Japanese GP: Fiat Yamaha Friday practice report

Rossi gets weekend off to good start with third in Motegi practice Valentino Rossi made a solid start to his Japanese Grand Prix weekend by riding his Fiat Yamaha M1 to third place on the opening day of action at Motegi. This weekend offers the...

Rossi gets weekend off to good start with third in Motegi practice

Valentino Rossi made a solid start to his Japanese Grand Prix weekend by riding his Fiat Yamaha M1 to third place on the opening day of action at Motegi. This weekend offers the Italian his first chance to wrap up the 2008 World Championship, which he can do by finishing third or higher on Sunday, even if Casey Stoner should win the race.

Rain greeted the paddock on arrival this morning and first practice was run on a wet track, although Rossi was fast from the off and finished the session in second place. The weather dried up this afternoon, despite remaining overcast, and the track was dry for the second session. The different conditions gave rise to a few issues for the Italian however and he lacked some front grip through the longer, slower corners, but he was still consistently fast and finished third behind Stoner and Dani Pedrosa

Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who has never won at this track, was quick this morning in the wet but suffered some problems on the drier track this afternoon, finishing in 15th.

Valentino Rossi - Position: 3rd Time: 1'48.510 Laps: 46

"This morning it was quite wet and we were very fast from the start. We found a good setting and the Bridgestone wet tyre worked very well for me. This afternoon in the dry however we had a few more problems and Stoner and Pedrosa were both faster than me. At the moment we're missing a bit of front grip. This track is always quite hard and it doesn't suit our M1 perfectly; at the moment we have some issues in the slow corners and we're suffering a bit. Anyway, we were still third so it's not a big problem and I am sure we will be able to improve tomorrow. I hope the weather is better for the rest of the weekend!"

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

"Today we've had a chance to test in both the wet and dry and this morning, in the wet, was very good and we were quite fast. This afternoon was not as good and it's clear that we still have some work to do, but anyway we are still third, which isn't so bad. The weather made things quite hard today but tomorrow, it seems, it will be dry all day and therefore we should be able to make the most of the time we have to maximise our setting for this track."

Problems arise for Lorenzo as track dries out at Motegi

After his first ever wet-weather podium in Indianapolis, Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo continued with his newly-found liking for riding in the rain with a strong performance in this morning's wet first practice session. However he ran into problems once the track dried out this afternoon and finished the first day in Japan in 15th position.

The young Spaniard spent time at the top of the time sheets this morning before finishing the session in fourth, but the rain stopped soon after and the track had dried out by the time second practice began. Lorenzo immediately felt he was lacking in rear grip on his M1 and, despite trying a range of Michelin tyres, he was unable to improve the situation enough to be able to set the fast times he wanted. Together with his team however he is confident that he will be able to improve the situation tomorrow. His team-mate Valentino Rossi meanwhile made a strong start to his weekend, finishing second this morning and third this afternoon.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 15th Time: 1'49.505 Laps: 42

"Today has been strange because usually I'm not so fast in the wet but fast in the dry; today was the opposite! I don't really know what happened this afternoon but I felt like I didn't have enough grip in the rear on the entrance to the corner and so I didn't have enough confidence to go fast. It felt a bit like in Donington and Assen. We're working hard now in the team and together with Michelin and we gathered a lot of data so I hope that tomorrow we will be able to find a way to improve it. I know that I also need to work on my riding style a bit for this track. Anyway, it seems that tomorrow it will be hotter so I think this will help us as well."

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager

"This morning was good but unfortunately this afternoon was more difficult for us, and we have some problems. The main issue is with the rear grip and so we need to make a detailed check of the data to try to understand where we're going wrong. It's disappointing after the last two races but it's only Friday and we have a long way to go and some time to improve. The last run this afternoon was very important because we were able to gather a lot of information and now we will study this and use it to help us tomorrow."

-credit: yamaha-racing.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Davide Brivio , Dani Pedrosa