Parkalgar Honda's Eugene Laverty topped the timesheets in the first session of free practice for the World Supersport class at Monza, though not too much should be read into that result. Rain started about 20 minutes into the session, before most of the riders had really gotten up to speed. Ten Kate's Michele Pirro is 2nd fastest, with Fabien Foret in 3rd and Kenan Sofuoglu in 4th.
Sterilgarda Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow was fastest in the first session of practice for World Superbikes at Monzo, the young Briton diving into the lead on his final lap. Crutchlow edged out Xerox Ducati's Michel Fabrizio, who had himself moved ahead of HANNSpree Ten Kate's Jonathan Rea later in the session, after Rea had dominated for most of practice. Championship leader Leon Haslam put his Alstare Suzuki into 4th.
On the Saturday of the Jerez MotoGP weekend, the Grand Prix Commission met to further hammer out the regulations which will govern the MotoGP class from the 2012 season. It was feared that the meeting would fail to come up with a clear definition of the bikes to be run by the Claiming Rule Teams, the privateer teams expected to enter MotoGP with production-based engines in prototype chassis. So it came as no surprise that the minutes of the press release of the Grand Prix Commission merely modified the penalty for using an extra engine in the 2010 season, dropping it from 20 seconds to 10.
MotoMatters.com was interested to find out why the Grand Prix Commission had not had anything to say about the 2012 regulations, and so we caught up with IRTA's representative on the GP Commission, Herve Poncharal. When we put it to the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha boss that it was a little strange that the MSMA (the manufacturer's association, who are charged with drawing up the technical regulations) had yet to produce a definition of a Claiming Rule Team bike, Poncharal said that this was not a problem, as the rules already defined the basics of the bikes: 1000cc engine, 81mm maximum bore, 24 liters of fuel and 12 engines to last the season. But how do we define a Claiming Rule team, we asked Poncharal.
As always after a MotoGP race weekend, the guys from OnTheThrottle.tv spoke to Ben Spies about the way his weekend went at Jerez. And they certainly had plenty to talk about, after a front end problem forced Spies to pull out of the race. In the video interview, Spies talks about what happened to force him to pull out, about learning the tricky Jerez track, about being teammates with Colin Edwards, about his prospects at Laguna Seca and of course a few words about the upcoming World Superbike round at Monza. At just under half an hour, the video is a perfect and highly productive way to spend your lunch break.
When you look at the plain numbers involved, a tiny company like Ducati has no right to be competing in MotoGP, let alone providing a serious contender for the MotoGP title and supply nearly one third of the bikes on the grid. One of the main factors in Ducati's success in the series, and one of the greatest minds in the MotoGP paddock is Filippo Preziosi, Ducati Corse's General Director. Preziosi has been the driving force behind Ducati's engineering innovation, including the decision to replace Ducati's trademark steel trellis frame with a carbon fiber monocoque, and the switch from screamer to big bang.
There have been fears of early-lap carnage in the Moto2 class ever since it was announced that there would be over 40 riders on the grid, so when Shoya Tomizawa and Simone Corsi tangled on lap 2 at Jerez, nobody was particularly surprised. What was surprising, however, was to see a further 8 riders go down immediately behind the Technomag-CIP riders, wiping out without warning on a trail of oil left on the track by Tomizawa's bike.
Speculation on the nature of the fluid started immediately in the media center at Jerez, with opinions divided between oil, water or fuel. Given the speed at which the following riders lost the front end, water seemed unlikely, and it was hard to see how fuel could have affected grip so radically.
One day after the last-lap thriller of a Spanish Grand Prix, the MotoGP riders were back on track for a one-day test at the Andalucian track, the first of two scheduled for the season. As on Saturday during qualifying, it was the Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa which was fastest, finishing ahead of the Fiat Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Differences were small, however: the top 12 riders finished inside 1 second, and just 1.5 seconds covered the entire field.
The riders had plenty to test. Yamaha were testing minor chassis modifications, some electronics and a revised engine which provides improved acceleration, which both Rossi and Lorenzo declared a slight improvement. Lorenzo spent a lot of time working on his starts, which have so far been his weak point, while Rossi also found some setup changes which solved a rear grip problem.
In the last of our post-race debriefs, Ben Spies speaks about his first visit to the epic arena of Jerez:
After Sunday's MotoGP race at Jerez, here's Nicky Hayden had to tell the press:
This is what Casey Stoner had to say after Sunday's MotoGP race at Jerez:
This is what Valentino Rossi had to say after Sunday's MotoGP race at Jerez:
This is what Dani Pedrosa had to say to the press after the thrilling end to Sunday's MotoGP race: