Stoner fastest on rain-interrupted opening day in Catalunya
The first 45minute practice was cut eight minutes short by a rain shower, whilst the afternoon’s session was interrupted mid-way during which time a few riders ventured out on Bridgestone’s wet tyres. The weather in Catalunya has been mixed all day so the track soon dried and Stoner improved his time to within 0.6seconds of the existing lap record using the softer option front and the harder rear slicks.
San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli was second fastest, half a second adrift of Stoner and just over 0.1seconds ahead of the Honda of Andrea Dovizioso on combined times from both sessions. Due to the unsettled nature of the day’s running, the top four riders were faster in the afternoon but the majority of riders were all faster in the morning.
Colin Edwards was sidelined during the second session with a crash that saw him taken to the medical centre where he was diagnosed with a fractured right collarbone, which will undoubtedly rule him out of this Grand Prix.
MotoGP action resumes tomorrow at 1010hrs local time with the third and final free practice before an hour of qualifying in the afternoon. The weather forecast continues to be unsettled with a 30 per cent chance of rain all day.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“Conditions on track today were a little tricky because the rain showers throughout the day left the track quite slippery and dirty, and especially in the afternoon running was disrupted mid-session so the teams lost some valuable track-time. Still, Casey’s pace at the end of the second session was good and I am pleased that he could be within 0.6seconds of the lap record, especially given the circumstances. Most riders used the softer rear tyre today because of the weather conditions, and it is this softer rear that we have brought to Catalunya this season as a change to our tyre compound selection since last year. Instead of the hard and extra hard rears, we have brought medium and hard this time. Tyre wear appearance is not so bad even here where it is very demanding for tyres so I am happy with our revised tyre choices for this weekend. I hope Colin can recover soon and get back on track - it is rare to see him out with injury and I wish him a speedy return.”