Saturday, April 26, 2014

Movistar Yamaha Review Argentina MotoGP Day 1

The inaugural Grand Prix of Argentina got underway today as the MotoGP paddock took its first official practice sessions on the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit. 

Yet again tyre wear proved to be the biggest challenge of the day as both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders experienced issues with the rear tyre on the new circuit. 

Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest man in the first ever session in the morning, leading FP1 by nearly half a second with a fastest time of 1’42.804. Teammate Valentino Rossi was slower to find his pace on the track, ending the morning session in tenth with a 1’44.502. 

The afternoon saw big improvements from both, nine-time champion Rossi making the biggest step to finish in eighth with a fastest time of 1’41.395. Double MotoGP champion Lorenzo was just behind him in ninth with a 1’41.533. 

The team will now work to improve the set up for both to overcome the rear tyre wear issues that proved to be the major issue of the day. 

Bradley Smith enjoyed a fantastic start today finishing as the leading Yamaha in 6th as he continued to demonstrate his determination for this season, and how much of a quick learner his is. The British rider easily accustomed himself to the challenging circuit and established a solid working base setup. The 23 year-old also explored both varieties of tyre compounds, at the new fast flowing track which features a straight of over 1 kilometre. He notched up a top time of 1:41.303 at the final stages of this afternoons session, which puts him in a good position to show another strong qualifying performance tomorrow while preparing for Sunday’s race which lasts 25 laps. 

Rookie Pol Espargaro completed today with impressive speed, as he rode to 7th position in the combined times. With the fast, wavering corners of the circuit favouring the agile Yamaha YZR-M1, the Spanish rider notably spent the majority of both of todays free practice sessions within the top five, and proceeded to gather as much information as possible at the 4,806 metre track for qualifying tomorrow. The reigning Moto2 World Champion improved his FP1 time by two and a half seconds to finish with a best lap of 1:41.368, ahead of multiple World Champions Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. 

As the Argentina Grand Prix weekend got underway, Alex Espargaro demonstrated his ability to go quickly at unfamiliar venues, recording the third fastest time with a lap time of 1’40.566. 

Despite an engine problem during FP1 that spoiled his session, the Spaniard of the NGM Forward Racing Team could work well in the afternoon, learning quickly the lines of the new circuit and finishing as first Open and third overall behind the two factory Honda of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. 

Team mate Colin Edwards also worked hard to learn his way around the new Termas de Rio Hondo track. The Texas Tornado finished in 14th position with a lap time of 1’42.608. Colin struggled a bit this morning for a tyre issue, but he was able to improve in the afternoon.

Valentino Rossi
8th, 1'41.395
“A difficult day here in Argentina at the new track. The conditions are not fantastic and we are struggling very much with the tyres, especially the rear. In the afternoon it became a bit better and we worked well with the bike but we still haven’t found the right balance so we have to work to make it better. We have to concentrate on making the tyre work harder as after a few laps the rear slides a lot. We hope the conditions of the track improve but we will also work to improve the setting of the bike for tomorrow.”

Jorge Lorenzo
9th, 1'41.533
“We are having problems with the tyres because there is a lot of graining and the tyres only have a good performance for six or seven laps. In the morning I was the last one to put a tyre in so I had a better grip at the end of the practice, that's why I was first. In the afternoon I was the opposite: I stayed with the old tyre at the end of the session when everyone had a new one; that’s why our position was not so good. I think our real position is in the top five today. If we can make the tyres last we will have an advantage.”

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Press Release

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