MotoGP: More From Day One At The Australian Grand Prix At Phillip Island (Updated With More Photos)

MotoGP: More From Day One At The Australian Grand Prix At Phillip Island (Updated With More Photos)

© 2019, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:

Demolition job: Viñales stakes an early claim on victory Down Under

The 2018 winner puts himself in another postcode, Quartararo suffers a highside and Marquez is outside the top five as action opens in Australia

Friday, 25 October 2019

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) ruled Day 1 at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, fastest in the wet and dry to make it double trouble for his rivals. By the end of play the only man within half a second of the Spaniard was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), although Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) was only hundredths off joining the bracket as the Briton took third.

In classic Phillip Island style, Friday saw a few different seasons hit the circuit and it started with a wintery, rainy FP1. Viñales made short work of that from home hero Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) and reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), and once the sun was back out in the afternoon the 2018 winner repeated the feat, this time from Dovizioso and Crutchlow, who were split by just five thousandths.

Behind Viñales, hundredths and thousandths were the deciding margins in a tight top eight. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) was just 0.002 behind Crutchlow, with local favourite Miller completing the top five after ending up 0.017 in further arrears. 0.077 was then the gap back to Marquez in P6, with the number 93 getting the better of Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) by just 0.015. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) made for close company in eighth as well, 0.036 off the ‘The Doctor’.

Missing someone? By the time you get to the latter half of the top ten of late, there’s a name that you expect to have read a while ago but it wasn’t to be for Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) on Friday. The French rookie was putting together a solid performance for much of FP1 but disaster struck towards the end of the session as he suffered a highside and then headed for the Medical Centre. He was declared fit but to be reviewed before FP3, although the number 20 was sidelined for FP2 after the medication he was given. His left foot is the affected area but the key good news was that he’s suffered no fractures in the crash. His teammate Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) flew the flag for the team on Friday, the Italian sixth in the wet and ninth overall after laptimes plummeted in the dry.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completed the top ten after a solid outing for the Noale factory, the last man within a second of Viñales (and within half a second of everyone else). Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was 11th ahead of an impressive push from Karel Abraham (Reale Avintia Racing) in P12, with Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in 13th.

Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) finished the day in 14th despite a crash, just 0.015 ahead of the returning Johann Zarco (LCR Honda Idemitsu). The Frenchman acquitted himself well on first contact with his machine for the next three races; 13th in FP1 in the wet and the second Honda behind, as could be expected, Marquez, but he did get the better of Crutchlow by hundredths and Lorenzo by a few tenths. In FP2 in the dry, the number 5 put it in 15th and only a second and a half off the top. Lorenzo was in hot pursuit in P16.

KTM had a solid start to the weekend in the wet as Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was ninth in FP1, just ahead of Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) by an apt 0.088. But the dry saw the Austrian factory slip down the order a little and they’ll be looking for more on Saturday. Espargaro also suffered a big crash on Day 1, rider ok.

For the premier class, Saturday begins at 10:50 (GMT +11), before qualifying from 15:05 to decide the grid for the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. Will the rain return? Tune in to find out.

Friday’s fastest:

1 – Maverick Viñales (SPA – Yamaha) 1’28.824

2 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA – Ducati) +0.496

3 – Cal Crutchlow* (GBR – Honda) +0.501

4 – Danilo Petrucci (ITA – Ducati) +0.503

5 – Jack Miller* (AUS – Ducati) +0.520

*Independent Team rider

 

Tyre Test Session

Given the improved conditions in the afternoon on Friday at Phillip Island, the planned Tyre Test Session was able to go ahead and initial reports were positive.

The session was to give Official MotoGP™ tyre supplier Michelin the opportunity to assess a new specification slick rear tyre at an especially demanding circuit for the rear. This latest evolution has a new construction designed to improve performance at all tracks and has already been tested at the Barcelona, Brno and Misano Tests with the aim of introducing it in 2020. The version that Michelin brought to Phillip Island is asymmetric with a harder left-hand side and features the existing compounds specifically designed to combat the huge stresses the tyres are placed under at the track.

Each rider had one rear tyre in the new specification available and each chose the soft compound. Riders were also given an extra front tyre of their preferred specification – soft, medium or hard – and were asked to do a minimum of 11 timed laps.

 

Martin keeps his momentum to top Day 1

It’s a KTM kinda day on Friday at Phillip Island with four Austrian machines in the top five – and a few surprises outside it

Jorge Martin. Photo courtesy of Dorna/www.motogp.com.
Jorge Martin. Photo courtesy of Dorna/www.motogp.com.

Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took his first Moto2™ podium last time out and the Spaniard picked up where he left off on Day 1 at the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, this time topping the overall timesheets and with quite a margin. The rookie was 0.343 ahead of teammate Brad Binder by the end of play, with Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) completing the top three and the only non-KTM in the top five.

FP1 was wet and FP2 dry, but the same name was at the top: Martin. He led the first session ahead of fellow rookie Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and a standout performance from Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Temporary Forward), but the dry conditions in FP2 shuffled the combined timesheets behind Martin. In the second session, Binder came to the fore followed by Navarro, with newly-announced 2020 Red Bull KTM Tech 3 MotoGP™ rider Iker Lecuona putting his monday.com American Racing machine into fourth overall.

Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was another rookie who, like Martin, shone on Day 1 Down Under. The Italian was seventh in the wet and moved up to fifth in the dry, building on some solid progress of late to end the day ahead of  Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team). Bulega was P7 overall ahead of Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), who had a fairly solid day inside the top ten in both conditions, although a crash in the morning saw him pushing the bike back to pitlane.

Ninth overall went to a some impressive speed in the dry for Jesko Raffin (NTS RW Racing GP) as the Swiss rider pulled yet more pace at Phillip Island out the bag, ahead of an equally  impressive result for Manzi completing the top ten. Raffin was also a protagonist in the most high-profile incident of the day in the intermediate class as he clashed with Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) or rather, vice versa. The Brit has been sent to the back of the grid for irresponsible riding.

Second in the Championship Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) had a lower profile day in P11 overall, with rookie Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) splitting him from fellow title hopeful Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) as the Spaniard took P13. They’ll be looking for much more on Saturday but they’re at least provisionally into Q2, along with the man in fourteenth: Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40). With the weather looking worse not better tomorrow, that could prove key.

Fabio Di Giannanontio (Beta Tools Speed Up) was a somewhat surprising name to end the day outside the cut as he was P15, ahead of Lowes in sixteenth. Both crashed. Home hero Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) likewise as the Aussie suffered a big one – rider ok but P19 overall. And last but not least, back-to-back winner Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) was down in P20, just ahead of Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP). Marini crashed in FP1 but was declared fit after getting reviewed before FP2.

That’s Friday done Down Under and it seems to be Binder who holds the cards in the crucial Championship fight. Will the South African continue the roll on Saturday? Can Martin stay at the top? Or will a new day bring another new shuffle through the pack and even more inclement weather…find out when FP3 begins at 9:55 (GMT +11), before qualifying from the equally earlier time of 13:30.

Friday’s fastest:

1 – Jorge Martin (SPA – KTM) 1’33.010

2 – Brad Binder (RSA – KTM) +0.353

3 – Jorge Navarro (SPA – Speed Up) +0.395

4 – Iker Lecuona (SPA – KTM) +0.464

5 – Marco Bezzecchi (ITA – KTM) +0.471

 

Canet fights off Dalla Porta to begin his final stand on top

The Spaniard starts the weekend in P1, but his biggest rival is his closest company

Aron Canet (44). Photo courtesy of Dorna/www.motogp.com.
Aron Canet (44). Photo courtesy of Dorna/www.motogp.com.

A Friday of two halves began the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and in Moto3™ it was Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) who took to the top as he fought off Championship leader Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) for the honour. The Italian, who has his first chance to wrap up the crown this weekend, was 0.281 behind key challenger Canet by the end of play. Last year’s winner Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) completed the top three despite two crashes in the difficult conditions that greeted the grid in the morning.

FP1 was a washout for all classes and for the lightweight runners, the conditions gradually seemed to get worse and worse. That meant that Tony Arbolino’s (VNE Snipers) earlier lap couldn’t be bettered, the Italian therefore ending the session an impressive seven tenths clear of Dalla Porta. In a sunnier afternoon it was tougher going for Arbolino, however, as he took P17 – as Dalla Porta put his now-trademark consistency to good use to take second in a wet FP1 and dry FP2.

With the difference in the weather, it’s that dry (or largely so) FP2 that decides the combined timesheets on Friday, with Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and teammate Tatsuki Suzuki completing the top five. Andrea Migno (Mugen Race) was next up, ahead of John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) in P7. The Brit was also a solid contender in a wet FP1 and took fifth.

Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) was eighth overall and third in the wet, the Italian hitting the ground running Down Under, with Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) in P9 and Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) completing the top ten. Foggia was a big improver in the dry after ending FP1 in P26, although not quite on the scale of Arenas’ bounce back from quite literally at the back to completing the top three. The Spaniard only managed nine laps in the morning given his two crashes.

Antonelli, Migno and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) were three more names amongst the spattering of crashers on Friday, with tough conditions catching a few out.

Stefano Nepa (Real Avintia Arizona 77), Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46), Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) and Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) complete the fastest 14 and therefore the provisional Q2 graduates, with the likes of Lopez, Arbolino, Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) left out and doubtless topping the list of those hoping for some better weather in FP3 – but the forecast looks even worse…

See what dawns on Saturday in FP3 at 9:00 (GMT +11) local time before qualifying from 12:35 and keep a weather eye on the horizon…seasons on the Island seem to change in a second! Can Canet defeat Dalla Porta to keep his title hopes alive?

Friday’s fastest:

1 – Aron Canet (SPA – KTM) 1’36.809

2 – Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA – Honda) +0.281

3 – Albert Arenas (SPA – KTM) +0.451

4 – Niccolo Antonelli (ITA – Honda) +0.549

5 – Tatsuki Suzuki (JPN- Honda) +0.634

 

 

 

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

Alternating day for Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo in Australia

The opening day at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit greeted riders and teams today with its typical different seasons in just a few hours. Following a wet Free Practice one, the sun was back out this afternoon for FP2. In addition, all MotoGP riders had another not timed session to evaluate Michelin’s newest development at the Island.

Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Hafizh Syahrin concluded day one in P19 of the overall standings, after he improved his lap time steadily in wet and dry conditions. Whereas MotoGP rookie Miguel Oliveira initiated the weekend with a ninth fastest lap time in the rain, but struggled to find his pace in dry FP2 this afternoon to finish 0.464 seconds behind his teammate.

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 19th

Time: 1:30.940

Laps: 42

“Day one here in Phillip Island was quite good so far, although we need to improve a little bit on the front in order to have more support and confidence in turning. I need to ride a v-formed line, because sometimes, I’m having too much lean angle, which destroys the tyre too fast. We try to understand and manage it a bit better tomorrow. I feel good and I have a decent speed. The tyre test session was very helpful, I could improve my feeling further and also my line on the track. I believe we can do a positive Qualifying tomorrow and hopefully also a good race on Sunday.”

Miguel Oliveira

Position: 20th

Time: 1:31.404

Laps: 42

“We had a quite positive start this morning. In wet conditions I felt very confident and the bike was good. In the afternoon, I immediately struggled to find my lines and it was quite hard to ride the bike, so now with the team we try to find the best solution we can for tomorrow to improve, because I feel our potential is much better than this and we just need to work hard to find a better feeling from Saturday.”

 

 

 

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

A GOOD FIRST DAY FOR THE APRILIA RIDERS ON PHILLIP ISLAND

ALEIX IN THE TOP TEN AND ANDREA CLEARLY IMPROVING

That’s a wrap! The opening day of the Australian weekend was positive for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini. After a wet FP1 that made things difficult for the RS-GP and its riders, the dry track conditions in the second session allowed Espargaró and Iannone to move up in the standings.

Aleix took a nice tenth place that provisionally puts him through to the Q2 qualifiers with a time of 1’29.791. Andrea showed marked improvement with respect to recent races and, after battling for a position in the top ten that was decidedly within his potential, he finished thirteenth with a time of 1’30.170, just 379 thousandths behind his teammate and the top ten.

Andrea did even better in the special 20-minute session dedicated to testing the new tyres (obviously not valid for the standings) where he finished second, only behind Márquez, with a time of 1’29.421. A good sign for tomorrow’s sessions which will be decisive in establishing the starting grid order.

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

ALEIX ESPARGARÒ

“This morning I struggled in the wet, but it was important because fortunately we turned a lot of laps that will let use configure the electronics better in the event of other wet sessions. In the dry I was more competitive, even if the conditions were not easy, with wind and low temperatures, but in any case, I was able to get into the top 10 and that is always an important result.”

Andrea Iannone (29). Courtesy of Aprilia Gresini Racing
Andrea Iannone (29). Courtesy of Aprilia Gresini Racing

ANDREA IANNONE

“Today I had decidedly positive sensations. It’s a pity I wasn’t able to do a good fast lap, but we preferred working on a bike with a quite different setup. In any case, I am rather serene and confident. We need to put a few ideas together to improve, but I think this can be a good weekend for us. In the additional session I used the bike I liked more, and I must say that the new tyres help us a lot. This is an important sign, but now we are thinking about finishing this season in the best possible way.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team:

Up and down day for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT at Phillip Island

Franco Morbidelli ends opening day with provisional Q2 spot in ninth but crash sidelines Fabio Quartararo for the day

Australian GP – 25 October 2019

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team have had an up and down day as Australian Grand Prix action got underway in Phillip Island, with Franco Morbidelli enjoying a good start to the weekend to finish ninth but team-mate Fabio Quartararo sidelined by a crash in FP1 despite showing strong pace early on.

Morbidelli got the day going in fine form despite tricky conditions, ending up in sixth in the rain in FP1 as he continues to gain experience of the Yamaha YZR-M1 in the wet. With the blustery seaside track’s ever-changeable weather drying out for the afternoon’s FP2, Morbidelli was also able to get some dry track time under his belt to end the day in ninth place with a lap time of 1min 29.718secs, only 0.894secs from the provisional pole position and with a Q2 spot secured should tomorrow’s forecast rain appear.

Quartararo’s day came to a premature end in the final seconds of the wet FP1 when he was caught out by conditions at Phillip Island and high-sided heavily at turn six. Undergoing medical examination afterwards, X-rays showed no fractures but he was treated for a haematoma to his left ankle. Quartararo sat out this afternoon’s FP2 and the additional 20-minute tyre test session due to the medication administered following his crash and will undergo further assessment before hopefully returning to action in tomorrow’s FP3.

The Australian Grand Prix action continues tomorrow with practice starting at 1050 local time (0750 Malaysian time) and qualifying at 1505 (1205 Malaysian time), ahead of Sunday’s 27-lap race.

Franco Morbidelli:

“I felt strong on the bike today, with a great FP1 where we were able to be fast in the wet and a good FP2 in the dry. We went faster in the rain and there’s still a little bit of improvement to come in the dry, but we more or less know the direction to go in and we’re quite confident we can go faster. I’m sure that there’s more to come in either condition tomorrow but I hope that we’ll have a dry qualifying. At the end of the day, we tried some new tyres for Michelin in a special session and I think they were a little bit better, but we need some more time to really understand them.”
Fabio Quartararo:

“Even though I wanted to ride today in FP2, I have quite a lot of pain in my ankle and I have to go back to the medical centre for another examination in the morning. It wasn’t a nice crash. Nothing is broken though, and I’ll try to ride again tomorrow. If we can, that’ll be good but if we can’t, we won’t take any risks. I still don’t have a lot of experience in wet conditions, but when you crash you learn from it and there’s a lot to take from this one. It looks like tomorrow morning will be wet and that may mean we have to go to Q1 for the first time, but that’s just another opportunity for us to understand something new!”

 

 

 

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

FINE FORM FOR RINS AND MIR ON DAY ONE DOWN UNDER

Alex Rins: 8th – 1:29.472 (+ 0.648)

Joan Mir: 11th – 1:29.875 (+ 1.051)

• Alex Rins makes promising start at one of his favourite tracks.
• Joan Mir confident and quick ahead of Day 2.
• Team prepare for unsettled conditions throughout the weekend.

Phillip Island in Australia welcomed the riders for Round 17 of the MotoGP World Championship, just days after the completion of the Japanese GP in Motegi.

FP1 provided a tricky start for everyone as heavy rain lashed the southern Australian circuit and temperatures dropped. Alex Rins and Joan Mir both gained useful information from the session, completing it in 12th and 15th respectively.

Clear skies and bright sunshine were on the menu for the afternoon’s FP2 session, and Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders were keen to make the most of the dry track time as more inclement weather is expected. Mir felt confident and quick, and he was able to set some impressive lap times. Similarly, Rins was fast and relaxed at the track, which he likes so much. A final push saw Rins secure provisional passage to Q2 with 8th place, he was just over six tenths of a second from the top. Mir narrowly missed out on the Top 10 as he finished in 11th with a 1:29.875.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“Today we had a bit of everything; cold and very wet in the morning, dry and sunny in the afternoon. So overall it has been an important day for checking the different conditions. This morning in the wet we were not super-fast, but we still found it useful. This afternoon we tried to start our race preparations, trying settings and tyres. Alex is in the Top 10 and he did well, Joan was also quick, and he only just missed out in 11th, so we’re looking forward to seeing what we can do tomorrow.”

Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy of ECSTAR Suzuki.
Alex Rins (42). Photo courtesy of ECSTAR Suzuki.

Alex Rins:

“It was a strong day for us. I really enjoy this track and I’m pleased to be in the Top 10 because that should mean I’m in Q2, which was the first target! At the moment I think we need to take one step more to be at the front, but we’re all pretty close on lap times. Today I tried different tyres and settings because it looks like tomorrow will be wet again.”

Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy of ECSTAR Suzuki.
Joan Mir (36). Photo courtesy of ECSTAR Suzuki.

Joan Mir:

“I’m not super satisfied with today, I would have liked another dry session. It’s my first time here with the MotoGP bike, and I feel that I still need a bit more time to adapt – that would have been easier without the wet conditions. I have a bit of margin to improve and I hope tomorrow I can find something more. Anyway, I feel confident.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

70.8° of lean – miracle Marquez saves another

An action-packed Friday in Australia saw Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo battle through changeable conditions for sixth and 16th respectively.

Phillip Island’s famously quick-changing weather gave the MotoGP World Championship a sample of the best and worst conditions on offer at the Australian circuit. In the morning the track reached just 16°C as rain fell until midday. But the lunch break brought better weather, the track warming up to 36°C as pit lane opened for Free Practice 2.

As the forecast remains stormy throughout the weekend, riders made the most of the wet morning session. Third fastest in the rain, reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez and his crew adapted the Honda RC213V quickly to suit the conditions. Marquez was then quick to head out on track for FP2, eager to maximize his dry track time. A best time of 1’29.421 on his 19th lap of 19 had Marquez finishing the day in sixth spot, within a tenth of second placed Dovizioso.

After some early setup changes, Jorge Lorenzo was able to consistently improve his times in both the wet and the dry. Lorenzo managed a 1’41.958 in FP1 for 18th and improved to a 1’30.706 for 16th in FP2 as he continued to assess various setup changes to suit the fast Phillip Island circuit. A switch to the softer option tyre provided Lorenzo with a significantly improved feeling.

The day finished with an additional 20-minute session, Michelin taking the opportunity to assess tyre options for the 2020 season. Times from the session did not contribute towards the top ten for Q2. Marc Marquez pulled off another incredible save during the Tyre Test Session, lifting his RC213V from 70.8° of lean angle at Turn 10 to the delight of onlookers and fans around the world.

Marc Marquez (93). Courtesy of Repsol Honda.
Marc Marquez (93). Courtesy of Repsol Honda.

Marc Marquez

SIXTH  1’29.421

“Our feeling today was not bad, I’m happy. In our fast lap we couldn’t find the best way to have a good lap time but our rhythm is there. Honestly, I’m riding better than I expected because I knew Viñales and Yamaha would be strong here but we are not far from them. We’ll now keep working, it wasn’t a bad first day. Of course the weather is still looking very complicated for the rest of the weekend so we will have to see what happens. Today we broke another record with the save. My brother did a great save in Motegi so I had to try and equal it but I think his is still best! At the end of FP2 I came up to Jorge on my flying lap while he was going slowly, we made a bit of contact but Jorge and I already spoke about what happened.”

Jorge Lorenzo (99). Photo courtesy of Repsol Honda.
Jorge Lorenzo (99). Photo courtesy of Repsol Honda.

Jorge Lorenzo

16TH  1’30.706

“Today we started in the wet and my feeling at the start was OK. In the afternoon I was struggling a bit with corner entry when using the medium tyre, but with the soft tyre I was able to go a second and a half faster straight away. It helped our position at the end quite a lot. Unfortunately, right at the end I didn’t look back to see I had three or four riders behind me, I tried to be as far on the inside as possible but Marc and I were a little too close.”

 

 

 

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

VIÑALES TOPS PHILLIP ISLAND FRIDAY SESSIONS AS ROSSI TAKES 7TH
 

Phillip Island (Australia), 25th October 2019

GRAND PRIX OF AUSTRALIA

FREE PRACTICE

The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team had to adapt quickly to various weather conditions at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit today, as FP1 was fully wet and FP2 fully dry. Maverick Viñales was unshaken though. He topped the first two free practice sessions of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, showing great form. Valentino Rossi also used the two 45-minute outings to set his bike up for whatever track circumstances he might face this weekend. He ended the day in seventh position.

1st MAVERICK VIÑALES 1’28.824 (FP2) / 20 + 25 LAPS

7th VALENTINO ROSSI 1’29.436 (FP2) / 19 + 21 LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi got back into the saddles of their YZR-M1s for this weekend’s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. Viñales loves the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, and it showed in his perfect results: he topped both FP1 and FP2. Valentino Rossi also had a productive day working on his bike in the wet and the dry conditions. He secured seventh place in the combined FP timesheets.

Rain couldn‘t stop Viñales from getting into the groove early on at the Phillip Island circuit. He put his Yamaha briefly in second place and then got to work perfecting the set-up. Fifteen minutes into the session the Spaniard decided to raise the level. He was pushing, clocking a 1‘39.338s for provisional first. He improved his time gradually on the next two tries, only to finish the mid-session run with a 1’38.957. This red-hot time in the wet conditions kept him firmly at the top of the FP1 rankings, 0.147s ahead of his closest rival.

As often at the Australian circuit, the conditions in the afternoon were completely different from the morning session, with the bright sunshine greeting the Yamaha rider as he went out on track to defend his P1 position from the morning. The number-12 rider quickly adapted to the dry track conditions on Run 1, setting a 1‘30.110s for first place again, and kept up his benchmark-setting form. When the pace quickened, he retaliated on Run 2 before he switched to a soft rear tyre for a final push. He posted a 1‘29.012s, increasing his advantage, and followed it up with a 1‘28.824s, the first and only 1‘28s lap of the weekend so far. It earned him first place in the FP2 results with a 0.496s gap to the rider in second.

Rossi was on it right from the start of FP1. He was setting multiple personal best laps and featured in the top 5 as he searched for a set-up that suited the wet track conditions. The Doctor returned to the box to have some adjustments made to his YZR-M1 and went back out on track with 20 minutes to go. However, with rain coming down hard 15 minutes before the end, it was difficult for the Italian to improve his time. He had dropped to sixth place but delayed his hot lap, making another quick stop. On Run 3, he moved up to fourth in the final three minutes with a 1‘39.885s, putting him 0.928s behind his team-mate.

The Doctor needed a little time to get comfortable in the dry conditions in FP2, but once he had tweaked the YZR-M1‘s setting to his liking, he recovered to sixth place before the usual ’mini time attack‘ at the end of the session. He put in a flying lap, a 1‘29.436s, for fifth place but was eventually pushed to seventh. The FP2 result also put him in seventh place in the combined FP timesheets, 0.612s from first.

FP2 was followed up by a special Tyre Test Session at the demanding Phillip Island circuit, to test the durability of the 2020 Michelin tyres. Viñales and Rossi used the 20 minutes of track time just to gather data on the Michelin new soft rear casing, which increases stability and grip. They finished the session in third and seventh place respectively.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

“Phillip Island is known for its changeable weather conditions, anything can happen, and we’ve seen that again today. FP1 was completely wet and FP2 was fully dry, so that gave us the possibility to work on the set-up for different conditions, and we were competitive in both. Maverick was in a league of his own here. He had a solid gap to the rider in second place in both the wet and the dry session. Valentino was also quite comfortable with his bike and he ended the day in seventh place overall. Especially during FP2 we could evaluate the slick tyre specifications, front and rear, in view of the race. This might have been the only dry session before a dry race, so it could be crucial. It’s early days, because it’s just the Friday, but right now we have good momentum. Today we were also able to try the 2020 tyre casing for Michelin in a special 20-minute Tyre Test Session. Both riders got a positive feeling from it.”

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

MAVERICK VIÑALES

“I feel really good. At this track I always find exceptional lap times, so I‘m quite happy. We set up the bike in a really good way and I stayed out on track just riding and riding, also in the wet, because that’s always difficult here. You have to warm up the tyres really well, you have to keep running a steady pace, so actually I‘m quite happy about today‘s results. It‘s too early to judge what the race will be like. We set the pace today, but we have to keep working. The race is a totally different story, we will see on Sunday. But I do feel good with the bike‘s set-up, and that‘s the most important thing right now. The 2020 Michelin tyres feel good. They are very consistent, that‘s an important point, I‘m happy about the work they did.”

Valentino Rossi (46). Photo courtesy of Monster Energy Yamaha.
Valentino Rossi (46). Photo courtesy of Monster Energy Yamaha.

VALENTINO ROSSI

“Today is a very important day because we tested in both conditions and it looks like the forecast for tomorrow is wet, so everybody pushed a lot to stay in the top 10. At the end, on the dry, I was in P7 and my pace is quite good. In both conditions I feel comfortable with the bike, I was not so bad also in the wet, I was in P4. For sure, we have to work in some areas to improve and also try to understand the best tyre option, but the feeling with the bike is good.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Australian GP: positive first day for Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, second and fourth at Phillip Island after the first two practice sessions

The Australian Grand Prix race weekend has begun in a positive way for both Ducati Team riders. At the end of the first day of practice, Andrea Dovizioso was lying second in the timesheets while his team-mate Danilo Petrucci finished in fourth.

This morning’s FP1 session was held in the rain, and it finished with Petrucci fifth and Dovizioso in tenth.

In the afternoon the track dried out rapidly and the riders went out for FP2 on slick tyres. Andrea Dovizioso ended the session in second place, setting a quickest time of 1’29.320 with soft tyres on the last lap of his third exit.

Danilo Petrucci, who proved to have a good feeling with the Australian circuit right from the start, was always in amongst the fastest riders of the session and he ended the day in fourth place with a best time of 1’29.327.

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

Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 1’29.320 (2nd)

“In the end today went well: I’m very happy with second position, also because tomorrow it might rain and so it was particularly important to be inside the top 10. I managed to set a good time right at the end of the session, and even though in general I still don’t have a good feeling, we are amongst the quickest group of riders. In any case it was a positive first day”.

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

Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 1’29.327 (4th)

“It’s always great to ride here at Phillip Island: it’s one of my favourite tracks and today we were quick right from the start. Establishing the right set-up of the bike is never easy on this circuit, because of the long high-speed corners and the different ways of interpreting the track, but I’m feeling confident for tomorrow. Today we were quick both in the wet and the dry, and so I’m very optimistic about the rest of the weekend and satisfied with this first day”.

Tomorrow, Saturday 26th October, the riders will be back on track again at 10.50 local time (01.50 CET) for the third free practice session, while qualifying will get underway after FP4, starting from 15.05 local time (06.05 CET).

 

 

 

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

CRUTCHLOW THE LEADING HONDA ON DAY ONE IN AUSTRALIA

Cal Cruthclow finished the opening day of free practice for Australian Grand Prix as the fastest Honda rider at the legendary Phillip Island circuit. As conditions dried out following a wet start in Victoria, the LCR Honda CASTROL rider pushed himself up into third position by the end of a busy day for the MotoGP field.

After a wet FP1 session in which he was 14th fastest, the riders also took part in an afternoon tyre testing session for Michelin. But it was in FP2 that Crutchlow did his best work as he posted the third quickest lap – ahead of world champion Marc Marquez – to leave himself well-placed ahead of qualifying on Saturday which is forecast to be hit by further rain.

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

Cal Crutchlow – 3rd

(1’29.325 – lap 21 of 22)

“I feel ok, I don’t feel fantastic on the bike at the moment. At turn one I’m a little bit scared going in there sometimes, but today I did my fastest top speed going in there in that last session we just did, I think the fastest speed I’ve ever done, 343 kmph, so I can’t have been too scared! But overall, we’re happy enough with the day, I need to improve in some areas and we need to improve the bike. But that extra session we got there (Michelin tyre test) was quite helpful as it meant we got two dry sessions. But with the weather predicted for tomorrow it’s not great as I don’t feel very good with the bike in the rain at the moment, so let’s see if we can improve that feeling tomorrow and hopefully the race is dry on Sunday.”

 

 

 

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

ZARCO UP AND RUNNING IN LCR HONDA IDEMITSU COLOURS

LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Johann Zarco got his first taste of the RC213V as free practice for the Australian Grand Prix got underway on Friday. The Frenchman is standing in for Takaaki Nakagami for the final three races of the season and made a solid start at Phillip Island as he finished the opening day in the top 15.

Zarco admitted it had taken him some time to find his confidence and rhythm on board his new machine, but is now looking forward to qualifying on Saturday. He went 13th fastest in a rain-affected FP1 session, before taking 15th in FP2 – just ahead of Repsol Honda’s Jorge Lorenzo – as conditions dried out at the famous coastal circuit.

Johann Zarco (5). Photo courtesy of LCR Honda.
Johann Zarco (5). Photo courtesy of LCR Honda.

Johann Zarco – 15th

(1’30.441 – lap 20 of 21)

“With the rain this morning it was not easy to discover the bike, but it was good because in the rain you go slower so you have more time. With the wet conditions it was a little bit scary, but even being scary I was not super slow, so that was positive. In the afternoon it was good to really try the bike in the dry and get some real information. It was not easy and I had to build some confidence step by step. At this track you really need to trust the bike a lot and you could see that, compared to the others, I was not going as fast into the corners. But step by step I improved, not enough to be in the top 10, but at least I was able to catch back some time. It will be a tough weekend to find new limits and put myself back to a very high level of performance, but that’s the challenge and I will give it my best.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

#AustralianGP FP. Great start for Jack at his Home GP (P5). Pecco is convincing despite the crash in the FP2.

The free practice for the Pramac Generac Australian Grand Prix ended with the 5th place of Jack Miller and the 14th place of Francesco Bagnaia who could not take advantage of the final time attack in FP2.

The rain that fell in the early morning conditioned the FP1 before the sun dried the track surface. Jack pushed hard in wet conditions (P3) fighting with Marquez and Vinales while Pecco became familiar with the Australian circuit, lapping at Phillip Island for the first time in MotoGP.

In the FP2 Miller worked convincingly on the race pace and then set the fifth fastest time. Very positive feelings also for Bagnaia even if he could not exploit the time attack due to a crash.

P14 – Pecco Bagnaia

Unfortunately, we had a problem with in FP2 and I crashed. We figured out what happened and this is important. However, there is still some regret because the feeling was really positive. I was convinced that I could get the TOP 10. I hope the track will be dry tomorrow to try and get the direct qualification to Q2.

Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy of Pramac Racing.
Jack Miller (43). Photo courtesy of Pramac Racing.

P5 – Jack Miller

It was a positive Friday. The feeling is very good and it is nice to have the support of many fans. But we still have work to do to be at the top. We have to fix some details but I can say that we started well. We’ve had the chance to lap in both wet and dry conditions and this is what we need to collect important data.

 

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