Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was quickest on a rain-interrupted Friday at Mugello, setting a time of 1’48.004 in the dry Free Practice One session, before intermittent rain prevented any riders improving their times in the afternoon Free Practice Two session. Marquez’s best lap time in FP1 was just four-tenths of a second shy of his own Mugello Circuit Record Lap that he set last year, and put him 0.382 seconds clear of Yamaha Movistar MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi who was second overall today. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone also gave the Italian fans reason to cheer by setting the third-quickest time in FP1 and was the only other rider to lap within half a second of Marquez.
Although the track was dry for FP1, track temperatures in the morning session were quite cool with a peak recording of just 22°C. Track temperatures reached a peak of 30°C in the afternoon, but intermittent rain during FP2 created a track surface that was neither fully wet nor fully dry for most of the session. As the afternoon session drew to a close, the rain intensified causing truly wet conditions and it was Ducati’s Michele Pirro who set the benchmark time of 2’05.435 on wet tyres in FP2.
The cool weather today resulted in every rider using the soft compound front slick in FP1, and although the softer rear slick options were also used by the majority of riders in the morning session, a few riders did take the opportunity to evaluate their harder rear slick. Current forecasts indicate that tomorrow morning’s FP3 session could be rain-affected, but conditions for FP4 and Qualifying Practice in the afternoon should be dry.
“Today was a really good day, I began with a few questions on my mind after last year —when this track was one of those that I found most difficult— and I saw that things have changed completely after a year of experience. The morning went well and the feeling was good, but in the afternoon we didn’t go out as it was raining on-and-off and the surface was neither fit for dry riding nor wet tyres. I felt very comfortable on the bike, there was a big difference compared to last year and I’m feeling much better about things and we hope to continue improving”.
“This morning the start was good for me. We found already quite a good setting and I felt comfortable on the bike; it was already quite fast. The weather is a shame firstly for the people around the circuit and also as we had something important to try this afternoon so it was important to try to make the test. Unfortunately ten minutes before the practice it started to rain but not enough for the rain tyre so we wasted our time.”
“Unfortunately before the second practice today it started spitting and raining a little bit, not so much but we were not able to use the slick and it had no use to try with the rain tyre. I just made one lap to warm up the rain tyre in case there’s a dry and wet race. This morning was good, I feel better physically and I feel stronger on the bike. It is just a little more nervous than last year so we are trying to improve the electronics to make the bike more smooth and easier to ride.”
“Today we were only able to complete a few laps in the morning, in which I didn’t feel completely comfortable. Then we were not able to ride in the afternoon as conditions were mixed and we couldn’t use the slick tyres, but we were also unable to use the wets due to the track not being wet enough. In any case, I can’t wait to continue working tomorrow to recover the ground needed and begin to ride fast”.
“This morning I immediately felt comfortable on the bike: we tried different solutions on the rear, looking for a better grip, but overall I’m happy because I managed to keep a good pace. Over the past two years here at Mugello I have always struggled, but this year I have a good feeling, more or less as it happened in Le Mans two weeks ago; this means that the changes we tried during the post-race test at Jerez work also here, and that is really encouragin. Today I definitely could get a better lap time, because I was improving in every sector before the crash: we are a bit disappointed for what happened, because Abraham was proceeding slowly in a dangerous point; I’ve been forced to lean the bike a lot to avoid to touch him and as a result I lost grip and I crashed. Luckily I have no injuries, but it could have been worst. We’ll have to talk again about this topic. In the afternoon the track conditions didn’t allow to do any work on the bike and I completed only a few laps to make sure everything was working on the bike with which I had the crash in the morning”.
“This morning we started off quite well and set some good lap times. However we have to do some laps in different conditions because in the race we will probably find a track that is warmer than this morning, which will surely change the situation. Our start wasn’t bad therefore, but we have to continue to work hard tomorrow. This afternoon on the other hand, the conditions weren’t good enough to go out, it didn’t make much sense to lap on a damp track.”
“Today was about familiarization with the track and the Ducati in the morning session. The lap times for a lot of the guys seemed close. I’m a bit disappointed we never got out in the second session, but this was due to the condition of the track — half-wet, half-dry for everybody is not a good situation. We lost some time for the set-up work, but tomorrow we’ll look to improve.”
“I’m disappointed because this morning we had a problem with the bike and I didn’t manage to set a good time. Pity, because in the tests we went very well. I hoped to be able to make up time in the afternoon, but because of the track conditions I only managed to do a couple of laps to check that the second bike was working well. If the weather is better tomorrow, we’ll try and move further up.”
“This morning the first free practice session was not too bad for me: it’s been easier for me to learn the track because I’ve already tested a MotoGP bike here in the past. My lap times were all very close and I think that the limit was represented by the softer front tyre: the front was pushing a lot on corner entry and I was losing ground especially in sectors 1 and 3. I wanted to try the harder front tyre in the afternoon, but it was not possible, so we’ll do it tomorrow, together with some small changes on the bike balance”.
“I am pretty happy with how things went this morning, and we have definitely improved a lot with certain aspects of the bike since Le Mans. We managed to do four runs and the team and I tried a lot of suspension and geometry settings so that we were able to collect a huge range of data. This in turn, fills me with confidence for tomorrow. It was unfortunate that I was unable to ride this afternoon yet with the information we have from FP1 we are in a good position for the rest of the weekend. Hopefully for tomorrow the weather conditions will clear and be dry so that we can carry on working in the right direction.”
“Obviously the fall this morning was not an ideal start to this weekend but in my first run behind Lorenzo I felt very comfortable and the lap times were promising. After the crash where I hit my head a bit, I felt quite nervous and little less confident but still managed to improve my lap time as soon as I went out again which obviously makes me feel elated for the weekend. Of course it goes without saying that I would have been happy to get a few more laps under my belt this afternoon, but unfortunately the weather conditions were not on our side. I am hoping that the weather will be dry tomorrow as I have never ridden in the wet but we will have to see.”
“This morning we worked on the electronics to solve the problems we had in Le Mans and we tried different things to cool the brakes. We did a good work but there was not enough time to concentrate on the set up, something we wanted to do this afternoon. Mugello is a very demanding track so we will keep on working on the electronics in preparation of the race”.
“Today was one of my best memories of Mugello. We showed up here with the new chassis. We had to restart almost from zero in terms of set up but the feeling was very positive and I feel like I am a 20 year old guy!. I understand the bike, I have the confidence and the machine turns as it should, according to my riding style. The new chassis was designed around what I had last year and I’d like to thank the team for the great effort they made to deliver it for the Italian GP”.
2014 MotoGP Mugello combined free practise timings
- 1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’48.004
- 2. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’48.386
- 3. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing 1’48.434
- 4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 1’48.518
- 5. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’48.665
- 6. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1’48.743
- 7. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP 1’48.925
- 8. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Ducati Team 1’48.980
- 9. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 1’49.030
- 10. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’49.030
- 11. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 1’49.203
- 12. Pol EspargarÃ² (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 1’49.308
- 13. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 1’49.818
- 14. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati Team 1’50.030
- 15. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Drive M7 Aspar 1’50.143
- 16. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Energy T.I. Pramac Racing 1’50.189
- 17. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 1’50.327
- 18. Scott Redding (GBR) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 1’50.440
- 19. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 1’51.396
- 20. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing 1’52.164
- 21. Michael Laverty (GBR) Paul Bird Motorsport 1’52.748
- 22. Brok Parkes (AUS) Paul Bird Motorsport 1’53.775
- 23. Nicky Hayden (USA) Drive M7 Aspar 1’55.369