During Friday morning’s first MotoGP practice session for the Czech Republic Grand Prix at the Brno circuit, Dani Pedrosa was pushing hard behind Valentino Rossi when the Ducati rider got into the dirt at the exit of the final corner. Rossi’s Ducati kicked up numerous large rocks that pelted the Repsol Honda rider at speed. The impact was so severe that the windscreen on Pedrosa’s Honda RC213V was shattered, his helmet’s chinbar was damaged, and his foot hurt badly enough that he limped off his bike into the garage.
Luckily, Pedrosa’s foot wasn’t seriously injured, and he returned on Friday afternoon to set the quickest time in the second practice session on a warm day at Brno. Absent from the MotoGP proceedings this weekend at Brno are Casey Stoner, who returned home to Australia for surgery after consultation with his doctors on the ankle injuries he suffered in his Indianapolis qualifying crash; Nicky Hayden, who is still recovering from the wrist injuries suffered in a similar qualifying highside at Indianapolis; and Hector Barbera, yet another highside victim at Indy.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa...
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa survived getting pelted by large rocks kicked up by Valentino Rossi to top the leaderboard on Friday.
“Actually, I was pretty lucky,” said Pedrosa about his scare during the Friday MotoGP practice at Brno. “Because there was two massive rocks going like a rocket. One hit my foot pretty hard, and the other one hit all the screen and into my chin, and it broke the screen and broke the helmet. So I was pretty lucky for that. On the foot I had a very strong hit, and at the beginning I thought I had a broken bone. But fortunately it’s alright, it just a big hit, the foot is swelling a lot. But the pain is going down from this morning, and this is a good signal.
“Today we were trying a little bit the tires and the bike. We work on the setting of the bike, trying to get more time in the track because tomorrow the weather we don’t know exactly how it’s going to be. So it was important to try the tires, try the bike in dry conditions, and the feelings were improving, but sure we have some work to do with the electronics and suspension.”
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was...
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was second quickest despite a minor crash in the afternoon.
Just 0.053 seconds behind Pedrosa came MotoGP points leader Jorge Lorenzo, who turned his quick time despite a lowside fall that briefly interrupted his Friday afternoon. “Well, much better than Indianapolis,” said Lorenzo about his first practice day at Brno. “We try to improve a little bit the bike, but still we couldn’t find some solutions for a little bit more grip on the exits of the corners. I have a small crash in the middle of the session in a slow corner; I try to lean a little bit more and I just found the limit. Quite satisfied, we are there with Dani fighting for the best lap time every practice and this is good.”
“Yeah, for sure, for the victory is going to be easier without Casey,” said Lorenzo about Stoner’s absence due to surgery on his ankle. “And for the championship for sure (since) he will not be fighting for it. It’s a pity for him because he’s a real fighter and very brave rider. Anyway, racing is like that, and he need to take an operation. For sure now it’s a fight between Dani and me.”
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Andrea...
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Andrea Dovisioso continued his hot streak of late by going third quickest.
Dovisioso continued his strong form by coming third quickest on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1 MotoGP machine on Friday at Brno. “Really happy. My speed is really good,” said the San Marino native. “Is difficult for me to be really fast in the free practice and close to the fastest. One tenth, almost two tenths in free practice, so I’m so happy my feeling with the bike is really good. Still, I really want to improve the stability in the front because I’m scare will not be enough in the race to stay with Lorenzo and Dani because they are really strong in the race. And many times when you go in the race you have less grip. So we have to be more ready to push a little bit more. And in this moment I lose too easy the front when I’m in the middle of the corner, so we are focused on that but when you have the speed, the work is easier.”
“Without Casey it change many things,” said Dovi about MotoGP World Champion Stoner leaving Brno on Friday. “I mean Casey is the fastest, the number one now. It’s bad luck for him, really bad luck; I don’t like to recover the points when a rider is injured. But this is our job, our sport, it can happen. But anyway I’m focused to do the best result. I don’t want to see too much the championship, but to try to do the podium and try to make better than third position.”
“Is a good day for us,” said Rossi about his sixth quickest MotoGP time on Friday at Brno, less than half a second behind Pedrosa. “Because we improve a lot the performance. We’re coming from two difficult races in America, and here I was not so bad already from this morning because we work well on the bike. And this afternoon we continue, we try to understand which setting is the best, we try some different tires, and at the end we are quite happy especially because our disadvantage from the first position is less than half a second, so we are not very far. Now we have to continue like this, work well and decide which tire to use and we will see tomorrow.
“The Ducati here is good, I like, also last year was one of the best races in the dry. Also today we confirm that the bike here is fast, so we have to continue tomorrow and try to start more in front than in the last race.”
Yamaha Factory Racing's Ben...
Yamaha Factory Racing's Ben Spies suffered a crash in the afternoon that spoiled his chances of going quicker than his eighth position on Friday.
Ben Spies had gone fifth quickest in the Friday morning MotoGP practice session at Brno aboard his Yamaha Factory Racing M1, but a crash in the afternoon spoiled his momentum as his spare bike was set up differently. “We had a good morning session. This afternoon we had a small crash,” said Spies, before admitting, “It was a bit my fault, just pushing a little too hard, we were on tires from this morning…I think with the track temperature up a little bit and old tires, it didn’t mix too well. I had a real good feeling with the bike at that point, and was going OK. We were going to try some other things at the end of the session, but after the crash happened, we had to come in and get on the backup bike, and the backup bike had a completely different setup on it. As soon as I knew that when I came in the garage, I knew our session was kind of over so we just kind of tried to work on a little bit of electronics, but really couldn’t push the bike too hard because it wasn’t set up right.”
Although about a second off the pace of the front runners after Friday MotoGP practice at Brno, Spies is confident he’ll be near the leaders tomorrow for qualifying. “Yeah for sure, we did a 57.7 I think, with older tires from this morning, so I definitely think we could’ve got low 57s this afternoon if we wouldn’t have had the mistake. The bike’s working fairly well, we just got caught out when I crashed, the backup bike wasn’t the same and it was kind of a wasteful session. But the morning session was good, and we’ll just try to make the bike better for tomorrow.”
MotoGP Brno Friday practice results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 1:56.858
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 1:56.911
3. Andrea Dovisioso (ITA) Yamaha 1:57.055
4. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha 1:57.215
5. Stefan Bradl (GER) Honda 1:57.250
6. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Ducati 1:57.315
7. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Honda 1:57.573
8. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 1:57.790
9. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) ART/Aprilia 1:59.185
10. Toni Elias (SPA) Ducati 1:59.228
11. Karel Abraham (CZE) Ducati 1:59.251
12. Randy De Puniet (FRA) ART/Aprilia 1:59.498
13. Michele Pirro (ITA) FTR/Honda 1:59.833
14. Yonny Hernandez (COL) FTR/Kawasaki 1:59.886
15. Mattia Pasini (ITA) ART/Aprilia 2:00.258
16. Colin Edwards (USA) Suter/BMW 2:00.296
17. Ivan Silva (SPA) FTR/Kawasaki 2:00.773
18. James Ellison (GBR) ART/Aprilia 2:01.137
19. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Ioda/Aprilia 2:01.625