Mugello : Honda Repsol - Day 2
Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden will start Sunday's Grand Prix of Italy from eighth and 13th places respectively after intermittent rain hampered their qualifying efforts at Mugello.
The afternoon's one-hour session to decide grid slots
began with a fully wet track before lap times tumbled as a dry line began to emerge. A second heavy shower with 25 minutes remaining prevented any major improvements for the Repsol Honda pair, with the riders who were on track in the moments before the shower enjoying the advantage of lapping the track at its quickest.
In the dry morning session a confident Pedrosa had set the pace once again. The 21- year-old Spaniard's best lap of 1m 50.108s was inside the Mugello lap record and an impressive 0.383s clear of his closest rival, former World Champion Valentino Rossi. Having also been fastest in the dry yesterday, Pedrosa's race prospects look promising should the weather hold for tomorrow's 23-lap showdown.
Hayden too made further improvements in the morning, bringing his lap time down to 1m 51.132s. The World Champion was keen for a dry afternoon session in order to run through his Michelin remaining tyre options and continue work on race set-up, but it wasn't to be. In the afternoon the 25-year-old American was fast when the track was fully wet but did not feel totally comfortable in the half-and-half conditions as the track began to dry. Hayden will now be looking for one of his demon starts from the fifth row when the race begins at 14.00hrs tomorrow.
Dani Pedrosa : In the dry I think that we have a good pace and it would have been nice to get some more time this afternoon to work on the dry set-up and tyre choice. Qualifying was really difficult because we had heavy rain and then it stopped completely. The track conditions were changing on every lap and we never knew exactly which tyres to fit. It was always a bit of a gamble to be on the track at the right time on the right tyres. And then it rained again. I was able to improve my lap time slightly towards the end of the session but it wasn't enough to get to the front row so I am a little disappointed with the qualifying position. I must get a very good start in the race. I hope the conditions tomorrow are clear cut one way or the other either dry or fully wet, rather than half and half like Le Mans two weeks ago. It could be another very interesting race.
Nicky Hayden : The conditions were fairly crazy this afternoon. One minute the sun was out, the next minute it was raining, then the sun was out again I just couldn't believe it. And my grid position pretty well sucks. When it was fully wet I felt pretty good but when a dry line starts to appear I really struggle and I think it's something I've got to improve on a lot. We've put ourselves in a hole for tomorrow so I'll be looking to get an awesome start, get a good first couple of laps and try to pick off as many guys as possible. It's going to be a really tricky race even if it is dry because we haven't had a lot of dry setup time and there are a few tyre options I haven't even tried. So we'll just see what conditions we get in the warm-up tomorrow and use that time well.
Makoto Tanaka - Team Manager : It's a pity about the weather this afternoon because I think Dani had a good chance of fighting for pole position. In the practice session this morning he was almost perfect. There are still some small adjustments to make to the set-up so it would be helpful to have a dry warm-up tomorrow morning. Nicky would also benefit from some more dry set-up time and we were unfortunate that the rain came just as the track was beginning to dry out this afternoon. Both Repsol Honda riders will need a good start tomorrow - and the weather is in the hands of the gods!