Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso was fastest in today's opening practice for the Grand Prix of France at Le Mans in a session that was cut in half by a rain shower after 30 minutes. Both he and his team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, were quickly on the...
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso was fastest in today's opening practice for the Grand Prix of France at Le Mans in a session that was cut in half by a rain shower after 30 minutes. Both he and his team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, were quickly on the pace this afternoon as they began the process of setting up the factory RC212V ahead of Sunday's 28-lap race at the famous French venue.
Dovizioso lay in second place early in the session before going top at the half-way point, immediately before rain began to fall and the riders ducked into the pits. Though some riders returned to the damp track, they were unable to better Dovizioso's fastest lap. Both Repsol Honda riders chose not to ride many laps in the damp conditions, preferring to preserve their allocation of wet tyres.
Pedrosa lay in third for most of the dry half of the session, before slipping to fifth immediately before the rain began to fall. With a lap time just 0.340s behind that of his team-mate, Pedrosa should be in contention to repeat his 2008 pole position in tomorrow afternoon's qualifying session.
This is the first time that Dovizioso has finished on top of a MotoGP session for the Repsol Honda Team, and the second time since he joined the premier class in 2008 - the first being the wet Saturday morning practice session at Donington last year.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 1st 1m 36.136s
"I'm happy today because we have started in the right way here at Le Mans. I like this track and I was able to be fast right from the beginning of the session. Unfortunately it started raining in the middle of the practice and so we didn't do many laps - only 16 in total. This meant we couldn't test so many options on the machine but anyway, we were able to get some useful information and learn that we need to improve the set-up for corner entry. The lap times overall were not very fast today and I think they will come down by around two seconds - so today's lap time is not indicative for the weekend. Regarding the race, I've had many podium finishes here so my expectations are high, but it's too early to speculate about results. We just need to keep on working hard - and keep an eye on the weather."
DANI PEDROSA -- 5th 1m 36.476s
"We were lucky to get some dry track time today, even though there was rain towards the close of the session. It's a very different kind of circuit to the last race at Jerez - where I've testing a lot - and so really today was about getting dialed in to this track and beginning the set-up process. My physical condition is getting better all the time and I can bend my knee a lot more now - I've almost got full movement. Still, I haven't been able to train physically at 100 per cent though, so my condition isn't perfect yet, but it's getting better all the time. I didn't ride much in the second half of the session today because it wasn't fully wet and we have a limit on wet tyres, so I didn't want to waste any. Let's see what the weather brings tomorrow."
KAZUHIKO YAMANO - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Today the result was good for the Repsol Honda Team so I'm pleased with how things went, especially for Andrea. Dani's pace was also good and we can build on this start, though we still have to make progress with our machine and I think these results today are primarily down to the performances from our riders. Tomorrow I think we should be able to make further improvements. The weather is looking unpredictable for the rest of the weekend so we'll be making plans for a wide range of conditions."