Catalunya, Day One: Casey Dominant In Mixed Conditions
The first day of the Catalunya Grand Prix had again the same protagonist as Le Mans: Casey Stoner. After dominating the French race by being the fastest in all practice sessions, the Repsol rider started today in the best way the fifth round of the season, taking control of the two sessions held today. His team mate at the Repsol Honda Team, Andrea Dovizioso, also excelled today, though the local idol Dani Pedrosa, injured in the last French Grand Prix, was missed.
So, today the Australian of the Repsol Honda Team was the best in this first day of practice, where he won both sessions. Stoner rode around half second faster than his rivals both in the morning and the afternoon, showing that he is the rider that needed less time to adapt himself to the difficult weather conditions, that were unpredictable.
In the morning, Stoner finished at the top of the times sheet in front of Simoncelli and Lorenzo, with his team mate Andrea Dovizioso in fifth. The session took place with the Catalan track dry.
In the afternoon, the intermittent rain arrived and the session was interrupted by the changeable weather conditions. Under those difficult conditions, with the riders getting on track first with wet tyres and afterwards with dry tyres after the track dried, Stoner was again the fastest. His team mate at the Repsol Honda Team, Andrea Dovizioso, took an important step ahead in the set-up and he set the third fastest time.
FP1 – 1:43.918, 12 laps, 58 km.
FP2 – 1:42.940, 11 laps, 52 km.
“We’re quite happy with the day, unfortunately we didn’t get a lot of good wet or dry track time so a lot of time was wasted in changeable conditions and not achieving much. However, in general we got a pretty good feeling with the bike and everything seems to be working well. We would like to improve rear grip and turning on the exit, also some more stability on the brakes, but in general the bike feels good and we’re confident we can go faster tomorrow, hopefully in dry conditions and we’ll see what we can do.
Physically I feel better than I have done in the past weeks, I’ve got blocked sinuses which doesn’t help when I’m trying to concentrate and my ears are popping but I’m trying to put this to one side and concentrate on the job at hand”.