Under sunny Spanish skies, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso lapped under the current Aragon Circuit Record Lap in this afternoon’s Free Practice 2 session to lead proceedings on the opening day at the Aragon Grand Prix.
As the session drew to a close, Dovizioso set a scorching lap time of 1’48.285 to finish the day 0.043 seconds quicker than Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who was in second place on the timesheets today. Third quickest was Dani Pedrosa on the other Repsol Honda RC213V, with a personal best lap time of 1’48.734. The three quickest riders on the first day of practice at Aragon set their best times using different tyre combinations. Dovizioso was quickest using the medium compound front slick paired with the soft compound rear slick, which is only available to the Ducati and Open-class riders at Aragon. Marquez’s best performance came while using the medium compound slicks front and rear, while Pedrosa’s best lap time was set on the combination of the medium compound front and the hard compound rear slick.
Although conditions today were fine and sunny, the day started with the coldest temperatures yet recorded for a MotoGP session this year, as the track temperature at the start of Free Practice 1 was just 15°C. In the afternoon FP2 session, the track temperature peaked at 38°C which enabled riders to set an incredibly quick pace at the Aragon circuit. The almost perfect track conditions in the afternoon resulted in many riders trying a wide range of tyre combinations, with both the soft and medium front slicks yielding positive results. For the rear tyre, all three asymmetric slick options; the soft, medium and hard compounds also received praise from the riders with all of these specifications to be further tested tomorrow. With such strong performance achieved by riders on all the tyres in the Aragon allocation, further evaluation is required tomorrow before riders can home-in on their preferred race tyre combination. Similar weather conditions are forecast for tomorrow with the next MotoGP session, FP3, starting at 0955 local time (GMT +2).
“I did a really great lap at the end! I am very happy with the time I set, especially because I didn’t do a perfect lap. We still have to work on pace, because as always here at Aragón the rear tyres drop off a lot in performance after just a few laps. I can confirm that the GP14.2 is narrower and also more comfortable, and so it goes better from that point of view, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
“This is one of my favourite tracks on the World Championship calendar, our first day went well and I enjoyed riding in front of the home fans! I felt good on the bike and had a good pace, which is what we were focusing on the most today. The track was quite slippery but I like it like this! However, tomorrow we will try to define which tyres to use and refine the setup, then see if we can get onto the front row for Sunday and have a great race”.
“The practice sessions went well today. We tried the soft and hard tyres and it is still difficult to say which is better on the rear, but the intermediate worked well for us on the front. We have to keep putting in laps at this circuit to improve our feeling, because this is a track where the tyres give plenty of grip at the start and then performance drops off, so you need to get used to finding pace with used tyres. I think that getting a clean lap for setting a good time on it will be vital to qualifying tomorrow”.
“Today was more positive than the other race weekends. We had some problems in the first session so I never got enough laps in time on the bike. We worked hard in the second free practice, and in the session I felt quite comfortable and my pace was not so bad. Unfortunately in my fast lap I got held up by a slower rider waiting for a follow. We will change the engine tonight and hopefully it will help us to improve tomorrow.”
“Today was a positive day for us. This morning during the first free practice session, I initially used the GP14 and then the GP14.2 finishing the round in first place. In the afternoon I continued the comparison between the two bikes putting down similar lap times with both. For now I am better on the new evolution because it has more room to move more freely in the seat. I have to analyze “braking” with my team because with the new bike I have to use more force on the brake lever compared to the GP 14 Tomorrow we will do some tests to see what causes this situation. “
“I’m glad I was able to improve in FP2 after the crash in the first round. I am pleased to be able to go faster than Dovi’s best time done last year with this bike. I have a good feeling with the bike and tomorrow I want to be able to get back into Q2. I can say that after a year I was able to improve myself in many ways! “
“We are using a completely different tyre to the rest of the riders. Valentino didn’t like so much the hard front, I don’t know if he tried the soft in the last laps but for me it was better with the softer option. Tomorrow we will do some more laps to see if it will be constant for the duration of the race. We didn’t start in the best way possible, we are very far from the front, but the thing that worries us is that we are far from my ideal time here from last year so we have margin to improve. I feel great physically and mentally but the bike needs to improve a bit. We are going to test a different set up for tomorrow so I’m looking forward to continuing.”
“Together with Yamaha and Bridgestone we decided to try the hard rear to understand if it’s good option but it proved difficult. At the same time I struggled with the front as I was suffering some under steer so we decided to try the soft front; that was not so bad. We made some important data for tomorrow because we tried all the combinations. We need to work a lot as we suffer with rear grip and corner speed. The bike is difficult to ride and I’m not fast enough so tomorrow we have to improve a lot.”
“Today was a really positive way to kick of the weekend for me. My feeling with the bike was good from the word go, which could partly be due to the fact that I’ve ridden a lot of races here, but for whatever reason all the movements felt truly natural. I was able to run competitive lap times which kept me on the virtual podium for the majority of the session this afternoon, but still I think Valentino and Jorge’s rhythm might be a bit stronger and for sure they will get up to speed tomorrow. Also we still have some margin to improve and I’m looking forward to trying the softer tyre compound in FP3 or 4 as we just ran the harder compound today. I know the situation in qualifying will not be an easy one due to the tyre difference with the Ducati’s and the open class bikes but I’m really looking forward to the race on Sunday and I hope that all of our hard work will pay off.”
“I am pleased with the job we did today and especially in this afternoon’s session, we made a big step forward with the bike and have a definite direction to follow for the rest of the weekend. We focused a lot on braking stability as well as my technique in order to be smoother and more consistent. I can safely say that we improved this and I certainly feel that we did a good job today. At the moment, the lap times are close in the classifications but the Honda’s seem to have a small advantage so we need to work hard to catch them up. Also today, the soft tyre compound might have given the open class bikes and the Ducati’s some advantage however, I am confident that the grip level of the track will keep improving which will allow us to close in on them tomorrow. Nevertheless it was a positive day and I look forward to continuing the good work for the rest of the weekend.”
“Today, unfortunately, we found the same problems we had in the other races: we struggle with rear grip issues and my feeling on the bike is always the same on every track, so it’s difficult to ride. We cannot exploit the full potential of the tyres on a single flying lap, so tomorrow we will focus on race pace, looking for a better overall feeling with the bike in order to be at least consistent over the race distance, without thinking too much about the fast lap, an aspect on which we struggle a lot compared to our rivals”.
“It was a difficult day, we’re struggling again with the front end: braking and corner entry are the weakest points at the moment, so we will work on that tomorrow to try to improve the situation. We have already some ideas, probably we will try some different front fork settings, and then we will see. The positive thing is that at Misano I dind’t have feeling I couldn’t feel what the front was doing, but here I know what’s happening. This is good because I can help the guys to fix the problem: we did one more step in the right direction, now we just need to keep working on this way to find something better”.
Combined Free Practice timings
- 1. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team 1’48.285
- 2. Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team 1’48.328
- 3. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 1’48.734
- 4. Andrea Iannone Pramac Racing 1’48.747
- 5. Aleix Espargaro NGM Forward Racing 1’48.938
- 6. Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech 31’48.966
- 7. Jorge Lorenzo Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’48.969
- 8. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda MotoGP 1’49.002
- 9. Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 31’49.011
- 10. Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 1’49.312
- 11. Cal Crutchlow Ducati Team 1’49.373
- 12. Yonny Hernandez Pramac Racing 1’49.650
- 13. Alvaro Bautista GO&FUN Honda Gresini 1’49.711
- 14. Hiroshi Aoyama Drive M7 Aspar 1’50.283
- 15. Alex De Angelis Tasca Racing Moto2 1’50.408
- 16. Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 1’50.472
- 17. Hector Barbera Avintia Racing 1’50.487
- 18. Nicky Hayden Drive M7 Aspar 1’50.980
- 19. Scott Redding GO&FUN Honda Gresini 1’50.912
- 20. Danilo Petrucci IodaRacing Project 1’51.510
- 21. Broc Parkes Paul Bird Motorsport 1’52.415
- 22. Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport 1’52.600
- 23. Mike Di Meglio Avintia Racing 1’52.684