The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team delivered a solid performance today at the start of the HJC Helmets Grand Prix České republiky weekend. Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi firmly held the lead in both FP1 and FP2 for a large part of the 45-minute practice sessions and secured third and fifth respectively at the end of the first day at the Automotodrom Brno.
Jorge Lorenzo got straight down to business at the first day of the Czech Grand Prix. Just fifteen minutes into FP1 he dropped the first 1‘56 lap of the weekend to temporarily take over the lead in the rankings from his teammate. The Factory Yamaha riders held their key protagonist status throughout the session, with Lorenzo finishing in third place after setting a provisional personal fastest time of 1‘56.673s, 0.484s from the leader.
The Spaniard and his crew worked hard in the afternoon to perfect his setting and booked steady progress throughout the session. Having made some modifications to his bike, he posted a 1‘56.228s in the final stages to take over the provisional lead and was also the first rider to clock a 1‘55s, setting a 1‘55.977s to ultimately end the day in third position, 0.137s off today‘s fastest time.
Rossi already made his podium aspirations clear during the morning session. The Italian was pleased to find his setting working well from the start of the weekend and took provisional first place after ten minutes with a 1‘57.113s before focusing on the balance of his YZR-M1. He was soon lapping in the low 1‘56s to finish in second place, 0.265s from the front with a best time of 1‘56.454s.
In the afternoon, he was eager to shave off a few more tenths in order to narrow the gap to the leading time. He again topped the rankings early on in the session and comfortably led until halfway through, when the times began to drop. His best time, a 1‘56.174spositioned him in fifth place, 0.334s from first.
It has definitely been a positive day, especially compared to the first day in Austria. Both riders have been comfortable on their bikes since the beginning of the morning practice and they have been consistently fast in both sessions. We made progress between FP1 and FP2 and we were able to compare a couple of different tyre specifications, getting important information for this weekend‘s race. We still have a margin for both riders to improve in different areas and it will also be important to find the right tyre choice for Sunday afternoon.
Today we had a good day at the Brno circuit. In the morning during the practice some drops of rain came down and it was a bit colder but in the afternoon we found the track to be perfect with good conditions. We were able to be fast both on one lap as well as keep up the pace, so I‘m quite satisfied with the bike. The track has some bumps, even more than last year, but it is the same for everyone. Tomorrow we have some margin to improve.
The first feeling was not so bad: this morning and also this afternoon I was quite fast, we worked a lot. We have some different options and some different settings and also some different tyre choices on the front and the rear. I‘m not so bad, I‘m fifth but I‘m not so far from pole position. All the top riders are fast so we have a lot to do, a lot of work on the bike, but the first impression is positive. The lean angles changed a lot compared to last year‘s tyres, because last year we were able to lean more, with Michelin a little bit less because it‘s a different shape of tyre. It‘s just a feeling that you have to understand, usually it‘s the bike that tells to you how much you can do, that‘s always the limit. The best riders are able to go close to limit but not too much.