Lorenzo made a strong start this morning at the Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo Circuit.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were on track today for the first practice session of the last race of the season, the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana.
Lorenzo made a strong start this morning at the Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo Circuit. The Majorcan set multiple fastest laps and led for most of the session, before settling for second place just 0.193 from the front.
The afternoon saw more of the same from him, riding smoothly at the start of the session while testing the asymmetric front tyre. He was unable to improve on his 1'31.489 lap from the morning and completed the day as second in the combined times.
I was satisfied about the asymmetrical tyre.
It was a busy day for teammate Valentino Rossi. While trying to find the perfect set up, the nine-time world champion set a time of 1'31.767 in the morning to finished in fifth position, just 0.471 seconds behind the leader.
He wasted no time in the afternoon and was the first out on track and briefly led the way, before starting a consistently fast race simulation. Throughout the session he worked through a couple of set up changes, but didn’t improve his time and finished in seventh place for the day.
Jorge Lorenzo (2nd / 1'31.489 / 20 laps): “Today, having a very good pace came easy from the beginning. This is the first time this season that I got to ride such a good pace this easily, so I’m very happy about the performance of the bike.
Now we have to try some things and try to improve, but the pace of the bike is very good and I’m really satisfied. I was satisfied about the asymmetrical tyre. The "32" side doesn’t give exactly the same level of grip as the side of the "31"; it’s a little bit less but there isn’t a big difference.
Tomorrow I’ll probably try the "32" but the question is about the rear. I think the soft tyre could be too soft for the race. You could probably manage to finish the race, but the soft tyre will start to drop a little. The hard tyre is too hard, but tomorrow we’re going to try it and see which option is better.”
Valentino Rossi (7th / 1'31.767 / 21 laps): “I think that the front tyre choice will be very important. We have three options and here we have the asymmetric tyre for the second time, which is not so bad. I tried it and also tried the medium, but we still have to decide which one we’ll use because we’re not all good with the setting. We had some problems that at the end of this morning weren’t so bad, but this afternoon I struggled a lot more to ride the bike and I didn’t feel good.
In fact, my rhythm is not fantastic, so we have to try to make things better tomorrow. We’re a little bit worried, because usually we go with the harder tyre, but on the hard tyre we lose a lot of time, but the soft tyre looks to be a little bit too soft. This is the situation at the moment, but we hope that the track will improve so we can use the softer option.”
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director: “It’s a good starting day. Jorge had a better day than Vale, but it’s the first day and there’s still a lot of time to fix things and to decide on the tyres. Jorge had really good speed and pace. We tested a few things with Vale today, but unfortunately he couldn’t improve his time and we need to find what’s missing.
There is still some work to do to get him more to the front, where he belongs, but we are confident that we can do it. We know that this weekend is going to be hot and we’ll put in all our focus as usual to be ready on Sunday afternoon.”
Confident start on the opening day at Valencia for Espargaro and Smith
Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro rode to ninth place in the first day of practice at the season finale in Valencia as he aims to complete his impressive rookie year in a highly competitive manner. The young Spaniard began the weekend at the 4005 metre Ricardo Tormo circuit by using the morning practice to confirm the base setup of his Yamaha YZR-M1 with his Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team.
Fortunately, I didn’t have too much pain in my foot during the day which I'm quite relieved about as I was a bit worried,
He completed the session in ninth position with a best time of 1.32.155. Later in the afternoon, Espargaro picked up from where he left off and persisted with his hard work on the setup for the race on Sunday at the sunny albeit windy track. He finished FP2 by posting a best time of 1’32.013, only 0.455 of a second from the rear of the front row, whilst he also set the quickest Yamaha speed of 327.8 km/h.
His start today leaves the 23 year old rider fully optimistic as he intends to snatch a strong placement in tomorrow’s qualifying at the final MotoGP round of 2014.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Bradley Smith closed the opening day of action at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana with a tenth place finish in the combined standings. Smith completed the morning session with a firm ride to sixth where he posted a best time of 1’32.019.
Free practice 2 saw the young British rider power onwards before concluding the practice with a 1’32.024 as he explored setup options in preparation for the 30 lap sprint on Sunday. The result today sees him poised to improve his time further as well as leaving him charged with determination for the qualifying practice tomorrow where he will aim for a position on the front two rows of the grid.
Pol Espargaro (9th / 1'32.013 / 21 laps): “It has not been a bad day for us. We managed to improve a lot this afternoon, but I still think we have quite a lot of margin to progress for Sunday. We need to work more on our front setting as the tyre that I am feeling most comfortable with is not the best option for race distance.
Therefore, this is not an ideal situation to be in right now, but I'm convinced that after we check the data thoroughly this afternoon, we will find the right direction to try and improve my feeling for tomorrow morning. Fortunately, I didn’t have too much pain in my foot during the day which I'm quite relieved about as I was a bit worried, but now I look confidently towards Sunday's race.”
Bradley Smith (10th / 1'32.019 / 21 laps): “The opening day of practice in Valencia went quite well for me and there are plenty of positives to take. We tried a lot of different options, particularly in the afternoon practice session as we had already established a solid base setup in the morning which I completed in sixth. It was a strong start and so we continued to explore different options in FP2 as we aimed to improve further.
We have a good understanding of what we need to do to reduce the lap times tomorrow and we certainly found a good direction. The Yamaha is running very well here and is really consistent which I am pleased with.
In addition, I rode my lap time on used tyres that had run almost race distance. Overall, I am feeling optimistic at the moment and we will continue our work to close the gap even more to the top six.”
Espargaro already fast at Valencia
The last racing week-end of the 2014 season is looking bright for the NGM Forward Racing team and its riders in the Ricardo Tormo Circuit of Valencia. Aleix Espargaro, who already clinched the Open Class World Title two weeks ago in Sepang, has once more shown his potential finishing the first day of practise in fourth position overall. De Angelis also displayed a good pace, ending up in 14th place, a bit more than a second slower than Marc Marquez who sits on the top of the board.
Espargaro was immediately quick this morning posting a fast lap of 1.31.640. He was able to slightly improve in the afternoon to a final 1.31.565. The Spaniard is looking confident for the qualifying session of tomorrow where the goal is to be in the top five to put the cherry on top of a season that had seen him performing beyond expectations.
It was a good day of work for his teammate, Alex De Angelis, who set a fast lap of 1.32.562 which grants him the 14th positions so far. The San Marino rider has found a good feeling and confidence on his Forward Yamaha bike and he has a positive outlook on the race.
Aleix Espargaro (4th / 1.31.565 / 16 laps): “I’m pretty satisfied with today’s result because I’ve never been very competitive on this track. I have a good feeling on the bike, I miss just a bit more confidence on the front but I’m pretty sure that tomorrow I can improve my lap time even further. It will be the last race of the season with the NGM Forward Racing Team and the goal is to fight with the front guys and see what happens.”
Alex De Angelis (14th / 1.32.562 / 19 laps): “It was a positive day of work. I’ve ended the last practise with a gap close to one second from the fastest lap and this is a positive result for me. We have changed something in between practises and the bike’s driveability has improved a lot. I’m looking forward for qualifying and for the race.”