This lunchtime set the starting grid line up for the MotoGP Catalunya Grand Prix in which the Repsol Honda Team riders, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, will start from fourth and sixth position. In a suffocating heat, with thermometers reaching...
This lunchtime set the starting grid line up for the MotoGP Catalunya Grand Prix in which the Repsol Honda Team riders, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, will start from fourth and sixth position. In a suffocating heat, with thermometers reaching 35 ºC and on an asphalt close to 55 ºC, riders and teams are expecting a long race in especially difficult weather conditions tomorrow.
The day started out with Pedrosa in second place for the morning free practice and Dovizioso a little further back, sixth. Dani set his best time in the last lap of the 27 he completed on the Catalan track, while his team-mate in the Repsol Honda Team set his best time in the fifth lap of his 29. Pedrosa was 50 milliseconds off the best time of the morning, held by Lorenzo.
In the afternoon, for the definitive qualifying session, the temperatures continued to rise to make the asphalt of the Catalan track truly like an oven. With the track at 53 ºC - 39 ºC for the morning sessions -- and a scorching sun shining down on the Catalan track, the qualifying session began with the two Repsol Honda Team riders taking position amongst the top spots on the timesheets.
Halfway through the session, the Frenchman De Puniet was heading the timesheets, followed by Dovizioso, Lorenzo and Pedrosa. After dedicating the first 30 minutes of the practice working on the set up of their bikes, both Dovizioso and Pedrosa went out with soft rear tyres with 23 minutes to go until the end of the session. The positions barely altered in this first try at securing a place on the front row of the starting grid, as, 11 minutes from the end, both went out again with new soft rear tyres on their Honda RC212V.
On this definitive try, Pedrosa placed himself second, behind Lorenzo who was at the top of the timesheets. However, in the last lap, Pedrosa could not get in a good lap, seeing himself overtaken by Stoner and De Puniet and falling back to the second row of the grid with the fourth best time. Andrea Dovizioso was also unable to fight for pole position and tomorrow will also start from the second row, having set the sixth best time.
Dani PEDROSA >> 1'42.592 sec, 54 laps, 255 km.
"The second row is not perfect but anyway, the position is not a big deal and to be fourth is ok with the lap times so close here. Today we've been trying the tyre options to check which will be the best ones for the race. It will be a tough race tomorrow because of the heat, and also because of the level of our rivals. Also managing the tyre performance so that we can lap consistently at 1m 43s will be critical. We need to work a little more on the chassis set-up because this morning I felt better than this afternoon.
Anyway, we are better than we were at the last race in Assen in terms of qualifying performance, and we had a strong race there. I'd like to be on the front row and I think it was possible but on my penultimate lap I made a small mistake and this cost me the chance. T4 is still my weak point in the lap - the last hard braking point in particular. We will try to find some thing in the warm-up to fix this. Obviously I want to have a good race in front of all the people who will come to support me and we'll certainly be going for it".
Andrea DOVIZIOSO >> 1'42.866 sec, 55 laps, 260 km.
"I'm satisfied with the race pace and I think we are ready for tomorrow. The second row is not the best position to start but being on the front two rows is the important thing. Also, we were using the hard Bridgestone tyre at the end of the session so this qualifying position doesn't truly reflect our potential. For the race there are many riders with a similar pace and we will have to see how the tyre performance goes tomorrow in these hot conditions and manage our race well.
Today we started the session with the soft tyres to see how they affected the pace and rhythm and I think we will use the hard compound tomorrow because it's really too hot for the soft ones. We need to adjust the electronic controls because the bike is sliding quite a lot - due to the characteristics of this track and also because of the heat. I'm looking forward to the race tomorrow. I really like this track and the atmosphere is always fantastic here".