“We have the potential to improve things further”
Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden finished in third and ninth positions at the Ricardo Tormo circuit today as the first day of practice took place ahead of Sunday's Grand Prix of Valencia.
the third event of the year on home soil, Pedrosa was quick in both sessions as he honed the settings of his RC212V for this tight and challenging track. The 22-year-old Spaniard finished the afternoon hour just 0.182s from pace-setter Casey Stoner having recorded a promising series of laps in the low 1m 33s bracket. Pedrosa was also fastest through the speed trap in the afternoon session.
Hayden set a time exactly 0.5s behind his team-mate this afternoon on a day when the top 12 riders were covered by a single second. This placed Hayden in ninth, a position the 26-year-old American was not entirely satisfied with having struggled to find enough grip in the cool conditions at the 4.005km (2.478-mile) circuit. With more Michelin tyre options to evaluate when practice continues tomorrow morning Hayden will look to climb the timesheets ahead of the afternoon's qualifying session.
“Today was a solid start to the weekend and my fastest lap time was pretty good. I was able to run at a reasonably consistent pace in both sessions and when the temperature rose for the afternoon my lap time came down quite a lot. Nonetheless, we still have a few issues to solve with settings and tyre choice if we're to be truly competitive – we need to find a little bit extra. The gap to the front is not big but everybody's times are very close and a small gap counts for quite a lot at this circuit. Obviously this is an important race for me and for the team. It's the last race of the year and our last chance to get a good result. Plus it's a home race for me which adds an extra incentive. We want to win here so we've got to continue moving forward to make that possible.”
“Honestly it's not the start to the weekend we wanted and we'd have liked to have come out of the gate a lot stronger. On the cooler track we're having a hard time getting the tyres to work as I would like. However, we've made a bit of progress today and I definitely hope that tomorrow I can do a lot better personally, and that we can also make some changes to get the bike to work the tyres more effectively. We don't seem to have the grip that I need at the moment so we'll see what other options Michelin has available and work on the settings too. There's still a long way to go this weekend and the two hours of practice tomorrow will be crucial.
Qualifying is going to be really important too so we'll be looking to come out a lot stronger tomorrow.”
“It was cold for the morning session and the ground temperature was quite low which affected the grip quite a lot. With the sunshine in the afternoon the temperature rose significantly and the grip improved – but still we have some work to do to improve the settings for both riders. I hope for warmer temperatures over the weekend because I think our package is not favoured by the cooler conditions. Still, we didn't use all the tyre options available to us from Michelin so we have the potential to improve things further.”