SPOILER - MotoGP Jerez
Local hero Jorge Lorenzo looked back to his best today, finally fully recovered from his broken hand and on fast form in Jerez to finish practice in second place. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi is now the one recovering from injury but the World Champion was happy to find he was able to ride well enough to keep in touch, setting the fifth fastest time.
Lorenzo always enjoys this race and has taken pole position for the last four years, twice in the 250cc class and twice with Yamaha in MotoGP. Able to use his hand properly today for the first time since the opening test of the season, last year's runner-up was delighted with his form and found he had a strong race pace from the word go. His time today was just off last year's lap record and 0.144 off fastest man Casey Stoner, but he and his team hope that a few small tweaks tomorrow will see them on their best game for tomorrow's qualifying session.
Having damaged his shoulder in a recent motocross accident, Rossi's primary concern today was finding out how strong he felt on the bike and how hard he was able to push. He and his crew were relieved to discover the situation was not too bad; the 31-year-old was able to ride 25 laps without any painkillers and was only 0.628 off Stoner's time. He hopes that improvements to his setting, a bit more rear grip and possibly some pain management will put him closer to the front for the rest of the weekend.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 2ndTime: 1'39.875Laps: 30
"I'm really happy with this first day. Everything has gone well and I don't have any pain in my hand anymore. I feel as good on the bike as I felt last year when I got pole, although my aim is to make sure I don't repeat the same mistake in the race this time! I always feel like I ride well here and I've already got a good pace; with some small modifications we can be even better. I don't think the perfect MotoGP bike exists but our Yamaha is definitely nearly there, maybe we just need a bit more top speed... Tomorrow my aim is to improve my pace just a bit more to be consistently in the 39s; I'm excited about the weekend."
Valentino Rossi - Position: 5thTime: 1''40.359Laps: 25
"The shoulder is a bit sore, especially in the two or three harder braking areas, but the most important thing is that I can ride! Of course this pain makes it more difficult but I was able to do 25 laps today without painkillers, and the pain didn't get any worse as the session went on. I didn't take any painkillers because I wanted to understand the level and so tomorrow and Sunday we will consider something for the pain. Today we used two different settings and now we will decide which direction to go in for the rest of the weekend. We need to find a bit more rear grip in order to be more competitive, because at this moment this is slowing us down more than the shoulder."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"Jorge loves this track and it showed today, with him on the pace immediately. The bike is giving him a lot of confidence already, which helps us a lot because we can just concentrate on making small improvements. We need to try to improve the grip a little bit but this is a good start. Tomorrow we'll try to find a couple of tenths so that we can mount a strong qualifying challenge."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"The best thing is that Valentino can ride okay, even if he is not at 100% with his injury. We have had two things to think about today, the set-up for the bike and the situation with his shoulder, and this session has been more about finding out our level in both of these areas. With regards to the set-up, we have worked in two different ways today and now we will decide which is best in order to improve our pace for tomorrow."
Edwards and Spies satisfied with early Jerez pace
The much-anticipated European phase of the 2010 MotoGP world championship kicked off in Jerez today with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo Colin Edwards and Ben Spies clocking the seventh and 11th fastest times respectively.
Edwards worked tirelessly on improving the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine in preparation for Sunday's 27-lap race, the Texan setting a best time of 1.40.913 as he got more comfortable with a stiffer front and rear suspension setting.
The 36-year-old was less than two tenths away from claiming a place in the top six and he's confident overnight gearing changes to improve acceleration will help him challenge closer to the front in t omorrow's final practice and qualifying.
American team-mate Ben Spies once again highlighted what a fast learner he is after he started the tough challenge of learning the 4.423km circuit in breathtaking fashion.
The Andalucian circuit is one of nine tracks on the calendar that Spies has never raced at previously. But boosted by his brilliant fifth place in the opening race at Qatar earlier this month, Spies wasted no time in mastering the Jerez circuit.
He needed only ten laps to break into the top seven and at the end of the session he was a respectable 11th fastest and less than a second away from the top five with a best time of 1.41.200.
This weekend's Spanish GP at the Andalucian city of Jerez is round two of the 2010 MotoGP world championship following the recent postponement of the Twin Ring Motegi race in Japan due to an Icelandic volcano.
Colin Edwards - Position: 7thTime: 1'40.913Laps: 26
"We got through a lot of work in a short amount of time and it wasn't terrible but it wasn't great either. We can make some improvements with the gearing because we were struggling a little bit for acceleration out of some of the tight sections. We haven't come close to finding the limit of the bike yet and with the new stiffer suspension settings, I just need a bit more time to get comfortable with that. I'm confident that the base package is close but we can definitely make it better, particularly with the gearing. I followed a couple of guys today and they definitely had the jump on me out of the corner and I was losing a little bit of ground. But it's a decent start to the weekend and as always I know my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 will improve my bike and put me in good shape for Sunday when it counts."
Ben Spies - Position: 11thTime: 1'41.200Laps: 28
"I'm super-happy with today. It's 11th and I'm over a second off the pace but after only one hour at this track I'm really happy and I don't think it could have gone too much better than it did. I'm only one second away from being really competitive and my quickest lap was one of those when I didn't really nail it and could say it was a great lap. And I didn't follow anybody either. I wanted to learn by myself and I know there is a lot of time to come from me and I'm sure we can make the bike better too. There is definitely more time I can find with the fast section of right-handers at the end of the lap. They aren't really hard but you've got to be in a good rhythm to really make up some time. Now I'm really looking forward to tomorrow because I like the track. It's one of those tracks if you mess a turn up, three turns later you're still scratching your head trying to get it back. But that is good for me because I really like flowing tracks and this is definitely one of them. I'm a lot more relaxed going into tomorrow knowing I'll be pretty competitive, so thanks to Yamaha and the Monster Tech 3 Team."
Circuit Length: 4423
Lap Record: 1'40.596 (Valentino Rossi, 01/01/2005)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1'38.189 (Jorge Lorenzo, 30/03/2008)
Last Years Winner: Valentino Rossi
2010 MotoGP Spain - Jerez de la Frontera 30/04/2010
Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Total Time
1 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 1'39.731
2 Jorge Lorenzo
3 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1'40.148
4 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1'40.200
5 Valentino Rossi
6 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 1'40.716
7 Colin Edwards
8 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1'41.034
9 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1'41.093
10 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 1'41.190
11 Ben Spies
12 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 1'41.277
13 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 1'41.293
14 Mika Kallio Ducati FIN 1'41.293
15 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 1'41.533