MotoGP Catalunya 2013 free practise report with rider quotes

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi lapped under the race lap record at the Circuit de Catalunya today to lead the field in a scorching day of action. Having set impressive times on the harder rear slick option earlier in the FP2 session, Rossi switched to the softer rear slick, paired with the harder front slick option to set a time of 1’42.297 to end the day 0.049 seconds ahead of teammate Jorge Lorenzo. Having named the track as one of his top three favourites, the nine-time champion was clearly enjoying being back at the Circuit de Catalunya on his YZR-M1. Third quickest overall today was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, the Spaniard setting his best time of the day — a 1’42.445 – in Free Practice 1. Clearly revelling in the conditions at his home circuit, Power Electronics Aspar rider Aleix Espargaro was the top CRT rider in today’s sessions, finishing tenth fastest with a time of 1’43.204.

Track temperatures soared today under a blazing Spanish sun, with a peak of 54°C recorded during the afternoon FP2 session. The hot tarmac resulted in many teams evaluating the harder option rear slick, with some riders able to set their best lap time of the day on this option. Front tyre choice today was also varied, with the softer front slick preferred in the morning FP1 session as the riders evaluated the condition of the track, before the trend shifted towards the harder front slick in the hot afternoon session. The warm track temperatures enabled riders to get up to pace quickly in FP1 and despite the very hot conditions in the afternoon, the pace quickened even more on what was reported by riders to be a good track surface. Hot conditions are also expected for the rest of the race weekend, with the next session, FP3, scheduled for 0955 local time tomorrow (GMT +2).

valentino rossi motogp catalunya 2013

Valentino Rossi

“I love this track; it is one of the best. The M1 is always great here in Catalunya. It is just Friday but I am very happy to be in front, although we have still a lot of work to do. We have to decide which tyre to use and we have some corners and sections where we have to improve for tomorrow. Anyway, it is great to be back on top.”

Jorge Lorenzo

“We started very well but we tried two settings that didn’t work so well. We stayed with the same tyres for the whole practice to understand why they are dropping in this weather so we could solve this problem that I think all the riders are having. We have to try and improve the bike in order to let me have more confidence, then I can stay in the middle of the 42 second mark which is my target. We don’t focus so much on the classification because not all the riders kept on the same tyres during the practice, a new tyre can give you half a second or more. We have to trust the pace and the pace is good, one of the best of the grid.”

Dani Pedrosa

“Above all today, we focused on testing tyres. We were able to ride some laps with the soft tyres and also the hards, in order to see which are best suited to the track. Getting the choice right is very important at this circuit, because it is always hot in the race and it is usually a key to managing this. The tyres suffer a little when we lean the bike over, but we are working on this issue. We still haven’t decided which compounds we will use, so we will see what tomorrow brings and then go from there.”

Marc marquez

“I am pretty happy with how the day went. We followed the normal Friday agenda; in the first session we were ninth, over one second from the top, then in the second session we cut the gap to half a second and finished sixth in the combined times. I am very happy with the work that we have done, but we still have things to improve and there are points on the track where I am still not comfortable. I have to improve my adaptation to the circuit and some details with the setup but the most important thing is that we have cut the gap and are working in the right direction.”

Nicky Hayden

“It wasn’t a spectacular day, but the team has worked well and made some good improvements between exits, which helped us to increase our pace in the afternoon. With a new tyre, the bike is working well, but it becomes a problem when the grip goes away. I got into the 42s twice, and the gap to the next couple of guys is pretty small, but we’ve got to do anything we can to improve the longevity of the tyres.”

Andrea Dovizioso

“I think we’ve still got a lot of work to do, as I’m not feeling comfortable on the bike in a number of ways. We must re-evaluate the riding position because this track is quite different from Mugello and requires different solutions. We’re not sure about the moved-back position, which had worked well at the test last week in Italy. For this reason, we tried a number of different setups. Pace-wise, we’re not so bad, but we definitely must improve because the pace always increases in the race, and those who are best prepared do better.”

Andrea Iannone

“It seems like everything is happening to me this year! Fortunately, Claudio [Dr Costa] is always at the track, and when my ear began tormenting me last night, he helped me to finally get some rest. Apart from that, I can say that the day didn’t go so badly in the end. The gap to Nicky and Dovi on this track is smaller than usual, and we’re a second faster compared to the first session. Of course I still have some problems. I’m struggling in the faster sections in the last part of the track, and on corner entry, where I tend to go wide. We’re still working though, and after some updates, things went better today. This morning I immediately went out with the hard tyre, and it didn’t go badly, but the pace was better with the soft in the afternoon session. I was able to ride better, but I’m not sure for the race. We’ll see how things go tomorrow.”

Cal Crutchlow

“I am really happy with today’s practice because we experimented a lot with the bike and found some very positive things that will help me for the rest of the weekend. This afternoon when the temperature really came hot I didn’t use a soft tyre and we can see from the timesheets how much of an advantage that was. I am sure if I had used the soft tyre I’d have been inside the top three but I preferred to do a long run with the hard tyre and it was positive. I need to improve a bit in the first sector but we have some changes planned for tomorrow that should help make me stronger and overall today I am really happy. I am convinced it is going to be a big fight on Sunday with the Spanish boys obviously wanting to put on a show here but I am looking forward to being part of the battle.”

Bradley Smith

“Today was another tough day. I am not feeling so confident with the setting and I am missing some confidence myself. I am lucky I didn’t damage my body in the crash because it was another big fall. I lost the front and as I tried to save it the rear tyre gripped and threw me off. The bike hit my left knee and that’s why I was limping in the gravel but luckily I am fine. Right now I need to work hard and sit down with my crew to find where I am loosing most of the time. I don’t really know what is missing but we will find something tonight and approach it at 100% again tomorrow.”

Alvaro Bautista

“Today was a positive start to the weekend. I felt good with the bike and the track right from the start of the first session and was able to get started on the set-up. The crash was a shame but luckily I wasn’t hurt. In the afternoon we went out with the hard front and rear tyres but the rear was sliding a lot and I couldn’t get a good feeling. We went back to the soft and even though it had some laps on it I was able to go fast. Tomorrow we will work with the electronics to try and get the bike working well when the tyres go off, as they will in the race. It has been a great day but we still have work to do tomorrow to try and get a good grip position for Sunday.”

Bryan Staring

“It’s a great track but I struggled to get used to it today. It’s not easy for me to have to learn new tracks every weekend and today we also struggled to keep our corner speed up. The guys will make some changes to the bike tomorrow and try to find the best possible solution before Sunday’s race.”

MotoGP 2013 Catalunya combined Free Practice Times

  • 1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha Factory Racing 1’42.297
  • 2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing 1’42.346
  • 3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’42.445
  • 4. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’42.492
  • 5. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 1’42.752
  • 6. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’42.857
  • 7. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Team 1’42.890
  • 8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 1’42.988
  • 9. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP 1’43.005
  • 10. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Power Electronics Aspar 1’43.204
  • 11. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing Team 1’43.272
  • 12. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Power Electronics Aspar 1’43.644
  • 13. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati Test Team 1’43.648
  • 14. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’44.247
  • 15. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Blusens 1’44.461
  • 16. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1’44.586
  • 17. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 1’44.599
  • 18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Came Iodaracing Project 1’44.609
  • 19. Michael Laverty (GBR) Paul Bird Motorsport 1’45.337
  • 20. Claudio Corti (ITA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1’45.513
  • 21. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Paul Bird Motorsport 1’45.824
  • 22. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Avintia Blusens 1’45.834
  • 23. Bryan Staring (AUS) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 1’46.577
  • 24. Lukas Pesek (CZE) Came IodaRacing Project 1’47.239