Similar to conditions in 2011, a mix of rain, drizzle and cold track temperatures fell on the MotoGP FP session Friday morning in Jerez, resulting in more than half the riders remain in their garage.
Avintia Blusens CRT rider Silva, who is testing a new part-carbon Inmotec chassis this weekend was the only rider to set a time of 1.48´674 early on in the session, before the majority of rain fell. Power Electronics Aspar´s Randy de Puniet, San Carlo Honda Gresini´s CRT rider Michele Pirro and Cardion AB’s Karel Abraham all did a sighting lap to assess conditions, but returned straight to the pits.
It was only in the final seven minutes of the session, when consistent rain was falling, that a few riders took to the track to test their wet set-up. One such rider was Pirro´s team mate, Spaniard Álvaro Bautista, as well as LCR Honda MotoGP´s German rookie Stefan Bradl.
NGM Mobile Forward Racing rider Colin Edwards completed a lap at the end on his Suter-BMW, whilst Silva´s team mate Yonny Hernandez took a sighting lap on his still aluminium framed BQR-FTR.
None of the factory riders, including last year´s wet-race winner on his Yamaha Factory Racing machine, Jorge Lorenzo, or reigning world champion Casey Stoner of the Repsol Honda Team took to the track.
Jorge Lorenzo remains a favourite coming into this weekend’s racing. Following a win at the opening round in Qatar, the Spanish rider has enjoyed tremendous success in Jerez over the years, with two wins in the premiere class. According to Lorenzo, “I won two times here in 250 and twice also in MotoGP™, and also my second podium came here in MotoGP™ in 2008 so we can say that Jerez is one of my favorite tracks, and one of the tracks which is quite adapted to my riding style.” Yet the 2010 Champion is not getting carried away with his Qatar victory: “It’s always good to start like that, but the championship is very long and we have a lot of races to come this year.”
Defending World Champion Casey Stoner looks to put arm-pump issues from Qatar behind him for a strong finish in Jerez this weekend. The Australian notes, “Basically with arm-pump it’s difficult to replicate because we don’t get to go out and test these bikes in the week so it’s hard to know if you’ve made any improvements or not. We can only do what we have done and hope for the best this weekend. At the same time there are a lot of positives to take from the last race, more than negatives, so I think we can come here with a fair bit of confidence.”
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow will be another rider to watch this weekend, as he impressed in Qatar with a surprising 4th place finish in Qatar.
The second round of the MotoGP championship takes place this weekend, with racing on Sunday in Jerez, Spain.