News 16 Jul 2011

Simoncelli tops Friday practice at Sachsenring's German Grand Prix

Aussie Casey Stoner fourth on opening day at the 'Ring.

Italian Marco Simoncelli was quickest on Friday at the German Grand Prix.

Italian Marco Simoncelli was quickest on Friday at the German Grand Prix.

Following a cold and windy morning free practice that yielded five big crashes in the first half of the session, the MotoGP field entered the second practice on Friday on a substantially warmer track and with slightly calmer winds at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.

Marco Simoncelli rode his San Carlo Honda Gresini bike to the top of the timings with a lap of 1:22.225 at Sachsenring, over half a second faster than his FP1 time, and 0.095s in front of defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing).

“Everything is going well although I am not totally happy because we have some rear traction problems on the left side that we are struggling to resolve,” Simoncelli said. “It seems everybody is in the same boat but we will be working mainly on this area tomorrow to try and improve the situation.

“Our other main aim is to get a clear idea about tyre choice for Sunday’s race. Thirty laps is a lot here, especially because there is barely a single straight for you to relax on.”

Lorenzo mounted his own attempt to lead the field with fast lap of 1:22.320, an improvement of 0.726s over his FP1 time, though it was quickly outpaced by the Italian.

“I am pretty satisfied because I have improved my lap times today,” Lorenzo said. “I am almost faster than last year and I look forward to making another step tomorrow. We have made some changes and I feel much better on my M1 – faster and more competitive!

“The slow corners are tough, but in the faster ones I take some tenths, especially T3 and T4. I hope tomorrow the temperature can be even hotter and we can fight for the first row.”

Dani Pedrosa demonstrated his climb back to full fitness is progressing rapidly with a third fastest time of 1:22.432. The 25 year-old was just in front of his two team mates, 0.110s ahead of Casey Stoner, and 0.222s quicker than Andrea Dovizioso.

“I’m not too happy with how today has gone, we had a crash second lap out in FP1 and this affected us quite a lot,” Stoner explained. “We lost a lot of time coming in and changing leathers and then I had to go out on a bike that I wasn’t quite as comfortable with.

“So apart from the last few laps, this morning’s session was a bit of a waste for us. Then this afternoon we tried the bike from this mornings crash but something wasn’t quite right with it so we had to come back in and get on the other bike.

“We definitely made some progress, we started using hard tyres front and rear and made some positive steps but we still need to take a big step forward tomorrow. Our confidence was knocked today and I’m feeling a little sore still but we remain positive for tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be able to close the gap a little more.”

The highest placing Ducati Team rider of the day was Nicky Hayden, who posted a time of 1:22.882 to put him in sixth place, in front of fellow countryman Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) whose time of 1:22.894 was the last under the 1:23 mark.

Pramac Racing’s Randy de Puniet posted the eighth fastest time of the day with a 1:23.037, followed by Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) completing the top 10.

Ducati team’s Valentino Rossi entered the garages with electrical problems toward the end of the session but was able to rejoin, ending 12th in the session just behind Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), and 13th for the day.

Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) crashed out at the end of the session but fortunately was unhurt. The Spaniard was 13th in the session and 11th fastest for the day.

He was followed by Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who suffered a crash in turn 11 but was able to re-enter the track to post a time of 1:23.760.

Sylvain Guintoli stepped in for Loris Capirossi on the Pramac Racing team for FP2, and will do so for the remainder of the weekend, as Capirossi is still suffering from chest and shoulder pain following a crash in Assen.

2011 MotoGP World Championship
Round Nine – Sachsenring, Germany

MotoGP Friday Practice:
1. Marco SIMONCELLI, 1:22.225
2. Jorge LORENZO, 1:22.320
3. Dani PEDROSA, 1:22.432
4. Casey STONER, 1:22.542
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, 1:22.654
6. Nicky HAYDEN, 1:22.882
7. Ben SPIES, 1:22.894
8. Randy DE PUNIET, 1:23.037
9. Alvaro BAUTISTA, 1:23.261
10. Karel ABRAHAM, 1:23.352
11. Colin EDWARDS, 1:23.431
12. Valentino ROSSI, 1:23.533
13. Hector BARBERA, 1:23.625
14. Cal CRUTCHLOW, 1:23.760
15. Hiroshi AOYAMA, 1:23.906
16. Toni ELIAS, 1:24.304
17. Sylvain GUINTOLI, 1:25.964