Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 2nd May 2014
The first European round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship got underway on track today with two free practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s Gran Premio de España.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were both quick to find a very competitive pace. The pair made progress despite a scorching track temperature of just under 50 degrees making a lack of grip an increasing issue into the second session.
Lorenzo ended the day in second in the combined times with a best lap of 1’39.714, 0.357 seconds from first. Teammate Rossi ended in sixth with a 1’40.125 second lap, less than four tenths from Lorenzo.
The major challenge for both riders proved to be a lack of rear grip so the team will now work to make improvements for both set ups ahead of tomorrow morning’s third free practice session.
Lorenzo and Rossi also tested a new chassis for their YZR-M1 to improve the bike’s stability under braking. Positive results were obtained, giving Yamaha’s Japanese engineers a clear direction to continue development.
Jorge Lorenzo – 2nd / 1’39.714 / 18 laps
“The track changed so much from the morning to the afternoon, it was much more slippery and we had to try the different rear tyre. Like in Qatar it gave us the same problems with less grip and the bike then feels nervous. We are much closer than before though and I think we can close the gap.”
Valentino Rossi – 6th / 1’40.125 / 20 laps
“We tried a different chassis today especially for the braking stability and the first impression is not so bad, it’s just a small step to understand the way to go. The track is very greasy so it’s difficult with the front and rear tyres with the high temperatures. It’s difficult to control the bike and it slides a lot. Compared to the other top guys the pace is not so bad so it looks like we have worked well so far and now have to continue.”
“It’s definitely a positive start to the weekend. For sure we were able to take advantage of all our experience at this track. The bike is working well but of course we have some things to change to improve. Compared to the previous races this is a very different start. The only real issue we have is rear grip. We are focused now on several steps to improve it and then we have to work on a long distance run. We are strong under braking so we are satisfied for the first sessions. Both Jorge and Vale are reasonably happy overall and have good pace but are also keen to make the next steps and improve even further.”