Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo looked ready for business at Misano on the Italian Riviera today, putting in some impressive times and finishing the day first and second, several tenths ahead of the next fastest rider. This was despite the uncomfortably hot and humid weather, although a forecast late rain shower tonight promises to cool things down a little for tomorrow.
It was Lorenzo, fresh from his victory in Indianapolis just five days ago, who looked in command for the early part of the session as he immediately found a good setting and set about improving his time lap by lap. In the last twenty minutes however Rossi made a step forward and was able to join his team-mate lapping in the 1’35s, the local favourite eventually finishing the session a tenth ahead of the Spanish challenger. There was a further gap of over six tenths back to Dani Pedrosa in third, promising another tense weekend of racing between the Fiat Yamaha pair.
Position: 1st Time: 1’35.304 Laps: 29
“This is more the weather for the beach than for the racetrack, today was unbelievably hot! The first session was much better than in Indy though and I am quite happy. We have made a few experiments with different settings and then at the end when we put everything together with the right tyre, I was able to do three fast laps and finish first. It’s a good sign to be in this shape already on Friday and now we just have to improve a bit more tomorrow because it’s very important here to be on the front row. It’s quite a tricky track and you have to be quite careful in some places, but my bike felt good today.”
Position: 2nd Time: 1’35.430 Laps: 29
“Today was very hot which meant it quite hard to ride, and also the track is quite slippery here. I felt comfortable on my bike from the start and I was able to be quite fast, which is always encouraging, but I think we have some more work to do because we’re not perfect yet and the front could be better, especially on the entry to the corners. Tomorrow we will try to work on this and especially on T2 and T3, because these are the areas where we are losing some time. Valentino is very strong, as I expected because it’s his home and he won last year, so we will have to be at the maximum to be able to fight with him.”
“We did a lot of work today and it looks like we’ve done a good job. We worked on both bikes and all the tyres and by the end of the session Valentino had a good pace and rhythm. We hope that we have found a good base on which we can build tomorrow. The important thing is that we continue to fine tune the setting in the morning so that we’re at our best tomorrow afternoon and Sunday.”
“A good start here in Misano, in extremely hot weather. Jorge found a good pace from the beginning of the session but we need to improve the feeling with the front because this track is very demanding on it. We already tried some different settings during the session and we collected some good data in order to help us to improve our package for tomorrow.”
Texan Colin Edwards posted the sixth fastest time in a hot and steamy opening free practice session at the Misano World Circuit today.
Joining Edwards in the top ten was his Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate James Toseland who was ninth and just half a second outside the top four.
Both Edwards and Toseland have carried the momentum of strong performances in last Sunday’s Indianapolis GP to their early preparations for the Misano race.
Edwards, who feels he can easily find another half second with a gearing change, held a top four spot until the final minutes of the session as he concentr ated on his race day set-up.
Toseland was also in a buoyant mood. The Briton was sixth with five minutes remaining and is confident of maintaining that pace with further gains in rear end grip over the bumpy Misano tarmac.
Track temperatures hit 45 degrees C with the hot weather forecast to continue for this late summer race, round 13 of the MotoGP world championship.
Colin Edwards 6th 1.36.350 – 26 laps
“We got a lot of work done, the bike was very close to begin with and with a rear setting adjustment and a switch to the hard tyres, the bike started feeling really good. But it was hot, it felt like nine million degrees. But the heat wasn’t that bad for seven laps runs but if it’s like this on Sunday then 28 laps here is going to be tough. I was sitting 4th for a long time and I know some of these guys just mess around the whole session and the catch onto somebody to ado a hot lap at the end. But my bike feels slow. I know we have the same gearing as last year but the bike is not reacting, it feels like there is no bottom end and you have to keep the RPM up and carry astronomical corner speeds. I guess it is the long life engines, we have lost some of the bottom end that Yamaha made such a good step on earlier this year. We plan to shorten the gearing for tomorrow and I reckon I have half a second in three corners just from that.”
James Toseland 9th 1.36.588 – 27 laps
“It didn’t seem hot on the bike but the humidity was high and that really got to you so its going be pretty physical if it is this temperature on Sunday. You need the bike to work well here because if you are battling with the bike in this temperature then it is hard work. This is one of my better Friday session this season and we started with the Indianapolis set-up and just made some small changes. The bike is a little bit aggressive on the rear over the bumps so we are working to smooth that out. The track is quite bumpy this year but it always is around here and you forget how bad the bumps are. I got up to sixth at one point and then dropped to ninth but only 0.5s off fourth. I’m pleased, a good session for a Friday.”