Hayden right behind in fourth
The Repsol Honda pairing of Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden produced another strong showing at Donington Park on Saturday, qualifying in third and fourth positions respectively for Sunday's British Grand Prix.
Dani Pedrosa was within metres
of taking pole position as the remarkable Spaniard eked a second flying lap from his Michelin qualifying tyres on his final run. Going into the last sector of the lap Pedrosa was up on time, but his rear tyre, designed to complete only one fast lap, couldn't quite last the distance. Still it was an impressive attempt from Pedrosa – and his rear Michelin. With a good pace on race tyres in both wet and dry conditions and a front row grid slot, Pedrosa looks to be in a good position for Sunday's 30-lap race.
Nicky Hayden is also in strong form after securing fourth spot and displaying excellent pace all weekend. The 25-year-old American was fastest in the morning's dry session and set his quickest lap towards the end of long sequence of fast laps, which bodes well for his consistency in the race. Though he was nudged from the front row in the afternoon, Hayden was happy to secure his best qualifying position of 2007.
Colin Edwards took pole position, ahead of his team-mate Valentino Rossi. With rain expected for Sunday, all eyes will be on the skies as the 13.00hrs race start time for the British Grand Prix approaches.
“Today went pretty well and I'm very pleased to be on the front row for the race because this is always important. The practice sessions were ok and stayed dry which meant we could find a good set-up and work up to a fairly consistent race pace, though I had a big moment this morning when the temperature was colder. The qualifying laps at the end of the afternoon session were a little difficult for me and I made a few little mistakes with both qualifiers which may have cost me a shot at pole position. With my second qualifier I tried to do a second fast lap and the time was quite good until the last split when the tyre began to go off – but this was not a big surprise because they're only designed to do one lap. I hope it stays dry tomorrow but we've had the chance to practice in both wet and dry conditions so we should be ready whatever happens with the weather. There are a few riders with a good pace here so it will be an interesting race. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”
“The session went pretty well and fourth is definitely my best qualifying position for a while so I've got to be happy with that. It felt good to be fastest this morning too, although I didn't really improve a lot this afternoon and I'd have liked to have gone a little bit quicker. Also I only improved by two tenths on my second qualifying tyre and you've got to do more than that to get on the front row.
Regardless, this has been the closest we've been for a while and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's race. With a decent start I can at least get in there at the front, see what I've been missing and learn some stuff from the boys. So far every race this season they've just disappeared after the first corner and I haven't really learned much, but hopefully tomorrow I can go to school and stick right with them. I've felt pretty good straight away this weekend. The chassis changes really have not made a huge amount of difference – we just tried a lot of different stuff in the two days of testing after Barcelona, and not just settings. We took away some of the traction control and now the bike's working well and seems to suit me better so that I can control it more with the throttle. A really big thanks to the guys on my team for working so hard and making a few changes on the bike to give me a better feeling.”
“The free practice session this morning went very well, especially for Nicky and it was good to see him back at the top of the timesheets. This afternoon the qualifying session was very tight and of course we're a little disappointed not to have pole positing because there was the chance of that today. But Dani is on the front row and Nicky is right behind in fourth which is also a good position. Dani's race pace looks promising in the dry and Nicky's is closer than he has been too so I think it should be a very exciting race. The Michelin tyres seem to be working well – so now we must wait to see what the weather has in store for us tomorrow.”