Double World Champion leads the way on first day of practice ahead of Lorenzo and Dovizioso
Marc Marquez got his weekend off to the perfect start with the Repsol Honda rider topping the first day of practice in front of his home fans ahead of Sunday’s GP Generali De La Comunitat Valenciana. The double World Champion thrilled the partisan crowd during the two free practice sessions with his best time of 1m 31.296s coming this morning while Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo is close behind with the Spaniard just .196s off and his best lap also coming this morning.
I'm sure that there will be a nice fight for pole between myself, Jorge, Dani and Valentino.
Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso was back in a familiar position today with the Italian making his Ducati GP14 machine work well around the twisty Ricardo Tormo Circuit and setting a best time of 1m 35.558s. Fourth fastest today was NGM Forward Racing rider Aleix Espargaro who pushed hard to take the 5th best lap of 1m 31.565s and .082s ahead of Dani Pedrosa on the second Repsol Honda RC213V.
Sitting in 6th on day one is Ducati Team rider Cal Crutchlow who looks determined to secure a strong finish to his year on the GP14 before he moves to Honda for the 2015 championship. His best lap of 1m 31.731s was .036s better than Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi who also had to settle for his best FP1 time and actually finished in 10th in FP2. Stefan Bradl set the 8th fastest time of 1m 31.935s for the LCR Honda team while Pol Espargaro finished in 9th today and just .006s behind was Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Bradley Smith.
Tricky return to MotoGP paddock for Team Suzuki MotoGP
Suzuki made its return to the track today and test rider Randy De Puniet, who will field the new GSX-RR as a wildcard entry for the Japanese Manufacturer made steady progress throughout the morning session and the Frenchman improved his times in the afternoon and finished in 19th behind Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden. However there was some bad luck in this afternoon’s session when De Puniet had to pull off the circuit with a suspected engine failure.
Marquez is very happy with his progress today and is looking forward to a good battle on Sunday. He said, “The best thing about today was how I felt on the bike. Finishing fastest is a reference, but the most important thing is that the pace was good, and we have been improving and testing things out. This afternoon the track was a little slower, but we hope to continue improving tomorrow. I'm sure that there will be a nice fight for pole between myself, Jorge, Dani and Valentino.”
Tires the main issue for Lorenzo and Dovizioso
Lorenzo is focused on tires for Sunday’s race with an asymmetrical front tire on offer for this weekend. Speaking afterwards he said, “Today, having a very good pace came easy from the beginning. This is the first time this season that I got to ride such a good pace this easily, so I’m very happy about the performance of the bike. Now we have to try some things and try to improve, but the pace of the bike is very good and I’m really satisfied. I was satisfied about the asymmetrical tire.
The "32" side doesn’t give exactly the same level of grip as the side of the "31"; it’s a little bit less but there isn’t a big difference. Tomorrow I’ll probably try the "32" but the question is about the rear. I think the soft tire could be too soft for the race. You could probably manage to finish the race, but the soft tire will start to drop a little. The hard tire is too hard, but tomorrow we’re going to try it and see which option is better.” Lorenzo added.
Dovizioso is also thinking about tires for Sunday’s race saying, “I am very pleased with the way this weekend has started because we were quick in both this morning’s and this afternoon’s sessions. We kept up a good pace with the hard tire: we are not far from the frontrunners and I think that tomorrow we can improve even more. I also did a good time with the soft tire, but it wasn’t a perfect lap so I think I can do better here as well, but I am really pleased with my pace on the hard tire.”