The position is not too bad but...
The Repsol Honda team completed a promising final pre-season test at the Jerez circuit on Sunday in preparation for the first race of the year at Qatar in under two weeks time.
In the afternoon's forty-minute shoot-out where the
riders compete to set the fastest time on qualifying tyres, Dani Pedrosa came within 0.133s of topping the timesheets, while new World Champion Nicky Hayden recorded the fourth quickest time.
Pedrosa declared himself very happy with the session having gathered valuable data about the performance of Michelin's qualifying tyres. His best today of 1m 38.527s was nearly 1.4s faster than the mark he set when he topped the timesheets in the last test here in November and nearly half a second inside the existing 990cc pole position lap record of 1m 39.064s. The Repsol Honda ace was only bettered by Valentino Rossi today. Pedrosa also completed a continuous run of 28 laps - one more than race distance - in the afternoon, consistently lapping in the 1m 41s bracket.
The holder of the number one plate, American Nicky Hayden, was also upbeat after improving his pace on both race and qualifying tyres. His flying laps during the shoot-out were good enough for fourth place and, having missed the November test to have crucial surgery to his shoulder, Hayden made further ground as he readies himself to launch the defence of his World Championship.
In preparation for the second race of the season here in one month's time the 25-year-old also put in a competitive 27-lap race simulation at the end of the day, taking his lap total for the day to a mammoth 101.
This three-day test concludes the Repsol Honda Team's intensive programme of development over the winter which has taken the factory Honda squad from Valencia to Sepang and Jerez, back to Sepang then Phillip Island, Losail and Jerez once again.
In that time Nicky Hayden has completed 6631km (4118 miles) aboard the new 800cc RC212V with Dani Pedrosa notching up 5378km (3340 miles). Now the MotoGP paddock ships to Qatar for round 1 of the MotoGP World Championship which takes place on Saturday March 10.
Nicky Hayden Best lap time: 1m 39.556s 101 laps
It was definitely fun to get out there again with the boys with something on the line the timed session gave it a bit of an edge today and was a little bit of a tease before the first race. The position is not too bad but my time is quite a long way from the front. I haven't spent much time on qualifying tyres at the winter tests so it was good to get that time here and put in a few quick laps. Some of the other riders really put in some hot laps today so credit to them. The conditions towards the end of the session were dodgy because there was a fine mist of rain falling which made it interesting and riding on qualifiers is always exciting enough anyway. I feel like perhaps we're still missing a little something to get the speed I want but I'm excited to go racing I'm really looking forward to it.
Dani Pedrosa Best lap time: 1m 38.527s 97 laps
I'm very happy with the 40-minute timed session because I really didn't expect to be this fast. I improved the lap time on qualifying tyres by a lot from the last time I rode here. This was the goal for the session and I did it, so I'm happy. It's been a really good test for me because we will only have limited time in which to test tyres this season. It was a good competition with Valentino today but I was not focused on his times, I just wanted to put these tyres on the limit and concentrate on myself, which is what I did. It's been a valuable three days, we have made progress with the set-up of the bike for the race and also qualifying, so I'm hoping we're ready for the first round at Qatar.