Hayden races pneumatic-valve engine
Repsol Honda RC212V rider Dani Pedrosa finished a hard-fought third at Donington Park this afternoon after starting from ninth on the grid. Team-mate Nicky Hayden rode his first race with the pneumatic-valve RCV engine and finished seventh
after running in the top four. Weather conditions have been changeable throughout the weekend here with heavy rain yesterday and strong winds today. The race was watched by a record 88,000 fans.
Pedrosa enjoyed a storming start, ending the first lap in fifth place and setting the second fastest lap of the race as he worked his way forward at a track that doesn't make for easy overtaking. The Spaniard enjoyed a great duel for second place with Valentino Rossi, twice overtaking the Italian in the mid-stages of the race.
Hayden had an even busier afternoon, battling back and forth with Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda), Chris Vermeulen and others, despite being distracted by a dash light that came on unexpectedly at one-third distance. In the later stages Hayden's pace improved once again and he finished the race with plenty of data that will allow the team to improve performance for next Saturday's Dutch TT at Assen, the midpoint in the 2008 MotoGP World Championship.
Dani Pedrosa : “This has been a difficult weekend with the weather changing all the time and only one day of dry practice. So, considering that and the effects of my crash during the tests at Barcelona I think that finishing on the podium is a good result for us. I pushed hard today and I really wanted to get second. Unfortunately, starting from the third row at a tight track with a short run to the first corner was never going to be easy. I got a good start, but I got a bit boxed in through the first corner and I lost some time while I was behind Dovizioso.
Once I got up with Valentino we had a good battle, made a few passes but I made a couple of mistakes so I lost the possibility to finish second. My Michelin tyres worked well today but I struggled a bit through the direction changes. Anyway, we got some good points for the championship and we can look forward to getting a better result at Assen next weekend.”
Nicky Hayden : “We learned a lot this weekend. We could've done with another day in the dry to really understand things. I'm actually pretty positive, we'll try to put everything we've learned to good use at Assen. We didn't really know what to expect here, everything went smooth until this morning when we had to switch bikes. The first few laps of the race went okay and then about lap nine I had a dash light come on. I didn't know what it was for, but if a sensor goes bad you realise just how much you use traction control, engine braking control and things like that. It was nothing serious but I lost some confidence for a couple of laps, so my lap times fell and it upset my rhythm while I got my confidence back. The guys are looking into it now.
It would've been nice to finish higher up, because I've got a lot of English guys in the box. The bike was pretty consistent at the end and I got back into the 29s. We learned a lot about fuel, tyre life and so on, we got a lot of information. We knew the first race might not be easy, so I hope we can build from here. Thanks to the team and to HRC for all their hard work.”
Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager : “We knew it was going to be difficult for Dani, starting from the third row, but we think he did a good job to fight for second with Valentino. This year's championship is so tough, the level of equipment is so high, so every race is a real challenge. Of course, we must keep working to improve the bike for the next races. Nicky rode his first race with the pneumatic-valve engine and gathered a lot of data which will help us achieve better performance in the future.”