Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi kicked off the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas weekend today with the first practice sessions at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. The morning’s first session delivered far slower times than had been recorded at the private test a few weeks ago with cold temperatures and little rubber on the track adding several seconds to the previous times. The afternoon saw the temperature double from the morning and lap times tumbled for all riders.
Reigning World Champion Lorenzo completed the first of the two sessions in second place and the second in fourth, improving by over two seconds. Teammate Rossi improved a place from sixth to fifth over the two sessions and also took a large chunk out of his morning time, shaving an impressive four seconds off by the end of the second practice.
Jorge Lorenzo, 4th, Time - 2'06.637
“In the morning we were competitive compared to our rivals but this afternoon when the track improved they had a better feeling and a better confidence to improve much more than us. We were unable to make profit from the improved track conditions. We need to improve the bike to gain some seconds. The track was better for everyone but for the moment it gives our rivals more confidence to go faster. We are better but still not enough.”
Valentino Rossi, 5th, Time - 2'06.868
“The practices are not so bad because we improved a lot compared to this morning and we could stay close to Jorge. Unfortunately the Hondas are very fast which we already knew from the test. We hope to make it better this weekend but especially Marquez is very fast and also Pedrosa and Bradl are faster than us so we have to work and try to improve for tomorrow.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“That’s the first day in Austin done. We’re position four so of course we’re not so happy; we’re struggling a bit to find the correct grip. The morning session wasn’t great, it was cold and everybody struggled and in the afternoon we struggled a bit more. We are trying to find some extra grip, to drop the lap times we need more on the back. Hopefully tomorrow we can find the right way to improve and close the gap. It’s important to be on the front row and close to the fast lap times.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We know that the characteristics of this track are not the best for us. We still have one and a half days to work on our set up so we will focus on closing the gap to the front. Unfortunately this morning the track conditions were not good, we couldn't work properly so we lost one session. We have identified the area we need to improve so I am optimistic that tomorrow we can make a big step.”
Yamaha Factory Team