Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri lapped sixth and fifteenth fastest respectively on the first day of free practice at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. Stoner suffered a small crash in the afternoon but he escaped injury and was able to return to action shortly afterwards.
However, the incident was a setback to the World Champion’s set-up work at a circuit that has proved to be one of the most challenging on the calendar for the Ducati MotoGP Team and his fastest time of the day was set in the morning practice when he was a close second.
Melandri remains a long way from the ideal set-up after working with the race setting he found so effective in Qatar, which has proved to be less so at the Spanish circuit.
"We knew before we started that this isn’t the best circuit for us and we struggled from the first session this morning to find the ideal setting. During the first practice we were struggling a lot getting the bike to enter the corner under heavy braking, which we finally fixed this afternoon, but then we started to get a lot more problems in the rear - it was pumping and moving around a lot. We went forwards in one area and backwards in another so we need to sort both things out and come up with a new gameplan tomorrow. We’ll concentrate on the front setting first because that was giving us the most problems and then we’ll try to fix the rear after that. We really don’t know what happened with the crash. There was no reason for it. The front’s been a little bit nervous all day but not terrible and I just tipped it into the corner, it started to go and there was no way I could save it".
MARCO MELANDRI (Ducati MotoGP Team) 15th fastest - 1’41.825
"It hasn’t been an easy day because the settings from the race in Qatar, which I’d had a really good feeling with, haven’t worked here. We tried to make only a few modifications to find some grip and improve the bike under braking but we’re still not managing it. I know this isn’t the best circuit for our bike but today I was still hoping to do a lot better. All we can do is keep working hard and hope that the weather stays good for tomorrow."