Pedrosa sixth in Misano qualifying
Repsol Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa will start from third and sixth places in Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix after an intense day of practice and qualifying at the Misano circuit today.
Hayden once again displayed
his sizzling pace on qualifying rubber to secure his second front row start in successive races. In the dying seconds of the afternoon's one-hour session the World Champion went to the top of the timesheets on his second run on Michelin qualifying tyres, before being nudged back to third by pole position man Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi who took second.
Hayden will be working hard with his crew this evening to further improve his race setup, with the 26-year-old American aiming for his fourth podium finish from five races to bolster his rapidly-improving season.
Pedrosa finished the one-hour qualifying session just 0.111s adrift of his team-mate and will line up directly behind Hayden for tomorrow's 28-lap race. The Spaniard is still looking to improve the stability of his RC212V machine over Misano's bumpy surface and will use tomorrow's 25-minute warm-up session to finalise race settings and tyre choice.
After yesterday's monsoon conditions at the 4.180km (2.596-mile) Italian circuit, the weather returned to normal today with bright sunshine and 23-degree temperatures greeting the teams. The MotoGP riders were on track for three hours today, with an extra hour of practice added to the morning session following yesterday afternoon's two cancelled practice sessions.
I'm happy we squeezed onto the front row, which obviously is really important around here because it's a tight track. Tomorrow's race is going to be a bit of an unknown for us and there are a couple of race tyre options I haven't even tried yet. I quite like the track and I got up to speed pretty quickly this morning, though when it came to doing 1m 35s and 1m 34s laps I haven't been able to make that next step. We struggled a bit in the afternoon with the first qualifying tyre and so on the second one I knew that, man, I had to reach down and take a few chances to pull something out. I had a lot of chatter on that lap but the qualifying Michelin tyres were really good. I know those guys have been working hard and it hasn't been easy on them this season so I appreciate the effort they've put in. Hopefully my crew can tweak on the machine settings tonight and we can get things a little bit better. There are parts of the track where I'm ok and a few where it's not so good but I've got a lot of faith in my boys and hopefully we can be up there at the front fighting tomorrow. I'm sure it's going to be a good show the atmosphere here is unbelievable and I need to be a part of it.
Well the second row is not so bad, though I have to say I was expecting even more from this qualifying session. We haven't found the ideal race set-up and tyre choice yet and this means tomorrow's warm-up is going to be crucial to give us a chance for the race. At the moment my pace and rhythm on race tyres is not really where it needs to be. The track is very bumpy in parts and this is giving us some stability issues which as yet we haven't been able to overcome. We'll look at the data from today and try to come up with a solution quickly in the warm-up. Starting from 6th on the grid is not perfect because the first part of the lap here is very tight and twisty, which means overtaking and making up places in the first laps will be difficult. Still, we'll give it our best shot. This is an important race as we go into the last part of the season, so I'm determined to fight for the best result here.