Saturday, July 2, 2011

Italians lead first day at Mugello


Marco Simoncelli's last minute fast lap in Friday morning's MotoGP free practice put him on top of the pack for the day at Mugello, ahead of Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso on the first day of action at the Gran Premio d'Italia TIM. Dovizioso topped a rain marred second practice session.

The top three riders were within one tenth of a second of each other in the morning session, with the Italian from Cattolica setting the fastest time of the day with a 1:48.987.

"It has been a very positive day because we were fast from the start this morning," Simoncelli said. "The bike is working well and I can't wait to get back on it tomorrow. It is a shame about the conditions this afternoon because it was hard to tell if it was wet or dry and there was absolutely no point taking unnecessary risks. Hopefully it will be dry tomorrow because riding at Mugello on this new surface is a joy.

"The bike is set up virtually the same as Assen and I found a good feeling immediately. Obviously we have a little work to do on the electronics but in general I am happy."

The second session was hindered by a light rain that was not enough to warrant rain tires, and yet too slippery to push for fast laps on slicks until the last five minutes, thus leaving the MotoGP field unable to make the most of the second free practice.

Dovizioso topped the FP2 timings with a time of 1:49.272, 0.061s slower than his morning time that had put him third in the rankings.

"I was curious to ride at Mugello with the new asphalt and I have to say that the expectations have been met," Dovizioso said. "It's great fun to ride here and the track is beautiful. The new tarmac is really smooth and some of the reference points we used to have are now gone and some lines have changed, so this morning we studied the track with fresh eyes.

"The feeling with the base of the machine is good, but we need to work because here with my riding style the front gets too hot so we need more laps to improve this situation. In the afternoon, light rain spoilt the session, nevertheless I'm happy with how easy I achieved the lap time on used tires."

Toni Elías (LCR Honda) and Valentino Rossi (Ducati team) were second and third, with the Spaniard just under a tenth slower than his morning time and the Italian a full second and a half behind his morning time, which was cut short by electrical problems with both bikes, leaving him 13th in the timings.

Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Stoner, who did not participate in the second session of the day, posted the second and seventh fastest times of the day, respectively, with the Australian posting a time of 1:49.027 and the returning Spaniard posting a time of 1:50.104. Colin Edwards ranked sixth fastest time of the day on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike in FP1, while only completing two laps in FP2.

The fastest Yamaha of the day was Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo, who set a fourth quickest time of 1:49.251 in session one, and also did not participate in the second session. Lorenzo's time was just slightly more than a tenth of a second ahead of team mate Ben Spies FP1 time, who only completed two laps in FP2.

Nicky Hayden remained the quickest Ducati of the day, whose FP1 time of 1:50.203 put him eighth. Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) completed the top 10 times of the day.


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