The FIAT Yamaha pairing of championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi looked to be the men to beat after Practice 1 yesterday, but after heavy rain storms changed the nature of the Brno circuit, host to Round 10 of the Moto GP World Championship, the session saw many riders take a tumble. And towards the end of the session both Yamaha riders fell victim to the circuit.
For most of the session, Jorge Lorenzo was sitting in 2nd position of the grid, even though he wasn’t happy with the front end of his bike and was loosing time in the final sector. As he left for his final flying lap, aiming to claim his 10th front row of the season, all was looking well. However, to improve his time meant pushing hard, and at turn 11 he tipped it into the gravel. Luckily the bike wasn’t badly damaged and he was able to get back to the pits and claim 3rd.
After the session, Lorenzo was clearly unimpressed with his performance. “This wasn’t the best practice session of the year for us. We made some modifications that didn’t work and it was especially a problem in the front, which was closing on me a lot. I wasn’t fast and I was having to take too many risks. Then I made a mistake and the bike went flying! I really hope the engine is okay for tomorrow, luckily I am not hurt and I was able to get up straight away. We are still on the front row and we can’t always be on top! I think tomorrow will be a tough race but we will see how we can improve our setting and see what happens.”
Valentino Rossi was hoping to gain a front row start, after being all but fully recovered from his leg and shoulder injuries. On his first flying lap he was only a fraction off of the provisional pole time, until turn 13 where the front end slipped from beneath him and he ended up in the gravel trap. Luckily both he and the bike were undamaged and after limping back to the pits, he was able to finish the session and end up 5th on the grid.
After the session, Rossi was hopeful for tomorrows race. “I’m okay and I haven’t made any of my injuries worse, so this is the most important thing. I was pushing hard and trying to make my best flying lap and I just lost the front, so maybe we’re still missing a bit of grip. I was really angry when I crashed because I think it was possible to get second or even the pole position! Apart from the mistake though I’m very happy because I feel confident on the bike and I enjoyed riding today; I think for tomorrow I can be competitive. Warm-up is going to be important because we need to try to slightly improve my feeling with the front. We also need to wait to see what the weather does!”