Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo
JORGE LORENZO/No.Yamaha Factory Racing was the fastest MotoGP rider Friday afternoon (and overall for the day) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with a lap of 1:22.056. All eighteen riders went faster in the afternoon, which could be, at least in part, attributed to the warmer weather and tire choices.

The afternoon session was 71 degrees F/22 C, while the track temperature was 25 degrees warmer in the afternoon – 109 F/43C. In the morning, the track temperature was 82.4 F/28 C, and the ambient temperature was 64 F/18 C. Quite a difference.

TOM TREMAYNE of Bridgestone Tires said they brought a new Laguna Seca soft rear tire for the weekend, different than last year’s a softer rear tire. The new tire was to compensate for the cool, foggy mornings. The softer tires warm up faster but wear off quicker than the harder tires which take time to warm up but last longer.

Time for a few bars of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”

Tremayne opined that the riders would go for the harder spec for the race, if “it was like today.” The Friday temperatures ranged from 64 degrees F in the morning to low seventies in the afternoon. Although the weather was predicted for cloudy, the Laguna Seca micro climate was sunny all afternoon, with only a few rare white fluffy clouds at days end. In the distance, the Monterey-Salinas area was getting hit with a circle of fog.

Most riders went for softs in the morning and hards in the afternoon.

Lorenzo, who won last year’s Laguna MotoGP, said “P1 I’m happy with but we need to try to improve corner entry for the bike because there are some tenths in that and it will give me more confidence turning in. It’s not so bad to begin and we will try to go faster tomorrow.”

Ben Spies
Ben Spies
Lorenzo’s teammate, BEN SPIES/No.11 Yamaha Factory Team was the top American rider Friday, in fifth, after running as high as fourth. He said “This track can be kinda treacherous in the morning fog. Today hasn’t been bad, we’ve worked on a lot of different set ups – two different setups in the morning session. We haven’t found a perfect one, we’ve found a compromise so far but tomorrow we have a pretty good game plan on what we’re going to fine tune from the bike we ended on today to get a bit of a better set up for front feel. I feel there’s improvement of half a second in the bike. That half second is there. I’m not going to worry until tomorrow afternoon” Spies felt the data obtained in the morning’s two setups could be transferred to the afternoon. He tried a short bike and a long bike in the morning. There’s 6mm difference between the two.

Second through fourth were the three Repsol Honda teammates, DANI PEDROSA of Spain. Points Leader CASEY STONER from Australia and ANDREA DOVIZIOSO of Italy. The two Rookies, CAL CRUTCHLOW/No.35 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and KAREL ABRAHAM/No.17 Cardion AB Motoracing were thirteenth and fourteenth, respectively.

Wild Card rider, BEN BOSTROM from Northern California is still learning the GP motorcycle and trimmed nearly a second off his time from morning to afternoon. He was last overall.

The other Yank, COLIN EDWARDS/No.5 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was ninth.

Spies was funny and relaxed after the afternoon session, for an informal media debrief. He was asked by a MotoGP reporter if he could be in any era or time, what would he choose. Spies would go back to the times of Cowboys and Indians. He’d like to ride horses, go to the saloon, etc. But what he’d really like, then or now, is to be a riverboat gambler. Spies said he even Googled it but couldn’t find anything.

Spies eats “clean” and really watches his diet most of the time – lots of pasta, with nothing on it. But he admitted he really fell off the wagon in Amsterdam last month. Spies said he spent more than $80 Euros on deserts and sweets, about 33,000 calories. “If you’re going to eat 3,000 calories of sweets, you may as well go all out…and drink lots of water” He wasn’t sure how he’d feel the next day, but he slept well.

Spies said he likes being at Laguna and in the United States. It’s “kinda like a vacation, being with friends, and I know the language.”