Portuguese GP: Fiat Yamaha Friday notes

Rossi makes strong start despite morning upset in Estoril Valentino Rossi finished the first day of practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix in confident mood today, riding his Fiat Yamaha Team M1 to second place on a day of contrasting weather ...

Rossi makes strong start despite morning upset in Estoril

Valentino Rossi finished the first day of practice for the Portuguese Grand Prix in confident mood today, riding his Fiat Yamaha Team M1 to second place on a day of contrasting weather conditions at Estoril. The Italian, the most successful rider in MotoGP history at this circuit, was luckily unhurt in a nasty crash during this morning's wet first practice session and went on to make some good progress this afternoon, finishing the day just 0.040 seconds off the leader.

After heavy rain overnight and showers throughout the morning, the track was very wet for the first session. It was only the second real chance for Rossi and his crew to try the Bridgestone wet-weather tyres and this, added to the fact that there has been no pre-season testing at this track, meant it was a less-than-straightforward session for last year's winner and his crew. His crash came mid-way through the practice but he was unhurt and was able to continue on his second bike, finishing second and quite pleased with his wet-weather pace. This afternoon's session was a much cheerier affair with the sun and wind combining to dry the track out almost completely, and Rossi took full advantage to work on his set-up and tyres, finishing with a best time of 1'38.547.

Valentino Rossi - Position: 2nd Time: 1'38.547 Laps: 43
"I am happy about today's result. To be second in both sessions, in the wet and the dry, is not bad at all and the conditions were quite difficult! My Bridgestone tyres in the wet worked very well and I had a great feeling, so I'm really happy about this. Maybe I had a bit too much feeling in fact because I was pushing a little bit too hard when I fell! It was quite a big crash and I hit the ground hard but fortunately I am fine and I just have a bit of pain in my hip. After that with my second bike I was able to go even faster so this made me very happy. This afternoon was good again, even if the track wasn't perfect and the wind was tricky, but this is Estoril and we know that the weather can always change from minute to minute so we have to be ready to adapt. Tomorrow we need to keep improving, whatever the weather, and be ready to fight in any conditions! Thanks to my team for working very hard to rebuild my bike, it was a big job!"

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"We expected quite a difficult situation today with the weather and this was how it turned out. This morning it was wet and windy and then this afternoon it had mostly dried but not completely, so it was still quite tricky conditions. It was actually very important for us this morning to have another chance to test the Bridgestones in the wet and we were able to gather a lot of important data and make some good comparisons to the Jerez test. Valentino had a crash but this is all part of the learning curve with the new Bridgestone wet tyres and luckily he wasn't hurt so there was no harm done. The most satisfying thing about today is that we were fast in both kinds of conditions, so this is a good sign for the weekend because it seems the weather is going to keep changing! After this morning the team were faced with a big task to build the bike from scratch between the sessions and they did a fantastic job, so I want to say a big thank you to them!"

Lorenzo overcomes Estoril weather to finish fifth on first day

Fiat Yamaha Team rider and current championship runner-up Jorge Lorenzo was forced to contend with wind and rain at Estoril today as the Portuguese coastal circuit was battered with bad weather. Already faced with the task of adapting to riding a MotoGP bike on a circuit which he admits is not amongst his favourites, it was an added complication for the 21-year-old but he coped admirably with the task and finished the day in fifth position.

Conditions for the morning session were very wet and the Mallorcan made a tentative start, finishing 12th but nonetheless pleased to have improved his wet pace from the last time he rode the M1 in the rain, at the Jerez test back in February. The typically changeable conditions saw the sun come out this afternoon and the track was almost completely dry for the second session, meaning Lorenzo and his crew were able to put in some fruitful work with their setting to finish the day just 0.361 off the lead.

Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 5th Time: 1'38.868 Laps: 44
"We're fifth and we need to improve but it's only my first time at Estoril with the MotoGP bike and so I know I have to work slowly, step-by-step. The biggest problem at the moment is the weather because it's changing so often; one it's minute raining, the next it's sunny but it's also very windy. It makes it quite hard to prepare! Everyone knows that this isn't one of my favourite tracks but I am not thinking about the past now, only about what is in front of us. We need to keep our focus and work very hard to find the best setting, and we also need to work on the situation with the tyres because it's not perfect at the moment. I was definitely more confident in the wet this morning than I was at the Jerez test so I am happy about this, but there is still more to do. One very good thing is that the new electronics we tested in Jerez are working well and so we're pleased about this. I think it's going to be a very competitive weekend with everyone very strong so we have another big job to do tomorrow!"

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"We've arrived here at a different track with a big task facing us, but overall we've had a good session today. Of course we need to improve our pace more but we will try some more things tomorrow. We're lacking a bit of stability in the hard braking areas and also the bike is a little bit unstable on the gas, but tonight we will analyse things and prepare a programme to improve the setting tomorrow. It's been a tricky day because of the weather and Jorge has done well to cope and finish fifth. Now we will concentrate on making some more steps forward tomorrow and I am sure we will be in good shape."

-credit: yamaha

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo , Davide Brivio