Franco Morbidelli finishes twentieth on opening day in Japan
The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider was frustrated by tricky track conditions while teammate Tom Luthi completed day one practice in twenty fifth overall.
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Tom Luthi began preparations for the Japanese Grand Prix in changeable weather conditions with intermittent rain showers at the Twin Ring Motegi.
Franco Morbidelli was 20th in the clear, dry track FP1 session after walking away from a slow crash out of the hairpin at turn 9, which was the consequence of a front tire puncture. For FP2 damp track conditions saw Morbidelli running rain tires before a late switch to slicks however the grip levels did not allow faster times and his best lap of 1’47.428 was set in the morning session.
Tom Luthi completed FP1 in 25th position in his rookie MotoGP outing at the demanding, stop-go 4.8km circuit. While light rain showers before FP2 cost Luthi valuable dry track running the Swiss star completed the afternoon session impressively ninth fastest using slicks on a drying track. Luthi’s fast time of 1’47.833 was posted in FP1.
Tomorrow’s FP3 session will be at 9:55am and then FP4 at 1:30pm followed by qualifying at 2:10pm.
Franco Morbidelli: 20th, 1’47.428, + 2.070, 32 laps, 153 km
“In the afternoon I did not find a good feeling in the wet conditions”
“It has been tricky day. We had a problem this morning and I crashed and then in the afternoon I did not find a good feeling in the wet conditions. Then it came time to use slick tyres but we put them on too late.”
Tom Luthi: 25th, 1’47.833, + 2.475, 31 laps, 148 km
“On my first exit I discovered how difficult it is on a MotoGP bike”
“It has been a frustrating day. This morning I was at the back of the field and I was expecting much better. On my first exit I discovered how difficult this track is on a MotoGP bike, I made many mistakes. So I stayed on the medium tyre to look for a better rhythm and did not push for a fast lap time on the soft tyre. Then with rain just before FP2 the conditions were difficult but at the end of the session I went out on slicks as the track dried. I hope tomorrow we have a dry day to prepare the race set-up.”