French GP: Repsol Honda qualifying report

Pedrosa On Pole Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden put in storming performances during this afternoon's French qualifying session, Pedrosa taking pole position and Hayden snatching a second-row start. Superb Pedrosa came out on...

Pedrosa On Pole

Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden put in storming performances during this afternoon's French qualifying session, Pedrosa taking pole position and Hayden snatching a second-row start.

Superb Pedrosa came out on top at the end of a thrilling hour of action, the World Championship leader making crucial chassis adjustments to outpace his closest rival by just over one tenth of a second. As ever, the MotoGP pack is tightly packed with Hayden just six tenths off pole and the fastest 12 riders covered by just 1.076 seconds. Hard-working Hayden and his crew have focused on improving corner-entry performance at this tight and complex track. The American moved up to sixth fastest in qualifying but his crew will make further changes overnight in an effort to improve his pace in race trim.

Weather conditions at Le Mans have been very changeable so far this weekend, with this morning's third practice session getting underway on a damp track and this afternoon's qualifying outing run in cool and mostly overcast conditions with the occasional sunny spell. There is still a possibility of rain tomorrow.

Dani Pedrosa, pole position, 1m 32.647s

"I'm very satisfied with today's result. It's my first pole position of the season and that's especially good at this track because it's very important to have a good grid position here. Today we made some small chassis adjustments, fine-tuning the machine. This afternoon I wasn't able to get the maximum out of my first two Michelin qualifying tyres, so we made some more changes to the chassis settings and that allowed me to make a big step forward with my third qualifier. I didn't expect to get pole with my fourth qualifying tyre but I did, so we're very happy. As far as race pace goes, I'm quite satisfied but there are a lot of strong riders going very fast here and the lap times are all very close, so I hope we can make another step forward for tomorrow. The other question mark is the weather. It's been very changeable and we still don't know what to expect for the race."

Nicky Hayden, 6th fastest, 1m 33.286s

"It definitely hasn't been an easy day or an easy weekend. We haven't really found a direction even though we've been trying a lot of things. This afternoon I think we made a bit of progress and got a better feeling as time went on, so I was able to put one down later on and get a respectable grid position. But I really need to come up with something for tomorrow if I don't want to watch them guys completely disappear in the race. It's going to be hard. Getting into the corners has been the issue, then when we get the front better we hurt the rear, so it's been a constant compromise all weekend. We've been making a little bit bigger changes than we would usually make during a race weekend but sometimes that has to be done. We'll definitely try another little something in warm-up. We've got a lot of work to do tonight, but these boys aren't scared of a little hard work."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"That was a fantastic session. Dani's pole lap was amazingly quick and it was great to see Nicky make it onto the second row. I think we've seen some excellent teamwork here, so my thanks to everyone, including Michelin who have done a great job for us. Dani has a good race pace, which is particularly impressive because track conditions have changed constantly over the past two days. Nicky has also done really well, coming better step by step since yesterday morning. He has made many chassis changes and I hope he can make some further improvements for tomorrow."

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Dani Pedrosa