Zeelenberg
Team Manager

"A very good two practice sessions today, Jorge was first this morning and second in the afternoon and very close to Dani. He has a good feeling with the bike but obviously we need to improve a little and the track will also get better over the weekend I think. Overall a good first day."

Massimo Meregalli
Team Director

"A good start, we still have to figure out some balance for the bike but the set up is not that far. Hopefully tomorrow we will decide on the rear tyre for the race, we found the right front option today. Jorge delivered very consistent lap times with both the hard and soft tyres; the soft especially was really used so his first day is very promising."

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Dani starts on top at Motegi with Casey in seventh The Repsol Honda Team has indicated the reference on the first day of free practice for the Grand Prix of Japan, with Dani Pedrosa on top and Casey Stoner in seventh position.

Dani maintained his recent momentum and set the fastest time of the day with 1'46.088 in FP2 where he tested both hard and soft compound Bridgestone rear tyres in a perfect day at Motegi, with temperatures reaching 23 degrees. Dani already lapped within the circuit record that he set last year with 1'46.090.

Casey, on return to competition after his injury that has kept him inactive since Indianapolis, had a difficult morning after an unusual failure left him with only one bike from the beginning of the session. The Australian also experienced issues in the afternoon session and lost valuable track time as he reacquainted himself with his Honda RC213V and adapted to riding with his healing ankle. He finished the day in seventh position, 0.890 off his team mate, hoping his ankle will ease slightly for tomorrow's qualifying.

DANI PEDROSA 1st 1'46.088

"Today was a perfect day for practice. The track conditions were very good, the warm temperatures helped as did the new surface, so we were able to do the job we wanted. The main target today was to test the tyres and we completed some good laps on both hard and soft compounds. The asphalt is new and the grip is quite good, so the lap times are pretty fast from the beginning. We also did some work on the suspension and the mapping to will keep improving on this tomorrow".

CASEY STONER 7th 1'46.978

"Today was a little disappointing, this morning we had our first bike fail on us so we lost valuable time, then in the second session we had a brake issue and spent a lot of time in the garage fixing that also. We spent the two sessions trying to find a nice balance with the bike, of course I'm not feeling 100% as it is, so I wanted to get a reasonable feeling with it before I start pushing. At the moment the acceleration points are causing me most difficulty as there are many areas at this circuit where the bike wants to wheelie and you need to keep your body and weight over the front of the bike. Unfortunately my foot doesn't want to bend far enough to help me move forward so I'm having to pull myself forward which is giving me issues with my arms as they are working a lot harder than usual. We'll keep working tomorrow and see what we can do".

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Pedrosa leads tightly packed field in Motegi practice

Round 15: Japanese Grand Prix Free Practice One and Two
Motegi, Friday 12 October 2012

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 19-20°C; Track 32-35°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 23-22°C; Track 36-35°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Dani Pedrosa was fastest on day one of action at Motegi as the Repsol Honda rider cut a lap quicker than his circuit lap record he set on the way to winning last year's Japanese Grand Prix.

Pedrosa set a time of 1'46.088 towards the end of FP2 to relegate championship rival Jorge Lorenzo on the Yamaha Factory Racing M1 to second quickest overall by 0.190 seconds. Third quickest today was Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso who set a time of 1'46.282. The top nine riders in free practice today set personal best lap times within one second of each other.

Tyre selection today comprised almost all the slick options brought to Motegi, with the medium and hard front and soft and medium rear slicks being used in today's sessions. All riders started this morning's first free practice with softer slicks front and rear to evaluate grip levels before many riders switched to the harder slick options in FP2, the harder front slick was used extensively due to its greater cornering and braking stability. The current weather forecast indicates fine weather over the rest of the weekend so riders should have two whole sessions of dry track time tomorrow to hone a race setup.

Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

"Today we had good conditions with warm dry weather for both sessions. Most riders started in FP1 with the combination of the softer slicks front and rear to assess the grip levels of the circuit, though some riders switched to the harder front slick at the end of FP1 and for FP2 for greater front-end stability. Many riders also performed longer runs on the harder rear slick in FP2. We can expect fine weather conditions for the rest of the weekend and with the top nine riders setting a best lap within one second of each other, qualifying could prove quite exciting."

More, from a press release issued by Cardion AB Motoracing:

Friday´s sessions at Motegi:
Karel Abraham finished on 14th position

Czech MotoGP rider Karel Abraham finished fourteenth after first two practice sessions for Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi. With 1:48,757 Cardion AB Motoracing rider lose 2,669 to the fastest Dani Pedrosa.

Karel Abraham
"We have had lot of problems in the morning practice, I couldn´t rely on the front nor on the rear. Rear wheel had lost contact with surface during hard braking, which is very uncomfortable. The positive thing is that we found a solution for the afternoon session. Unfortunately, despite the bike was much better, we cannot achieve better lap times. I still have some kind of "žmental block", and even I really push hard, I can´t be faster. I´m still missing a confidence to the bike and I need to come over this, feel better and trust my Ducati."

Marco Grana, Cardion AB Motoracing chief mechanic
"We can´t be happy at all after Friday. Karel doesn´t trust his bike, he´s not familiar with the track and he cannot brake hard after long straights. Tomorrow we will try to change the set up only to help Karel to find a confidence to the bike. Compared to other riders we have problem with braking points. Karel brakes too soon and we are losing lot of time in the corners. We will try other tyres and we must hope, that together with set up changes it will help."

More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

The 15th round of the MotoGP™ championship got underway today at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi, where it was Repsol Honda Team's Dani Pedrosa who went quickest on the first day of free practice in the premier-class in the afternoon session ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.

Pedrosa's time in the low 1.46s set in sunny and dry conditions was sufficient to relegate Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo into second, who posted his best time on the hard rear tyre, despite stating that he preferred the softer option he tried out before. Pedrosa's top time came late on in the session after a quick adjustment to the front end of his bike, after having briefly run into the gravel earlier in practice. Third place went to Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso, after the Italian upped his pace towards the end of practice, showing strong consistency throughout both sessions.

LCR Honda MotoGP's Stefan Bradl set the fourth fastest time of the day despite a short run off track in the afternoon, with the German keen to make amends for his DNF last time out in Aragón. In fifth was Ducati Team's Valentino Rossi, who jumped up the timesheets with an unexpected hot-lap towards the end, leaving him just half a second off the top. Behind him in sixth, Yamaha's Ben Spies will be looking to improve for tomorrow's qualifying, being almost eight tenths down on his teammate with the hard tyre.

Seventh spot is occupied by Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner, who looked strong on his first day back from injury, despite pitting frequently to dial in his bike's set-up. He had a less than ideal start in the morning, as his number one bike stopped with a technical issue just two corners into his out-lap. San Carlo Honda Gresini's Álvaro Bautista finished the day in eighth, and will aim to jump further up the order tomorrow as he continues to work on his Showa suspension, which continues to cause his front tyre to jump heavily under braking. In ninth, Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow had a subdued session for his standards, while Ducati's Nicky Hayden completes the top ten, with the American doing well to ride with a fractured right radius.

Top CRT spot went to Power Electronics Aspar's Aleix Espargaró, who did well to overcome a crash in the morning session. His teammate Randy de Puniet crashed out of the afternoon practice early on, but was able to re-join on his second bike, albeit with a contusion to his left knee. Other riders that crashed out were Cardion AB Racing's Karel Abraham and Avintia Blusens' Yonny Hernández.


Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol's Marc Márquez put in a terrific performance in the second Moto2™ free practice at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi to set the fastest time of the day ahead of Bradley Smith and Scott Redding.

Márquez left it until the chequered flag came out to post a new track record with a 1.51'834, which put Tech 3 Racing's Smith back to second, after the Brit had broken the record earlier in the session. Smith spent much of practice on the rear wheel of Tuenti Movil HP 40's Pol Espargaró, benefiting from the slipstream down the straights with top speed an area known to be a problem on the Brit's Mistral 610 machine. Hit was however a day of two halves, after crashing heavily in the morning session and sitting it out with concussion. Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding consolidated his earlier form from the morning by once again putting in a good showing to complete the top three.

Espargaró's teammate Esteve Rabat, who had led the morning practice, did not improve on his time and finished fourth overall in front of Espargaró, who at times looked frustrated with Smith. He could not place his Kalex higher than fifth, yet managed to keep Interwetten-Paddock's Tom Lüthi at bay in sixth, with the Swiss rider improving drastically from the morning, where he suffered a low-side. Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2's Nico Terol had a good day at the Japanese track and ended the sessions closely behind in seventh. Italtrans Racing Team's Takaaki Nakagami, who had a crash in the morning, did well to recover and place his bike in eighth overall, with Blusens Avintia's Julián Simón and Redding's teammate Mika Kallio completing the top ten.

Speed Master's Andrea Iannone looked off-colour almost all day, and crashed early in the second practice, managing to head back out for the finale few minutes, while Came IodaRacing Project's Simone Corsi suffered a similar situation shortly after. Espargaró's teammate Axel Pons also fell towards the end of the afternoon session.


In the free practice sessions in the Moto3™ class at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi it was Red Bull KTM Ajo's Sandro Cortese who topped the timesheets in the afternoon ahead of Maverick Viñales and Zulfahmi Khairuddin.

Cortese, who could mathematically clinch the Moto3™ world title this weekend, was on scorching pace in the second free practice session, setting a time of 1.59'448, over three tenths quicker than his Blusens Avintia rival Maverick Viñales. Viñales suffered a crash 13 minutes before the end, leaving him unable to improve his time in the final part of the session. AirAsia-SIC-Ajo's Zulfahmi Khairuddin was once again on good form as he completed the top three just fractionally off the Spaniard.

Team Italia FMI's Romano Fenati continued to learn the track at record speed as his fastest time placed him fourth, although he also suffered a crash towards the end of the day. Not having lost any confidence after his morning practice crash, Racing Team Germany's Louis Rossi stormed to the fifth place, ahead of RW Racing GP's Luis Salom, who is still receiving pain-killing injections in his shoulder after his Aragón crash two weeks ago.

Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3's Jonas Folger, who was fastest in the morning, could not repeat his feat and finished seventh overall. Estrella Galicia 0,0's Miguel Oliveira posted the eighth quickest time just under eight tenths off the top, ousting Cortese's teammate Danny Kent into ninth, ahead of Fenati's teammate Alessandro Tonucci.

San Carlo Gresini Moto3's Niccolò Antonelli was an early crasher in the second practice, and was joined on the list by TT Motion Events Racing's Niklas Ajo and Salom's teammate Brad Binder, who both crashed in the final stages of practice.

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Motegi, 12th October: the MotoGP contingent has been pleased with a sunny and dry first practice day at Motegi race track for the first time in many weeks with LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl posting another promising 4th lap time (1'46.428).

The German is keen to make amends for his DNF last time out in Aragón and he is a fan of Honda's home track so the fourth fastest time of the day came out easily as the 22-year-old immediately lapped consinstently fast aboard his RC213V.

Stefan: "Actually it's a really good Friday for us. As we already started with a good base set up this morning I immediately felt comfortable on the bike and everything was working pretty good. In this afternoon session we made a little step forward but we need to improve the braking performance because we are pretty fast and stable in the first initial braking but as soon as we start to lean I do not feel very comfortable. This our biggest issue today: we have tried both rear tyres options and they are both working properly. Let's try to maintain this good level even tomorrow and the same gap in tomorrow's qualifying".

More, from a press release issued by Power Electronics Aspar Team:


POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar pair both crash in same corner but still set the CRT pace

The GP of Japan got underway at Motegi today with current World Champion Casey Stoner making his return to action from injury. The first race of an Asia-Oceana three week triple-header saw ideal conditions on track and another battle for supremacy between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, who set the pace in the first and second free practices respectively. Lap times are already inside the 2011 record and with barely a fraction of a second covering the top five riders there could be an entertaining battle for the podium on Sunday.

There were mixed fortunes for the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders, who both recorded positive results but also crashed in the same corner. Aleix and Randy both lost the front in turn nine, the Spaniard in the morning and the Frenchman in the afternoon. However, they led the CRT charge once again, Espargaró finishing thirteenth and fastest of the new concept MotoGP machines with De Puniet closing out the top fifteen.

13th Aleix Espargaró 1.48.470 (27 laps): "I am happy with our performance today and the bike worked very well. We made a few chances and it improved quite a lot from one session to the next. I crashed this morning because I didn't have a feel for the front but thanks to the mechanic we were able to improve the situation for the second session. I am satisfied with this for a first day but we need to keep working to improve the rear traction. We have to keep going in the same way as the last race to close down the points gap to Randy in the championship on Sunday."

15th Randy De Puniet 1.48.770 (29 laps): "To crash at the start of the second session was a real shame because it broke our rhythm. I didn't feel anything at the time but now my ankle is starting to hurt because it got caught under the bike. I went back out on the second bike and usually I struggle to get on the pace with it but today my lap time was positive. This morning the feeling wasn't as good as I'd hoped so we'll have a look over everything and see where we can improve. I also want to find out why I had such a stupid crash."

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Fifth-best for Rossi in Motegi free practice, Hayden tenth

The Ducati Team got the Japanese Grand Prix weekend off to a good start, with Valentino Rossi fifth at the end of the first two free-practice sessions. Tomorrow the Italian will work on the Desmosedici's settings in an effort to also improve his pace with a race setup.

Nicky Hayden, whose reduced strength in his right hand is hindering him on the Japanese circuit's hard-braking zones, finished the day in tenth place.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 5th (1:46.687)
"Today went pretty well, especially in the afternoon because we made a setup change that helped us to improve grip on acceleration. When I open the gas I'm able to exit the turns better, without spinning too much, and that's why I went pretty fast. I'm especially happy because the gap isn't too big. Tomorrow, though, we'll have to improve our pace as well, because for now I'm able to ride well for some laps, and then the tyre starts to slide a bit too much. The rear-tyre choice will be very important because the performance of the soft and the hard are very similar. The soft works a little better but we have to understand if it can last the race distance. Tomorrow we'll try some more changes and then we'll also consider the temperature for Sunday when making a decision."

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 10th (1:47.551)
"It was good to have a full day of dry weather on a Friday, but it was a difficult day. This morning we weren't so far off, but I didn't improve in the afternoon. I'm not getting the feedback from the bike that I'd like under braking. Also, my hand is giving me some pain and I don't have a lot of strength, especially into the right-handers. There's lots of hard braking on this track, so I'm losing time mainly on the corner entry, and it's hard to recover on the exits. We need to have a re-think tonight and try to do a good step tomorrow."

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

Promising beginning at Motegi for Edwards

Scoring the third fastest lap time of all CRTs this morning during FP1 and the afternoon session, Colin Edwards and the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team can be satisfied with their results on this first day at Motegi.

The weather has been particularly good, allowing it to rain only by night and not letting it interfere with the setup work done in dry conditions for this weekend's race. The American rider's Sutter BMW today has proven to be fast and tomorrow's objective will be to make it to work and get a good position on the starting grid.

Colin Edwards - 5

"Went out this morning and the bike felt pretty good right off the bat. Some quick changes just to get the chassis feeling right, getting the balance right, play with the electronics a little bit this morning. That hour of practice in the morning did us good, we pin pointed what we wanted to fix on the electronics and chassis, we went back to what we had, lowered it and raised it back up. We have so much time out there, obviously the last time I was here I was on a prototype, I know break markers and lines and I know where we are struggling, entry and breaking, getting the bike to turn in instead of going straight, brake late and turn in, that's our goal."

Sergio Verbena Crew Chief

"Colin had a good feeling with the bike straight away during the morning practice and with a few modifications the bike seemed to feel even better during the afternoon session. We are 16th today; with six other CRTs behind us and the only CRTs in front of ours are those of Espargaro and De Puniet. We will seek to close the gap with them tomorrow."
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