Friday practice in Indianapolis.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were back on track today to experience the first sessions ahead of Sunday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Both riders had a cautious start to the first free practice session of the second round in the USA as they tested the refreshed but slightly damp Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The pair soon made progress as they found that the resurfaced track has a lot more grip and the new, smoother fourth section suits the Yamaha, boosting their confidence for good results this weekend.
Lorenzo and Rossi both used the first session to test the medium and the hard tyre. Lorenzo found his pace during the second session making an almost 1.5 second improvement from the morning to the afternoon. He ended the day in third with a 1’33.424 second lap set with a hard rear tyre.
Teammate Rossi also used a hard rear tyre when he topped the morning session. During Free Practice 2 he improved his time by almost a second, finishing in 9th place with a lap of 1’33.598.
Jorge Lorenzo - 3rd / 1'33.424 / 17 laps
“Finally the resurfaced track doesn't seem so bad. The three corners that were in the past maybe a little bit too slow we don't have to use first gear for now so we don't lose so much speed on our competitors. Last year the bumps were quite bad, now the resurfacing of the track means they are gone. We were the only ones to start the second practice with the soft rear tyre, the other ones took the old one from the morning so they could use a new soft tyre at the end. Finally we tried the hard option and it was ok, so it could be the tyre for the Sunday.”
Valentino Rossi - 9th / 1'33.598 / 22 laps
“The new lay-out of the track is good. I like it! It’s better than the old lay-out and especially the asphalt and the quality of the surface is a lot better, so it’s good. It’s easier to ride the bike because it has more grip. Here it’s difficult to decide on a tyre, because both the medium and the harder tyre are not bad. The softer tyre is a bit faster, but it will be difficult to make it last for the whole race, so we have to try to decide. I tried to put the softer tyre in on the end of the session and I improved my lap time. From the third position all riders are very close so I will have to do better!”
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“We were pretty satisfied this morning and both riders had good comments about the layout and the track surface. As the times dropped this afternoon we were able to see where we need to improve our set up so we are now working on solutions for FP3 for tomorrow. Tyres are going to be very important this weekend, Both Jorge and Vale evaluated both the softer and harder option but we are yet to make a decision. We have some set up changes to make in the morning to make another step and then I’m confident we will be ready to tackle qualifying and the race on Sunday.”
Action resumes at the Brickyard for Smith and Espargaro
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders completed the opening day of practice after the midsummer break in a positive fashion at the 4170 meter Indianapolis circuit for the tenth round of the 2014 World Championship.
Despite the mixed weather conditions following rain overnight, British star Bradley Smith kicked off proceedings in a highly competitive manner by completing the opening practice session with a superb run to second position aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. With the recent modifications to the track increasing the overall pace to over six seconds compared to last year's lap record, Smith's best lap time of 1’34.569 was only 0.034 from the leading bike of Factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi. The 23 year old completed FP2 in tenth with a lap time of 1’33.621. His performance was only 0.200 from the rider in third place. With the positive aspects noted on the opening day in America, Smith remains fully confident of a successful charge in tomorrow’s qualifying session.
On the opposite side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team garage, Pol Espargaro laid down his intent for the second half of his debut season in the premier class by producing a promising start in the morning session to finish in 4th position with a best time of 1’34,678 and only 0.143 from the leader. Later in the day, the 23-year-old rider proceeded to push harder and further improve his lap time by a full second. The reigning Moto2 world champion completed the session with a best lap of 1’33.690 to seize 11th place, only three tenths of a second off the front row. This positive start sees him geared up and ready for tomorrow’s qualifying session, leading up to the 27 lap sprint around the legendary American race track on Sunday.
Bradley Smith - 10th / 1'33.621 / 22 laps
“It was great to return from the summer break with such a quick pace this morning and it’s certainly what we needed. We made the right choice and started on a soft tyre, before switching to a hard compound at the end of the first session. My feeling was good on the hard, so I began a long run which I continued this afternoon, prior to changing again to a soft one at the final stages of FP2, but there was much more grip than I expected and I couldn't take full advantage of the new rubber. However, I still haven’t made a decision on tyres for the race as the grip levels will certainly change. In any case the modifications to the circuit are really good and it’s much better for us to ride on, but the only down side is that some of the passing opportunities are reduced due to the circuit being much faster. With regards to this afternoon, I am only 0.2 from the fastest Yamaha and very close to the front row. The team did a great job plus I am really happy to be back with the bike feeling as good as ever. It’s a long way until the race on Sunday, but my tactic is to continue the positive start today, be quick in qualifying and make no mistakes in the race.”
Pol Espargaro - 11th / 1'33.690 / 20 laps
“I am happy with today’s performance as, although I finished lower than I wanted to be in the standings, I was only 0.3 of a second from the front row and Jorge who was the fastest Yamaha. Also I am especially pleased with the track improvements. The modifications of the corners definitely helps us to turn better which really adds to the enjoyment of riding this circuit, plus the grip levels have obviously improved a lot. I tried the hard compound this morning which was really positive and then later today I rode on the soft. At the moment, I am still unsure on the best compound to use but we need to work a little on the rear section of the bike as I am sliding a lot when entering the corner. In addition, I definitely need to work on adjusting my riding style more. Overall, I am happy with my final lap time so tomorrow we will work harder and continue to move forward.”
Positive day of work for the NGM Forward Racing Team
The NGM Forward Racing Team was back on track today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first day of free practices of the Indianapolis GP, 10th event of the MotoGP World Championship.
It was a good start for Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards on the US track. Both Colin Edwards and Aleix Espargaro appreciated the new asphalt and layout a lot and they started to work on the set up of their Forward Yamaha during both practice sessions.
Aleix finally finished eight with a lap time of 1’33.424, just 0.163 from Jorge Lorenzo, who closes the provisional front row, with Colin Edwards in 16th position (1’34.994). For the Texan rider this is a special weekend and he is determined to keep on working to get a good result in front of the American crowd.
Aleix Espargaro - 8th / 1'33.587 / 17 laps
“We are close to the front row but we need to keep on working on the set up of the bike to be more competitive. This afternoon we made some big changes on the bike but I’m still struggling in making the bike turn, while we are strong under braking. I have always struggled on this track, but I like the new layout a lot and I’m confident for tomorrow.”
Colin Edwards - 16th / 1'34.994 / 18 laps
“The circuit has done a great job, I like the new layout a lot and it’s great to race in America. Indy is special and has a lot of history and for sure it will be an emotional weekend and I’m enjoying every single moment. We are working on the bike set up and tomorrow we will continue to be more comfortable.”