By Gordon Hatch, MotoGP Correspondent
- Simoncelli fast again on Friday practice
- Crash day in Germany
- Lorenzo 2nd best, Pedrosa 3rd
‘Super Sic’ leads the way on day one at crash-laden Sachsenring
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) topped the timing sheets on day one of the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring where the morning session saw a number of riders crashing including current championship leader Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda).
Simoncelli, who set a quickest time of 1m 22.225s was fastest in both Free Practice sessions, being one of the few riders able to quickly generate heat in his Bridgestone tyres after cool track temperatures this morning caught a number of riders out especially in right-hand turns of which, there are only three on the whole of the German circuit.
Simoncelli finished this afternoon’s session on front of reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Team) who went about both of his free practice sessions in confident fashion coming off the back of his win last time out at Mugello, Italy. Lorenzo set a time of 1m 22.320s to sit just in front of last year’s race winner at the German track, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) who set his best time of 1m 22.432s despite crashing in the morning session.
While Pedrosa will be happy with his position as he is just returning from a very bad shoulder injury, teammate Stoner will not be in a good mood. The 2007 champion was already vocal about getting heat into his Bridgestone’s and that with only three right handed corners, this was going to mark it hard to generate heat in the right side of his tyres. This was exactly what appeared to have happened to Stoner in the first free practice session when at turn 11 – the fastest of the three right hand turns, his RC212V highsided and ejected Stoner leaving him bruised but otherwise unhurt.
Stoner eventually set a time of 1m 22.542s despite sitting out the first 10 minutes of the afternoon session where he looked to have been waiting for track temperatures to rise a little before trying for a quick time. Stoner’s other teammate, Andrea Dovizioso was right behind the Aussie after he set a time of 1m 22.654s.
Sitting in sixth position is the leading Ducati of Nicky Hayden who out-paced teammate Valentino Rossi on the GP11 to set a time of 1m 22.882s. Compared to Rossi, Hayden looks more comfortable on his bike that has received a number of upgrades since the last meeting in Italy. The American put in two solid sessions today and looks to be coping the best with the GP11’s now well reported ‘no-feel’ front end that Rossi has complained about since the start of the year.
Sitting in seventh is the winner of this year’s Assen TT, Ben Spies (1m 22.894s) who put in two solid sessions on his Factory Yamaha YZR-M1 despite being affected by a head cold. Frenchman Randy De Puniet sits in eighth place on his Pramac Racing Ducati after he set his best time of 1m 23.037s. De Puniet’s better-than-usual performance was followed up by another from that of Rizla Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista after the Spaniard set a time of 1m 23.261s to finish 9th.
The final spot in the top ten went to MotoGP rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) who is improving with every race with this weekend being no different with the Czech Republic rider setting a time of 1m 23.352s. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards sits in 11th after his first day at the German track. Edwards’ time of 1m 23.431s was enough to finish ahead of his former teammate Rossi who couldn’t manage better than 12th after crashing at turn 11 this morning and then in the afternoon session his bike cut out on track like in Mugello. Rossi managed to get out on track again but couldn’t set a better time than 1m 23.533s.
Hector Barbera (Mapfre Aspar Team) followed fellow Ducati rider Rossi into 13th place on his GP11 after setting his best time of 1m 23.625s despite crashing at the end of the session and his misfortune was mirrored by that of Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) who also crashed at the end of the afternoon session and the British rider finished in 14th position with a time of 1m 23.760s.
Hiroshi Aoyama had a day to forget on his San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V finishing in a lowly 15th position with his best time of 1m 23.906s. Aoyama was followed into 16th by Toni Elias (1m 24.304s) who continues his nightmare MotoGP season on his LCR Honda machine. The final and 17th place went to the now full-time World Superbike rider Sylvain Guintoli who this weekend is filling in for the injured Loris Capirossi and the Pramac Racing team. ‘Capirex’ tried his best to set a half-competitive time in the morning session but it wasn’t to be and Guintoli stepped in to set a best time of 1m 25.960s in the afternoon.