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MotoGP rider quotes after Friday practice sessions at Phillip Island

Both MotoGP free practice sessions at Phillip Island were blessed with sunny skies and warm temperatures and this heartened a few riders, until they hit the track and found it much bumpier than last year which caused big difficulties in finding a good front end set-up and that was the biggest issue for most of the riders.

Casey Stoner – 1st“I don’t feel totally comfortable with the bike today and I’m sure we can improve the bike a lot.
The track is certainly a lot more bumpy than last year and I think it will be very difficult to get the bike feeling 100% as the circuit is making things worse.

In general we’ve found the Honda is better in certain aspects than what we had last year but with these bumps it’s difficult to compare in other areas.
We need to get the bike riding the bumps in the front a lot better, and also find some more rear grip.
There is still a lot of work before we find the right race set up and we know we can go a lot faster”.

Marco Simoncelli – 2nd“I had two crashes in turn ten today, but luckily there was no damage to me or the bike.
The track is wonderful, most definitely my favourite, but it is quite bumpy and it is easy to make a mistake and crash.
It only takes a moment to find yourself on the floor so you have to stay focused at all times.
Overall I am happy though because I was on the pace immediately this morning and improved in the afternoon.
Now we need to make some small changes and try to find more grip on the rear and a bit more feeling for the front, even though it is already good.
The two crashes were different – this morning I lost the front and in the afternoon I lost the rear – but each time I knew why it had happened and I was able to get straight back on the pace.
I am happy and calm, hopefully tomorrow we can close the gap to Stoner.
”Jorge Lorenzo – 3rd“Today I felt great in the morning but in the afternoon not as good.
It was impossible to replicate the lap time from the morning.
We were up to five tenths slower and I’m not sure why, maybe the track conditions were different, anyway we’ll see what happens tomorrow.
We know that Casey is very fast here but today he wasn’t so quick.
We must try to win and if not possible fight for the podium on Sunday.
”Ben Spies – 4th “I’m feeling good today; we started this morning with both bikes not working so well so we knew we had to come up with something this afternoon.
The second session we were working really well but still struggling in a few areas we need to make better tomorrow.
I think we definitely can and if we do I can see us dropping up to half a second pretty easily.
It’s up to the boys; we know what the problem is we just need to work out how to fix it.
As always I’m going to try the best I can to make it interesting for the fans and get up there.
”Dani Pedrosa – 5th“In the morning I began calm just to get the feeling with the track and we did a decent time, but in the afternoon I struggled a lot with the rear grip, the bike was spinning a lot and we couldn’t fix it during the session.
The fact that my lap times are practically the same in the morning and in the afternoon is a sign that something is not right.
It’s a pity because maybe tomorrow the weather is not as nice as today, possibly colder, but I trust my team and I hope we can improve.
The track is also very bumpy, much more than last year, which makes things even more difficult, there are many places where the wheels are off the ground.
Anyway, we will try to make some changes on the bike and I will do my best to improve my riding and let’s see what we can do tomorrow”.
Hiroshi Aoyama – 6th“It has been a positive start for us because this afternoon I was able to improve my lap time from the morning, which is important for us after the disappointment of my home Grand Prix at Motegi.
The conditions today were good, but it wasn’t easy out there and we had to give our best.
There are a few areas for us to improve in but we are on the right track.
I hope the weather tomorrow is similar and that we can challenge for a good position on the grid.
”Randy De Puniet – 7th“Not a bad way to begin the weekend.
In the last few races we were quite competitive since the beginning but than we couldn’t manage to achieve good result during the race.
I hope this time it will be different and that Sunday we can conquer something important for me and for my Team.
It will be important for us because in the next race, in Malaysia, it will surely be much more difficult to be as competitive as here.
”Álvaro Bautista – 8th“Up until this year this has not been one of the best tracks for the GSV-R and it was quite difficult here for me last year.
In the first session this morning I didn’t feel a lot of rear grip, but we changed some things for this afternoon and it made a big difference to the feeling.
We also worked on the electronics and altered the mapping for some of the corners to help with rear grip.
At the end of the second session with some new tyres there was a big difference than with the used ones.
This track has very fast corners and you can feel a difference between new and used tyres here quite a lot.
I have done my best-ever lap at Phillip Island today and a 1′31 is not a bad time, but I still feel that we can improve the feeling in the bike and be quite a bit quicker.
On the new tyres I can ride normal and with a good rhythm for a few laps, but it soon becomes difficult to exit from the corners and get the grip I need.
We have improved a lot from last year and I feel more relaxed on the bike.
I am happy with the first day, but will be a lot happier if I can get a good feeling tomorrow like I have had in the last few races, then I’m sure we’ll be in a good position for the race.
” Colin Edwards – 9th“This morning went brilliantly and I came out of the gate really fast and flying.
I felt good on the bike but this afternoon I just couldn’t get close to the pace I had this morning.
I had really good grip from the front tyre this morning but when the temperature started to come up a little bit the track started to feel a bit greasy.
So for this afternoon we switched to the hard compound front tyre to see what the difference was and there is a really fine line between what does and doesn’t work around this track.
We made one little change to the bike but the bike became really hard to ride.
The track is pretty bumpy and I was having a lot of vibration and I just didn’t feel anywhere near as comfortable in the second session as I did this morning.
We need to go back to what we know worked this morning and make a couple of tweaks to see if we can make that set-up better.
The main thing is to get the front working better over the bumps.
”Andrea Dovizioso – 10th“It’s been a difficult first day of practice.
The track has many more bumps than last year and it’s difficult to see them, maybe because the surface is very dark I don’t know, but I’ve been struggling to get a good feeling with the front.
I decided to keep the hard tyre in front because it suits my riding style more, but with these bumps it’s impossible to control the bike and when I switched to the soft front tyre I couldn’t improve my time either.
If the temperature drops tomorrow it will be even more complicated, but we will try our best to improve and have a good qualifying session”.
Nicky Hayden – 11th“As far as weather is concerned, this is probably the nicest day I can remember at Phillip Island in a long time, but we always hope for better results here than what we had today.
The track’s definitely got a bit bumpier, which is obviously the same for everybody, so it’s not an excuse.
The bike is harsh over the bumps, so in places I have to use a slower line in order to miss them.
We tried to do some laps on hard tyres this afternoon, but we need to find more grip, both in order to be faster and to get better tyre life.
We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ll do our best tomorrow.
”Cal Crutchlow – 12th“Today’s result doesn’t look too bad on the timesheets because although I am down in 12th, I am less than half-a-second away from Colin and he is fourth.
But it was a very difficult day to be honest because I had a lot of grip issues and the bike was hard to turn as well.
And if I run over any rough tarmac or any bumps I nearly crash, so I’ve got to sit down with my guys tonight and come up with a plan to try and make the bike better fo r tomorrow.
We made an improvement to the bike after this morning and that was reflected in the times because I was quite a bit quicker this afternoon, but we’ve still got a long way to go to make feel more comfortable and confident.
I think we need to be looking at making some pretty drastic changes to the bike for tomorrow, but I’m confident we’ll find something and I’ll be battling for a place in the top 10 on the grid.
”Valentino Rossi – 13th“Today wasn’t easy, especially since we had hoped to be better immediately, like at Motegi two weeks ago, as this track is normally good for the Ducati.
We started with the same setup, with just a small adjustment to the fork spring, but the feeling wasn’t the same.
I wasn’t able to ride well today, in part due to the pain in my left pinky finger, which bothered me more than I expected, but especially because of the feeling with the bike.
I’m not able to brake well or enter corners well.
Tomorrow we’ll try stronger painkillers for my hand, and from a technical point of view, we’ll look for a different solution to improve the front and to do better than thirteenth place.
We won’t change the setup completely.
We’ll probably move the position of the front wheel, but we’re just talking about small changes.
” Loris Capirossi – 14th “I was curios to see how my physical condition were and I have to say that I am quite satisfied.
The shoulder does still give me pain and I am at 85 % at this moment.
Not so bad but each lap I will ride the more painful it will be.
Anyway I should be able to finish the weekend without too many complications.
Bike wise this morning things seem good and in the afternoon we couldn’t improve as we expected also because the temperature was a bit cooler.
Tomorrow things may change with the weather and this would surely mix the cards around.
”Karel Abraham – 15thI’m glad I don’t have problems with my health anymore.
Fortunately, the problems that I had during the previous Grand Prix are gone.
Front tire had no grip and I didn’t wanted to risk the crash by entering the corners too fast.
We figured out something and we believe that this change will help us tomorrow.
“Toni Elias – 16th“Well….
first this sunny weather was a real surprise for everybody and today’s conditions were unexpected.
So the track temperature was much higher than what we thought.
Here on this track the key is the rear traction on left side out of the corners because it’s extremely important to find the right race tyre that does not spin so much.
We have been working on that today to improve the rear grip and bike stability.
We made an improvement in the second session and now we are working hard to take another step forward to close the gap to the front”.

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