CASEY STONER (1st – Repsol Honda): “We did a few laps this morning to try and understand the bike, to make sure everything was working and like Jerez we wanted to see where the wet patches were on the track. Then this afternoon, unfortunately there were still areas of the track that hadn’t dried out but we managed to get some good dry time, the bike seems to be working ok at this point and we have a fairly good idea of what we need to do tomorrow”.
BEN SPIES (2nd – Yamaha Factory Racing): “It’s a good feeling today but it’s still early, it’s Friday. The most important thing is I have to thank my crew, they made a huge change to the bike, not only to the front but we also changed some rider position settings that I asked for and the bike seems good. Not only are the lap times fast, it’s much easier to ride at that speed than the slower times at Jerez. Right now the bike is quick and easy to ride, we need to make some more improvements to it. To be in the top three on the first day after two difficult weekends is a positive start”.
CAL CRUTCHLOW (3rd – Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “I’m happy with the way we have started this weekend. This morning was similar to the first session in Jerez and we couldn’t really learn anything with the track being so damp in parts. The problem was the patches were really big at the last corner and to be honest it was pretty dangerous, so we might have to look at that in the Safety Commission. We never changed the tyres from this morning to the afternoon and that is a big plus. For that reason I’m really happy with the pace I was able to set, especially because we know that some other guys did put in a new tyre at the end to go a bit quicker. We were just concentrating on working on the race set-up and we still have plenty of margin to improve. The first two races have given me a lot of confidence and I am looking forward to carrying on the good start this weekend”.
DANI PEDROSA (4th – Repsol Honda): “It was quite similar to Jerez, in the first session we were almost unable to ride and in the afternoon it was difficult because the track conditions were poor, it was very slippery, we had no grip in the front or rear and it was kind of hard to get feedback from the bike because the tyres were just sliding. Water is holding on the new asphalt, so it’s necessary to change the line. It would be good if it doesn’t rain anymore and if they could dry this area up in some way because in the last corner especially, it’s very damp. I hope the track gets better tomorrow on the grip level, so we can start working hard on the suspension. As long as the track improves, the bike will do also”.
JORGE LORENZO (5th – Yamaha Factory Racing): “Today was so-so because we didn’t find a good set up or a good feeling with the bike. Also the new asphalt is not the best, I think it’s worse than last year in some places and also the weather doesn’t help with some wet patches in corners. I expect a lot of things to improve tomorrow, especially the rear of the bike which is not right in some corners”.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (6th – San Carlo Honda Gresini): “The track this morning was like Jerez and I was worried that we might be in for the same kind of weekend but thankfully this afternoon we managed to get some dry track time in, even though there were some wet patches out there like in the final turn. We tried two different settings to give ourselves a good base to work from tomorrow and it was positive. Now we have some reference points to start work from in terms of trying to improve my control over the rear of the bike in corner entry. We have some things to try with the suspension and I think we’ll be able to improve rear grip tomorrow”.
NICKY HAYDEN (7th – Ducati Team): “Conditions weren’t perfect this morning, but since they were calling for a good chance of rain in the afternoon, we thought it was worth having a look toward the end. The track was patchy, but I’ve got to say that Bridgestone’s new tyre is much better and safer in those conditions. This afternoon, the track was completely dry except for water seeping up in the last corner, which made it tough to see the line. We made a couple of gains during the session, but I felt like the time went by really quickly. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, especially in the side-to-side sections, where I’m having some difficulty changing direction. Hopefully we can do a good job with the data tonight and be more consistent tomorrow”.
HECTOR BARBERA (8th – Pramac Racing): It’s good to be back on track here, as I really love riding at Estoril. Today we tried two different settings during the session and we think we know what we need to do. We had some issues in the last sector, where we lost some tenths due to the track condition, which was still damp. I’m pretty confident, my crew and I can step up and fight to achieve a higher spots on the grid, so we’ll come back tomorrow and improve our lap time”.
VALENTINO ROSSI (9th – Ducati Team): “We had a decent start to the weekend because I was able to ride the bike pretty well, I didn’t finish so far from the front in terms of lap times and, most importantly, I was fast in several sections of the track. I’m only losing a lot in the last split, T4, so along with the technicians, I’m trying to understand why I’m having such a hard time in the last corner, where there’s very limited grip and the back of the bike slides a lot. Still, I can brake hard and enter the corners pretty quickly, and if we’re able to fix the rear, we can get closer. Our goal is to try to be competitive around the entire track. We’ll see what the weather is like, because this morning’s mixed conditions were difficult, and then they were better in the afternoon. Although we went well in the wet, we hope the weather stays nice and that it will be completely dry on Sunday”.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (10th – Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “We tried a different swingarm on the second bike during my last run and when we made this modification we also changed the rear tyre, but it did not get to the right temperature. We tried to find out if the swingarm or the tyre was the problem but because of this situation we lost quite a lot of time and I am a bit frustrated because until that moment we were close to the fastest time. I was feeling well on the bike and I was sure I still had some margin to improve my time. It is important to try the parts to help us improve and we will be in a better situation tomorrow. I just hope that we will have good weather to continue the work we started this afternoon”.
STEFAN BRADL (12th – LCR Honda): “So far it has been the most difficult day in my MotoGP career I guess… I had a very bad feeling with our rear grip and we are losing so much in the corners entries. Especially in the middle of the corners I do not have enough rear grip because I can not warm up the tyre properly and this cause me a lot of movements. Like this I can not be aggressive as usual but we have a lot of adjustments to try tomorrow checking the data. We are not lost so I am confident we can better our pace”.
MATTIA PASINI (16th – Speed Master): “Today’s sessions went well. Finally we could get out on the track with some decent weather conditions, and that allowed us to work. This morning we started off with a base that didn’t really give us any advantage, but in the afternoon, after some modifications, it improved quite a lot. We have a lot of work to sort out, but I’m happy: the gap isn’t that wide and we have a good chance to improve. The more kilometres we complete, the faster we are, and that’s what really matters now”. Michele Pirro (17th 1’ 42” 252) “After the session this morning I was looking forward to a good afternoon but I struggled to get comfortable on the bike. I’m struggling to control it and get on the gas. I’ve spoken to my guys and I am sure that sooner or later we’ll be able to get on top of it and come through this difficult moment. We have worked out a new plan of action that we will start with tomorrow”.
MICHELE PIRRO (17th San Carlo Honda Gresini): “After the session this morning I was looking forward to a good afternoon but I struggled to get comfortable on the bike. I’m struggling to control it and get on the gas. I’ve spoken to my guys and I am sure that sooner or later we’ll be able to get on top of it and come through this difficult moment. We have worked out a new plan of action that we will start with tomorrow”.
COLIN EDWARDS (18th – NGM Mobile Forwrad Racing): “First practice we went out on the shorter bike and the way this track is, I felt like I was managing the wheelie all the way down the straights and I could not get the full throttle. So we thought: “ok, lets turn it back into a dry bike, where at least we can open and use the advantage we have over the other CRT guys and deal with the rest later.” So we decided to go longer (chassis) and we went back to the chatter we had before. So we go longer, we get chatter, we go shorter, and I can’t ride the thing. So we will figure something out tonight for tomorrow“.
DANILO PETRUCCI (20th – Came Iodaracing): “Today I focused my work on learning the track that has very slow and very fast corners as well. We worked a lot on the setting of the TR003 and we have understood the way to follow. Unfortunately a problem to the ECU has stopped my practice ten minutes before the end and I couldn’t improve my lap time. There is still a lot to do on the bike but I’m confident on my team, one of the best of the championship”.
Sincerely, Eduard Ballús