French GP: Aprilia Friday practice report

Régis improves his time of the free practice but ends 17th. Wet tests for Melandri. Régis improves his time in the free practice but ends 17th in the first official sessions. An overcast sky during the tests heralded the great wave of bad ...

Régis improves his time of the free practice but ends 17th. Wet tests for Melandri.

Régis improves his time in the free practice but ends 17th in the first official sessions.

An overcast sky during the tests heralded the great wave of bad weather announced yesterday. The MotoGP sessions were in the dry, but the rain was approaching and arrived just a few minutes after the finish. In the morning sessions, Régis Laconi made thirteenth best time, a bit over a second after the leader, Checa. After ten minutes in the afternoon qualifying sessions, he cut a second off the free practice times: 1'37.988, making 17th provisional place.

# 55 Régis Laconi ^Ö (MS APRILIA RACING) ^Ö 17th - 1'37.988
"We haven't yet found the right settings for the engine brake/clutch system. This meant I had some difficulty entering very tight corners, and twice I missed the curve completely and went straight down the escape track. It's a pity, because thing aren't going badly, and I tried out a number of things on the bike with some pretty good results. Even so, what really matters is the final position and I'm not happy to find myself in 17th place. There are some sections on the track where I lose a few tenths and they all add up to that 1 second and 3 tenths: however close it may be to the leader, it pushes you down the ratings. The Cube's coming on and I'm pleased, but I'd clearly like to do better on my "home" track. Now we'll see what the weather holds in store for us. I've already got some good references for the race, but if it rains tomorrow and I can't improve today's times, my starting position won't be that great."

---- 250 Class

Marco Melandri tests in the wet
Fine but intense rain started falling just a few minutes after the 250 test sessions started. The first out on the track, when it was still dry, stopped the clocks at times which most of those who went out after in the wet were unable to match. Only nine participants qualified, with the remaining 20 unclassified as they attained times over 107% slower than that of the leader (Battaini - Aprilia). Tomorrow's official tests will ensure that today's 20 unclassified riders will be able to sort out their positions. Even so, the totally different track conditions in the afternoon meant that Marco Melandri was able to make some good laps in the wet and thus help work out the set-up of the bike if adverse weather conditions continue.

Marco Melandri # 3 (MS APRILIA RACING) ^Ö 2'02.824
"I feel good on the bike, and my ankle's not playing up - it was only towards the end that I started getting tired and had some difficulty changing gear. The good thing is that the afternoon session was very useful for trying out the settings in the wet - it'll come in handy if the weather doesn't improve. In the morning, when the track was dry, we found out what to do for the race, but the rain put an end to the programme we'd drawn up. I really like this track, but it can be terribly slippery in the wet. If the rain keeps falling, we'll be working to get the right set-up to adapt to the characteristics of this particular tarmac.

-am-

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Marco Melandri , Laconi Régis