Mugello : Honda Repsol - Day 1
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa was fastest on the first day of practice for the Grand Prix of Italy as the MotoGP paddock assembled at Mugello, Italy on Friday. In the morning session Pedrosa sprang to the top of the timesheets at the half-way
point with a lap of 1m 50.743s, a mark which wasn't bettered for the remainder of the hour.
In a repeat of his early pace at Le Mans two weeks ago, this is the second Grand Prix in succession at which the 21-year-old Spaniard has been fastest on the first morning of practice. With an afternoon session held in wet conditions ruling out further improvements, Pedrosa finished day with the quickest time.
The reigning World Champion, Nicky Hayden, was eighth fastest as he steadily quickened his pace in the morning but was prevented by the heavy rain at lunchtime from climbing further up the timesheets. With thunder echoing around the Tuscan hills, the afternoon practice was delayed for ten minutes to allow pools of standing water to drain from the undulating 5.254km (3.257-mile) track.
When the session started, most of the field remained in the pit garages as rain continued to fall and 30 minutes had elapsed before the Repsol Honda riders went out on track to gain some valuable experience on the 800cc RC212V in that wet at Mugello for the first time. With further rain forecast for the weekend it was time well spent. On a slippery track, Pedrosa finished in 10th place in the afternoon with a best lap time of 2m 10.312s.
After his fall in the wet at Le Mans, Hayden chose the cautious route today, steering clear of the treacherous conditions to set a time of 2m 12.466s to place the American in 14th.
Tomorrow sees a further practice session in the morning before the afternoon's onehour qualifying shoot-out. The 23-lap Grand Prix of Italy on Sunday begins at 14:00hrs local time.
Dani Pedrosa : “In the morning we had a normal practice session and took the usual set-up and tyres selection process as far as possible. My lap-time was pretty good and we found a decent base setting for the machine as this was the first time for the RC212V at this circuit. It was unfortunate that the afternoon turned out to be wet because we still had quite a few ideas to try and improvements to make. To be honest I spent most of the afternoon session in the pit box as the conditions were so wet and it would have been foolish to push too hard out there. So for tomorrow we'll hope the weather is clear and we can practice and qualify in the dry although, looking at the forecast, I don't know if that is too likely!”
Nicky Hayden : “In the morning the track conditions were OK and we got a decent direction on our set-up options. This afternoon the surface was really treacherous at the beginning with a lot of standing water. After Le Mans I didn't have such a good feeling in the wet so I didn't feel as though I could push really hard and spent quite a long time finding the limit. I definitely need to build my confidence a little bit in the rain again. Still, we feel like we've got some ideas to take things forward tomorrow. I also tried a slightly wider fairing which seems to reduce the turbulence on the long straight here. The main issue is what the weather's going to do from now on. They say it could go either way this weekend which is going to make things challenging for everybody.”
Makoto Tanaka - Team Manager : “Dani was top in the morning which was a nice start to the weekend. Nicky was moving forward and can improve his speed still more, so both riders are in a reasonable condition. Unfortunately though the heavy thunderstorm at lunchtime meant the afternoon session was a wash-out and we weren't able to continue the race set-up work. The forecast is for more cloud on Saturday and Sunday so it's going to be important to make good use of what dry time we do have to make the right tyre choice with Michelin.”