Catalunya : Repsol Honda – Day One
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa dominated events on Friday's first day of practice for his home race, the Cinzano Grand of Catalunya.
The 21-year-old local favourite blitzed the competition in the morning session at the 4.727km
(2.937-mile) Montmelo circuit, finishing over 0.4s ahead of his nearest rival with a lap of 1m 43.099s – a time that was not bettered by anyone in the afternoon. Despite walking away from a high speed fall early in the second one-hour session, Pedrosa stayed at the top of the timesheets until the dying seconds of afternoon practice, eventually finishing with the third fastest time.
Nicky Hayden finished the day having found a more positive set-up direction after losing some time in the morning session. The World Champion, who holds the lap record on this circuit from last year's race, was one of the 12 riders to improve his lap time from the morning to the afternoon as track temperatures rose by 16 degrees between sessions.
Though the 25-year-old American finished the day in 14th place overall, he remained confident of closing the gap in tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions.
“This morning went quite well and I was able to ride with a fast and consistent pace for quite a few laps, which was a positive start to the weekend. The set-up looks OK and, even though we still have to work on the tyre choice, we're in quite good shape. This afternoon I was feeling confident but unfortunately I ran wide in Turn Three, got onto the dirty part of the track with too much lean and fell off. It was my mistake and was actually quite a normal crash. I was lucky that I was not hurt, but unfortunately there was a lot of damage to the bike so the mechanics have a bit of work to do.
After that I wasn't able to go quite as quickly because the set-up of the second bike was good but not perfect, so once that's sorted things are looking quite good for tomorrow.”
“I actually feel a little bit closer than it looks on paper and towards the end of the afternoon, though my finishing position wasn't great, we found a direction and were able to get some consistency going. This morning we had quite a tough session and we lost a lot of time because there were some problems with one bike and it took a while to figure out why it wasn't running right. That got us a little bit behind but we made some changes this afternoon, including to the transmission, which helped a lot. There are a few parts of the track where I'm losing a lot of time and other parts where my pace is pretty good. Though I was less than a second back this afternoon that's quite a lot and it'd be nice to take a big step tomorrow. The tyres seem to be working well which is good because they're going to be a huge part of the outcome this weekend.”
“This morning Dani was clearly fastest and that was a nice start for us. The air temperature went up in the afternoon by 12 degrees and the track temperature by 16 degrees which means choosing the right Michelin tyres for the conditions is going to be very important in order to achieve consistent performance in Sunday's race. Unfortunately Dani fell in the afternoon which cost him a little time as he worked back up to speed, but still he was not hurt and looks in good shape. Nicky struggled to find a good set-up today and we must work to improve this - I think he can move forward from his position today.”