The Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi took center stage on the first day of practice for the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya with both riders topping the first and second free practices sessions respectively while Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was close behind in third on his RC213V under the scorching Spanish sun.
I love this track; it is one of the best. I am very happy to be in front.
Alvaro Bautista set the fourth best time this afternoon for the Go&Fun Honda Gresini squad (1m 42.752s) while the ever impressive Cal Crutchlow was fifth fastest this afternoon on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine setting a best time of 1m 42.776s. Repsol Honda rookie Marc Marquez ended the day with the 6th best time of 1m 42.857s with the Spaniard eager to put in a strong performance this weekend in front of his home fans.
Ducati Racing teammates Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso were next along in 7th and 8th with Hayden setting a best time of 1m 42.890s while Dovizioso put in a 1m 42.988s lap. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) had a fall early on this afternoon but the German rider still comes away with the 9th best time of 1m 43.005s. Power Electronics Aspar CRT rider Aleix Espargaro finished the day in 10th place with a best lap of 1m 43.204s.
Hector Barbera ended the day in 15th place for the Avintia Blusens CRT team with a best time of 1m 44.461s while NGM Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards posted the 16th best time of 1m 44.586s. Karel Abraham finished in 17th for the Cardion AB Motoracing team with a best time of 1m 44.599s while Danilo Petrucci set the 18th best time of 1m 44.609s for the Came IodaRacing Project. Michael Laverty ended his first day in 19th place for the Paul Bird Motorsport team with a best time of 1m 45.337s.
Claudio Corti set the 20th best time of 1m 45.513s for the NGM Forward Racing team while Hiroshi Aoyama ended the day in 21st with a best time of 1m 45.834s for the Avintia Blusens team with Paul Bird Motorsport’s Yonny Hernandez finishing with the 22nd best time of 1m 46.216s. Bryan Staring set the 23rd best time of the day on the Go&Fun Honda Gresini team with a 1m 46.577s lap while Lukas Pesek ended the day in 24th position for the Came IodaRacing Project with a best time of 1m 47.239s.
Speaking after topping this afternoon’s session Rossi was delighted and said, “I love this track; it is one of the best. The M1 is always great here in Catalunya. It is just Friday but I am very happy to be in front, although we have still a lot of work to do. We have to decide which tire to use and we have some corners and sections where we have to improve for tomorrow. Anyway, it is great to be back on top.”
Pedrosa was happy with his first day saying, "Above all today, we focused on testing tyres. We were able to ride some laps with the soft tires and also the hards, in order to see which are best suited to the track. Getting the choice right is very important at this circuit, because it is always hot in the race and it is usually a key to managing this. The tyres suffer a little when we lean the bike over, but we are working on this issue. We still haven't decided which compounds we will use, so we will see what tomorrow brings and then go from there.”