Casey Stoner set the pace on the opening day of the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, lapping almost four tenths quicker than his closest rival Jorge Lorenzo. With cool track temperatures of just 17ºC the onus for the riders was on finding grip around the short
but technically demanding circuit and despite starting out with a setting he wasn’t comfortable with Stoner worked hard with his mechanics to find a solution by the end of the hour-long free practice.
Nicky Hayden also worked tirelessly throughout the session, suffering from similar difficulties to Stoner but without managing to find the key breakthrough. The American also cited a dirty track surface for slower track times than usual, with Stoner the only rider able to break the 1’33 mark today.
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) (1st; 1’32.813)
“We didn’t start out with a very effective base setting and I didn’t have a good feeling for the first few laps. Basically we didn’t have enough weight on the front and because of the track conditions it was difficult to get heat into the tyre, especially on the right side because there aren’t many right turns here. We knew what we needed to from the bike so I kept coming in and making small adjustments until we found it. It’s quite good, we still need to improve a lot but I’m really pleased with the job we did today and if we can make the improvements we have planned for tomorrow then we’ll be in a very good situation.”
NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) (10th; 1’34.462)
“It was a tough session and I had certainly hoped to be a lot closer to the pace than that today. It’s a track I really like and we know the bike works well here so the team and I have a lot of work to do. Track temperatures were quite low and I had a really hard time getting the tyres working on the front and rear. It’s also quite windy so I’m not sure if maybe a lot of sand and dirt has blown onto the track but it’s definitely tricky to find grip out there. That’s our target for tomorrow anyway.”
Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1’32.582 – 155.732 Km/h
Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha – 2006), 1’31.002 – 158.436 Km/h