In Jerez official practice
The first competitive outing of the year, the Official Practice Session in Jerez today, saw Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo finish second and fourth after the 45-minute session was interrupted by a red flag before being cut
short by rain.
In the first ‘qualifying' session since the single-tyre rule came into play the riders were keen to get a feel for the new system and were disappointed not to be able use the session to the full, but both are nonetheless satisfied with the work they've done this weekend and are now looking forward to the first race in two weeks time, under the Qatar floodlights.
Rossi was third in this morning's free practice session, continuing to work on fine-tuning the setting of his M1 at this last test before the season. Lorenzo was even faster, finishing the morning second behind Stoner and the pair were looking forward to a competitive showing this afternoon. A crash from James Toseland with 15 minutes to go saw the red flags come out for five minutes and the delay meant the riders were only able to complete a couple of fast laps before the rain came down and spelled an end to the session, with Casey Stoner fastest after a lap of 1'38.646.
“Really I was aiming for second place because I don't think our sponsor Fiat wanted me to win the prize of a different car! Joking apart though, I am happy enough about this test because yesterday and this morning we worked very well, made some good progress and most importantly we were fast!”, commented Rossi. “We have a good setting for the race here and my race pace and speed is good. This afternoon I was quite unlucky because just before the red flag I was on a fast lap and was blocked, then we had the red flag and this meant there wasn't much time before the rain came at the end. I am not sure I could have beaten Stoner today though; he was faster over one lap than me.
It was strange not to have a qualifying tyre, the grip is not the same but Bridgestone have done a good job and you can still push so I think it will be possible to ha ve some fun. Now we have finished testing and we're waiting to go racing; I think we're in good shape and it will be possible to push from the start.”
“Yesterday was good but today it was a lot colder and I found it harder to be as fast because the conditions were quite different”, said Lorenzo. “I think that the qualifying this year is going to be quite hard without the special tyres, which always suited my riding style quite well. I was quite a specialist with the qualifying tyres and now I don't have that advantage, so I have to learn to adapt. My riding style is better with the harder Bridgestone tyre and so it will be quite difficult for me to be as good in the qualifying sessions this year I think! Today Stoner was so fast with the soft tyre and I didn't have a chance to catch him. Anyway, the important thing is that I have felt really good on both days here, I have been consistently fast and I am definitely prepared to fight for the podium at the first race in Qatar.”