The MotoGP riders returned to action this morning at Estoril after almost a month off. As in the 125cc class there was a dominant force in the premier class today although it was not the name of a Rossi, Pedrosa, Lorenzo or Stoner at the top, Marco Simoncelli proving to be the surprise package of an entertaining first day. The pace was hot (a fastest lap of 1’37.6 compared to the lap record of 1’36.9) and so was the weather, although there were some damp patches on the track throughout a humid day that turned to thunderstorms shortly after the track action ceased.
There were plenty of changes and improvements to be made by MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá, who worked to improve the grip issues he suffered both in Qatar and Jerez. A significant change to his chassis set-up seemed to have the desired result and the Spaniard was able to lap tenth fastest, just nine tenths off the fastest lap of the day. Weather permitting Héctor is hopeful of making further progress tomorrow ahead of the all-important qualifying session in the afternoon.
10th Héctor Barberá 1.38.611 (38 laps):
“I am really happy because we did a great job this morning and I was able to lap 1.8 seconds quicker than I managed in the only dry session here last season. My sensations were more mixed in the afternoon because we went okay but could have done a lot better. The positive thing is that we know we have room to improve and we finished the day quite strongly. We went out today with a very different bike to the one we used at Jerez, when we had a lot of sliding on the rear, but today I felt like I had a lot more grip. We have also tried the harder tyre but I didn’t feel too comfortable with that. In general I am satisfied because after three weeks away we have come back with in a positive way. We need to improve the bike under braking and find a balance between stability under braking and acceleration but we are close. We will keep working to get there as soon as possible.”
Source: Aspar Media
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