MotoGP: More From Practice At Valencia II

MotoGP: More From Practice At Valencia II

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Miller pips Nakagami by a tenth, Mir 12th on Friday

The Aussie makes it two Fridays in a row, with the top two in the Championship outside the top ten on Day 1

Friday, 13 November 2020

Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) made it two Fridays on top in a row at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, the Aussie fastest in FP2 to pip Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) by less than a tenth. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) completed an all-Independent Team rider top three, still within 0.120 off his teammate at the top. The top 19 on Friday were covered by just under three-quarters of a second.

Championship leader Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) didn’t have the smoothest start to his first #MatchPoint weekend, the number 36 ending the day in 12th and suffering what’s become an uncharacteristic crash in the afternoon – rider ok. Second overall Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) ended Day 1 in P16, meaning it’s advantage Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in the top three in the title fight as the Suzuki rider took ninth.

FP1

After getting so close to the podium last weekend, it was Nakagami out the blocks quickest to top in FP1 as the Japanese rider ended the session just over a tenth ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT). Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) made it a Yamaha duo on the chase, improving late on to move up to third.

With the weather dry and not too cold, a huge improvement on a tough Friday at the European GP, the riders were down to business straight away. Morbidelli set the early pace with a 1:30.944, a substantial margin quicker than the race last Sunday. Nakagami then went fastest with just over 20 minutes to go, and he stayed there for the remainder of FP1, Viñales the only one making a decisive late move as he took third – and he’s out from under the cloud of the pending pitlane start that he dealt with last weekend.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) rounded out the top five, with 0.341 covering the leading quintet. There were no crashes in FP1.

Mir was eighth, starting the day ahead of both of his closest challengers. Rins was 11th in FP1, whereas Quartararo was P16.

FP2

Miller moved from 12th to first in the afternoon, just ahead of Nakagami as FP1’s fastest man kept his presence at the top consistent. The afternoon also saw Bagnaia strike to take over in the top three, part of an impressive Ducati showing.

The session began with an immediate flurry of fast times as yet more dry track time greeted the premier class, with Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) leading the early stages of the afternoon session from Mir. These laps saw the Frenchman and Spaniard go fifth and six on the combined times to get within three tenths off Nakagami’s pace from FP1. Plenty of riders went quicker in the first half of the session though, and there was plenty left to play.

Nakagami was the first to really raise the stakes. On the soft rear, the Japanese rider put in in a 1:30.713 to go two tenths clear on the combined times, and 0.340 clear in FP2. Fellow Honda rider Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) wasn’t faring so well though. After a crash at Turn 2 early on, the number 73 was down again – this time at Turn 4. T4 then also bit someone else: Mir. The Championship leader suffered a rare crash at the left-hander, but he was able to get back out in the session.

The timesheets were still changing. Rins shot up to sixth before going better again as Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) joined fellow Ducati rider Zarco inside the top three. Pol Espargaro then shoved the Italian down to P4 but it was all happening with just over a minute to go. Next to move up was Bagnaia, into second. Finally, Miller struck. The Aussie was flying and took over at the top as the chequered flag waved.

Overall, that means Miller leads the premier class field on Friday, ahead of a consistent performance from Nakagami as he slots into second. Bagnaia joins his teammate in the top three; the Italian P19 after FP1 and making a big leap up the timesheets.

European Grand Prix polesitter Pol Espargaro ends Day 1 in P4, staying inside the top four and another consistent performer on Friday. Zarco’s handy FP2 sees the Frenchman finish Friday in P5, moving up from a P6 finish in FP1. Dovizioso took sixth by the end of play, ensuring there are four Ducatis in the top six on an improved Day 1 for the Borgo Panigale factory.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) claimed P7, demoting Morbidelli as the Italian ends the day in P8. He was one of only two to to not go quicker in the afternoon, the other being Maverick Viñales as he took tenth. Rins finished ninth to split the Yamahas on the combined timesheets.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was P11 on Friday, ending the day just ahead of Mir as the Championship leader got shuffled down to P12. Add in a crash and it’s not going all his way so far, although with Rins not too far ahead and Quartararo in P16, it could be worse.

Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) ended Friday in P18 after a tougher day at the office, with an identical laptime to Alex Marquez as the rookie also looks for more on Saturday.

That’s a wrap on Day 1. Mir will be one praying for dry skies overnight as he looks to move straight through to Q2, as will Quartararo. Rins, on the other hand, would likely be a little more zen should the weather move in…

Tune in for FP3 at 10:55 local time (GMT+1) to see who’s heading through, before qualifying will then decide the grid from 14:50!

MotoGP™: the five fastest on Friday

1 Jack Miller* – Pramac Racing – Ducati – 1:30.622

2 Takaaki Nakagami* – LCR Honda Idemitsu – Honda – +0.091

3 Francesco Bagnaia*  – Pramac Racing – Ducati – +0.120

4 Pol Espargaro – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – KTM – +0.199

5 Johann Zarco* – Esponsorama Racing – Ducati – +0.277

*Independent Team rider

Jorge Navarro (9). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jorge Navarro (9). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Navarro nabs top spot from Marini

The home hero ends the day on top, with Marini second, Lowes fourth and Bastianini sixth on Friday

Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) narrowly took to the top on home turf on Friday, beating Championship contender Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) by just 0.025 on Day 1 of the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana. Fabio Di Giannantonio (MB Conveyors Speed Up) completed a top three split by just 0.038. Title contender Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was fourth and within 0.102, with points leader Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) starting the weekend off in sixth but only 0.157 down despite a crash as the timesheets tightened in Valencia.

FP1

The day began with Navarro in charge ahead of Marini, with the Spaniard only half a second off his own lap record as action got underway again in Valencia. ‘Diggia’ made it the same top three in the morning as overall too, although the number 21’s fastest in FP1 wouldn’t quite be his quickest of the day.

Lowes slotted into fourth, ahead of a solid opening session from Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) as the German homed in on the top – fifth but still within a tenth and a half of Navarro’s quickest lap.

Bastianini started the day ninth but only a quarter of a second off the top, with Moto2™ tight as ever.

Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was the sole crasher in the morning, rider ok.

FP2

In the afternoon, ‘Diggia’ hit back to top the timesheets, with Lowes moving up into second but just 0.090 off. Bastianini was only 0.029 off his closest title rival as he took third too, with Marini the title hopeful to get shuffled back as he ended FP2 in P8.

Bo Bendsneyder (NTS RW Racing GP) impressed to take fourth in the session ahead of a metronomic Schrötter as the German again completed the top five, a small but apt 0.023 off the Dutchman. Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) impressed in sixth as he pipped Europe GP podium finisher Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Navarro was ninth in FP2, as Joe Roberts (Tennor American Racing) completed the top ten.

Overall it’s a shuffle between the two sessions. Navarro’s FP1 time leads the way ahead of Marini’s morning effort, with Di Giannantonio third overall from his session-topping FP2 lap. Lowes and Schötter slot into fourth and fifth by virtue of their fastest efforts from FP1.

Bastianini ends the day in sixth from his FP2 laptime, although the Italian took a tumble at Turn 6 in the afternoon. Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) is seventh as the second home hero on the timesheets impressed once again. Bendsneyder’s afternoon lap slots him into eighth, ahead of Inde Aspar Team Moto2’s Aron Canet as he builds back up following injury. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) completed the top ten.

Manzi, Martin, Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) and Europe GP winner Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) completed the top fourteen, with Roberts just outside the automatic graduation zone for Q2.

Will the weather change on Saturday morning? Are the title contenders safely through? Find out at 11:55 (GMT +1), before qualifying from 15:50.

Moto2™: the five fastest on Friday

1 Jorge Navarro – MB Conveyors Speed Up – Speed Up – 1:34.855

2 Luca Marini – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex – +0.025

3 Fabio Di Giannantonio – MB Conveyors Speed Up – Speed Up – +0.038

4 Sam Lowes – EG 0,0 Marc VDS – Kalex – +0.102

5 Marcel Schrötter – Liqui Moly Intact GP – Kalex – +0.149

Tony Arbolino (14). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Tony Arbolino (14). Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

Arbolino fastest, top four split by tenth on Friday

The Italian sets a new lap record to beat Masia to the top, with Ogura ninth, Vietti 11th and Arenas 15th on Day 1

Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) set a new lap record at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitt Valenciana to head the combined timesheets on Day 1, the Italian’s last stand starting on a high. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), another trailing some points if he’s to stay in title contention for the season finale, was second quickest, with Europe GP podium finisher Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completing an all-Honda top three on Friday. They were within 0.083, with Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) keeping the top four within less than a tenth as the Turk ended the day 0.098 off the top.

By the end of play, all the key players in the title fight had a provisional place booked in Q2 – except Championship leader Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3). He ended the day in 15th and will be hoping the heavens don’t open on Saturday morning.

FP1

In FP1 it was Tony Arbolino in control, as the Italian setting his new lap record early in the weekend. His 1:38.413 edged out Öncü by 0.098, the Turkish rider starting his weekend in second despite a heavy crash at Turn 6 earlier in the session. Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) completed the top three.

With weather vastly improved on seven days ago, the Moto3™ riders took full advantage and the session was a busy one. Rounding out the top five were Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and European GP winner Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), with the top two in the title fight a little further back: Championship leader Albert Arenas was 12th in FP1, just ahead of main rival Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia), who trails him by just three points.

The bigger drama in the session was two-fold: one was an incident for Sky Racing Team VR46 teammates Celestino Vietti and Andrea Migno, who crashed together at Turn 10 after Vietti highsided and Migno was left with nowhere to go – riders ok. Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) was taken to the medical centre and later to hospital as well for some check-ups after a heavy crash. He was declared unfit for a chest injury.

FP2

Masia topped FP2 from Garcia, with SIC58 Squadra Corse teammates Niccolo Antonelli and Tatsuki Suzuki also within less than a tenth of the top. Within another tenth were Fernandez and Ogura, with the timesheets considerably tighter on take two at Valencia.

There were no crashes in the afternoon, and the combined timesheets are a mi of the morning and afternoon times.

Arbolino stays first by virtue of his FP1 lap record, closely followed by Masia and Garcia as the top two in FP2 complete the top three overall. Öncu and Fenati complete the top five from their times in FP1. Antonelli and Suzuki are sixth and seventh respectively from their afternoon bests, and they’re split by a single thousandth. Europe GP winner Fernandez takes eighth, ahead of Championship challenger Ai Ogura in P9. Alcoba completes the top ten from his fastest lap in FP1.

Title hopeful Vietti was 11th quickest from his FP2 time, the Italian bouncing back from his crash in the morning, with rookie Yuki Kunii impressing to put his Honda Team Asia machine into P12 overall on Friday. Compatriot Kaito Toba (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was P13 by just 0.008, with Migno only another 0.002 behind him as currently the last man set to move through to Q2.

That leaves Arenas down in 15th on Friday and looking for more, although the Championship leader was only 0.011 off an automatic place in the second qualifying session. Will the rain come down on Saturday morning and send him through Q1? Tune in at 10:00 (GMT +1) to find out in FP3, before qualifying from 13:15.

Moto3™: the five fastest on Friday

1 Tony Arbolino – Rivacold Snipers Team – Honda 1:38.413

2 Jaume Masia – Leopard Racing – Honda +0.066

3 Sergio Garcia – Estrella Galicia 0,0 – Honda +0.083

4 Deniz Öncü – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 – KTM +0.098

5 Romano Fenati – Sterilgarda Max Racing Team – Husqvarna +0.146

 

 

 

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

Oliveira collects information on day one in Valencia

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

Following a wet Friday and Saturday last week at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira used both Free Practice sessions today to gather data aboard his KTM RC16, as throughout last weekend he competed for the first time at this track in the MotoGP class. He concluded FP1 this morning in eighth, but went a bit down the order in Free Practice two, although he missed out on the top 10 of the ultra-competitive premier class field by only 0.362 seconds at the end of the day.

His teammate Iker Lecuona is supposed to be back in action from FP3 tomorrow at 10.55 local time, being allowed by the Andorran authorities to travel to Valencia on Saturday morning, after his PCR test came back negative on Wednesday.

Miguel Oliveira
 

Position: 17th

Time: 1:31.330

Laps: 41

“Overall, it was a good day. Although it was a bit tough at the end. We couldn’t put everything together for the final time attack. We are still not clear about a couple of things on the bike, but I’m happy with my pace with used tyres. I think I’m strong, but for sure tomorrow morning we need to do a better job to go straight to Q2.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Alex and Stefan aim for more on Saturday

 

Alex Marquez (73) and Stefan Bradl (6). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.
Alex Marquez (73) and Stefan Bradl (6). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.

 

Alex Marquez pushes to find the limit on the opening day in Valencia, Stefan Bradl makes steady and consistent improvements to threaten the top ten.

Dry conditions brought a productive morning to the Valencia Circuit, riders in the premier class able to improve on the best times from last week almost immediately. Clouds would gather overhead ahead of Free Practice 2, but the circuit remained dry throughout the day. What resulted was one of the closest days of MotoGP practice so far this year.

Eager to get back out on track and return to work, Alex Marquez headed out immediately in the dry conditions. Competitive times throughout the first session saw the MotoGP rookie end just 0.769s shy of the top spot. FP2 started well for Alex as he challenged for a top five position, a small crash at Turn 2 forced him back to the garage early and he unfortunately suffered a second fall at Turn 4 later in the session. The MotoGP rookie was unharmed in both falls. A best time of 1’31.371 put Alex 19th overall in an ultra-competitive day where 19 riders were split by less than eight tenths of a second.

Tenth place in FP1 saw Stefan Bradl continue his great run of form, the German immediately feeling comfortable on his Honda RC213V. His pace would continue into Free Practice 2, a late charge moving Bradl up to 12th in the session, 0.484s shy of the top spot. His 1’31.106 saw Bradl finish 13th on the combined time sheets as he prepares to fight for grid position on Saturday afternoon.

Takaaki Nakagami ended the day as the top Honda rider, leading FP1 and finishing second on the combined times with a 1’30.713.

Action resumes on Saturday with Free Practice 3, the final chance to earn a spot in the top ten and direct passage to Q2. Set to begin at 10:55 Local Time, both riders are ready to push for a spot in the top ten as just a few hundredths of a second look set to make the difference.

Alex Marquez

19TH  1’31.371

“The feeling today was really good, the 1’31.3 came quite easily and maybe this is why I had the first crash, I was pushing for a faster time and fell. But honestly, it was such a small crash I am not sure it even counts! The second crash was a typical cold tyre crash but unfortunately it meant that we couldn’t really improve on our final run of the day. Our end position is not great to look at, but our feeling is good and the times are very close – just one tenth and you gain a lot. We can be stronger tomorrow.”

Stefan Bradl

13TH  1’31.106

“Today was quite good, we are close to the top ten and the bike is working well. Also I am riding well and we are faster already than last weekend. The aim for tomorrow is to try and push for the top ten, but it is super close this weekend so it will not be easy. We still have some work to do on the setting but I am happy and I think we can have another good day. Our potential is high and there’s more coming.”

 

 

 

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

FIRM START ON FRIDAY FOR TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR AT VALENCIA

Combined practice times:

Alex Rins: 9th – 1’30.947 (+ 0.325)

Joan Mir: 12th – 1’31.080 (+ 0.458)

The riders were back on track today for the penultimate round of the 2020 MotoGP season and the Valencia GP. It was a much warmer and drier start to the event than we saw a week ago, and this allowed the riders to crack on with setup and settings without concerns about conditions.

In FP1 the Team Suzuki Ecstar pairing of Joan Mir and Alex Rins showed early pace and they enjoyed a steady and trouble-free session as they built upon the good feeling they have with their GSX-RRs at the Ricardo Tormo circuit. They closed the session in eighth and 11th respectively.

In the afternoon it was the same story; working hard with setup and trying various tyre options, gauging the feel on used tyres, and showing strong lap times. The whole field was close together, with the top 19 covered by just 0.749!

Mir spent the majority of the session in the Top 3 positions, but a quick crash at Turn 4 put paid to his charge up the time screens. Thankfully the Mallorcan was uninjured and he got straight back on track following the off. Rins upped his pace towards the end of the session and he confirmed his place inside the Top 10 ahead of tomorrow’s FP3, finishing ninth on combined times. Mir took 12th overall.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“I feel positive today. Joan had a crash in FP2 and he couldn’t use the full potential on the time attack, but both he and Alex have good pace and put in a lot of laps while collecting information. We’re always working to improve the bike, even though last weekend both riders felt good. Whenever you do back-to-back races at the same track, the level goes up and the gaps between the riders is reduced, so we’ll continue working. Alex is in the Top 10 for now, and Joan will try again tomorrow morning – even though we’re sure it will be a big battle for Q2 – and we feel confident that we can have a good weekend.”

 

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

 

Alex Rins:

“It was a good day, I’m actually close to the top of the times despite finishing ninth today on combined. Today I focused on trying a few things that we couldn’t really work on last week because of the rain. In the end my rhythm was nice and I felt good, but I’ll try to improve more tomorrow with the aim of getting a great qualifying position. It’s going to be a big challenge this weekend because everybody is close, so we need to stay focused and try to find the optimum setup.”

 

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

 

Joan Mir:

“Luckily I’m fine after the crash. I began working on race pace and general setup and feeling. I was trying the hard front tyre when I went down, and I think we were at the lower temperature limit for using this tyre. Of course the feeling with the second bike is never the same as with your number one bike, and I was never able to really push for a fast lap. It was a bit of a shame because I was feeling good and the bike was working well, but I just missed that really quick lap. Tomorrow I’ll work more on the time attack and we’ll see what we can do.”

 

 

 

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

THE SECOND VALENCIA WEEKEND IS UNDERWAY

ALEIX FAST STRAIGHT AWAY ON THE HUNT FOR A TOP-TEN SPOT IN EXTREMELY CLOSE STANDINGS

The second MotoGP weekend at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia got off to a well-balanced start, with combined standings that were the best possible advertisement for motorcycle racing. Despite lapping with an outstanding pace, no less than nineteen riders were packed into a one-second gap. And, at the top of the standings, the gaps were reduced to thousandths of a second.

As Aleix Espargaró’s eleventh place illustrates. Encouraged by an excellent feeling with his Aprilia, Aleix did his best time in FP2 at 1’30.989, just 21 thousandths behind a top-10 spot and a tenth behind the top 5.

Lorenzo Savadori’s apprenticeship continues on this first day, aided by the cooperative weather. The Italian rider improved greatly between the two sessions, not only in terms of lap times, but also when it comes to his feeling with the RS-GP. He is still lacking a bit of confidence with a new tyre, so Lorenzo and his team will be focusing efforts on that tomorrow.

 

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

 

ALEIX ESPARGARO’

“It was a positive day. I was very fast, but with these gaps, not enough for the top 10. The pace with the medium tyre is definitely good, whereas with the soft tyre I did a fast, but not perfect lap. We are all very close, but I feel good – as good as I did last weekend. Now I need to stay focused and keep going in this direction.”

 

Lorenzo Savadori (32). Photo courtesy Aprilia Gresini Racing.
Lorenzo Savadori (32). Photo courtesy Aprilia Gresini Racing.

 

LORENZO SAVADORI

“Honestly, a good day. I was able to improve both my feeling and my lap times between the two sessions. The phase I need to work on right now is braking. I don’t have the confidence to push to the limit in that area, especially because of my lack of experience with this bike. I feel better on a used tyre than on the new one, precisely because I don’t have the confidence to be able to fully exploit the grip. These will be the points where we’ll focus our work.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Valencia GP. Sixth fastest time for Andrea Dovizioso at the end of Day 1 of free practices. Danilo Petrucci closes fourteenth
Positive start of the weekend for Andrea Dovizioso, sixth overall at the end of Day 1 of free practices for the Valencia GP at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Cheste, as he closes only 304 thousandths from Jack Miller, today’s pacesetter, with the Desmosedici GP bike of the Pramac Racing team.

Less than a week after the last GP held at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Cheste, the Ducati Team riders returned to work today for the first day of free practices for the Valencia GP, scheduled this weekend at the same track.

Resuming from where he left off and working on his Desmosedici GP bike basing on the data collected last week, Andrea Dovizioso has had a positive start to the weekend as he steadily improved his pace during today’s sessions. After finishing seventh in FP1 in 1:31.410, the rider from Forlì was almost half a second quicker during FP2 this afternoon, as he set the sixth time overall at the end of Friday, just 304 thousandths off today’s pacesetter Jack Miller with the Desmosedici GP of the Pramac Racing Team.

Danilo Petrucci, who returned to Valencia with the aim of improving his performance at the Spanish race track, ended Friday with the fourteenth fastest time overall. Eighteenth at the end of FP1 this morning, the rider from Terni managed to improve again this afternoon, closing in 1:31.230, 608 thousandths of a second from the top of the timesheets.

 

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

 

Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 1:30.926 (6th)

“It’s been a good day. Compared to last week, my feeling with the bike has improved, and we were able to understand why I couldn’t be competitive in the early stages of the race on Sunday. We also identified some sectors on the track where we can still improve, and if we can do that, I’m sure we can have a good qualifying tomorrow and a good race. There are several fast riders with a similar pace to ours, so it will be crucial to be able to enter Q2 and get a position on the front rows of the grid”.

 

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

 

Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 1:31.230 (14th)

“I am quite satisfied with this first day of work: my feeling with the bike is good, as well as also my pace with the tyres with the race set up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be as fast with the soft tyre this afternoon, and we have to try to understand why. I hope the weather holds up tomorrow morning so that I can try my time attack again in the FP3 session”.

The Ducati Team riders will be back on track tomorrow at 10:55 am for the third free practice session of the Valencia GP, while qualifying will be held in the afternoon from 2:50 pm local time (GMT +1.00), at the end of the FP4.

 

 

 

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

Narrow margins at Circuit Ricardo Tormo for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT

Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo eighth and 16th respectively in Valencia GP opening day

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo completed the first day of the 13th round at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, as they prepare for the second race in a row at the Spanish track. Morbidelli ended the opening day of the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana eighth, with team-mate Quartararo 16th.

Enjoying the near perfect track conditions, Morbidelli started FP1 with a lap that placed him at the top of the timings. At the end of the session, Franco held the second fastest time of 1min 30.944 – 0.115secs shy of the top. FP2 proved to be another tight session, which saw Franco immediately at the top of the timesheets. The Italian, who focused on race pace, did not improve upon his time from the morning, setting a 1min 31.125secs lap, and ended the day eighth.

The opening 15 minutes of FP1 saw Quartararo hold steady inside the top-ten, where riders were only separated by the smallest of margins. At the end of the session, the Frenchman’s 1min 31.617secs lap placed him 16th. Working through a variety of set-up options, Fabio spent the majority of FP2 finding the best feeling. His fastest lap of 1min 31.326secs, which was only 0.704secs off the top, placed him 16th in the session and overall.

FP3 for Franco and Fabio will kick off at 10.55am local time (5.55pm MYT) tomorrow, before qualifying gets underway at 2.50pm local time (9.50pm MYT).

 

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

Franco Morbidelli

8th (1’30.944)

It was a positive day for us: I was quite fast this morning and this afternoon. We tested different set-ups of the bike and we felt comfortable and fast with both. To get into the top-ten without doing any time attack laps is a really good thing. I think we have started this weekend with a good mojo and I hope that we will continue like this. Our aim tomorrow will be to start on the front two rows, then attack from the very beginning of the race on Sunday and settle into a good rhythm.

 

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

Fabio Quartararo

16th (1’31.326)

Today we have tried lots of things with the bike, but it has been difficult because the feeling has been similar with each change. This means we will have to try something different in FP3 tomorrow, because we have not made the progress that we wanted to today and we need to do it. It has been a tough day but we never give up. We will know more about what the plan is after FP3, once we have tried some things and once we’ve tried to make a time attack. As I said though, we never give up and we will give our all tomorrow and on race day.

 

 

 

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

MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP WORK ON DRY SET-UPS ON VALENCIA GP FRIDAY

Valencia (Spain), 13th November 2020

GRAND PRIX OF VALENCIA

FREE PRACTICE

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi resumed work in this afternoon‘s FP2 session at the Ricardo Tormo track. They finished in 10th and 18th position respectively in the combined Friday free practice timesheets.

LOCAL TIME: 14:30 GMT+1

AIR TEMPERATURE: 20°C
 
TRACK TEMPERATURE: 21°C
 
WEATHER: SUNNY / HUMIDITY 66%
 

10th MAVERICK VIÑALES 1’30.968 (FP1) / 21 + 22 LAPS

18th VALENTINO ROSSI 1’31.371 (FP2) / 24 + 24 LAPS

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi made further adjustments to their YZR-M1s‘ settings in the FP2 session ahead of Sunday‘s Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana. They ended a full-on Friday in 10th and 18th place respectively in the combined results.

Viñales continued to fine-tune his bike‘s set-up in the afternoon, eager to make sure he will be able to fight at the front of the pack in Sunday‘s race. In the final five minutes of the session, he made a quick visit to pit lane to then dash out and set a hot lap for a top-10 finish. Posting a 1‘31.062s on lap 22/22 was enough to secure tenth place in FP2, 0.440s from first but not in the Friday standings. However, his slightly faster 1‘30.968s lap from FP1 kept him in tenth in the combined FP rankings, 0.346s from the top.

Rossi also had a busy afternoon, getting his bike adjusted to the low grip levels of the Valencia circuit. The pace heated up in the final stages of FP2. The Doctor responded by improving on his FP1 time, clocking a 1‘31.371s on lap 19/24. But he wasn‘t able to secure a provisional spot for Q2, as less than 0.8s covered the first 19 riders. The Italian ended the day in 18th place in the FP2 and combined results, 0.749s from the top.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

Returning to the Valencia track, we knew that its general characteristics aren’t a perfect fit for us. We hadn‘t had much dry track time before, so it was crucial to make the most of it while we could and try many different setting and tyre options too. We know this will be another challenging weekend because Valencia is tricky for us. Still, overall, Maverick was quite comfortable on the bike today. However, he didn’t feel the grip he was looking for when he put on the soft tyres in the end. So his FP2 times don’t reflect his true potential. Valentino is not satisfied with the set-up of his bike yet. He has some movements on entry and this impeded his lap times today. We will try to find a solution this evening. Our goal for tomorrow is the same as always: we strive to have both riders in the top 10 at the end of FP3 to then get the best starting position possible in qualifying.

 

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

 

MAVERICK VIÑALES

For me, the Friday has been very positive. We tested many things. As always, there were some positive and some negative things, but we worked on the hard tyre, simulating low grip, and I’m really happy about the feeling on the bike. But for some reason I didn’t have an amazing feeling on the softs this afternoon. I couldn’t go as fast on the softs as I could on the mediums, that’s why I didn’t improve my lap time. But overall I feel good. I have a good rhythm. Tomorrow it will be a very tight qualifying, and we will see. I think we have good potential. We just need to understand how to make the softs work for us.

 

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

 

VALENTINO ROSSI

My position is quite bad because I am behind, but we are all there. It’s really close. I’m 0.7s from the top. I don’t feel very good on the bike. I have a bit too much movement on entry, so I’m not able to bring enough speed, but it’s just the first day. For tomorrow we will have to try something else, and we hope to be more competitive then, because in FP3 it will be crucial to stay in the top 10.

 

 

 

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

CRUTCHLOW SEVENTH AFTER DAY ONE IN VALENCIA

Cal Crutchlow is well-placed after the opening day of free practice for the Valencia Grand Prix. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider finished in 7th position overall and will now be confident of securing automatic progress to Q2 when the action resumes at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo on Saturday.

In contrast to last weekend’s wet conditions, Valencia was bathed in autumnal sunshine on Friday and Crutchlow made the most of it to force his way into the top 10. The Briton managed only 14th in FP1, but improved by over half a second in FP2 to put himself amongst the pacesetters and just three tenths behind overnight leader, Jack Miller.

 

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

 

Cal Crutchlow – 7th

(1’30.930)

“Today we worked well as a team and the track was in a lot better condition than last weekend with regard to it not being half wet and half dry, it was a very good day. We worked well and we tried to improve the bike, two different settings with the bike and we’ll continue to try and do that for practice and qualifying.”

 

 

 

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

TAKA TARGETS ANOTHER FRONT ROW AFTER FAST START

Takaaki Nakagami got off to an excellent start as he was 2nd fastest on the opening day of the Valencia Grand Prix. Having narrowly missed the top three at the same venue last weekend, the LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider was back amongst the pacesetters as the premier class enjoyed much more favourable conditions at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Nakagami laid down a marker in a dry and sunny FP1 as he dominated the session to finish top of the timesheets. He was close to repeating the feat in FP2, but eventually had to settle for second behind Ducati’s Jack Miller as most riders managed to improve their times. The Japanese star is now targeting a spot on the front row in qualifying for the third race running.

 

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

 

Takaaki Nakagami – 2nd

(1’30.173)

“We made a good start today in FP1 and also FP2. We were able to improve in the session and we definitely have potential and a good feeling on the bike, which is really important. Of course, we need to make some adjustments tomorrow for qualifying, but even with that we have good pace and good lap times already, so we’ll keep pushing and keep improving on the bike and hope to bring our best performance on Sunday. But tomorrow is really important and hopefully we can get on the front row again, that’s my target, and I think we can do it.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

Valencia GP – Fantastic Pramac Racing, Jack P1 and Pecco P3 after the first Free Practice day

 

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

Extraordinary Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia ,  they opened the first day of free practice in first and third position respectively. During the FP1 the Team focused the work on the set up, the riders  focued on finding the right feeling and work on the race pace. The session ended with positive feelings for both riders. The FP2 opened by continuing the morning work, for the last run both Jack and Pecco put new soft tires to try the time attack. A strategy that worked very well, Jack closed as leader of the day with the best time of 1:30.662, Pecco  did  an amazing job too, he closed with the third time of 1:30.742.

Pecco Bagnaia

Today I am very happy. This morning I rode with used tires to look for consistency and on lap 21 I repeated my best time and this is very positive. We can only feel satisfied, it’s a really good feeling. It was very important to be fast from the first day, because the level is always higher. We are working in the right direction and tomorrow we will try to improve further.

Jack Miller

Definitely the best way to start the weekend, we tried a few solutions and focused on solving some problems we had last weekend during the race. The track is in very good condition, the grip and the pace are fantastic. I’m really very happy and we hope to do well tomorrow as well.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Esponsorama Racing:

JOHANN ZARCO AND TITO RABAT FINISH THE FIRST FREE PRACTICES OF THE VALENCIA GRAND PRIX
Esponsorama Racing riders have completed the first free practice sessions of the Valencia Grand Prix in completely dry conditions.

In the morning session, Tito Rabat started with good feelings, falling just over a second behind the best lap of the session. Johann Zarco, for his part, set a time of 1’31.297 finishing less than half a second behind the leader and as the first Ducati.

In the second free practice, Johann Zarco jumped to the front, lowering his lap time by almost four tenths and placing fifth in the combined times table. Tomorrow he will fight to stay in Q2 positions. On the other hand, Tito Rabat, although he improved by just over a tenth his time, stopping the clock at 1’32.058, could not continue taking steps due to a problem with the rear brake.

Tomorrow from 10:55 am, the last free practice and qualifying sessions for the Valencia Grand Prix will begin.

 

Johann Zarco (5). Photo courtesy Esponsorama Racing.
Johann Zarco (5). Photo courtesy Esponsorama Racing.

JOHANN ZARCO – P5

“As in Aragon, when going out on the track I felt very comfortable from the beginning, as I had the sensations of the race the previous Sunday. Today we made small modifications to the bike, which allowed me to push harder than last weekend. At the end of the afternoon training, we put the rear soft tire to do a fast lap, but I did not get the advantages I expected, so that is the big question we have for tomorrow. Despite this, it was a good start to the Grand Prix”

 

Tito Rabat (53). Photo courtesy Esponsorama Racing.
Tito Rabat (53). Photo courtesy Esponsorama Racing.

TITO RABAT – P20

“The day started very well, I had a very good feeling on the bike, and I continued taking steps forward compared to last weekend. But in the afternoon, I had a failure with the rear brake that prevented me from setting a good lap”

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