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MotoGP Jerez: Rider quotes after Friday practices

Friday’s two free practices at Jerez de la Frontera ended up with usual Repsol Honda combo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa taking the top of the timesheets.
While the weather at the Spanish circuit was glorious, and the temperature of the asphalt rising, a strong wind in the afternoon stopped lap times from dropping.

Here’s what all seventeen MotoGP riders had to say after Friday’s two practice sessions:Dani Pedrosa – 1st“I think we are doing a good job.
The bike was working OK, it was moving a little but maybe because the grip was not so good today; other riders were also struggling with it and we saw some crashes in all the categories.

Also the strong wind played a part in the afternoon, it was more difficult to control the bike especially on fast corners and we couldn’t improve the lap times.
Let’s see if the track conditions improve tomorrow and if we can do better.
Regarding my physical condition, I’m struggling in the same way I did in the Qatar race because the situation has not changed, but I cannot do anything to feel better, so I’m just focused on riding as best as I can.

I’m doing short runs because it’s better for me and working on the bike to prepare for the race.
We hope to improve tomorrow and do a good qualifying practice”.
Casey Stoner – 2nd “The first session went well and I had a good feeling with the bike, we tried to repeat this in the afternoon session but the conditions weren’t perfect – it was quite windy.
It seems to be a little smoother to ride here than in the past, but it’s a shame the weather wasn’t better so we could spend some time working on the settings.
In general both bikes we tried seemed to work pretty well and we’ll pick up from there tomorrow to concentrate on the set-up.
The grip level doesn’t seem to be so good here, I think everyone is struggling with this so that’s another element we need to work on tomorrow in time for qualifying”.
Jorge Lorenzo – 3rd“This morning the track was perfect with no wind but in the afternoon it came so the riding was more difficult.
Finally we finished third, the gap to the front is less than before and we hope to improve the bike more for tomorrow.
After the good race at Qatar we are more motivated and this is one of the special rounds of the year so we hope to have a great race on Sunday.
” Marco Simoncelli – 4th“Today went well despite the windy conditions this afternoon, which made things quite difficult.
We also used the same hard tyre this afternoon that we used this morning and by the end it had thirty laps on it so that also made it difficult.
However, apart from Pedrosa and Stoner who are three or four tenths clear at the moment it looks like I can run with Rossi and Lorenzo.
We have to try and improve in certain areas but overall I am happy.
Mainly it is under braking in certain areas of the track where we are lacking and we need to find more grip on a worn tyre.
Jerez is a circuit I like, I have won here twice in 125 and 250 so on paper I should do well.
I’ve also won in wet and dry conditions here so I feel I can be competitive in any conditions.
Tomorrow we will turn our attention to securing a good place on the starting grid.
”Valentino Rossi – 5th“I’m happy because this morning I did the third-fastest time, and in the afternoon, when the higher temperature hurt us a little, I was fifth.
Anyway, most of the riders went a bit slower in the second session.
Apart from the two Hondas at the front, we’re closer to everyone else, which was our goal.
It was a good day.
There’s still work to do; we’re trying to find the right balance, and that’s why we’re trying two settings that are a little different from each other as we work on weight distribution.
We have to improve the front feeling a little; the bike that I prefer still doesn’t turn like we want it to, which means we’ll have to find a compromise between the two setups.
As for my shoulder, I don’t have much strength, but in terms of endurance, it’s a little better.
”Randy De Puniet – 6th “I’m quite happy about the work we have done.
We changed many little things compared to the morning and the results can be seen.
The feeling with the bike is good on this track.
We can do well if we remain consistent with the work done today.
It remains to improve a bit with the traction control; we’ll do it tomorrow.
The wind was strong, it is not easy to run in this condition”.
Ben Spies – 7th“It’s not been the best day today, I’m not very happy.
We need to make some changes and I’m confident we can improve.
Having said that, the feeling I’m having with the bike right now with the speed we’re doing is not too bad.
I’m not feeling very comfortable with how the bike is handling but it’s only Friday.
We have tomorrow and we have Sunday morning and I’m confident we can get the bike working better.
I think this track can be good for the M1, we just need to change the setting and see how tomorrow goes.
Well work on it and come back in the morning and go faster.
”Nicky Hayden – 8th“We’re basically riding the same bike as in Qatar, obviously with a couple of small tweaks for this track; you need a stiffer front spring and a few other little differences.
We feel closer than we were in Qatar.
We made a little step forward this afternoon and it’s good because only a few riders improved in the afternoon session, though the wind was a lot worse.
It’s the same for everybody, but the wind was really brutal today, especially around here where you’re leaned over in a lot of long corners.
We’re still almost a second off of the front riders, but at least we’re inside a second, which wasn’t the case at Round 1.
We’re not over here jumping up and down with joy, but we’re positive, and we’ll keep improving.
There’s a few places I’m lacking, but we’re trying to just make small gains and not make too many big changes.
”Hiroshi Aoyama – 9th“This afternoon went better than this morning and we were able to make progress on the set-up of the bike.
The wind was a bit of a pain because there were a few areas of the track where you couldn’t push to the maximum.
Anyway, we think we have found the right way to improve the bike based on the data we gathered today.
Tomorrow we will continue to work hard to make sure we can be competitive on Sunday.
”Karel Abraham – 1oth“I am satisfied with the results.
During the afternoon we had problems especially with the front end.
We have to work on the set-up of the motorcycle during the free practice if we want to be well prepared for the qualification.
”Colin Edwards – 11th “We tried a bit of an experimental set-up with one bike we thought would work to help with the turning performance but it didn’t quite give us the result we were anticipating.
It worked in some areas but it created some other issues, so we’ll go back to more of a similar set-up to what we ran in Qatar for tomorrow and we know that works.
I was actually faster using the different setting but I just don’t feel I can run that pace consistently over a race distance.
What made it really difficult today was the wind.
It was really gusting hard in some places, so you just had to be pretty careful because it wa s easy to get caught out.
You just had to pay attention and get a feel for which way the wind was blowing because at least it was consistent in one direction.
” Andrea Dovizioso – 12th“It was a difficult day.
This morning I crashed on the very last lap because I lost the front, without any warning at Turn 11.
The crash in itself was not too bad but then the wind in the afternoon made things worse.
I think the second practice suffered due to these things put together and as a result I lost the feeling with the front.
I couldn’t ride as I am able to do and it’s not a nice feeling but it’s useless to complain, we have to continue working.
I hope tomorrow there will be less wind so that we can focus on the set up of my RC212V”.
Hector Barbera – 13th“Today didn’t go as I had hoped, we struggled to find the right set-up for the bike.
In Qatar everything was more simple because apart from the free practice sessions at the Grand Prix we had also had two days of prior testing there.
Here we’re starting from scratch and I am seven tenths off the position where I think I should be, so there is no need to panic.
It was a decent shakedown today.
Our main objective was to get some laps in on used tyres and get a better idea for the race.
We struggled for stability under acceleration but tomorrow we’ll try a new swingarm and play around with the geometry of the Ducati to try and get more grip.
”Loris Capirossi – 14th“Compared to this morning we went a little bit better.
I continue to struggle with the front of the bike, I don’t feel the right feeling with this part.
We are trying different solutions, but we are not yet where we would like to be.
The shoulder problems persist, even worst despite the infiltration that I did.
I hope tomorrow the situation will change.
We need to improve, we have everything to do so”.
Cal Crutchlow – 15th “I felt like I learned the circuit pretty quickly and I was happy with my performance this morning.
But this afternoon I didn’t really make the improvement I was looking for and that was a lot to do with the track temperature being much higher.
You only have to look at the times of the fast guys to see the hotter conditions made it hard because nobody in the top seven was faster this afternoon.
I was a little bit quicker, so I’ve improved and gained some time, but I needed to make a bigger jump than I did.
With the track temperature a lot higher it made the bike feel quite a bit different compared to this morning.
I’m sure I can improve the front-end feel because the wind was so strong it was blowing me off line.
The front needs to be more planted so we’ve got some ideas to improve tomorrow.
Considering my lack of experience at this track, I’m satisfied because the times are pretty close and I know we can improve.
”John Hopkins – 16th“Today was basically just about getting a feel for the bike and getting used to being back in the team.
I wanted to get comfortable today and I didn’t want to go out and do anything stupid – that’s for sure! Since I was last in MotoGP they’ve changed to 45-minute sessions so that was a bit different, I would have liked a lot longer on the bike to get a better feeling, but that was not possible.
In the two sessions we altered some of the electronics, but we haven’t changed anything on the chassis because it felt great, there was no need to change the geometry because the base setting was so good.
Obviously it’s where I expected to be position wise, it’s a tall order from not riding a MotoGP bike for so long and only having ridden about 150 to 200 laps on a superbike in the last seven months, there was certainly a lot to learn on the first day.
I am actually quite confident that we can improve a lot tomorrow after I’ve had the chance to sit back, relax and think about things.
I followed some people at the end of the day and I realised there are a lot of places where I need to change my lines, but that’s normal really.
“I am just extremely pleased to be in the MotoGP paddock again and out there with the best riders in the world.
There is a huge sense of gratitude from me because I never thought I’d be in this position so soon again in my career, so I want to say a big thanks to everyone at Rizla Suzuki for giving me this opportunity.
I just want to be able to improve my position a bit more over the weekend and pay everyone back for giving me this chance.
”Toni Elias – 17th“In Qatar I was trying to override a bike which hadn’t been fully developed and I crashed.
That accident provided a valuable lesson and I came here with high motivation because I like this track and the atmosphere.
But at the moment we have got the same issues… I can not load the rear and I do not feel comfortable especially in the middle of the corner.
I can not lap in these conditions and it’s very frustrating.
The only thing we can do is to keep on working to find a solution…”

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