The MotoGP World Championship riders began their Motegi weekend in warm sunshine at lunchtime today following torrential downpours that left the circuit dirty for the opening day of the Grand Prix of Japan. An early crash for Dani Pedrosa ruled...
The MotoGP World Championship riders began their Motegi weekend in warm sunshine at lunchtime today following torrential downpours that left the circuit dirty for the opening day of the Grand Prix of Japan. An early crash for Dani Pedrosa ruled him out of the remainder of the weekend and, most likely, of the championship chase. Casey Stoner dominated the majority of the session and looked certain to finish with the fastest time before slipping to fourth place, Valentino Rossi rising to the top of the time sheets on the final lap.
The smile on the face of Paginas Amarillas Aspar rider Hector Barbera at the end of the session said it all. The Spaniard made a strong start to the first free practice session and was leading the way after ten minutes. He tried two different rear shock settings in a search for more rear grip from his Ducati but lost feeling and reverted to his initial set-up for the final twenty minutes of the session, clocking a best time of 1'49.544 on his penultimate lap of 21. Eighth fastest overall, Hector is confident of making another strong challenge tomorrow.
8th Hector Barbera 1.49.544 (21 laps):
"My first outing was really good and I enjoyed myself on the bike. I think the Ducati is well suited to this kind of track. There are a couple of braking zones in T2 and T3 where I am strong and another where I need to improve, which is the last corner before the long straight. The good thing about today is that we got a lot of good feedback and an idea of our strong points and weak points. We have started the Grand Prix from a good base and we have to continue making progress. The track was quite slippery at the start but as time went on the grip levels improved. I got on the pace from the start but we lost our way a little with some changes to the rear shock that we had hoped would stop it sliding so much. We went back to our original setting and I set four really good laps."
-source: team aspar