Here’s all the MotoGP happenings from Friday at the Aragon GP in Spain.
If the weather has been the bane of MotoGP this year, then Saturday at Brno made up for an awful lot. The day started out with clear blue skies, and stayed that way just about all day.
It was still bone dry and warm when we left the track as darkness began to fall, though the occasional cloud could be spotted here and there. It was a great day for racing motorcycles.
It was apparently also a great day for crashing motorcycles. In the first session of the day, 40 minutes of free practice for the Moto3 class, 15 riders crashed, all going down like skittles.
Next up it was FP3 for MotoGP, and a further 7 riders hit the deck. Moto2 followed, and 6 more went down. By the end of the day, there had been a grand total of 48 falls.
To put that number into perspective: on Friday, in much dicier conditions, there were only 9 crashes. Over all three days of the 2014 event at Brno, there were 46 crashers.
If there are three more crashes on Sunday – and it’s race day, when risks offer better rewards – then the Automotodrom Brno will seen more crashes than in the previous seven years. They really were going down like flies.
MotoGP is back, and so naturally, so is the rain. The weather continues to plague Grand Prix motorcycle racing, the weekend starting off in the pouring rain making for a wet FP1.
Despite the heat, Brno is slow to dry, and so the MotoGP bikes started FP2 on a damp track with a dry line, the track ending the session almost completely dry. Hardly an ideal start to the weekend, if you are focused on finding the best setup possible for the race on Sunday.
Not everyone sees it that way, however. For Johann Zarco, it was nice to ease himself gently back up to speed. “Restarting the season in wet conditions was good for me,” the Frenchman said.
“This way we start the season slowly, and that’s good for the feeling.” It also reduced the advantage of the big teams who can eke out an advantage in stable conditions.
“Also because we didn’t do a test here, maybe it was better, because if we have a dry track for all the weekend, there are many teams which can work, work, work and be so strong at the end of the weekend. And for our situation as a rookie, it’s good to have this tough weather.”
The wet weather also made it a little easier on bodies which had not ridden a MotoGP bike for four weeks. “Especially it’s difficult about physical condition,” Valentino Rossi said on Friday.
“Because it’s one month without the bike, in the beginning you have some pain in the hands, in the legs. But it was not so hard to arrive to a good level, especially in the wet.”
The training he had been doing for the past couple of weeks – including running a VR46 Master Camp for Yamaha’s riders in the WorldSSP 300 class – had helped him prepare.
“It’s a long break, but in the last weeks I train a lot on the bike, and sincerely, in the last ten days you always think about FP1. So you watch video, try to understand, try to remember the way to ride.”
Yamaha have issued an official explanation for the problem they suffered at Mugello, which saw Valentino Rossi’s engine blow up during the race, and Jorge Lorenzo’s engine blow up during warm-up on Sunday morning. The cause given is exactly in line with the reasoning in our Mugello Sunday post-race round up: the engine overrevving as the rear wheel lifted at the end of the Mugello straight. At that point in the track, with the bike hitting 350 km/h and nearing peak speed at top gear and at full throttle, when the rear wheel lifts over the crest at the end of the straight, the engine spins up too quickly for the rev limiter to catch.