Heavy rain disrupts progress on first day of IRTA test
The final test before the start of the 2013 MotoGP season got of to a soaking start today with rain affecting the most of the day. The weather conditions were a near wash out for the first half of the day at the Jerez De La Frontera circuit in Spain but as the rain cleared most of the riders were on track early after lunch and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo got up to speed with the wet track conditions quickest with Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez in close pursuit.
It’s the first time we are in these conditions so it's important to understand what our levels are.
When the rain cleared at lunchtime the entire field sprung into action and laptimes began to topple and it wasn’t long before the top riders began to rise to the top of the timesheets. With the ever-present threat of more rain falling and the slippery conditions making for cautious riding, Lorenzo’s best time of 1m 47.423s was over a second faster than that of Pedrosa who secured second fastest on a time of 1m 48.474s with rookie sensation Marquez settling into third fastest (1m 48.524s). Finishing day one in 4th was Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone with a best time of 1m 48.984s with Pirro in 5th (1m 49.292s) and Valentino Rossi in 6th for the Yamaha Factory Racing team with a best lap of 1m 49.443s.
Ducati Racing’s Nicky Hayden was the net man on the timing sheets with his best lap of 1m 49.643s better than that of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow in 8th (1m 49.643s). LCR Honda man Stefan Bradl finished day one in 9th with a best lap of 1m 49.790s while Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Racing) taking the final place in the top ten with best time of 1m 50.266s. Ben Spies ended his first day in 11th spot on his Pramac Racing machine with his best lap of 1m 50.957s finishing ahead of the best CRT today in the form of Yonny Hernandez and the Paul Bird Motorsport team with a best time of 1m 51.269s.
Aoyama ended his first day in 19th with a best time of 1m 52.676s despite logging 56 laps while Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards finished in 20th setting a best time of 1m 53.992s while Australian rookie Bryan Staring placed in 21st for the San Carlo Honda Gresini CRT effort (1m 56.119s). Lukas Pesek CZE finished in 22nd for the IodaRacing team with a best time of 1m 56.413s with Michael Laverty (Paul Bird Motorsport) in 23rd with a best laptime of 1m 56.931s.
Lorenzo was happy that he took the opportunity to ride under wet conditions to evaluate the Bridgestone rubber. He said, “We stayed on the track the whole day in the wet conditions and it was good to see how the bike performed. We improved a little bit but then the rear tyre dropped so we have to calm the bike down a little bit in the acceleration. We are quite good in the wet here in Jerez. It’s the first time we are in these conditions so it's important to understand what our levels are. It’s important to be competitive in this situation. We proved when the track was drying up that we could keep the performance of the rear tyre over distance. It doesn't matter how fast you are in one lap, if you can’t keep the level over the whole race you cannot win.”
Pedrosa was also content with his performance under the tricky conditions. “Today was the first day of testing here in Jerez and we were able to try various things in the wet,” said Pedrosa who added, “We had some very productive laps, as the asphalt was very wet. Sometimes there isn't enough water on the track and the conditions aren't adequate. The feeling with the bike is very positive, because after so many days riding in the dry it was good to go out in the wet. Let's see if in the coming days we have more luck and can ride more in the dry, in order to try out the last few things before the season starts.”
Also, I notice wet tyres wear quite quickly at this track. This is something I have to learn how to manage, because they can catch you out. I also learnt that traction control in the wet is much more important than in the dry. We still have a lot to improve. We have a good fast lap, but need to improve on used tyres and on our own consistency,” Marquez added.