Rain stops play in Mugello free practice

Local hero Valentino Rossi got straight down to business in the first free practice, delighting the crowd of home fans with an impressive pace.

Rain stops play in Mugello free practice

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team may have got off to a flying start in Mugello this morning but the good times were not to last as light rain cancelled any action in the afternoon.

Local hero Valentino Rossi got straight down to business in the first free practice, delighting the crowd of home fans with an impressive pace. Rossi led for most of the session before dropping to second in the last minutes, 0.382 seconds from first.

Teammate Lorenzo was also enjoying riding at one of his favourite circuits on the calendar, dropping time consistently throughout the practice to finish in fifth with a time of 1’48.677, 0.661 from first.

The afternoon session proved to be a frustrating one with light rain coming down minutes before the second practice, leaving the track not completely wet but not dry either, leaving the riders to sit it out and wait for tomorrow’s third session.

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders got off to a slippery start in Mugello with a slight downpour of rain at the beginning of FP2 preventing them from improving their times set in the morning practice session.

The track conditions were not damp enough to warrant a wet setup, with Bradley Smith choosing to sit out the session and Pol Espargaro just undertaking a brief technical sighting lap on the 5245 metre circuit.

Bradley Smith who expected to improve his initial time in this afternoon’s practice session, finished FP1 in 10th with a best lap of 1.49,030. His time was just over one second from first place as he concentrated on finding a confidence instating base setup for this weekend’s round 6 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. Despite to the lack of action in FP2, the British rider now looks optimistically towards tomorrow’s third free practice session to continue his preparation for Sunday’s 23 lap race.

Pol Espargaro completed this morning’s session in 12th position despite falling uninjured half way through. The premier class rookie heroically returned to the pits, jumped on his second bike and then headed straight back out on track before incredibly improving his lap time in a showcase of true grit and determination. Having never ridden in wet conditions so far in MotoGP, the reigning Moto2 World Champion used this afternoon’s session to undertake a very brief technical check to discover the behaviour of the steel brakes. He now keenly awaits tomorrow’s FP3 session where he aims to continue his progress.

It was a very positive opening day of practice for the NGM Forward Racing riders at the fast and technical Mugello track.

Aleix Espargaro focused on the electronics to solve the problems he had in Le Mans, while Colin Edwards tested the new chassis made by Forward in collaboration with FTR. The Texan rider was really satisfied with the feeling he got from the new chassis which was designed also according to his indications.

As many other MotoGP riders Aleix and Colin didn’t test in FP2 and the combined classification of the day sees the Spaniard in the sixth place with a best lap time of 1’48.743 and the Texan rider 13th (1’49.818).

Valentino Rossi (2nd / 1'48.386): “This morning the start was good for me. We found already quite a good setting and I felt comfortable on the bike; it was already quite fast. The weather is a shame firstly for the people around the circuit and also as we had something important to try this afternoon so it was important to try to make the test. Unfortunately ten minutes before the practice it started to rain but not enough for the rain tyre so we wasted our time.”

Jorge Lorenzo (5th / 1'48.665): “Unfortunately before the second practice today it started spitting and raining a little bit, not so much but we were not able to use the slick and it had no use to try with the rain tyre. I just made one lap to warm up the rain tyre in case there’s a dry and wet race. This morning was good, I feel better physically and I feel stronger on the bike. It is just a little more nervous than last year so we are trying to improve the electronics to make the bike more smooth and easier to ride.”

Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director: “We made a very good start this morning in the first practice. Both Valentino and Jorge were able to find a good base set up to begin the weekend with; Valentino especially was very quick throughout the session. We expected Mugello to be a good track for the M1 so it's good to see this is a reality in practice. It’s frustrating that we were not able to continue our work this afternoon with the changing conditions, when it’s just a little wet and dry there is no real benefit to ride as you cannot make the best use of either wet tyres or slicks. The rest of the weekend’s weather looks more promising so we are happy to get back to work tomorrow morning.”

Bradley Smith (10th / 1'49.030): "I am pretty happy with how things went this morning, and we have definitely improved a lot with certain aspects of the bike since Le Mans. We managed to do four runs and the team and I tried a lot of suspension and geometry settings so that we were able to collect a huge range of data. This in turn, fills me with confidence for tomorrow. It was unfortunate that I was unable to ride this afternoon yet with the information we have from FP1 we are in a good position for the rest of the weekend. Hopefully for tomorrow the weather conditions will clear and be dry so that we can carry on working in the right direction.”

Pol Espargaro (12th / 1'49.308): “Obviously the fall this morning was not an ideal start to this weekend but in my first run behind Lorenzo I felt very comfortable and the lap times were promising. After the crash where I hit my head a bit, I felt quite nervous and little less confident but still managed to improve my lap time as soon as I went out again which obviously makes me feel elated for the weekend. Of course it goes without saying that I would have been happy to get a few more laps under my belt this afternoon, but unfortunately the weather conditions were not on our side. I am hoping that the weather will be dry tomorrow as I have never ridden in the wet but we will have to see.”

Aleix Espargaro (6th / 1'48.743): “This morning we worked on the electronics to solve the problems we had in Le Mans and we tried different things to cool the brakes. We did a good work but there was not enough time to concentrate on the set up, something we wanted to do this afternoon. Mugello is a very demanding track so we will keep on working on the electronics in preparation of the race”.

Colin Edwards (13th / 1'49.818): “Today was one of my best memories of Mugello. We showed up here with the new chassis. We had to restart almost from zero in terms of set up but the feeling was very positive and I feel like I am a 20 year old guy!. I understand the bike, I have the confidence and the machine turns as it should, according to my riding style. The new chassis was designed around what I had last year and I’d like to thank the team for the great effort they made to deliver it for the Italian GP”.

Yamaha Racing

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Rain affects first day of free practice in Mugello

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