Clear blue skies and blistering sunshine was the order of the day at the Montmelo circuit just outside Barcelona for the opening free practice sessions ahead of Sundays Grand Prix of Catalunya.
|Pedrosa on the gas at Barcelona this afternoon
Photo: Repsol Honda
Both Dani Pedrosa, looking to get back on the winning trail this weekend and a fully fit Marc Marquez who is looking to get back on the podium after a difficult time at Mugello two weeks ago. The first session was about getting good track feeling and also for Marquez, finding his way round the track on an RCV213V MotoGP machine for the first time.
In the warm conditions tyre choice was always going to be the main concern, and both riders opted for the soft option tyres with Dani posting a best of 1:42.455 and Marquez making steady progress throughout the session to end in 9th place with a time of 1:43.641.
As temperatures rose in the afternoon so the lap time times dropped during FP2 but instead of matching his championship rivals by putting in a soft rear tyre to set a fast lap, Pedrosa persevered with the hard option tyre and as expected didn’t improve on his morning time, but still secured third place on combined time. Marquez continued to build his pace and by the end of the session had improved to sixth place and a time of 1:42.857s.
Pedrosa said “Above all today, we focused on testing tyres. We were able to ride some laps with the soft tyres and also the hards, in order to see which are best suited to the track. Getting the choice right is very important at this circuit, because it is always hot in the race and it is usually a key to managing this. The tyres suffer a little when we lean the bike over, but we are working on this issue. We still haven’t decided which compounds we will use, so we will see what brings and then go from there”
An enthusiastic Marquez said “I am pretty happy with how the day went. We followed the normal Friday agenda; in the first session we were ninth, over one second from the top, then in the second session we cut the gap to half a second and finished sixth in the combined times. I am very happy with the work that we have done, but we still have things to improve and there are points on the track where I am still not comfortable. I have to improve my adaptation to the circuit and some details with the setup but the most important thing is that we have cut the gap and are working in the right direction”