Dovizioso reigns on wet and wild first day at Misano
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso led the field on a challenging opening day to the San Marino and Rimini Grand Prix race weekend, the Italian rider’s lap time of 1’49.195 in a wet Free Practice 2 helping to warm the hearts of the Italian fans on a damp day at Misano.
Both sessions at Misano today were subject to wet and cool conditions, but Dovizioso showed his affinity for the Misano circuit by ending the day 1.115 seconds quicker than his closest rival, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez who was second quickest today. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was in third place on the timesheets and a further 0.046 seconds behind Dovizioso’s benchmark time. Both Dovizioso and Pedrosa set their best time on the soft compound wet tires front and rear in FP2, while Hernandez set his quickest time of the day on a set of hard compound wet tires during FP1.
Track temperatures at Misano today were the coolest yet recorded this MotoGP season, with a peak of just 18°C today and with both sessions experiencing heavy rain, only wet tires were used. For the first session of the weekend, FP1, all riders used the main wet tire at Misano, the hard compound wet, but after the grip level of the Misano asphalt in wet conditions was found to be unexpectedly low, almost every rider opted to use the alternative, soft compound wet tire in FP2. To ensure maximum rider safety, Bridgestone elected to expand the wet tire allocation for the San Marino and Rimini Grand Prix by providing four extra sets of soft compound wet tires to all riders.
Forecasts indicate the worst of the weather has passed, with tomorrow’s FP3 session likely to take place in dry conditions.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport tire Development Department
“Today’s heavy rain and cold track temperatures combined to create a very challenging environment for the riders. The general rider feedback is that the grip level of the Misano tarmac in the wet was quite poor, particularly under braking. All riders used the hard compound wet tire in the morning FP1 session, but given the harsh conditions almost every rider elected to use the soft compound wet tires in the afternoon FP2 session. Due to the lack of grip of the wet tarmac, after FP1 we decided to make more soft compound wet tires – which are the alternative wet tire at Misano - available to all riders for the rest of the weekend to ensure maximum rider safety. Tomorrow’s FP3 session could be an exciting one, as if it is dry it will be the first chance for riders to assess the different slick options while at the same time, the riders will be pushing hard to finish in the top ten in order to qualify directly for QP2”