Published on 04 Nov 2011 by Toni M.
Today’s MotoGP free practice sessions at the Ricardo Tormo circuit were characterized by a damp track with wet patches in the morning where reigning World Champion Casey Stoner topped the charts, but the afternoon session saw a group of outsiders take over the top five spots with Alvaro Bautista leading in the second practice, with a lot of complaints regarding the poor track surface and grip levels.
Loris Capirossi who was fifth fastest this morning and fell back to 12th with tire issues in the afternoon session. Speaking to GPone website, he explained that the tires he was given were old (based on the serial numbers) and are from last season or from an even older allotment and that this isn’t the first time that the Japanese tire manufacturer has done it. This complaint by Capirex who will be retiring at the end of this weekend, will no doubt put a queen bee in Bridgestone’s bonnet.
The weather forecast for tomorrow at Valencia predicts more rain, so we could be in for a wet qualifying session.
Álvaro Bautista - 1st
“Today has been a good day for us because we have had a full wet session to get some practice in those conditions. In this morning’s session I had a good feeling at the start, but as the track became drier it wasn’t as good and I couldn’t ride at the limit. The bike moved a lot and was spinning-up all over the track, so it was very difficult. In the second session, after the heavy rain, the track was much wetter and the conditions were a lot worse than this morning for all the riders, so it was essential that you rode smoothly and carefully. We changed some settings in the bike to help me get a confident feeling in the GSV-R and at the end of the session I was able to find a good rhythm. We finished first today and although it’s only the second free practice, you cannot improve as much in the wet as you can in the dry, so this is very good for us. I hope that tomorrow we can make some improvements in drying conditions like we had earlier today, but if it is totally dry we still have plenty of work to do to get ready. I am happy with the first day and looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”
Nicky Hayden - 2nd
“This was actually the first time I’ve ever ridden the GP11.1 in the wet, and I was really happy with how it felt. The track was extremely slippery. We came from Malaysia and Australia, where the surface would dry in no time, but here, even when it would stop raining, it just wouldn’t dry. The grip was really low, especially on corner entry, but we made a few steps through the day that seemed to help. I’m not going to lie; it would’ve been nice to end up in P1, even though it’s just Friday afternoon, but we spent a lot of time at the top and put up quite a few red helmets (the monitor’s indication for a best time in a sector or lap). We’ll see what the weather does tomorrow, but regardless, we got some good information.”
Randy de Puniet - 3rd
“I’m satisfied. This morning the track was quite dry, more towards the end of the session and I ended in seventh place. In the afternoon I did well on the wet track, finishing the session with the seventh best lap time. The feeling with the bike is good, and I hope it is tomorrow as well. There is a good opportunity to end this season with a good result, and my thoughts are with Marco and his family.”
Karel Abraham - 4th
“Conditions in the morning were strange, half wet and half dry. Honestly, the worst possible combination. But I’m quite satisfied with 13th place. Everything went well, but in the last lap I pushed too much. Fortunately, I’m okay.”
Cal Crutchlow - 5th
“Today was a positive start to the weekend and I think I could have gone a fair bit quicker at the end of this afternoon’s session and been challenging for the top three but I made a couple of small mistakes on my last lap. But I was still fifth fastest though and I felt pretty comfortable in the full wet conditions. I am happy enough even though the track hasn’t got much grip at all. It was very slippery and you’ve got to be careful because it is easy to make a mistake. But the bike definitely felt better in the full wet rather than when it was a bit sketchy this morning. I just hope we get a dry session tomorrow to get some time on the bike in the dry. Nobody wants to be starting the race with no dry track time, so we’ll have to see what happens with the weather. If it is wet tomorrow I’m sure we can make some improvements and go a bit faster.”
Andrea Dovizioso - 6th
“Today the conditions of the track were really demanding as there was no grip. We did good work with the team and we were careful not to make mistakes as we didn’t want to take additional risks with these difficult conditions. All in all, I’m quite satisfied as I was able to ride quiet fast without pushing too much but of course we need to keep on working. I hope that tomorrow the weather and the track situation will improve.”
Valentino Rossi - 7th
“Our bike works very well in the wet, so this morning I was able to push and to stay up there near the front. In the afternoon we had a few more problems because we made a mistake with the rear setting. I couldn’t manage to find grip under acceleration, or to ride the bike well like in the morning. I should add that we’re a bit on the limit regarding the asphalt conditions, because it’s very worn and has terrible grip. The rain and the cold make it worse, and it’s very difficult to ride. We’ll have to see how to proceed throughout the weekend, because if it stays wet, we could do pretty well. If it improves, we’ll have to see how we are in the dry.
Casey Stoner - 8th
“It hasn’t been a great day to be honest, we’ve never had a great feeling here in the wet. I love riding this circuit in the dry, but there seems to be some sort of oil or grease on the circuit, I’m not sure if it’s due to a lot of car rubber down but it makes things hard for sure. It’s been pretty useless in terms of finding a good set up, both sessions began with a little water and then drying out towards the end, when it’s like this you’re chasing the set up all day so we didn’t do too much work on the bike. We tried a few small things to make it better in the wet, but then as it dried up we saw everything we had done was a waste of time. We’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings and if it does rain again I hope it at least rains consistently so we can get a full wet session in.”
Dani Pedrosa - 9th
“This morning we had a very good run, but in the afternoon we had some issues on the bike with the rear shock and I only managed a few laps, spending a lot of time in the garage making changes. The track surface is quite old and very slippery, even when the track was drier it was still tough. The feelings are not so bad and I think we need to be ready for mixed weather conditions, improving the set up step by step. Let’s wait and see if tomorrow we have some dry sessions to get out on slick tyres, this would be important to better understand the direction to take on the set up of the bike.”
Josh Hayes - 10th
“My first day in MotoGP has been very difficult and quite scary at times to be honest. Before I went out this morning I don’t think I have ever been so nervous in my life. I was happy with my lap times this morning in tricky conditions but then in the full wet this afternoon it meant it was quite a scary introduction to MotoGP. Although I’ve not experienced the full potential of a MotoGP bike because of the wet conditions, it is obvious that the Tech 3 Yamaha is a very good motorcycle and the Team has done an excellent job to try and make me comfortable. All I had to do was ride the machine and try to improve. Right now it is not so much about the set-up of the bike, it is just me learning the bike and I will continue that process tomorrow. I just hope that at some point I will get to have a dry practice so I can get to grips with the carbon brakes. I don’t want to be going into the race on Sunday having to learn to ride in the dry and also adjust to the carbon brakes after two wet days. That would be the worse scenario for me but I enjoyed today a lot. It was a great experience and once again I want to thank everybody at Yamaha, Tech 3 and Monster that made this possible.”
Katsuyuki Nakasuga - 11th
“This is my first time at this track and it was pretty difficult at the beginning to learn the way. I’m more comfortable now as I can remember the layout. I would prefer a dry track as I think it’s very easy to crash here in the wet. On Sunday I believe I can challenge for a good position, this is my target.”
Loris Capirossi - 12th
“It was an honour to ride with Marco’s number on my bike. Apart from that it was a tough afternoon. The tyres didn’t work so in the final minutes we had to use my tyres from this morning. They were a bit worn but I still managed to improve my second-session time by three seconds. I’m happy with how the morning went, and I’m very optimistic for tomorrow. We can do well.”
Hector Barbera - 13th
“The positive part of the day was that physically I feel a lot better than in Malaysia. It’s true that wet conditions are less demanding physically, but I haven’t had too many problems just yet. We tried out some electronic modifications today, and they didn’t end up working out. We had good results when we tried the same changes in Malaysia, but maybe the water on the track meant that there wasn’t the response that we wanted. We will take another step back to look at the big picture tomorrow, as we know what we want and I am sure that we can make a significant improvement. Because we focused on electronics today, we left the chassis set-up a bit on the backburner. It’s only Friday, so we still have all day tomorrow in which to improve.”
Ben Spies - 14th
“I’m a little beat up but that’s normal after a crash. I got a little wide over the white line and hit a puddle and hydroplaned the front, lost it and went down. The bike was starting to feel pretty good and we were getting up to speed. It’s not the best way to come back, I’m not really happy about it but we’ll look forward to tomorrow and make it better. We made a change at the beginning of the second session which was bad, then went back to the settings from the morning and were making progress so we’ll continue with that set up in final practice.”
Hiroshi Aoyama - 15th
“The conditions made life hard today and I had a crash. The grip levels weren’t the best and even though I tried to find the limit it was very hard and I am not happy with the result. I hope I can be faster tomorrow and on Sunday. This is an important Grand Prix for me because it is my last in MotoGP and I am desperate to have a good race to honour Marco, who we are all missing greatly. I will try to do my best for all these reasons.”
Toni Elias - 16th
It was difficult to return to racing this weekend after Marco’s terrible accident in Sepang, but I think it is the best thing we can do to honour him. Basically this morning I felt very confident and was pretty happy with the setting of bike one. I was missing some front and rear feeling but my pace was consistent on the damp surface. In the afternoon I went out on the same bike but after three laps I lost the front on turn two crashing out: probably I pushed too much. I rejoined the track on bike two but the set up was slightly different and we could not fix the problem with the time remaining. I did not have the same rear grip feeling but we have got a good base set up on the wet so let’s see how is the weather tomorrow”.