Saturday, July 16, 2011

Simoncelli leads German practice


Following a cold and windy morning free practice that yielded five big crashes in the first half of the session, the MotoGP field entered the second practice on Friday on a substantially warmer track and slightly calmer winds.

Marco Simoncelli rode his San Carlo Honda Gresini bike to the top of the timings with a lap of 1:22.225, over half a second faster than his FP1 time, and 0.095s in front of defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing), who mounted his own attempt to lead the field with fast lap of 1:22.320, an improvement of 0.726s over his FP1 time, though it was quickly outpaced by the Italian.

"Everything is going well, although I am not totally happy because we have some rear traction problems on the left side that we are struggling to resolve," Simoncelli said. "It seems everybody is in the same boat, but we will be working mainly on this area tomorrow to try and improve the situation. Our other main goal is to get a clear idea about tire choice for Sunday's race. Thirty laps is a lot here, especially because there is barely a single straight for you to relax on."

"I am pretty satisfied because I have improved my lap times today," Lorenzo said. "I am almost faster than last year and I look forward to making another step tomorrow. We have made some changes and I feel much better on my M1; faster and more competitive. The slow corners are tough, but in the faster ones I take some tenths, especially T3 and T4. I hope tomorrow the temperature can be even hotter and we can fight for the first row."

Dani Pedrosa demonstrated his climb back to full fitness is near completion with a third fastest time of 1:22.432, over a second faster than his time set in the morning session. The 25-year-old was just in front of his two teammates, 0.110s ahead of Casey Stoner, and 0.222s quicker than Andrea Dovizioso.

"We had a quite positive start despite the accident I had in the morning practice session," Pedrosa said. "I crashed in the fast downhill right hand corner, like everyone else because the tire was very cold and I had no warning. Fortunately I didn't hurt myself, which is good, and in the afternoon I was able to improve my lap times because in the morning, after the crash, we didn't have much time on track.

"In the second practice, with sunshine and a little more temperature on the track, we had better grip especially in these critical turns on the right, although the track conditions still are not great. Anyway, times are pretty good compared to last year, though the track conditions are worse. We'll keep working on the bike tomorrow and I'll probably try the new swing arm I tested in Mugello on Monday."

The first Ducati Team rider of the session was Nicky Hayden, who posted a time of 1:22.882 to put him in sixth place, in front of fellow countryman Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing), whose time of 1:22.894 was the last under the 1:23 mark.

Pramac Racing's Randy de Puniet posted the eighth fastest time of the day with a 1:23.037, followed by Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) completing the top 10.

Ducati team's Valentino Rossi entered the garages with electrical problems toward the end of the session, though the Italian was able rejoin the session to post the 12th fastest time, just behind the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 of Colin Edwards.

Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) crashed out at the end of the session but fortunately was unhurt. The 24-year-old Spaniard was 13th in the session and 11th fastest for the day. He was followed by Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who suffered a crash in turn 11 but was able to reenter the track to post a time of 1:23.760.

Sylvain Guintoli stepped in for Loris Capirossi on the Pramac Racing team for the remainder of the weekend as Capirossi is still suffering from chest and shoulder pain following his crash in Assen.

The first day of the Sachsenring weekend saw Interwetten Paddock Moto2 rider Thomas Lüthi posting the fastest Moto2 time of the day, a 1:25.458, nearly a second quicker than his FP1 time. He was pursued by Aleix Espargaró (Pons HP 40), a frontrunner for much of the second practice session who clocked a fast lap of 1:25.460, an improvement of 0.811s over his earlier time. Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) made the top three of the day with a lap of 1:25.468, which was 0.651s faster than he went earlier in the day.

Fourth fastest was Englishman Scott Redding of the Marc VDS Racing team, setting a time of 1:25.529, followed by current Championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing), who set a lap of 1:25.577 to rank fifth fastest of the day on his home turf.

The second practice session for the single cylinder class was held under sunny skies and warmer temperatures than the day's earlier session, with a breeze of 22km/h blowing steadily across the track. Nico Terol set a time of 1:28.483, 0.375s faster than his earlier time, to jump ahead of his team mate Héctor Faubel by seven thousandths of a second. Faubel, who had dominated the timings for most of the 40-minute practice, posted a time of 1:28.490, which was 0.635s quicker than his FP1 fastest lap.


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