DANI PEDROSA (1st – Repsol Honda): “Today was a perfect day for practice. The track conditions were very good, the warm temperatures helped, as did the new surface, so we were able to do the job we wanted. The main target today was to test the tyres and we completed some good laps on both hard and soft compounds. The asphalt is new and the grip is quite good, so the lap times are pretty fast from the beginning. We also did some work on the suspension and the mapping to will keep improving on this tomorrow”.
JORGE LORTENZO (2nd – Yamaha Factory Racing): “We started in a very good way here, much better than in Aragón where we had issues with the life of the rear tyre. We have a very good pace and with a little change in the electronics were able to go a bit faster. We tried with the hard tyre, for me it’s not better than the soft although we can go fast on it. For tomorrow I think the soft one will be better. The Hondas are very good here but our bike is also so I think we can fight with them for the victory”.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (3rd – Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “It has been a really good start to the weekend because I did my time with the hard tyre and that looks like being a probable choice for the race. The good thing is I am very competitive already but I know we can improve on the last part of the entry to the corner. I don’t feel comfortable in that area, but even if I don’t feel 100% confident with the bike and ready to push as hard as I know I can, I am very close to the fastest two. I believe I will be able to follow Dani and Jorge on Sunday and that is basically my aim for the weekend”.
STEFAN BRADL (4th – LCR Honda): “Actually it’s a really good Friday for us. As we already started with a good base set up this morning I immediately felt comfortable on the bike and everything was working pretty good. In this afternoon’s session we made a little step forward but we need to improve the braking performance because we are pretty fast and stable in the first initial braking but as soon as we start to lean I do not feel very comfortable. This our biggest issue today: we have tried both rear tyre options and they are both working properly. Let’s try to maintain this good level even tomorrow and the same gap in tomorrow’s qualifying”.
VALENTINO ROSSI (5th – Ducati Team): “Today went pretty well, especially in the afternoon because we made a setup change that helped us to improve grip on acceleration. When I open the gas I’m able to exit the turns better, without spinning too much, and that’s why I went pretty fast. I’m especially happy because the gap isn’t too big. Tomorrow, though, we’ll have to improve our pace as well, because for now I’m able to ride well for some laps, and then the tyre starts to slide a bit too much. The rear-tyre choice will be very important because the performance of the soft and the hard are very similar. The soft works a little better but we have to understand if it can last the race distance. Tomorrow we’ll try some more changes and then we’ll also consider the temperature for Sunday when making a decision”.
BEN SPIES (6th – Yamaha Factory Racing): “Today wasn’t bad, the second session was a bit slow in the beginning but we got going pretty well in the end. We didn’t try the soft rear but focused on trying to make the hard tyre work in case it’s the race tyre. I think it’s unlikely as everyone who went out faster than us at the end was on the softer option, so to be eight tenths off on the hard is not so bad. I think with the soft we’ll see a true result of where we can be and what the bike is capable of”.
CASEY STONER (7th – Repsol Honda): “Today was a little disappointing, this morning we had our first bike fail on us so we lost valuable time, then in the second session we had a brake issue and spent a lot of time in the garage fixing that also. We spent the two sessions trying to find a nice balance with the bike; of course I’m not feeling 100% as it is, so I wanted to get a reasonable feeling with it before I start pushing. At the moment the acceleration points are causing me most difficulty, as there are many areas at this circuit where the bike wants to wheelie and you need to keep your body and weight over the front of the bike. Unfortunately my foot doesn’t want to bend far enough to help me move forward so I’m having to pull myself forward which is giving me issues with my arms as they are working a lot harder than usual. We’ll keep working tomorrow and see what we can do”.
ÁLVARO BAUTISTA (8th – San Carlo Honda Gresini): “We haven’t found what we are looking for here yet. This morning we tried a different shock and forks but the problem with the front vibrating under heavy braking remains. We went a different way this afternoon to try and improve stability but the solution didn’t come. Unfortunately it means that I don’t have the confidence I need to push the bike into the corners as I would like at this track. Today we used the hard tyre and the grip wasn’t great so we’ll evaluate the soft tomorrow and make our choice. The main focus though will be to improve the vibrations on the front”.
CAL CRUTCHLOW (9th – Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “Today wasn’t the start I was hoping for at all because we worked very hard to improve the bike but I was unable to find a comfortable setting. I am way down on the timesheets and a long way behind Andrea and we are both on the same bike and the same tyres, so it is clear that we have a lot of work to do to improve tomorrow. Nothing we tried seemed to work and give me the feeling I wanted and I certainly need to improve and be faster with the hard tyre because that might be the tyre I need to race with. There isn’t one particular place where I am struggling. We have quite a few issues but I will sit down with my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew tonight and see if we can come up with a solution to help me be more competitive tomorrow”.
NICKY HAYDEN (10th – Ducati Team): “It was good to have a full day of dry weather on a Friday, but it was a difficult day. This morning we weren’t so far off, but I didn’t improve in the afternoon. I’m not getting the feedback from the bike that I’d like under braking. Also, my hand is giving me some pain and I don’t have a lot of strength, especially into the right-handers. There’s lots of hard braking on this track, so I’m losing time mainly on the corner entry, and it’s hard to recover on the exits. We need to have a re-think tonight and try to do a good step tomorrow”.
HÉCTOR BARBERÁ (12th – Pramac Racing): “I need to do the laps and gain confidence. I have improved from the first to second practice, but I think there is still much room for improvement – we are slowly improving things. I need to gain confidence with the tyres. Tomorrow we have to try some things, especially electronics and tuning”.
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ (13th – Power Electronics Aspar Team): “I am happy with our performance today and the bike worked very well. We made a few chances and it improved quite a lot from one session to the next. I crashed this morning because I didn’t have a feel for the front but thanks to the mechanic we were able to improve the situation for the second session. I am satisfied with this for a first day but we need to keep working to improve the rear traction. We have to keep going in the same way as the last race to close down the points gap to Randy in the championship on Sunday”.
KAREL ABRAHAM (14th – Cardion AB Motoracing): “We have had lot of problems in the morning practice, I couldn´t rely on the front nor on the rear. Rear wheel had lost contact with surface during hard braking, which is very uncomfortable. The positive thing is that we found a solution for the afternoon session. Unfortunately, despite the bike was much better, we cannot achieve better lap times. I still have some kind of „mental block“, and even I really push hard, I can´t be faster. I´m still missing a confidence to the bike and I need to come over this, feel better and trust my Ducati”.
RANDY DE PUNIET (15th – Power Electronics Aspar Team): “To crash at the start of the second session was a real shame because it broke our rhythm. I didn’t feel anything at the time but now my ankle is starting to hurt because it got caught under the bike. I went back out on the second bike and usually I struggle to get on the pace with it but today my lap time was positive. This morning the feeling wasn’t as good as I’d hoped so we’ll have a look over everything and see where we can improve. I also want to find out why I had such a stupid crash”.
MICHELE PIRRO (18th – San Carlo Honda Gresini): “This is a track where you need good stability under braking and we need to improve in this area. Two dry sessions today has given us a lot of data to work from so we will try to improve the situation and be more competitive tomorrow”.
ROBERTO ROLFO (19th – Speed Master): “Today’s sessions were very positive and I had a lot of fun. I’m happy with the performance of my ART, I had never dealt with such a powerful bike before. Once the session started, my impression was great, I had a good feeling since the beginning and generally speaking I was happy with the bike’s behaviour since the first laps. We started pushing regularly in order to understand the CRT reactios and its performance when entering and exiting the turns. In the afternoon we worked to improve and know better the Bridgestone tyres, which are something new for me: we managed to make some progress, even on top of used tyres. In the last few minutes at disposal we wanted to make a further step, but we chose a setting that didn’t help us in making a big difference. I get along very well with the team and I’m really happy, tomorrow we’ll work to keep improving”.
DANILO PETRUCCI (22th – CAME Iodaracing): “We have worked hard for all the practices because is the first time that it doesn’t rain the first day of a GP and we tested different settings and electronic maps for my new IODA-SUTER. I don’t know this track and this gave me some problems in some corners where I have to improve, but Tomorrow we will continue to develope the bike looking to the race”.
Sincerley, Eduard Ballús