British GP: Repsol Honda preview

Pedrosa, Hayden Looking Forward The Repsol Honda Team heads north for the British Grand Prix on June 22 after two southern European MotoGP events in Italy and Spain. Riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden are both looking forward to the British...

Pedrosa, Hayden Looking Forward

The Repsol Honda Team heads north for the British Grand Prix on June 22 after two southern European MotoGP events in Italy and Spain. Riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden are both looking forward to the British round after a profitable weekend at the Catalan Grand Prix.

Pedrosa won the race at Catalunya in storming style to close to within seven points of the World Championship lead. Hayden had a tougher race but during post-race tests the American was able to try out Honda's pneumatic-valve RC212V engine and came away impressed, though intermittent rain prevented the team from completing the full testing schedule. Hayden may use the engine at Donington Park, so long as HRC engineers are satisfied they obtained enough data from the tests to allow them to further fine-tune the electronics.

Pedrosa will continue with the conventional spring-valve engine at Donington. The Spaniard suffered a heavy fall on the first day of the tests and was thus unable to fully acquaint himself with the pneumatic-valve engine.

Pedrosa has already enjoyed success at Donington. He won the 2006 MotoGP race and the 2004 British 250 GP at the track. Hayden's best result is a fourth-place finish in 2004, just over a second shy of the podium. Donington Park is one of Britain's oldest race circuits. The first event was staged over a gravel course around the estate of the Donington Park stately home in 1931. The track was closed down during World War Two and only reopened in the late 1970s. Donington has two very contrasting sections. The first, from Redgate to Coppice, is fast and flowing. The second, from Foggy's Esses to the final Goddard's Hairpin (added in 1986), is tight and slow. These two sections require larger-than-usual compromises in machine set-up.

Dani Pedrosa

"Winning in Catalunya was great but there are still many races to go, we have to keep pushing. I crashed on the day after the race, hurting my back and shoulders, but I will be okay for the next race. Donington is quite a strange circuit, quite smooth but not so grippy, and it often rains there. My favourite part of the track is the uphill section all the way to Coppice. I don't like the last part, it's very slow and tight. You need a set-up similar to Le Mans, so the bike accelerates hard and brakes well too. You also need as much grip as you can get because the surface is quite slippery. The two different parts of the circuit require different riding styles: the first requires a smooth style, the second a very aggressive style. The atmosphere at Donington is different, not as Latin as the last two races. The crowd seems to be much more enthusiastic about motorcycling in general rather than just supporting individual riders."

Nicky Hayden,

"I'm quite excited about Donington. I hope I'll be able to use the pneumatic-valve engine but we'll see what the decision is, we'll go with what the team says. Going into a race weekend with new parts is never easy, so if we use the engine we'll just try to learn as the weekend goes on and get it dialled in. The weather can be a big issue at Donington -- it can do anything. The track itself is almost like two tracks. The first bit is awesome -- you've got to be brave through Craner, you need some guts, because it's pretty exciting down through there, I quite like it if the bike is working good. The last bit of the track is a lot of hard braking. No matter how good you hit the first part of the track, if you can't get through the two little hairpins at the end of the lap it kills your lap times. The two sections are completely different so it's a compromise with the set-up. What works through the first part can be a bit different to what works through the last part, so it's not an easy track for the suspension guys and the chassis guys."

DONINGTON PARK -- THE TRACK
Constructed: 1931
Latest modification: 1985
Length: 4,023m
Width: 10m
Pole position: Left
Right corners: 7
Left corners: 4
Longest straight: 564m
Race: 30 laps

LAP RECORDS:
Circuit record: 2006 Pedrosa (Honda) 1'28"714
Pole position record: 2006 Pedrosa (Honda) 1'27"676

-credit: repsol honda

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Repsol Honda Team