Le Mans Bugatti Circuit
Hunting the Perfect Set-Up in Le Mans
The first track sessions of the French round of the 2011 MotoGP Championship were played out under glorious sunshine in Le Mans today. Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies spent the morning and afternoon free practice sessions working through a number of chassis set-up changes and tyre options in preparation for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Lorenzo wrapped up the day in fifth having taken just over half a second off his morning time with improved set-up. The reigning World Champion will focus on improving his bike’s ability to turn in tomorrow morning’s final free practice ahead of the afternoon qualifying session.
Lorenzo’s team mate Ben Spies was happy to be back on the bike and re-building his confidence after his DNF at Estoril two weeks ago. Echoing his team mate’s performance Spies also made good improvements over the day, taking nearly eight tenths of a second off his time by end of session and finishing in tenth. The Texan claimed the highest speed on the Le Mans circuit for the sessions, clocking 288.9km/hr with his Yamaha YZR-M1.
Position 5th - Time 1.34.659 - Laps 45
“As I’ve said before, this year it’s going to be a difficult year. Some of the other riders are much faster than before. We’re working hard and we are trying a lot of things to improve the bike. We will keep on, we made some improvements over today and I hope tomorrow we will make a step and be a bit faster.”
Position 10th - Time 1.34.976 - Laps 48
“I was pretty happy with today, building some confidence back up after the last race in Estoril. The sessions went pretty well for us we just didn’t put in one fast lap. We’ve been quite consistent with race distance on the tyres and I’m reasonably happy with the bike so if we can make it better for tomorrow I think we’ll be up with the front guys.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“The second session went a bit better but we’re not completely happy and satisfied as we are still missing some ‘turnability’. We improved a bit from the morning, Jorge was more consistent and a bit faster but for sure he wants more and we do need it. Hopefully tomorrow we can make another step without losing our strong points because at the moment braking on corner entry is quite good.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We still have some work to do but the balance of Ben’s bike is not too far off. We are also working to find which tyre is best for tomorrow’s qualifying; we are positive about what we can achieve in the next sessions. Jorge made clear improvements over the day although they are still looking to find some more agility.”