STONER SECOND FASTEST AT LE MANS, MELANDRI MAKES LATE PROGRESS Casey Stoner ended the first day of free practice for the Grand Prix de France as the second fastest rider around the Le Mans circuit on a cool (19DEG C) but, most importantly, dry...
STONER SECOND FASTEST AT LE MANS, MELANDRI MAKES LATE PROGRESS
Casey Stoner ended the first day of free practice for the Grand Prix de France as the second fastest rider around the Le Mans circuit on a cool (19DEG C) but, most importantly, dry start to the weekend.
The World Champion ended the day satisfied with the job done by his crew as he made gradual progress with the setting of his Ducati, after finding a fast and consistent pace on race tyres.
Marco Melandri has yet to find the perfect set-up for this track despite finding some impressive pace through the first two splits. The Italian now hopes to improve around the second half of the circuit, particularly under braking, and find an optimum set-up for the race - as he did in China two weeks ago.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd fastest: 1'34.276
"We're struggling a little bit in T4, as we did last year. We need a little more acceleration coming onto the straights and it's a bit difficult for us in those tight but long corners. Tomorrow we'll make some changes to try and improve on that but basically the idea is to compensate for it by making our strong points even stronger. In any case today has been a good step for us because we haven't been really competitive in the last three races and it's good to start a Grand Prix in the right way again. This morning was going quite well but the setting wasn't quite right to be able to show what we could really do and then this afternoon we had a small problem with the engine on one of the bikes. The setting on the second bike wasn't perfect but the team made a small change that allowed me to go seven tenths quicker, so I was delighted with that. The weather forecast is a little all over the show, as it usually is here, and you never quite know what you're going to get so it's good to get two dry sessions under our belt. I'm happy with what we've got so far and ready for whatever the clouds throw at us tomorrow."
MARCO MELANDRI - (Ducati Marlboro Team) 14th fastest: 1'35.678
"I was hoping to start this weekend a little better but even though engine performance isn't bad we still haven't found the right way forward with the set-up of the cycle part. At the moment I can't brake as hard as I would like. When I'm braking with the bike upright it's okay but when it's leaned over the problems start. With a lot of braking areas in the turns at this track it means I'm losing a couple of vital tenths. We've done some different tyre tests and even though we've found something I like we're still not getting enough grip. We'll obviously try to improve that tomorrow because we want to at least be at the same level we reached two weeks ago in China."