“We are fighting hard and it is exciting”
Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden scorched to a double front-row start at Catalunya today, setting the second and third fastest times in this afternoon's thrilling qualifying session.
Pedrosa was less than
a tenth of a second off pole position, with Hayden just 0.251 seconds off pole.
Both riders also set impressive times in race trim, local hero Pedrosa ending free practice just two thousandths off the best time and Hayden fifth, just over a tenth of a second slower. Pedrosa, who started last month's French GP from pole position, had an electrical problem with his number one bike in qualifying but was able to switch to his second bike and challenge for pole, proving the consistent performance of his two machines.
This is Hayden's best qualifying performance of the year so far, following two fourth places at Jerez and Estoril. The Spaniard and the American will now sit down with their Michelin technicians to make their final tyre choice for tomorrow's race, round seven in the 2008 MotoGP World Championship.
“That was quite a difficult session for me because I had an electrical problem with one of my bikes, so I had to leave it at the side of the track and I took a while to get back to the pits. That cost me crucial time, so I was a bit nervous when I got back on track, it took me a while to find my rhythm again and ride some fast laps. Luckily I was fast again and we were able to get very close to scoring pole position. Starting from the front row is an excellent result from a complicated session and I'm very happy because it's important to start from the front row at my home race. We are happy enough with our race set-up, but we have to wait and see what the weather will do. I am really looking forward to racing in front of the Spanish fans.”
“It's nice to be up there and so close to pole position, I'm pretty happy. I really enjoyed those laps today with the qualifiers. It's fun when it goes like that and being competitive is nice. Things went relatively smooth this weekend, the bottom line is that we need to turn it into a result tomorrow. We'll see about tyre choice, that's going to be the biggest mission tonight – trying to make the perfect choice. Then we've got to get a good start, stick our nose in there and see what happens. It's nice to be on the front row, hopefully this can be something to get things headed back in the right direction. Thanks to my team and everyone in my corner for their support, I know I got a lot of people riding with me.”
“We are all very happy, the whole team is doing a fantastic job here, so my thanks to everyone involved, also to Michelin for their hard work and their support. Qualifying is important but of course our number one target is always the race. I think we have a big chance to win tomorrow, maybe even both riders on the podium. We are fighting hard and it is exciting. Both riders have quite a good race pace and we are close to making our final decisions on race tyres. Dani had an electrical problem with his number one bike but was able to qualify well on his second bike because both machines are basically the same.”