More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Zarco comes out swinging in Spielberg
A new all-time lap record sees the Frenchman end Friday a whopping eight tenths clear of Mir
Friday, 13 August 2021
Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) is the new fastest ever MotoGP™ rider at the Red Bull Ring. The Frenchman’s 1:22.827 set in FP1 is a new all-time lap record and one serious benchmark after a tougher Styrian GP, leaving him eight tenths clear after Day 1 of the Bitci Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. Reigning Champion and Styrian GP podium finisher Joan Mir was second, just ahead of his Team Suzuki Ecstar teammate Alex Rins.
Zarco absolutely blasted out the blocks in FP1, the Frenchman already fastest before slamming in that new lap record to go eight tenths clear of the field in the final couple of minutes, over three tenths quicker than his previous best as he pushed early for a fast lap. The field in this case meant Mir, the number 36 adding that the position is good but they nevertheless need to work on braking, with Rins finding some better form to end the session just a tenth off his teammate.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was fourth in FP1, leading the mid-part of the session for some time and maintaining his status as top Honda in Austria, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) enjoying a solid start in fifth.
The only drama was a technical problem for Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) at Turn 9 at the end of the session, the Frenchman putting his hand up and pulling off.
The rain came down in a big way just before the end of Moto3™ FP2, and that left the premier class with a very wet Red Bull Ring for their FP2 too. Consequently, no one improved but one person did set an incredible benchmark: Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing). The Spaniard ended the session a whopping 3.397 seconds clear after putting slicks in for a final charge, the only rider to push near the end of the session as the track dried.
Lecuona reigned in the rain early on too, before Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took over on top mid-session for some time. But the number 27 KTM hit back with his run on slicks, only competing with himself for P1.
Zarco was second in the session behind Lecuona, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) a few tenths further back in third. Marc Marquez ended up fourth after leading part way through, with Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) completing the top five.
Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) suffered a run off at Turn 4, and Joan Mir headed wide at Turn 10… as Marc Marquez got a little close for comfort up the inside.
FP1 is the same as the combined times given change in the weather, with Zarco retaining his eight tenths of advantage into Saturday. Mir is second ahead of Rins, with Nakagami the last man within a second. Aleix Espargaro completes the top five.
Quartararo was sixth, ahead of more good Spielberg speed from Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) in seventh. Bagnaia was the second Borgo Panigale machine in P8, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Styrian GP winner Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) round out a top ten split by 1.217. Which would sound a lot, except Zarco’s laptime is such that Mir in second to Martin in tenth is covered by only 0.419, and Zarco has the rest of that gap to himself.
With the weather forecast for Saturday making for interesting reading, that top ten could leave a few usual suspects looking for a way into Q2. They include both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder, who ended the day in P15 and P16, respectively, as well as Jack Miller just behind them in 17th.
They’ll be looking for a way through as FP3 begins at 9:55 (GMT +2)… and for better grid positions in qualifying, which starts at 14:10. Tune in to see who can reign the Red Bull Ring on take two!
Ogura pips Augusto Fernandez to go fastest on Friday by just 0.007
The Japanese rookie backs up his fastest race lap in the Styrian GP with another quick day at the office, just ahead of Augusto Fernandez and Gardner
Remember who set the fastest lap in Moto2™ last weekend? It was Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and the Japanese rider’s speed had gone nowhere as we got back in business at the Red Bull Ring. He tops Friday by mere thousandths though, with Styrian GP podium finisher within 0.007 on Day 1 of the Bitci Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. After an FP1 somewhat down the order, Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completed the top three with an afternoon improvement.
Ogura started the weekend fastest, with Augusto Fernandez for close company, but third was a key improver from last weekend in the form of Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) as the German impressed.
Styrian GP winner Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) took fourth, with Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) down in P8 and Championship leader Gardner down in 11th… right after only the second podium of the season that didn’t feature either of them.
The only crasher was Cameron Beaubier (American Racing), the American going down at the exit of Turn 1 and rider ok.
Gardner hit back in the afternoon to go fastest in FP2, but once again a familiar name had speed in Spielberg: Ogura. He was just under a tenth and a half off Gardner, with Raul Fernandez for closer company in third.
Elf Marc VDS Racing Team’s Sam Lowes was fourth, 0.007 further back, with Augusto Fernandez completing the top five with more solid pace in the afternoon.
There were four crashers in FP2. First was Yari Montella (Lightech Speed Up) with a highside at Turn 7, before Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) went down at Turn 3. Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Moto2) then crashed at Turn 9.
There was a rare run off for Bezzecchi at Turn 4, although the Italian more had a bumpy excursion via the gravel and a light dance past the airfence before rejoining.
Ogura’s FP1 best keeps him top ahead of Augusto Fernandez, with Gardner’s FP2 best slotting him into third overall. Then it’s another run of riders from FP1 laptimes, with Schrötter, Bezzechi, Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team) – the Italian showing more good form in Austria – and Sam Lowes locking out fourth to seventh.
Raul Fernandez was eighth and he, like teammate Gardner, was an improver in the afternoon. Styrian GP podium finisher Aron Canet (Aspar Team Moto2) slots into ninth, with Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in tenth.
It’s Arenas, Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP 40), Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) who currently stand to be the final four heading straight through into Q2, but FP3 gives the likes of Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) chance to move up. That starts at 10:55 (GMT+2), before qualifying from 15:10 for the intermediate class. Rain or no rain? That may be the question…
Binder heads both sessions on Friday
The South African remains fast as action re-opens at the Red Bull Ring, with Fenati and Acosta completing the top three
Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) is the man to beat after Day 1 of the Bitci Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, ending both sessions fastest and with a tenth in hand over Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) by the end of play. Championship leader and Styrian GP winner Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) locked out the top three, just 0.013 in further arrears.
Binder started the weekend on top, backing up a solid Styrian GP where he took sixth on slicks. Fenati, fresh from the podium, was second and they’d remain the top two by the end of play too. Acosta was close in third though, with his sparring partner from last weekend, Sergio Garcia (Santander Consumer Bank GASGAS Aspar Team), down in eighth.
There were no incidents in the morning bar a late run off for Acosta, the Spaniard suffering a bit of a snap at Turn 4 and running on and wide but no harm done.
Some sudden and late rain put paid to a final charge up the timesheets, but Binder was fastest once again throughout the dry part of the session. And once again, Acosta was close. The Spaniard was 0.057 off in the afternoon, pipping John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) by only 0.002.
Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) moved up a few places into fourth in FP2, finding some better form and the last rider within a tenth of the top. Sergio Garcia was ninth in the afternoon.
There were no incidents in FP2, but the rain stopped play and put paid to the customary final charge up the timesheets on Friday.
There was some drama after FP2, however, as Sergio Garcia was called to the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards. For using a machine with a rear tyre fitted that was not part of his assigned allocation in FP2, he was disqualified from the session and had one unused tyre of the same specification removed from his remaining tyre allocation. That said, his fastest lap of the day was set in FP1…
The top 14 were all up there on the combined timesheets from their FP1 best so Binder, Fenati and Acosta lead the way, with Styrian GP polesitter Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) fourth overall by the end of play.
Izan Guevara (Santander Consumer Bank GASGAS Aspar Team) completed the top five, with Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride) sixth after a good day’s work – just 0.003 off the Spanish rookie ahead of him. Foggia was only 0.013 further back in seventh.
Garcia and McPhee take P8 and P9, with Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) completing the top ten with some more good speed at the Red Bull Ring as he returns from injury.
Currently, Yuki Kunii (Honda Team Asia), Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3), Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) are the riders who stand to move through to Q2, and with rain forecast for some of Saturday… will they stay that way?
We’ll find out from 9:00 (GMT +2) in FP3 before qualifying from 12:35.
More, from a press release issued by Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing:
Lecuona tops Free Practice two in Austria – Petrucci works out improvements
The Red Bull Ring welcomed the MotoGP paddock for the second weekend in succession this morning with sunny and dry conditions, while a shower delivered a wet start of FP2 in the afternoon. Yet, the track was drying up towards the end of the second Free Practice later on.
Thereby, Danilo Petrucci clocked the 18th fastest lap in FP1, trying out several settings on his KTM RC16, but didn’t go head out again when the track was drying in the afternoon as the tarmac was still not dry enough to deliver competitive lap times in order to improve overall. At the same time, Iker Lecuona ended up in P19 this morning, was shining bright in FP2. The Spanish youngster was fastest in the wet conditions, but also on the drying line and headed the field with more than three seconds advantage in the end.
“This morning we tried something that was working good in terms of setup. We obviously still have to reduce the wheelie out of the corners in order to try to be as fast as possible on the straight. For sure, the first four corners are the trickiest for us, but I felt quite ok. Hopefully, we can improve our lap time tomorrow, especially compared to last week and try to be as close as possible to the front.”
“In the morning, I was struggling a bit with the grip. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t improve my lap time, so we need to work on this. But when the thunderstorm arrived this afternoon, I spoke with my team and we decided to do a race simulation as the race on Sunday could happen in these conditions. So, I went out with the wet tyres, I felt very good like always and was very fast. Then I did a flag to flag to start to feel the track with the slicks and maybe work out a limit for Sunday. I felt good and managed to improve. Thank you to my guys for their great work! Tomorrow we’ll keep that way.”
More, from a press release issued by Sky Racing Team VR46:
P13 FOR LUCA MARINI IN THE FREE PRACTICES OF THE AUSTRIAN GP
Day with uncertain weather with the rider of the Sky VR46 Avintia not far from the very first guys.
Spielberg (Austria), August 13th 2021 – Second race weekend in Austria at the start for the Ducati of the Sky VR46 Avintia and Luca Marini who closes the day of free practices with the 13th overall place.
On the track in the FP1 on dry asphalt, Luca scored a good 1.24.330 and is only three tenths of a second from the direct access to tomorrow’s Q2. Forced into the garage for most of the afternoon session due to a heavy storm that hit the circuit area, he did not go beyond the time of 1.34.497 in wet conditions.
We have dedicated the FP1 to work on the bike and we have found improvements that we can use tomorrow as well. A shame about the weather in the FP2 because we are a bit limited with the wet with the M tires on Friday and also with the slicks we did not ride much. Let’s see how it will go in the FP3, it will be a key session, we have three soft to use and three time attacks to stay even closer to the group.
A Friday with uncertain weather: the FP1 under the sun and then the rain. A sudden change of plans to manage. It was important to get the right feeling in the wet to be ready to face all the conditions between now and Sunday. We hope that the weather will be sunny tomorrow to be able to continue the work on our bike.
More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:
Austrian GP – FIRST PLACE AND TRACK RECORD FOR JOHANN ZARCO AFTER THE FIRST DAY, JORGE MARTIN IN P10.
All track activities have resumed here at the RedBull Ring. FP1 began in the best possible manner for the French rider Johann Zarco, who put out the fastest time with a record-breaking 1:22.827. His teammate Jorge Martin ended the first session of free practice in the top 10 with a time of 1:24.044. FP2 was completed on a wet track and with Johann coming in second and Jorge in eleventh, both Pramac Racing riders find themselves in the provisional Q2 session.
I am very confident. My race pace is good, and we continue improving. I have reached a good level of confidence with the bike; tomorrow hope to replicate last week’s qualifier.
I am satisfied with today’s work. Being on this track often has helped me understand many things; we have taken a giant step forward.
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:
MIR AND RINS STORM THE TIMESHEETS ON AUSTRIA RETURN
Austrian GP Day 1:
Joan Mir: 2nd – 1’23.625 (+ 0.798)
Alex Rins: 3rd – 1’23.730 (+ 0.903)
Team Suzuki Ecstar were back on track for the second in a double header at the Red Bull Ring. Following a successful Styrian GP last weekend, which saw Joan Mir second and Alex Rins seventh, the team and riders were keen to hit the Spielberg circuit once again.
Friday morning’s FP1 brought bright skies, and both Mir and Rins took full advantage of these conditions to not only fine-tune settings and iron out issues faced last weekend, but also to get some fast laps under their belts. Looking confident and quick on their GSX-RRs, they spent the majority of the session at the top of the timesheets, closing in second and third respectively.
Just moments ahead of the start of FP2, the skies opened and a tremendous storm of hail, rain, thunder and lightning hit the local area. With the track soaked the riders made a tentative start to the session, opting for full wet tyres and remaining on them throughout. Both Rins and Mir collected some useful information should Saturday or Sunday also bring rain. They remain well inside the Top 10 on combined times ahead of tomorrow; second and third.
“We had a few problems with braking in both sessions, in the morning I couldn’t get a very good lap time, especially on time attack, but I got up there after using the soft tyres. So I actually still have a lot of margin to improve, we need to make a few adjustments to make everything more comfortable. This weekend every rider will be faster, so it will be more of a challenge on Sunday, but we’ll try to give our all and if we can fix the little things I feel pretty confident.”
“Today was good for us, we ‘risked’ putting soft tyres on the bike in the last moments of FP1 because my crew saw the rain on radar images and we thought it was better to get a time in early. I’ve been riding well today, both in the dry and the wet, and I have a good feeling. We’ve managed to work on the brake problem that I had last weekend and it seems better. It’s nice to continue using the ride height device because I’m getting more used to it every time I use it. I’m aiming for a good FP3 tomorrow morning and we’ll take it from there.”
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“I didn’t expect so much rain before the afternoon’s FP2, but luckily our riders were strong in the morning and set good lap times, so both Joan and Alex are in the Top 10 at the moment and have provisional Q2 passage. We’re still working and searching for a few little changes to try and be fully prepared for the race. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, but for sure this is a good start.”
More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:
QUARTARARO SETS SIXTH FASTEST TIME ON AUSTRIAN GP FRIDAY
Spielberg (Austria), 13th August 2021
GRAND PRIX OF AUSTRIA
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo resumed work at the Spielberg circuit today in preparation for Sunday‘s Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. Much like last week, there was a night-and-day difference between the two Friday free practice sessions. The Frenchman finished FP1 holding sixth place and FP2 in ninth, ultimately ending the day in sixth position in the combined free practice timesheets.
6th FABIO QUARTARARO 1’23.865 (FP1) / 21 + 20 LAPS
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team continued their search for the optimal settings around the Spielberg track in both the dry and the wet. Fabio Quartararo put in a good number of laps to adapt his YZR-M1 to all possible conditions ahead of Sunday‘s Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich and ended the Friday in sixth place in the combined results.
Quartararo was keen to take his Yamaha out for a spin again on Austrian soil this morning. He made the most of the perfectly sunny riding conditions, tweaking his already competitive ’dry bike‘ setting. The Frenchman stuck to the soft-medium tyre combination throughout the session. He lost a bit of time at the end of FP1 when he thought he felt something unusual on the bike, but the M1 was fine when he checked it. The number-20 rider was able to continue riding without any problem. Though he didn‘t put in a mini time-attack, he still finished comfortably inside the top 10. His 1‘23.865s, set on lap 6/21, earned him sixth place, 1.038s from first.
El Diablo had a busy afternoon adjusting his bike and his riding style to the drenched track. Knowing how quickly Spielberg’s track conditions change, he got right to work trying to improve his feeling in the wet. As the track dried in the latter stages of the session, the Yamaha man moved into the top 10 whilst still on rain tyres. He ended FP2 in ninth place with a 1‘32.784s time, set on lap 19/20, which put him 5.264s from the front. However, with no rider improving on their morning time, Quartararo remained sixth in the combined FP results.
We did some good work today. First of all, Fabio‘s overall pace in FP1 is very positive. He was quite comfortable thanks to the solid basis we established last weekend. He didn’t do a time attack, but he still got sixth place in the FP1 and combined free practice results. The fully wet conditions at the start of FP2 were unexpected, but it was actually a welcome experience because it allowed us to gather important information. The forecasts predict that most MotoGP sessions this weekend will be dry, but today’s changeable weather once again underlined that we need to be ready for every eventuality. But regardless of the track conditions, our goal is the same as always: we want to be in Q2 and qualify as far towards the front of the grid as possible.
This morning was great! My pace was good, and the front tyre wasn’t even the one that I like. So, I’m curious to see tomorrow what that will be like. I think that we need to make a bigger step in the wet, because I have no feeling and this is something we need to improve. In FP1 I missed a gear and it felt like the engine was going down. I decided to stop to look at the dashboard, but everything was okay. It was just a mistake of mine. Some of our main rivals are fast, but I know I’m also super fast in qualifying, so I will go for it. I think we need to try!
More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Racing Gresini:
APRILIA’S GOOD TREND IN AUSTRIA CONTINUES
ALEIX FIFTH IN THE COMBINED STANDINGS ON FRIDAY
Aleix and Aprilia’s good feeling in Austria continues on the second race weekend as well. On a two-sided Friday, the Italian/Spanish duo demonstrated speed and determination, taking fifth place in the combined rankings. This means yet another provisional Q2 in this exciting season. As we all know, Lorenzo Savadori is missing in action this weekend, still recovering from the injury he suffered in last Sunday’s race.
In the FP1 session held on dry asphalt, although not turning a lot of laps due to a problem which was subsequently resolved, Aleix was still able to do some outstanding times, finishing with a promising fifth place.
A few minutes before FP2, a heavy downpour wet the track down, so all the riders began the session on rain tyres. Even in these conditions, Aleix remained in the high end of the standings, finishing in third overall, but first among those riders who did not put on slicks as the track began to dry out toward the end.
This means that the end result is fifth place in the combined standings, which is a provisional guarantee of going straight through to the second qualifying session (Q2).
“I’m satisfied with the way we began this weekend. This morning, despite having lost a few minutes, I was still able to find a good pace. I’m particularly pleased with the level we demonstrated in the wet, which is a situation where I wasn’t so incisive last week. We also made some changes to the balance of the RS-GP and I must say that the feeling is very good on damp asphalt too. Tomorrow it will be essential to work well on qualifying; overtaking is no simple thing for us here, so a spot on the front two rows would be ideal to aim for an important race result.”
More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:
Wet and dry conditions open second Red Bull Ring weekend
Weather was once again the talking point at the Red Bull Ring as the paddock experienced four seasons in a day, Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro taking ninth and 11th overall while showing impressive speed in the wet.
The sun was shining throughout the day at the Red Bull Ring, but that didn’t stop a significant downpour arriving just before Free Practice 2. A weekend in Austria means being ready for any condition and the Repsol Honda Team were sitting in first and second when the track was at its wettest after starting the weekend with decent dry speed.
Marc Marquez had a busy start to the day as he returned to Red Bull Ring on his Honda RC213V, completing 22 laps in Free Practice 1. A best time of 1’23.967 saw him end ninth, ahead of Styrian GP winner Jorge Martin and grab a provisional Q2 slot. As a sudden and heavy downpour of rain hit the circuit just ahead of Free Practice 2, Marquez’s top-ten time from the morning was looking even more valuable. Although unable to improve his overall time, Marquez was fast in the wet with a 1’31.353 keeping him on top of the time sheets until the final moments of the session.
For Pol Espargaro, Friday in Austria started well under clear skies as he and his Repsol Honda Team went about improving the setup of his bike after a difficult previous weekend. 11th in the session, the #44 worked on used tyres throughout. In the afternoon Espargaro was again able to show his speed in the wet, steadily getting faster as the session went on and keeping within touching distance of his teammate. Only in the final minutes of the session when other riders fitted slick tyres did Espargaro drop down from second, ending the afternoon in eighth and the day in 11th overall.
“Today’s plan was to work through some things for HRC before tomorrow when we focus on being faster. I am still struggling a little in the hard braking, but there are many riders struggling a bit with it here. The wet practice helped us a lot, both with my physical condition and showing my speed. It has been a decent first day but we will have to see what happens tomorrow.”
“Overall I think it was a good day. In the dry we were able to improve a little and we made progress with the used tyres because we didn’t change it in the morning. In the afternoon we did our best lap in the wet and we were fast, in second. We dropped down when people did some final laps on a drier track but I was fast in the wet. In the wet we are fast and in the dry we are looking better, I’m satisfied.”
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:
TAKA TOP HONDA ON DAY ONE IN SPIELBERG
Takaaki Nakagami ended the opening day of free practice for the Austrian Grand Prix in 4th position on the timesheets after a mix of conditions in Spielberg. The LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider underlined his impressive speed at the Red Bull Ring in FP1 before rain complicated matters in the afternoon.
Following his impressive 5th place last week, Taka was quickly back in the groove on Friday morning as he finished a dry FP1 session as the leading Honda in fourth. Heavy rain ahead of FP2 ensured the riders were unable to improve their times and the Japanese star posted the 12th fastest lap on a drying circuit.
Takaaki Nakagami – 4th
“P4 is a good result and we had a good feeling on the bike which is the most important thing. In FP2, same as last weekend, we had rainy conditions, but we had a much better feeling than last weekend. We need to improve some areas in wet conditions, but in the dry conditions we are going well and are really looking forward to qualifying. The most important session will be FP3, we need to stay in the top 10 and be ready for the qualifying session.”
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:
ÁLEX MÁRQUEZ SEVENTH FASTEST AT RED BULL RING
Álex Márquez produced another impressive display at the Red Bull Ring as free practice for the Austrian Grand Prix got underway on Friday. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider was competitive in both dry and wet conditions to leave himself well-placed overnight with more mixed weather forecast for Saturday.
Fresh from his excellent top 10 last weekend, the Spaniard was back on the pace in a dry FP1 as he ended the session in seventh spot, eclipsing both factory Hondas. Heavy rain meant FP2 took place on a drying track, but Álex showed his aptitude in all conditions as he took sixth, putting down a marker ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
Álex Márquez – 7th
“First day of the second GP here in Austria and I felt great from the beginning. In the morning, in the dry we started with a good shape, were feeling great and so took the chance to put on a new medium tyre as we saw on the forecast that there was a chance of rain in the afternoon. It was a perfect plan from the team and for the tyre choice. In the afternoon, we had the chance to test the hard front tyre, but also some different set-ups we had in the plan. We still have tomorrow and we need to be fast again from the beginning. I’m happy with the day and motivated for tomorrow. FP3 will be important to be directly in Q2 as qualifying is always tough here. So we’ll try our best from the morning.”
More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:
Second GP at Spielberg underway for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT
AustrianGP opening day ends with Valentino Rossi 14th and Cal Crutchlow 20th
For the second time in two weeks, PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team faced mixed track conditions at Spielberg with sun, rain and hail all featuring. Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow ended the opening day of the AustrianGP 14th and 20th respectively.
The morning’s FP1 session got off to a steady start for Rossi, as he worked on gathering vital data for the weekend. At the end of the 45 mins, the Italian posted the 14th fastest time – 1min 24.335secs. A wet – but drying – track greeted Valentino in FP2, thanks to heavy rain ahead of the session, which meant that times from the morning could not be improved. After sitting just outside of the top-ten for a large amount of FP2, Rossi ended the session 16th and the day 14th.
Crutchlow continued to build on his experience aboard the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT machine throughout FP1. Setting a fastest lap of 1min 25.295secs, the Brit ended the session 20th. Cal opted to wait for a short while before heading out on track on FP2, but started to improve his lap times as the track started to dry. As with all riders, Crutchlow was unable to improve upon his FP1 time and ended the opening day of AustrianGP action 20th.
Tomorrow’s track action will commence at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT) with Free Practice 3 for Rossi and Crutchlow, ahead of the two MotoGP Qualifying sessions at 2.10pm local time (8.10pm MYT).
This morning, in FP1, it wasn’t too bad because I was able to greatly improve the performance and lap time from the first weekend here. Also the position was okay too but, as always with a second GP at the same circuit, everyone is very strong. The track was fast this morning and we were able to work on our race pace. This afternoon the conditions in FP2 were very specific, as it rained a lot but it stayed very hot and the dry line appeared after only 20 minutes. We are not so bad on the full wet, but we suffer a lot with the feeling in mixed conditions and we don’t have enough traction. We hope that Sunday will be completely dry or wet, not a mix.
Last week we had an issue with rear grip in the race and we think we might have found the reason why, but it became our main focus today. It’s good that we understand it a bit more and it means we can continue our programme now, to hopefully find more speed in both wet and dry conditions. I feel confident that I can though. Obviously going from testing where you have all day to two 45-minute sessions is difficult, especially with this afternoon being wet. I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend and let’s see what we can achieve.
More, from a press release Lenovo Ducati:
Austrian GP. Eighth Bagnaia and seventeenth Miller at the end of another rain-affected Day 1 in the afternoon at the Red Bull Ring
Johann Zarco sets the new all-time lap record in 1:22.827 with the Ducati Desmosedici GP of the Pramac Racing Team to end the first day on top
Less than seven days after the Styrian GP, the Ducati Lenovo Team riders took to the track again at the famous Red Bull Ring circuit for Friday’s free practices for the Austrian GP, the eleventh round of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship. Just like last week, the rain, which fell just before the start of FP2, partially disturbed the day, keeping the timesheets unchanged from the morning’s dry FP1.
Pecco Bagnaia closed the first day of the Austrian GP with the eighth fastest time overall with a quickest lap time in 1:23.903, which he obtained with used tyres during this morning’s dry session. Teammate Jack Miller ended Friday only seventeenth. As he was hoping to try his time attack in the afternoon, the Australian rider had just focused on fine-tuning his bike in FP1 without attempting to put in his best time in the morning’s session. During FP2, held in the wet, Miller instead posted the fifth fastest time, showing a quick pace despite the tricky track conditions. Both Ducati Lenovo Team riders will aim to gain direct access to Q2 by improving their best times in tomorrow’s morning FP3, which is expected to be dry.
Johann Zarco set the pace today with the Ducati Desmosedici GP of the Pramac Racing Team. The Frenchman put in a great lap, setting a new all-time lap record in 1:22.827 and bettering by 167 thousandths the previous record held by teammate Jorge Martín.
Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 8th (1’23.903)
“Despite the position, these were two really positive sessions. This morning, we were fast, finishing in the top ten without a time attack and on very used tyres, which bodes well for the race. In FP2 this afternoon, I only lapped when the track was completely wet, and even then, my pace was good. When the asphalt started to dry, I preferred to stop and not use more wet tyres. I’m satisfied and optimistic about tomorrow’s qualifying session”.
Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 17th (1:24.528)
“Looking at the timesheet, it doesn’t seem to have been a positive day; actually, I’m pretty satisfied. This morning we had some small issues, and I’ve been working on the idea that I could set my best time during the afternoon session. Unfortunately, the track conditions didn’t allow me that, so I will try to improve tomorrow morning in FP3. I’m confident because I know what we need to do to be fast, and in the wet this afternoon, we showed a good pace, so all in all, it was a good day”.
The Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be back on track tomorrow at 9:55 am local time for FP3, while qualifying for the Austrian GP will take place from 2:10 pm, at the end of FP4.