Promising Start for Yamaha in Laguna Seca

Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies got off to a promising start today in the first two free practice sessions for the Grand Prix of USA on Sunday. Lorenzo was extremely quick to find his pace, dominating the morning session and wrapping up just 0.074 seconds form Dani Pedrosa in first. The afternoon saw more of the same, although ten minutes was spent with a set up that proved to be the wrong direction. Lorenzo finished day one in second, 0.334 seconds from provisional pole.

Ben Spies was also quick to find form, clearly at home on the US track. The Texan rider spent some time working on used tyres with a fast consistent pace, holding fourth position in the morning and the same in the afternoon. Spies finished the day just 0.286 seconds from his team mate.

Jorge Lorenzo
Position 2nd - Time: 1'21.422 - Laps 30

"This afternoon we tried the hard rear tyre but it didn't work as well as the soft one this morning. We have to try the soft again tomorrow to improve the setting for the hard so we can decide which tyre to use for the race. We also tried a different setting in the last ten minutes of FP2 but it didn't improve anything so we lost that time. I'm hoping to improve both the feeling and also the lap time for tomorrow."

Ben Spies
Position 4th - Time: 1'21.708 - Laps 39

"Today was good, we worked on a lot of laps on the soft tyre in the morning when the track wasn't so great but not too bad either. We did a lot of laps on the old tyres and the bike was pretty quick so I'm happy with that. The bike's got a good balance, we just need to fine-tune it to get a few more tenths out of it but I think for race pace we're looking good."

Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
"It was a good first day, very consistent lap times from Jorge. Dani looks a little better at the moment but we are very good on pace. We have to try some things tomorrow to find out which tyre will work best in the hotter conditions. We have space to improve, we were as fast in the afternoon as we were in the morning and we believe there is still some space to step forward."

Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
"A good start, we found a good balance and a good rhythm, both bikes seem to be working really well. We are definitely on the right direction so we will work on some details for tomorrow and we will see if we can improve. We have to decide which tyre we are going to use for the race as it's not clear yet, at the moment both choices could be used."

Dovizioso and Crutchlow off to solid start in California
The second half of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship got underway in positive fashion for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow after both posted competitive lap times in practice at Laguna Seca today.

Andrea Dovizioso's bid to extend his fabulous run of form in the US Grand Prix started well in cool and cloudy conditions this morning when the Italian set the fifth quickest time.

This afternoon's second session took place under gloriously sunny skies and Dovizioso was able to improve his pace by almost 0.6s in much hotter conditions.

Dovizioso, who is chasing a fourth consecutive podium finish in Sunday's 32-lap race, finished with a best time of 1.22.021 that kept him fifth position and he was the fastest non-factory rider to lap the challenging Laguna Seca track, which features the jaw-dropping Corkscrew section.

British rider Crutchlow also enjoyed a satisfactory start to his preparations for round 10 of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship. Crutchlow had finished just 0.063s behind Dovizioso this morning and he was pushing hard to improve his pace in the second session when he fell heavily at Turn 10.

Crutchlow was able to walkaway from the spill unscathed and he showed his fighting spirit once again to improve his pace after the session was red flagged to replace a trackside air fence damaged in a crash involving Valentino Rossi.

Crutchlow returned to the track for the final 10 minutes and he improved his lap time to a 1.22.258 that put him in sixth position on the combined leaderboard.

Andrea Dovizioso
Position 5th - Time: 1'22.021 - Laps 46

"It has been a positive start to the weekend but the gap to the front is quite big. The second session was a bit strange because after the red flag there was a lot of traffic on track in the final stages and it was hard to get a clear lap in. I could have possibly done the same time as Ben (Spies) but certainly not the low 21s the top three were doing. My aim for this afternoon was to get closer to Ben and we managed that. I was almost 0.7s behind him this morning but only 0.3s this afternoon, so that is a good step forward. We improved the bike so I am satisfied with the work the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did today. We still have some margin to improve and I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Cal Crutchlow
Position 6th - Time: 1'22.258 - Laps 46

"Today didn't really go according to plan because this afternoon I had a silly crash. It was my own fault and we have to look at the data to fully understand what happened. I didn't feel I did anything different in that corner to other laps but we will have to check. I've got a small cut on my right leg but fortunately nothing worse because it was a fast crash. I am sorry to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew though because they will be busy tonight fixing up the bike. I am still reasonably happy because I was able to go back out again and gain a bit of time and in both sessions I was inside the top six, so we are pretty competitive. We need to calm the bike down a little bit but I will sit down with my crew tonight and come up with a plan that I'm sure will help me stay challenging inside the top six for the rest of the weekend."

|  Laguna Seca 28/07/2012

| 1| Daniel Pedrosa| Honda| ESP| 1'21.088|
| 2| Jorge Lorenzo| Yamaha| ESP| 1'21.422|
| 3| Casey Stoner| Honda| AUS| 1'21.457|
| 4| Ben Spies| Yamaha| USA| 1'21.708|
| 5| Andrea Dovizioso| Yamaha| ITA| 1'22.021|
| 6| Cal Crutchlow| Yamaha| GBR| 1'22.258|
| 7| Nicky Hayden| Ducati| USA| 1'22.434|
| 8| Stefan Bradl| Honda| GER| 1'22.568|
| 9| Valentino Rossi| Ducati| ITA| 1'22.772|
| 10| Alvaro Bautista| Honda| ESP| 1'22.853|
| 11| Aleix Espargaro| ART| ESP| 1'23.835|
| 12| Randy De Puniet| ART| FRA| 1'23.870|
| 13| Colin Edwards| Suter| USA| 1'24.732|
| 14| Toni Elias| Ducati| ESP| 1'24.739|
| 15| Yonny Hernandez| BQR-FTR| COL| 1'24.774|

Circuit Length:
3610

Temp:
21

Weather:
Sunny

Lap Record:
1'21.088
(Daniel Pedrosa, 1/1/2012)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1'20.700
(Casey Stoner, 7/20/2008)

Last Years Winner:
Casey Stoner