Fifth fastest time for Hayden
The Repsol Honda Team made a good start in Qatar today as the official three-day MotoGP test got under way.
In just under a month's time the Losail circuit will host the first round of the 2007 World Championship as a new era of 800cc
MotoGP racing begins, and Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa continued the preparations that will ensure they're in good shape for the start of the season.
With perfect weather conditions (21 degrees and without wind) both riders spent the day working on bike settings for race conditions. World champion Nicky Hayden spent time at the top of the timesheets today and was able to steadily improve his pace as he honed suspension, engine and chassis settings and continued evaluation of the new 16-inch Michelin font tyre. Hayden completed 82 laps, setting a best time of 1m 57.07s, 0.3s faster than Valentino Rossi's race lap record of 1m 57.305s set last year.
Dani Pedrosa also made step-by-step improvements, setting a best laptime of 1m 57.73s after 79 laps. Tomorrow the 21-year-old Spaniard is confident of getting closer to his best lap of 1m 57.381s from the race last year.
The teams will return for the second day of the test tomorrow morning at the 5.383km (3.343 mile) Qatar circuit.
Nicky Hayden Best laptime: 1m 57.07s – 82 laps
“This is the best I've felt on the new bike straight out of the gate and I definitely think we're getting the base settings right for me – we didn't have to change too much at all for this track to be semi-close. For most of the day we were going forward which is good because it was nice to see that progress. We're not quite down in those 1m 56s laps where we need to be but we've learned some things that we can build on.
There are a lot of good guys in my corner, a lot of good engineers from Honda and a good team around me and I've got to use that to my advantage with getting the bike dialled in. This is an important test because the opening race of the season is right here in Qatar so we've got to be ready to go. Conditions were good, though the day went fast so we'll be looking for two more good days to make a lot more progress.”
Dani Pedrosa Best laptime: 1m 57.73s – 79 laps
“We had a good first practice and that's positive because it's important here to be in good shape for the first round of the season. The weather is perfect at this stage - neither hot nor windy - and we will see over the course of the test how much we can improve the bike. Today we were trying to find the limits on the bike and I think it's interesting to ride the 800cc bike here. You can feel that there's less power on the long straight but not into the corners. We also still have two days to test Michelin tyres and choose the best ones for the race”.