Published on 15 Jun 2012 by Toni M.
The constantly changing weather at Silverstone gave the MotoGP riders two completely different sessions to prepare their machines so they can more or less affront whatever the forecast will throw at them on Sunday afternoon, but it was actually the strong wind and cool temperatures that disturbed the riders more than the rain.
Casey Stoner was the fastest rider in the dry - albeit by a mere 0.034s - but the Australian wasn’t happy with the resurfacing job done of the track between turns 6 and 7, lamenting that the condition of the asphalt is worse than last year and much more bumpier, and he also had very little to say about the new front tire that he and his team mate Dani Pedrosa don’t like, as it is now the standard issue starting this round, except his still doesn’t understand why it was introduced, but he’ll adapt.
Valentino Rossi was the fastest rider in the wet, but the Italian’s practice session in the dry was simply disastrous. Tomorrow he’ll be peaking over at Nicky Hayden’s side of the garage and use the American’s dry set-up (Hayden was fourth and a little more than half a second from Stoner) in order to try to lower his lap times, especially through the Becketts and Maggots. Rossi is losing over six tenths of second in just 500mts and in another two sections he is also slow, so basically he is slow all over the circuit and if you ask him why his GP12 is competitive in the wet he’ll admit he doesn’t know why, only that all the strong points that the Ducati has when the track is wet becomes their weak points in the dry.
Here are some of rider quotes following today’s two practice sessions.
Casey Stoner - 1st
“We didn’t learn very much from today. In the first session we tried understand the bike in the wet a little better, but it was gradually drying out throughout the session so it was difficult to take any real data. It was a similar situation this afternoon, we went out for a couple of laps and it started to rain, which destroyed most of the session. We found the bike very hard to ride so we came in and made a change, which took a lot of time and we didn’t manage so many laps. It would be nice if we get some better weather again tomorrow and this wind makes things very tricky, but everyone is in the same position. The chatter is a little better, we made another small improvement but we’ll need to check it tomorrow in some more consistent conditions.”
Ben Spies - 2nd
“Today was pretty good, although we didn’t get off to a great start this morning, I had a small mishap and crashed at T15. I’m happy enough though, even this morning in the rain I was very comfortable on the bike. We got a good dry session in this afternoon as well, which is useful just in case we do have a dry race. The bike is working really well, it was pretty windy out there but we made the most of the 45 minutes to try a couple of things and we ended up going pretty quick.”
Álvaro Bautista - 3rd
“We have made a good start here despite crashing this morning in very tricky conditions. We had the opportunity to try the bike in the wet and that was important for us because at Le Mans in similar conditions we didn’t have any confidence with the bike. I felt a lot better with it this morning and I was running third before the crash. We’d made some changes to the bike and it felt even better so may the crash was me just pushing a bit too hard. On the dry track in the afternoon we also did a good job even though track conditions weren’t perfect and the wind was a real problem. Anyway, we managed to improve my confidence with the bike, especially over the bumps, which was a problem because the bike wasn’t absorbing them very well. We gathered a lot of data that I’m sure will be useful tomorrow, when hopefully the weather is a little better.”
Nicky Hayden - 4th
“We know our bike really likes wet conditions, and the team was obviously quite good this morning. With the rain shower this afternoon, we didn’t really get to do a lot of dry laps, as the time went by pretty quickly. The track was actually pretty good as far as grip was concerned, although it was really windy out there. We learned a couple of things, but we still have more work to do. We need to improve the transmission ratios a bit in some spots and work to get some more stability, because the side winds made it very difficult in the high-speed parts.”
Stefan Bradl - 5th
“I feel quite satisfied about this first day of practices. It seems we are well prepared both in the dry and wet conditions. I was a bit worried in the afternoon session because our rear tyre dropped down too fast so we made some little adjustments to improve our lap time. So far we are not at 100%, yet with the set up but we know where to work and what we have to do because the lap times are still too slow compared to last year. But in general everything is working good for us: I have a little cold which is not helpful but hopefully I can control it during this weekend.”
Andrea Dovizioso - 6th
“This morning it was good to get some more time in the wet to work on the rain setting that we found in Le Mans. The bike worked well in France and it was positive again this morning to finish third. Although it was dry this afternoon the conditions were really tricky and not a lot of fun. It was so windy and that made it very difficult to control the bike. I am reasonably happy to be in sixth but we have some margin to improve and I am still close to the top three. That is the positive but we have to wait and see what will happen with the weather. It looks like more rain is coming but we are ready for anything and confident in the wet or dry of building on the podium achieved at the last race in Catalunya.”
Jorge Lorenzo - 7th
“It was nice to try the bike in the rain this morning as we may have these conditions for the race. Overall the day was not bad but not very good! We had a lot of problems with the wind in the afternoon session, which made it difficult. I don’t feel very comfortable yet, especially on the straight, we have to solve a problem with the front of the bike to be faster. We’ll see tomorrow, I hope we can improve much more.”
Cal Crutchlow -8th
“It hasn’t been the best start to my home race and we have definitely got to make some big improvements. This morning in the wet it didn’t feel too bad but I expected to be fast after fighting for the podium in the rain at Le Mans recently. But in the dry this afternoon I had a lot of problems and the bike was quite difficult to ride. Conditions were tricky because the wind was really strong and making it difficult but it is going to be a long night checking the data and analysing where we can improve. I am not fast enough but we know we have room for improvement. I will come out fighting tomorrow and hope to put on a good show for the British fans braving the weather.”
Dani Pedrosa - 9th
“It’s been a tough day for me because it’s a long time since I was here and it almost felt like a new track to me. I treated both practices as learning sessions, trying to learn the gears, the lines in the corners, the braking points and to find out the low grip areas. So, for me it was like a reminder in both wet and dry conditions and tonight I need to process all the information in my mind and get a little more used to the race track tomorrow and improve, in any condition. In the afternoon we used the new Bridgestone front tyre, the softer compound due to the cold conditions here, but we did just a few laps. As I said in Barcelona we need to tune the set up of the bike a little to work better with this tyre because for us it is too soft. Working with the weight distribution we might improve the performance.”
Héctor Barberá - 10th
“We worked tirelessly the whole day due to the tricky weather conditions. These mixed weather conditions allowed us to understand the new electronic settings both under the rain and with a dry surface and I was able to improve the confidence with my Ducati Desmosedici, especially on the wet track. We are in 10th position, which is not a great result, but we are only 0.6 seconds behind Stefan Bradl, who set the 5th fastest time. I’m pretty confident about our potential, we can step up and make the second row of the grid tomorrow, so we will work to achieve that result.”
Valentino Rossi - 11th
“This morning went really well. We were fastest, which made us very happy since we had many problems here last year in the wet. So now we’re competitive in the wet on this track as well, whereas it was a little harder for us in the dry. That said, I would like to have at least one more dry session because on the one hand there are a couple of things to sort on the bike, which gives us some margin, while on the other hand I’m still not riding this track well. There are two or three spots where my lines aren’t efficient, and where I’m still losing some time. It’s better than last year, but still not good enough, so I need a little time. We’ll see what the weather is like tomorrow. Here, it’s the dry conditions that are the unknown, because it always rains!”
Randy de Puniet - 12th
“Maybe it is because it is the first day and because it rained this morning, but the grip levels weren’t as good as we expected and we will have to work on this tomorrow. I am happy with this opening day, I feel positive and, although I haven’t made any great leap forward over the course of the day, we have developed a few smaller things. This was just the start and I am convinced that we can improve by at least a second tomorrow. The weather is very unstable here, so we have to be very sensitive in setting up the bike to be ready for whatever conditions the race will bring. We gathered a lot of data today and I hope that tomorrow is the same.”
Michele Pirro - 13th
“One wet session and one dry and overall we’re happy with how they went. In the wet we managed to close the gap to the top guys compared to when we rode with similar conditions at Le Mans and in the dry we were amongst the best CRT guys throughout. We are happy that we are closing in on our objective and today’s performance confirms the positive results from the test after the Grand Prix in Catalunya. Obviously we’re hoping for better weather over the next two days with dry conditions and less wind because today it was a real pain.”
Mattia Pasini - 14th
“This was quite a particular day: the weather conditions changed a few times during the day, especially in the afternoon. This didn’t make the approach to this track really easier on the ART machine, but in the whole I’m quite satisfied. Things didn’t go too bad, we can improve, but at the moment we are following our work schedule for the weekend. Now we’ll see where we are all set and where we can work to make some steps forward, so that we are ready for tomorrow’s sessions.”
Aleix Espargaró - 16th
“We rode in the rain this morning and tried out a lot of things, and I felt comfortable whilst we continued to improve. That was my best wet session for a long time. The afternoon was a little stranger, as we completed some dry laps and then had spots of rain to contend with and a strong wind, which, although it helped to dry the track, it also bothered us a bit during the session. We still have a second day of practice in which to try things out. It looks as if it will rain, so I only hope that it does so consistently, because patchy conditions make it harder to work.”
Colin Edwards - 19th
“We struggled this morning in the wet; I don’t know what was going on. You shift from fourth to fifth gear and the bike went …I don’t know, like it lost power. Then we thought we fixed it, went out this afternoon and same thing, both bikes exactly the same, you shift gear from fourth to fifth gear and would just lose power. Hopefully we will get everything fixed tomorrow, we have an idea with the bike setting. At least we got a couple of laps in even though it was still the same and it was doing it at every lap but I thought: “At least I got to get some information on bike setting.” So we will see what tomorrow brings.”
Karel Abraham is at Silverstone but won’t be racing this weekend:
“I had two examinations at Clinica Mobile and at hospital and doctors highly recommended I not race. Otherwise the broken bones could dislocate and mean that surgery will be necessary. In this case my start in next races could be endangered and we can´t risk it. It´s really bad for us to lose a race but it´s certainly better than lose four races in July. I really hope I will be back on track after two weeks”.