Fiat Yamaha off to flying start at Motegi The Fiat Yamaha Team made a flying start to the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi today in a close-fought practice session, with Valentino Rossi making a welcome return to the top of the time sheets...
Fiat Yamaha off to flying start at Motegi
The Fiat Yamaha Team made a flying start to the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi today in a close-fought practice session, with Valentino Rossi making a welcome return to the top of the time sheets and Jorge Lorenzo finishing the day in third.
Rossi was expecting this track to be particularly hard on his shoulder so he was delighted to find himself in less pain than last time out and feeling much stronger on the bike. The Italian used an upgraded engine specification for the first time today and his feedback was positive, finding particular improvements in the higher gears. He was fast from the very start of the session and then put in a blistering final lap to finish on top, two-tenths ahead of Andrea Dovizioso.
Championship leader and last year's race winner Lorenzo also made a good start to the weekend, putting in a consistently fast performance despite not yet having the engine upgrade. Lorenzo has one less engine left from his allocation than Rossi at this stage of the season so he is likely to wait until later in the weekend to use the new one. He is hopeful that he and his crew can make some small improvements to their rear traction tomorrow but he is already in good shape and finished the day three-tenths off his team-mate. The Mallorcan's only championship rival, Dani Pedrosa, fell during the session and is expected to undergo surgery tomorrow to fix a broken collarbone.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 1st Time: 1'48.147 Laps: 27
"I'm really happy about today, it is honestly a big surprise for me to be first! I was expecting to suffer a lot here with my shoulder because there are so many hard braking areas but in fact they are all quite straight so I was happy to find I was okay. In fact I felt very good on the bike right from the start and we have done a great job here with the setting. I used the new engine and Yamaha have done an excellent job on it, it is especially better in fourth and fifth gears and everything is working very well. I know it's only Friday but it's a long time since I have been in front like this so I have to enjoy this sweet feeling! I know there's a chance of rain for the rest of the weekend, which is a pity, and if it is wet we will do our best. I am sorry for Dani; I saw the crash from far off and it's bad luck, I hope it is not too bad."
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 3rd Time: 1'48.474 Laps: 27
"We are much better here than in Aragon, which is a relief! I don't have the new engine yet like Valentino, I hope we can use it soon, but anyway here we lose much less in the straight here compared to at the last race and we have better acceleration. We can improve the traction a bit in some parts of the track but in general this was a good day and we are not so far off Valentino. I hope the rain stays away so we can continue to improve tomorrow. I don't want to think for now how Dani's situation will affect me, but I am sorry for him, it's very bad luck to be injured at this stage of the season."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"It's been a while since we finished a session in first! This was a really good practice for us because firstly it's nice to be in front but more importantly because Valentino was able to ride fast from the start. Our base setting worked very well here. We used the new upgraded engine for the first time and it is working well. We are in good shape and we hope to continue like this tomorrow."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"Firstly I want to say that we are really sorry for Dani and we wish him all the best. Today we tried two different settings and Jorge was able to ride fast with both, so tomorrow we will continue in the same way and try to find the best package. Valentino was using the new engine and it looks very good, so we are looking forward to being able to use it soon as well. Tomorrow we need to find a little bit more rear grip but all in all we have a good rhythm and the bike is feeling good for Jorge."