MotoGP: Morbidelli Heads FP2 In Afternoon Heat At Jerez (Updated)

MotoGP: Morbidelli Heads FP2 In Afternoon Heat At Jerez (Updated)

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By David Swarts.

MotoGP FP2

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Nothing in it: Marquez, Viñales and Crutchlow split by less than a tenth on Friday
0.088 covers the top three at Jerez, with 19 riders within a second on Day 1

Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Friday, 17 July 2020

After setting the fastest time in the cooler FP1 conditions at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) takes the opening Friday honours of 2020 as he remained fastest by the end of play – but it was far from an easy return to the top for the reigning Champion. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was just 0.024 in arrears, and after having topped the last couple of tests, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) completing the top three less than a tenth off the top.

FP1 saw the action get underway as an eager Bradley Smith (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) roared out of pitlane as the first MotoGP™ bike out in an official race weekend session this year, and the morning session was the one that would count most on the timesheets for most of the grid. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) had to sit out the first 20 minutes of the session though, with the Frenchman given a penalty for training on “illegal” machinery – ie outside the regs – but by the end though the time attacks were underway full force, and it was Marquez who came out on top. With Viñales and Crutchlow so close, and Quartararo not yet having had the same running, the Jaws music need not start quite yet for the reigning Champion though.

In the afternoon it was Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) who proved the man to beat in FP2, but the times were a good eight tenths slower in a sweltering afternoon at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto. Quartararo was second in the more “race similar” conditions, and the only man to improve, with rookie Brad Binder putting in a stunner to put his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine inside the top three in the session and only a tenth off the top. FP2 also saw the first two race weekend crashes of the season: Marc Marquez and rookie teammate Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), with both lowsiding out (separately) and unhurt.

Overall though, it’s Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) who takes fourth as the veteran Italian really cranked up the pace after a more anonymous day on the Wednesday test timesheets, looking strong despite being on the way back from a collarbone injury, with Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) turning the tables on more experienced teammate Alex Rins to complete the top five. Rins was seventh, just behind Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) as the Aussie stuck it in sixth.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took eighth in an impressive first day, and he led a trio of KTMs in the top ten overall on Friday. Rookie Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) put in an awesome performance to end up only 0.002 off the more experienced Espargaro and take ninth, with the aforementioned Brad Binder, as well as ending FP2 in third, doing an impressive enough job with his FP1 time to take tenth overall.

Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing) was P11 after a solid day, ahead of Morbidelli on the combined timesheets, with Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) next up in P13 on Friday. The ‘Doctor’ seemed to have a tougher time of it on Day 1, but remains the most recent winner for Yamaha at the track (from pole, in 2016) so he’ll be looking for more on Saturday. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was fourteenth, with Quartararo ending the day in fifteenth and surely heading for a bounce back on Saturday.

Saturday begins at 9:55 (GMT +2) for MotoGP™ with FP3, which also welcomes in the riders’ last chance to move directly into Q2. With temperatures expected to be a little cooler in the morning, there could well be a big chance to improve – and the likes of Rossi and Quartararo will be top of the list for a time attack late in the session. Qualifying then begins at 14:10.

MotoGP™ fastest on Friday

1 Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team – Honda – 1:37.350

2 Maverick Viñales – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – +0.024

3 Cal Crutchlow – LCR Honda Castrol – Honda – +0.088
 

Marini makes it double trouble for his rivals in Jerez

The Italian tops both sessions on Friday – but the timesheets are tight as ever

Luca Marini (10). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Luca Marini (10). Photo courtesy Dorna.

The second Moto2™ Friday of the 2020 season belonged to Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, the Italian topping the timesheets in FP1 and FP2 to lay down the gauntlet for his rivals. Thanks to his FP1 time, Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) sits P2 as the Spaniard splits the Sky Racing Team VR46 duo inside the top three, with Marco Bezzecchi third.

Much like it was in the MotoGP™ class, it was clear from the early stages that the Moto2™ riders were going to struggle to better their FP1 times that were set in cooler track temperatures of the morning. Ground temperatures were well into the 50s for the intermediate class, but Marini looked as comfortable as he did in the morning session. Both he and teammate Bezzecchi looked strong in both sessions on Friday, and they worked in tandem for a brief period in FP2. It wasn’t quite such a straightforward afternoon for the man second overall as Navarro’s bike suffered some sort of issue and the Spaniard had to pull to the side of the track down the back straight, a slight disruption to his FP2 running. Nevertheless, Navarro was able to get back out and finish P6 in the session itself.

Championship leader Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was another man to look comfortable across Friday’s action as he finished the day fourth, with Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) completing the top five. Previous Jerez winner Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was sixth as he rejoins the field after injury, ahead of Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) took P8, with American rider Joe Roberts back in action to put his Tennor American Racing machine in ninth. Hafizh Syahrin (Inde Aspar Team Moto2) was P10 to make it three Speed Ups in the top ten.

Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) was 11th despite a crash, with two-time Jerez winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) just behind him. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Somkiat Chantra (Honda Team Asia) lock out the fastest fourteen who are currently on for provisional Q2 entry.

After FP3 on Saturday morning, tune in for qualifying from from 15:10 (GMT +2) as the intermediate class prepare to decide a grid for the first time in a good while.

Moto2™ fastest on Friday

1 Luca Marini – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex 1:41.410

2 Jorge Navarro – HDR Heidrun Speed Up – Speed Up +0.048

3 Marco Bezzecchi- Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex – +0.315
 

Rodrigo smashes the lap record to end Friday fastest in Moto3™

The Argentinean rider re-starts the season with some serious speed 

Gabriel Rodrigo (2). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Gabriel Rodrigo (2). Photo courtesy Dorna.

Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) matched the scorching Friday sun with some scorching Friday pace at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, with the Argentinean breaking the lap record in the morning and completing the full set by topping the timesheets in FP2 to end the day over half a second clear. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was second fastest overall, with John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completing the top three only thousandths off the Spaniard in second.

It’s hot in July in Jerez, and that could be seen on the timesheets for much of the field as only a handful improved their laptimes in the afternoon. The top 12 – and Rodrigo’s record – remained unchanged in FP2, but there were only two crashers despite the hot pace overall: Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) in FP1 and 2019 Jerez winner Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) in FP2, riders ok.

Behind the near half second gap accrued by Rodrigo at the top though, the timesheets were incredibly tight. The thousandths separating Fernandez and McPhee were followed up by just another 0.063 back to Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46), with rookie and reigning FIM Moto3™ Junior World Champion Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) completing the top five by 0.024. Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46), Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Qatar winner and therefore Championship leader Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3), Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) and Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) locked out the top ten.

Sterilgarda Max Racing Team’s Romano Fenati put the new Husqvarna into a positive P11, only 0.003 off the top ten, and the Italian slotted in ahead of Valencia 2019 winner Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0). Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was next up as the first on the timesheets to go quicker in the afternoon in P13 overall; his laptime in FP2 having put him second in that session. As it stands, Qatar podium finisher Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) holds the final provisional place in Q2 as he ended the day in fourteenth.

Tune in for more on Saturday as FP3 begins at 9:00 (GMT +2), with qualifying for Moto3™ starting at 12:35.

Moto3™ fastest on Friday

1 Gabriel Rodrigo – Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 – Honda 1:45.663

2 Raul Fernandez – Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM +0.430

3 John McPhee – Petronas Sprinta Racing – Honda +0.439

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM Tech3:

Hot season opening for Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo in Jerez 

MotoGP rookie Iker Lecuona displayed a rocket start into his first full MotoGP World Championship season with the ninth fastest time at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto today. Thereby, the Spaniard was just 0.364 seconds behind the top and only 0.002 seconds off Pol Espargaro on the fastest KTM, concluding Friday well placed inside the provisional direct Q2 spots.

At the same time, Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira was working on his pace for a long distance with using the same tyres all through FP1. In significantly warmer conditions during the second session of the day, he had no chance to improve on a single fast lap, but eventually finished 0.583 seconds behind the top 10 overall.

Iker Lecuona (27). Photo courtesy Red Bull KTM Tech3.
Iker Lecuona (27). Photo courtesy Red Bull KTM Tech3.

 

Iker Lecuona

Position: 9th

Time: 1:37.714

Laps: 35 

“I’m truly happy today. This morning, I started to work on the bike and improved a lot. Later on, I put a new tyre in and finished my first FP1 inside the top 10, so it’s really, really nice. I knew that it was difficult to do a fast lap in the afternoon, so I was working more for the race. I’m very satisfied, especially because I’m so close to the top, finishing just 0.364 seconds behind the fastest rider with 19 laps on the soft tyre. Overall, I’m really happy and I hope we can keep going this way tomorrow.”

Miguel Oliveira (88). Photo courtesy Red Bull KTM Tech3.
Miguel Oliveira (88). Photo courtesy Red Bull KTM Tech3.

Miguel Oliveira

Position: 20th

Time: 1:38.506

Laps: 38

“It was a first good Friday for us. Of course, the position is not what we want and it doesn’t really reflect our work as we didn’t do any time attack in the morning or in the afternoon. I think our pace is much closer to the top guys than what the position shows. The team did a great job, we found some solutions to gain more grip and we are happy about today. Tomorrow we have our chance to go to the top 10, everything is very tight, but I think we can manage it.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Repsol Honda Team straight into their rhythm in Jerez

From the moment the flag dropped on Free Practice One, Marc Marquez, Alex Marquez and their respective sides of the Repsol Honda Team garage worked to maximise their return to Grand Prix action.

Having gotten back up to MotoGP speeds during Wednesday’s test, the Repsol Honda Team worked towards Sunday as action for the first MotoGP race of the year began at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. Temperatures proceeded to rise during the day, ambient temperatures reaching 35°C and the track increasing by 16°C between the sessions – up to 51°C.

Times steadily got faster during the morning session with reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez a constant in the top five. With a best time of 1’37.350, Marc finished the session fastest. A harmless fall midway through Free Practice 2 did little to dent Marc’s momentum, restarting his Honda RC213V and continuing to lap without even returning to the pits. As with the majority of riders, Marc did not improve his time in FP2 and ended the session fourth fastest but ended Friday quickest overall.

The morning session went well for MotoGP rookie Alex Marquez, the Moto2 World Champion making big improvements in his lap time to end just 0.8s behind his team-mate in first. Unfortunately, FP2 started with a small front-end crash at Turn 8, the rider unharmed and immediately up on his feet. This delayed his session by just a few minutes before Alex returned to track. A best time of 1’38.212 in FP1 saw the rookie only 0.3s off a top ten time.

Saturday’s running brings with it the first Qualifying session of 2020, and a final chance to enter into Q2 directly through finishing in the top ten on combined times. A strong showing in the cooler FP3 session could be vital for the first time attack of the season at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España.

 

Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.
Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.

Marc Marquez

1ST  1’37.350

“I’m happy again today. It is great to officially start the 2020 season and I felt really good from this morning, starting with the base we found on Wednesday. Then in the afternoon today we started to experiment a bit, trying a few ideas and using the time differently. I feel competitive, our opponents are fast but I’m feeling good. We had one small crash today because the track temperature is really high, making the track slippery. I went a bit wide and maybe I need to practice saving it with my elbow again, it’s just the second day back after a long break! But I was able to keep riding the bike, it was a really small crash.”

 

Alex Marquez (73). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.
Alex Marquez (73). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.

Alex Marquez

17TH  1’38.212

“The first day was a positive, especially in the morning. It was like the first day of school again, you’re excited but a little bit nervous! We had a plan to push on the last exit after confirming some settings we found in the test. I made a 1’38.2 which was not bad – I was a second faster than the test. There are still some things to improve so I was pleased. In the second session I made a bit of a rookie mistake with the conditions changing, but physically I am fine. A good day of learning.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:

MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP PRESS ON IN FIERY FRIDAY FP SESSIONS

Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 17th July 2020

GRAND PRIX OF SPAIN

FREE PRACTICE

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi followed up a busy FP1 at the Gran Premio de España with a productive FP2 session, securing 2nd and 13th place respectively in the combined timesheets.

2nd MAVERICK VIÑALES 1’37.374 (FP1) / 21 + 21 LAPS

13th VALENTINO ROSSI 1’38.118 (FP1) / 20 + 18 LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi had a full-on schedule for today, leaving no stone unturned in preparing for Sunday‘s Gran Premio de España. They ended the first blistering hot day at the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto in 2nd and 13th place respectively in the combined free practice results.

Viñales was quick to show a strong pace in FP1 and secured second place with a 1‘37.374s best lap. The incredibly hot conditions in the afternoon made it difficult to improve on his morning time, so the Spaniard opted to focus on the race set-up instead in FP2. Whilst pushing hard to get his bike‘s settings perfect for Sunday’s red-hot battle for glory, he clocked a 1‘38.596s on lap 20/21. It earned him 7th place in the FP2 timesheets, 0.471s off the fastest time. Yet his morning time was still faster and earned him 2nd position in the combined free practice timesheets, with a 0.024s-margin to first.

Rossi suffered from a lack of feeling with his rear tyre in the morning session after putting in a few laps. This resulted in him ranking 13th in the FP1 results and a busy afternoon for the Italian. In FP2 his main goal was to find more grip for Sunday‘s race, which is set to take place during the hottest time of the day. The Doctor spent the entire 45 minutes fine-tuning his bike‘s balance. His 1’39.222s fastest lap, set on lap 17/18, put him in 20th place, 1.097s from P1. However, his 1’38.118s from this morning kept him in 13th position in the combined times, 0.768s from the top.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

It‘s been a mixed first day of school for us. It‘s great to be back in action, but unfortunately also some of our problems from previous years with tyre degradation seem to have returned, especially with Valentino. We already gathered a lot of data during the test on Wednesday, but it‘s never enough, so today‘s sessions, especially the hotter FP2 – held at a similar time as the race – play a significant role in our preparations for Sunday. On the bright side, Maverick is in his element and has been since the last part of the pre-season. The new bike with his riding style makes a good package, and together they result in a positive outcome. He has always been very motivated, but this year we can clearly see that extra fire in his eyes. He is eager to try anything and everything, and his high level is a direct result of it. Valentino suffered more from the heat. He seems to lose feeling with the tyres after a couple of laps, and accordingly he then also struggles with the balance of his bike. We will work hard this evening and overnight to find solutions for both issues to make him feel more comfortable during FP3, when we will be trying out for a place in Q2, a crucial part of the GP weekend.

 

Maverick Vinales (12). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.
Maverick Vinales (12). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.

MAVERICK VIÑALES

It was a good day. The feeling that I have on the bike, and also with the team, is amazing. This morning it was unbelievably good, the bike was working fantastic! I‘m also happy, because this afternoon we worked so well. We found out many, mainly positive, things for the race. I‘m actually very enthusiastic, because in the last run I did some good lap times, which were done towards the end of the tyre‘s life, and I was still fast. For sure, we will still have to improve, but I feel ready. It‘s very important to qualify at the front tomorrow. Judging by the time attacks from this morning, the qualifying times are going to be fast, but our main focus remains the race. We found a good pace today in both the morning and the afternoon conditions, but the problem is that the temperature is so high – and this is a very demanding track, you are working all the time – so it‘s very tough. It‘s also very hard on the bike and the tyres, so it will be an interesting race. We have to keep working hard to improve, especially in the hot conditions in tomorrow‘s FP4.

 

Valentino Rossi (46). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Valentino Rossi (46). Photo courtesy Dorna.

VALENTINO ROSSI

It was a difficult day. This morning was already not fantastic, but this afternoon it got worse. I’m struggling with the rear grip because, unfortunately, we have a tyre temperature problem, and in this heat we are suffering a lot. In the morning it’s cooler, so that’s a bit better. In the afternoon we lose a lot, so I’m not very fast. We need to work, and we need to improve the bike’s balance to try to be more competitive. Sincerely, I don’t know how we will improve this, but we have to find something, because tomorrow morning it will be very important to try to stay in the top 10 and go straight into Q2.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:

FIRST TWO SESSIONS FOR MOTOGP AT JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA

APRILIA WORKS ON TYRES AND RACE PREPARATION

The first day of practice for MotoGP in Jerez turned out to be a rather similar situation to the tests, with the high temperatures dominating and all the riders busy preparing for a race that promises to be long and demanding. In fact, pace over the long distance, the resistance of the riders and bikes and the right tyre combination are the focus for every garage, including Aprilia’s, also busy “weaning” the totally revamped RS-GP.

This is a bike which both Aleix and Bradley confirm has great potential, not reflected in the combined standings today. In any case, the gaps are still very close. Aleix, sixteenth in the combined standings, is just 8 tenths behind, whereas Bradley finished the day 1.3 seconds from the leading time.

 

Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Aprilia Gresini Racing.
Aleix Espargaro (41). Photo courtesy Aprilia Gresini Racing.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’

“This was not a simple day. I had a lot of chattering this morning and it’s the first time this has happened with the 2020 RS-GP. We analysed the causes and, thanks to a change we made, I was able to get the feeling back in FP2. I didn’t use too many new tyres, so I can say that, after turning a lot of laps, our pace is not at all bad. Tomorrow morning, I’ll need to take a few risks in the first session to get into the top 10. I think I’ll be able to do that and I hope to find the same sensations as I did this afternoon.”

 

Bradley Smith (38). Photo courtesy Aprilia Gresini Racing.
Bradley Smith (38). Photo courtesy Aprilia Gresini Racing.

BRADLEY SMITH

“This morning, we made a few obvious checks, but I am pleased with how the session went. I did my fast lap almost straight away. On the other hand, we struggled just a bit with the heat in the afternoon and we had to try the various combinations of the available tyre compounds. At the end of the day, I used the one that suited me best at the least ideal time and that had an impact on the final standings. In any case, the position does not reflect our potential and the feeling I have in the saddle. As a racer, everything is more frenetic than the tests and you have to take very quick decisions. I would have liked two 90-minute sessions!”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:

TIGHT TIMES AND TYRES THE THEME ON FRIDAY IN JEREZ

Joan Mir: 5th – 1:37.481 (+ 0.131)

Alex Rins: 7th – 1:37.569 (+ 0.219)

The first MotoGP practice session of the year got underway at Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto on Friday morning, and Team Suzuki Ecstar began the race weekend feeling optimistic and confident.

There was little to choose between the field as lap times proved incredibly close in the morning’s FP1 session; the top 19 riders covered by just one second. Joan Mir and Alex Rins both got into a decent rhythm from the start, with Mir featuring among the Top 5 for the majority of FP1.

As the afternoon’s FP2 session rolled around, conditions became significantly hotter, with track temperatures measuring 54°c. This made it hard to improve on times, and both riders chose to focus on the various different tyre options available for the weekend, and to prepare for Saturday’s qualifying.

Mir closed Friday’s action in fifth place on combined times, just +0.131 from the top spot. Despite the difficulties surrounding tyre choice, he is feeling strong and prepared for tomorrow’s action.

Rins was just behind his team-mate, finishing proceedings in seventh place. He reported confidence in his pace ahead of qualifying tomorrow.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“We’re happy about the work done today. This morning we confirmed a few settings, and then the riders put in good lap times within the Top 10. This is a promising sign for tomorrow’s qualifying. In the afternoon we turned to working towards race settings, especially tyre choice. It’s very hot here so it makes it trickier to choose. We collected good information and data, and tomorrow we’ll see again how the pace is.”

 

Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.
Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.

Joan Mir:

“The feeling was good, it’s great to be back riding properly! We did a really good job today and we were able to try a few things that we didn’t manage to do during the test day. We also spent some time today trying the front tyre options and checking which will be best for us on race day. At the moment it’s difficult to decide because the conditions are so tough. But anyway, the feeling with the bike is good and I’m ready for tomorrow.”

 

Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.
Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.

Alex Rins:

“I’m feeling confident with my pace and with the bike; in the morning I worked on lap times and then in the afternoon I worked on tyres. Now I feel as though I understand the limits with the used tyres. I’m happy because I tried the various options and it helped a lot to figure out how Sunday will be. For tomorrow I’ll be focusing on making sure I’m in Q2 and see what we can do from there.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team claim top two places in FP2

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider Franco Morbidelli pips team-mate Fabio Quartararo to top spot in FP2 in first day of season-opening Gran Premio de España

The 2020 MotoGP World Championship finally got underway today for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT riders Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo, who finished FP2 first and second respectively at Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, Spain. The pair claimed 12th and 15th in the combined times.

Morbidelli, who is going into this first MotoGP racing weekend of the year having signed for the team for two more years, ended the afternoon session at the top of the time sheets with a 1min 38.125secs lap. It was a strong performance by the Italian and bodes well for Sunday’s race, with the high track temperatures of the afternoon indicative of what the riders will have to face. Franco’s best time in FP1 of 1min 37.982secs placed him 12th in the combined standings from the two sessions.

Meanwhile team-mate Quartararo was the only rider to go quicker in the afternoon session, where track temperatures reached 56C, to finish second with a lap time of 1min 38.152secs. The Frenchman used the day to continue improving the set up of his Yamaha YZR-M1 and will use tomorrow’s two free practice sessions to improve one-lap pace. The morning’s fastest time of 1min 38.245secs put Quartararo 17th, but the afternoon lap moved him up to 15th in the combined times.

Tomorrow’s track action will see the two MotoGP riders complete two free practice sessions, the first of which to be held at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT), before the first qualifying session of 2020 for the pair gets underway at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).

 

Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.
Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.

Franco Morbidelli

12th (1’37.982)

It was a really good day for us; we’ve been consistent this morning and we’ve been fast this afternoon. I’m really happy with the overall performance that we have demonstrated today. We need to put everything together and our priority tomorrow is to get directly into Q2, before we think about which tyres to use for the race. Last year was a good race for us here and with the performance we’ve had so far I’m confident ahead of qualifying tomorrow.

 

Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.
Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.

Fabio Quartararo

15th (1’38.152)

I struggled in the morning practice, but in the afternoon we had a good setting on the bike and it felt great. The pace was good in the heat, which is really good as the race will be at more or less at the same time as we had FP2 today. We’ve come here with a new bike compared to last year, no running since pre-season testing and that’s why I struggled a lot this morning. We need to go step by step in making improvements, but I’m really looking forward to tomorrow where we can work on our time attack pace ahead of qualifying and I’m feeling confident.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Dovizioso 4th and Petrucci 21st at the end of the first two free practice sessions of the Spanish GP in Jerez

The Ducati Team riders took to the track today for the first two free practice sessions of the MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix, scheduled for this weekend at the Andalusian circuit of Jerez de la Frontera.

Andrea Dovizioso closed the first day with the fourth time overall, thanks to a fast lap in 1:37.471 posted with his Desmosedici GP bike during the morning session, when the asphalt temperatures had not yet exceeded the 50 degrees that were reached in the afternoon, allowing a quicker pace.

His teammate Danilo Petrucci, who was back on the bike again after a nasty crash suffered on Wednesday’s pre-race test that, luckily, left him with no significant consequences, ended FP2 in 13th position. The provisional classification currently sees him in 21st place at the end of the first day, with the fastest time of 1:38.507 posted during this morning FP1.

 

Andrea Dovizioso (04). Photo courtesy Ducati.
Andrea Dovizioso (04). Photo courtesy Ducati.

Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 1:37.471 (4th)

“Today went well! I am pleased because we were able to take a step further than Wednesday’s test, and that was our main goal for the day. We got very close to the fastest riders, and we also have a good pace ahead of Sunday’s race. The GP this Sunday will be very hard, and I still don’t feel completely comfortable on the bike, but we have several aspects that we need to work on, and for sure, we have room for improvements. In general, I am satisfied with this first day.”

 

Danilo Petrucci (9). Photo courtesy Ducati.
Danilo Petrucci (9). Photo courtesy Ducati.

Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 1:38.507 (21st)

“It was quite difficult to find the rhythm immediately after Wednesday’s crash! In this morning’s session, I didn’t feel completely well on the bike, but, in the afternoon, I started to regain the feeling with the Desmosedici GP despite the great heat. There are still several aspects that we need to improve, especially the race pace, but we have already managed to get closer to the firsts, and this makes me positive and confident for the rest of the weekend”.

The Ducati Team riders will be back out on the track tomorrow, Saturday, 18th July, at 9:55 local time for the Free Practice 3, while Qualifying will be held in the afternoon after FP4 starting from 14:10 local time.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:

THIRD OVERALL ON POSITIVE FIRST DAY OF MOTOGP RACING FOR CRUTCHLOW

17 July 2020 | Spanish GP Practice

After 243 days since the last racing action in MotoGP, the world’s premier motorcycle racing series finally got its wheels turning once more, with the first day of practice at the closed-doors Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez on Friday.

It was an excitingly positive return to track for Cal Crutchlow and the LCR Honda Castrol Team, with the Englishman producing an excellent third place overall on board his GIVI branded RC213V. LCR’s long-term partners (www.givi.it) will shine on the Brit’s bike for 7 races this year, and will hope to join Cal in another podium celebration in Sunday’s 25-lap race.

Crutchlow was third in the morning session and sixth in the afternoon as he and the team got to grips with the sweltering summer sunshine in southern Spain. Temperatures on track closed in on 60 degrees Celsius and will be one of the main obstacles to overcome in qualifying on Saturday, as the riders go for grid position for the first of 13 provisional races in the rearranged MotoGP calendar.

 

Cal Crutchlow (35). Photo courtesy LCR Honda Castrol.
Cal Crutchlow (35). Photo courtesy LCR Honda Castrol.

Cal Crutchlow – 3rd

(1’37.438)

“Today was not a bad day at all. We worked really well as a team and it’s nice to be back into a race weekend after waiting as long as we have to get back. We tested on Wednesday, but it was great to get out there for real this morning.

“We set not too bad a lap time in the morning session, and then this afternoon we worked on the race-pace and race set-up of the bike and I think we have managed to improve that a little bit. We still have a fair amount of work to do tomorrow, however, to make sure we are ready for Sunday’s first Grand Prix. I can’t wait!”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:

NAKAGAMI RETURNS TO RACE MODE AT SCORCHING SPANISH GP

17 July 2020 | Spanish GP Practice

Eight months to the day since the last racing action in MotoGP, the world’s premier motorcycle racing series was back once more on Friday, with day one of practice at the closed-doors Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez de la Frontera.

For Takaaki Nakagami and his LCR Honda Idemitsu Team, it was a solid start to proceedings, as the Japanese rider clocked the 14th fastest time of the day, albeit having sat in higher positions throughout most of the two practice sessions.

Whereas others put in a softer tyre to set a lap-time, Nakagami didn’t do so, and instead wisely spent the day focusing on his race pace. With the 25-lap shootout promising to be brutal in scorching conditions, this extra effort could prove crucial in Sunday’s opening race.

Temperatures on track were well over 50 degrees Celsius, and the heat is forecast to continue all weekend providing a real challenge for qualifying on Saturday, as the riders go for grid position for the first of 13 provisional races in a rearranged MotoGP calendar.

 

Takaaki Nakagami (30). Photo courtesy LCR Honda Idemitsu.
Takaaki Nakagami (30). Photo courtesy LCR Honda Idemitsu.

Takaaki Nakagami – 14th

(1’38.129)

“It was quite a difficult day for us, especially in the morning because we didn’t put in any soft tyres – which most other riders did to get a lap time. We preferred to focus on race tyres, particularly in FP2 in the afternoon. Conditions were really tough. It is extremely hot, but there was also a lot of wind out on track, and so it was difficult to hold onto the bike in the session.

Step by step we started to improve the feeling on the bike but we need to make a lot more improvements, especially in sector four. We are losing a bit there and I need more confidence on the bike there. On this track the last two sectors are so important and require a lot of confidence, so if you don’t have the lap time. We know which areas we need to improve in, so that’s a good thing.

FP3 in the morning will be like a qualifying session and it’s going to be very hard to get through into Q2, but hopefully we will be able to manage it!”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

Spanish GP – Miller in Top 10 after FP1 and FP2. Bagnaia very good in FP2

First free practice of the 2020 MotoGP season ends with Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia in 6th and 18th place respectively. Jack Miller  was very incisive in the FP1 where he closed in sixth position with the best time of 1:37.487 on lap 15. In the FP2 Jack  had some difficulties caused by wind and heat, but he was able to take advantage of this session to improve some technical aspects trying different set up. Pecco Bagnaia during the FP1 f focused more on the technical aspects than the speed. In the FP2, the Italian rider conquers the Top 10 with the best time of 1:38.625 on lap 5.

Pecco Bagnaia

This morning during fp1 I didn’t change the tires, we preferred to focus on race pace because last year for me was very difficult to ride with old tires. During fp2 we were very fast both on time and pace and this was very important because the qualifying practice and the race will be in the same track conditions and we have to handle high temperatures. I’m happy because during fp2 despite the heat I could made a good chrono and I hasn’t got worse compared to fp1. We have to work, but in this moment I don’t have many changes to do. We are ready for tomorrow.

Jack Miller

I’m very happy, today was the first real day of the Championship. This afternoon I struggled a bit because of the wind and the heat. We worked a lot in the box with the team to try to understand how we can improve in some corners. It was a really positive first day and we have a good feeling with the bike since this morning.

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