Valentino Rossi finished the first day of practice for the Grand Prix of Turkey in fourth position today, the top Michelin rider in the 19-strong MotoGP field at Istanbul Park. After heading the standings in this morning's practice, Colin Edwards struggled with front-end problems this afternoon and the American could only manage 15th in the combined standings. Although the sun shone all day, an overnight rainstorm and cool temperatures this morning meant the track was still wet for first practice and, although it had dried out somewhat by the afternoon, it remained quite dirty and the poor conditions meant that lap times were considerably slower than the existing lap record.
Without any testing at this track this season, the team face a hard task to find the correct set-up and tyre combination before Sunday's 22 lap race and the tricky track conditions today complicated their task. After losing much of this morning's session to the wet track both crews worked hard throughout this afternoon's practice, which was interrupted by a red flag for a short time after Shinya Nakano fell. Team-mates Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi topped the time sheets, whilst third spot ahead of Rossi went to John Hopkins.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 4th; Time: 1'55.120Laps: 33;
"The conditions today weren't ideal for us as the track was very, very dirty. However we're not in such a bad position in fourth and when you compare it to last year, when we had some serious problems here, things are much better and I can ride the bike very well, in fact I like the track a lot more with this bike! Stoner especially was very fast today and I think that tomorrow is going to be a hard battle for qualifying. We need to work on the tyres and the set-up but I am confident that we can improve things quite a bit more tomorrow. The Japanese engineers have been working very hard during the break and today we tried out some new modifications for our engine. My first impressions are that it's a definite improvement and we can go a little bit faster. It's not a big difference but it's very important, especially here at this track. Now let's see what we can do tomorrow."
Colin Edwards - Position: 15th; Time: 1'56.320Laps: 28;
"Strangely I felt more comfortable with the front end this morning, when the track was wet and even dirtier than it was this afternoon! Unfortunately we've got some problems to deal with in the front-end and we didn't quite get to the bottom of them today. This afternoon I stayed on the same front as we used this morning and we've been playing with the setting but at the moment it's not working great and I can't ride it how I want to. We need to look at both the setting and the tyre situation and make some adjustments in order to be in a position to challenge tomorrow. Apart from that the bike feels okay and I'm confident that once the team work their magic tonight, as they always do, things will be working good."
Davide Brivio - Team Director;
"The conditions today weren't good because of the rain overnight and so we lost a lot of this morning's practice. Unfortunately the track remained quite dirty and so the lap times are quite a lot slower than the last couple of years. Anyway, we have to work in these conditions so the team have tried to make the best of it and we're trying to analyse the problems we've encountered today. This afternoon Colin was suffering more than Valentino and he has some set-up problems which we need to work through. Of course the tyres are also very important here because it's the first track that we've been to this year without testing and our choice is also limited by the new regulations. However Valentino was able to improve his set-up a bit this afternoon and hopefully we can do the same with them both tomorrow."
Casey Stoner, fastest, 1m 54.200s;
"That was really good, the last run was my first time on new tyres since I first went out this morning. We tried a different rear, so we've only used two rears from our selection and we've got another couple to try tomorrow. It would be nice if we can find an even better one. Everything seems pretty comfortable, pretty good at the moment. We haven't changed the settings too much from Jerez, so obviously the team did the right things for this circuit. For sure we need to improve the bike before we get to the race but track conditions are going to change a lot, so we don't know how our current settings will work by the time the race comes around. As always, we're trying to make the bike as perfect as possible, we need it to turn a bit better, with a little more traction and a little less pumping. Once we've got those things we should have quite a good package. I've had some pretty good results in the past here so it would be nice if we can continue that. It's not my favourite track, it's very technical and it's difficult for set-up but we seem to be doing the right job at the moment. Also, it's good to see Loris back on form, you can see it in his eyes. It's nice that both of us are running up front."
Loris Capirossi, 2nd fastest, 1m 54.979s;
"I'm very satisfied. We've worked really well on bike set-up so I'm enjoying riding again and that's good. We made some adjustments for more front-end feeling and I felt better with every lap, so we will continue working in this direction and I think I can improve even more. The first two races were quite demanding for me but now I'm back up front and that's important. Bridgestone are doing a great job with the tyres. The front we are using here is a hard tyre and a bit difficult on the first lap, but after that it works really well. The rear is also hard but it's quite consistent over a lot of laps and that's encouraging. This morning the track conditions were really difficult but bit by bit they improved. It's a bit like Qatar, the times will drop further tomorrow and many riders will be faster. I feel in great shape, I look forward tomorrow and Sunday's race."
Nicky Hayden - 1'56.312s, 40 laps, 214 Km;
"The track was really wet and dirty in this morning's session so we didn't actually get much out of that. This afternoon it warmed up and dried off and we got to put in a decent number of laps but it wasn't real stellar - the pace isn't where we want it to be.
The problem is just trying to get the front end to work for me - getting it to steer and finding some confidence in it, especially around turns eight, nine and 10 - the long, long left-hand corner. So the weekend hasn't started the way we wanted by any means and it's frustrating. We'll change a few things, maybe look at my transmission ratio because my top speed is a bit down, and try to get towards the front."
Dani Pedrosa - 1'55.865s, 42 laps, 224 Km;
"This was the first time on the 800cc on this circuit and the feeling is actually not so different to last year's 990. However the track conditions today didn't really help us.
There were wet patches for most of the morning session, and even in the afternoon it was still very dusty and the grip levels were not so good. The lap times were a little slower than we expected and we had a few issues getting the right balance with the tyres today. We were able to get a lot of information though and we'll look at the ways we can increase the pace tomorrow. We hope to be able to improve things quickly and get to a tyre choice and set-up that allows us to fight in the race."
Alex Barros (1'56.233 - 14 laps):
"The very positive thing of this day, was that we can try the bike on this track that I don't know very well. I raced only once here in 2005 and I haven't a lot of data at my disposal; finally today I had this possibility. The work we did was focused in particular on the frame and set-up; we obtained important results to use tomorrow. We are moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot to do. In general, I'm satisfied with this day and confident to have beautiful race on Sunday."
Alex Hofmann (1'55.736 - 19 laps):
"If I consider my time only, I'm obviously happy, but the things to improve are still too many, so we can't be entirely pleased. We have to continue to work hard. I like this track a lot, but unfortunately conditions aren't very good and I fear they will be worse during the race; but it isn't my personal problem, it is the same for everyone! If I look at Stoner's and Loris' result, I'm very confident, because today they've done very well. For this reason I think with the DUCATI GP 7 we can obtain good results, if we improve the bike's set up. As concerning the tyres, we utilised two different kinds of Bridgestone, but we aren't yet sure which one to go with in the race on Sunday.
Toni Elias (5th,1'55"158):
"I'm really satisfied with this first day. In the morning we were a little worried about the tyres but in the second half of the afternoon session our choice proved to be the right one. I found a good feeling with the tyres, I'm comfortable on the bike and we also made a small step forward with the set-up. We have to keep working in this way if we are to break into the lead group. The track conditions should be a lot better tomorrow because today it was quite dirty".
Marco Melandri (10th, 1'55"910):
"Today was more difficult than we expected. We haven't tested here but I was fast straight away so maybe I was a little too aggressive. I had two stupid crashes, one under braking, the other opening the gas, and in both cases the front folded. That obviously affected our work today but I'm confident we have a big margin to improve. Today I wanted to check our rear tyre choice but I didn't have the right feeling. Tomorrow I'll try a different tyre, following the advice of the Bridgestone technicians and I'm very optimistic. To see three Bridgestone bikes at the front is an added stimulus."
"I'm pretty pleased with how this afternoon's gone. I didn't get a lot of practice this morning as the track was too wet and really dirty. We got some good laps towards the end of the last session and we have found some things we can work on tonight that should smooth a couple of areas out. The weather for tomorrow looks like it's going to be good and we are really looking forward to the weekend. Bridgestone has brought us some new tyres to try here and they seem to be pretty good for both performance and durability. We'll now have to go out tomorrow, get our heads down, and qualify well!"
"I was looking forward to coming back here after last year's performance when I got my first pole and top 10 finish. We got here this morning and it was a bit wet so we lost a lot of the session to that. When it dried out it was very slippery and dirty so we really couldn't get a lot done, but this afternoon we had a bit more of an idea which way to go. This is the first time here on the 800 so everything was really starting from scratch; I felt comfortable this afternoon and only used one set of tyres. I set my quickest lap on the 23rd lap, which is further than race distance, and the tyres were still working well. Maybe tomorrow we can go out with a softer, grippier tyre and go a bit quicker!"
Oliver Jacque - 6th, 41 Laps; Best Lap, 1,55.651;
"We started where we left in Jerez. The bike is more efficient now and both sessions have been quite significant. I felt comfortable riding the bike and my lap times improved in every run I did. The set up we found in Jerez is working well here. The engine is the same one but with the new mapping it seems to be more powerful. We also improved the balance of the bike and the gearbox, as this circuit is a little bit tricky, and worked as well with three different rear tyres and two front ones. We don't know yet which ones are best and that is what we will try to confirm tomorrow. In short, it has been a positive first day and it is important to start like this."
Randy de Puniet - 12th - 30 Laps - Best Lap 1'56.225;
"I had a bad crash in my second lap this morning and I hurt my right heel. It was so painful and I thought I would probably have broken it but it wasn't broken. I have been lucky! There are no excuses; I made a mistake. I tried to make up the time in the afternoon and we went through slight changes in the set up and also a couple of tyres with positive results. I did 22 laps with the same tyre, and set my best lap on the last one. We will go through it again tomorrow, but anyway, it is quite promising. Stoner was so fast today but all others are quite close. I struggle a bit entering the corners so, apart from the tyres, the plan for tomorrow is to work on the balance of the bike."
Carlos Checa, 16th - 1'56.555;
"This afternoon I have mainly tested tyres and tomorrow I will concentrate more on set-up, I need better front grip and braking plus the gearbox ratios are not yet perfect. The rear tyres I used today were a strong construction and considering the track conditions I'm not concerned to be behind the fastest riders. Tyre consistency is not a problem, I just need more grip. This morning the track was dirty and I know that with the changes we have planned that tomorrow my times will be faster."
Shinya Nakano - Rider, KONICA MINOLTA Honda (40 laps - 1' 56.936");
"Track conditions were poor this morning so most riders only went out on track during the last 30 minutes or so and this and our technical problem with the engine of our number one bike didn't allow me to get much in the way of useful data for the afternoon session. In the afternoon I was pushing hard to try and find the limit and it was then that I crashed at the final corner. Maybe the conditions were still not perfect from the morning. We now have much to do tomorrow as we have to work out what tyres we want to use for the race which may be difficult as temperatures are expected to change again tomorrow and again on Sunday so these factors may well determine the results of Sunday's race."
- 1. Casey Stoner, Ducati (AUS) 1'54.200
- 2. Loris Capirossi, Ducati (ITA) 1'54.979
- 3. John Hopkins, Suzuki (USA) 1'55.062
- 4. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha (ITA) 1'55.120
- 5. Toni Elias, Honda (ESP) 1'55.158
- 6. Olivier Jacque, Kawasaki (FRA) 1'55.158
- 7. Chris Vermeulen, Suzuki (AUS) 1'55.707
- 8, Alex Hofmann, Ducati (GER) 1'55.736
- 9. Daniel Pedrosa, Honda (ESP) 1'55.865
- 10. Marco Melandri, Honda (ITA) 1'55.910
- 11. Kenny Roberts, KR212V (USA) 1'56.071
- 12. Randy De Puniet, Kawasaki (FRA) 1'56.225
- 13. Alex Barros, Ducati (BRA) 1'56.233
- 14. Nicky Hayden, Honda (USA) 1'56.312
- 15. Colin Edwards, Yamaha (USA) 1'56.320
- 17. Makoto Tamada, Yamaha (JPN) 1'56.923
- 19. Sylvain Guintoli, Yamaha (FRA) 1'57.245