Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana
Report Day 1
Fri, 8 November 2013
As the MotoGP™ action on the first day of Free Practice at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana concluded it was Marc Marquez who set the pace with his teammate Dani Pedrosa only 0.066s behind him, and title rival Jorge Lorenzo 0.158s off the pace in third.
Despite the windy conditions in the afternoon’s FP2 at the Valencia track, Marquez stepped up the pace in the second half of the session, with his best time of 1’31.220 not far off Pedrosa’s pole record of 1’30.844 from last year. Pedrosa was very close to his Repsol Honda colleague, with both of them still looking for more grip – using both the softer and harder option rear tyres.
Lorenzo improved late on in the session on his regular number-one machine, having spent time before on his number-two bike with holes in the front bubble to cope with the windy conditions. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow had a great day as he ended up fourth overall despite a late low-side crash, from which he escaped unhurt. The Englishman rides in his last GP for the team this weekend before departing for Ducati.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, who is working with Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess for the last time this weekend, was fifth fastest on Friday, 0.4s off the pace. After his statements that he needs to get quicker for next year, he will hope for a strong push in tomorrow’s practice.
The top ten was rounded out by Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Ducati Team pair Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden. Bradl is keen to resolve front-end grip issues, whilst Batista is working with a new Showa rear shock provided for this weekend.
Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was unhurt after he crashed his ART machine, which was the new bike him and his team are testing this weekend for the Italian outfit. Despite switching bikes on Monday, Team Manager Gino Borsoi said that the team is pleased to help Aprilia until that day, hence why Espargaro is giving feedback on the new bike featuring a different frame, swingarm and engine. He ended the day 13th on the timesheet.
Having topped the FP1 timesheet, new Moto2™ World Champion Pol Espargaro was fastest again on Friday afternoon at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, with his 1’35.548 lap keeping him 0.142s ahead of Tuenti HP 40 teammate Tito Rabat, and 0.426s in front of Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Thomas Luthi.
Espargaro will ride a Monster Yamaha Tech3 MotoGP™ bike in testing next week and the pressure is off in many ways, having already clinched the title, but he now intends to end the season on a high. The Spaniard dominated both sessions at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on Friday but almost had a clash with wildcard rider Gino Rea during the afternoon, with both riders just managing to avoid going down.
Behind Espargaro, teammate Rabat aims for a strong finish to the season in his last race for Sito Pons’ outfit, and that pair could do battle for the win on Sunday if today’s pace is anything to judge by. Switzerland’s Tom Luthi would also be a good bet for a podium finish, though having also lapped in the top five Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) and Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing) will aim to run at the front as the weekend progresses.
The top ten was completed by Jordi Torres, Mika Kallio, Nico Terol, Xavier Simeon and Julian Simon, all lapping within tenth tenths of a second of the leading time.
The Friday Moto3™ Free Practice sessions at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana were topped by the trio fighting for the title, with Luis Salom leading Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales.
Salom’s best time of 1’40.403 from FP1 was the best of the day and the Red Bull KTM Ajo man’s best FP2 time was just a tenth of a second slower, as Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) topped the timesheet in the latter session with a 1’40.489 fastest lap.
Team Calvo’s Viñales was third best in both sessions and his FP2 time of 1’40.580 was his best time of the day, as the three Spanish title candidates flexed their muscles in front of the home fans.
German rider Jonas Folger (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) and Australian competitor Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG) were fourth and fifth overall respectively, but both were unable to improve on their morning best times in FP2.
The overall top ten was completed by Efren Vazquez (Mahindra Racing), Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) and Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold).
Khairuddin has had some costly crashes in recent weeks and he walked away from a big highside at the conclusion of the session, whilst Lorenzo Baldassarri was also unhurt in a light crash towards the end of the outing.
Brad Binder was taken to the Medical Centre with a suspected collarbone injury, as was Alan Techer, after both had FP2 crashes. Whilst Binder was cleared with shoulder contusion, Techer has suffered a left wrist fracture.