Repsol Honda Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa steered clear of trouble in an incident packed MotoGP qualifying session today and will start tomorrow's Indianapolis Grand Prix from the front of the second row. As temperatures soared...
Repsol Honda Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa steered clear of trouble in an incident packed MotoGP qualifying session today and will start tomorrow's Indianapolis Grand Prix from the front of the second row. As temperatures soared into the thirties and many riders came unstuck on the bumpy surface in today's two sessions, the factory Honda pair established a good race pace and looked on course to contest the front row grid positions. Indeed Pedrosa held top spot for the bulk of the hour-long qualifying period - but in the final moments neither Repsol Honda rider was quite able to extract the maximum performance from the softer option Bridgestones, and so in the end settled for fourth and fifth places on the grid.
Dovizioso had been on promising form in the morning practice session, held in conditions that were 15 degrees cooler than this afternoon, and finished in third place only 0.1s from top spot. In the afternoon, the 24-year-old Italian upped the pace further and went to the top of the timesheets with fifteen minutes to go with a lap time of 1m 40.559s. It proved to be his fastest time and Dovizioso will head the second row when the lights go out to start tomorrow's 28-lap race. With a good start, he is confident of his chances.
Pedrosa was also quick in the morning session, finishing in second place just 0.058s behind Casey Stoner at the head of the field. A repeat of Pedrosa's Indy pole position from last year looked distinctly on the cards as Pedrosa took top spot early in qualifying and displayed impressive pace on the hard option Bridgestone tyres. He too was unable to improve on his final runs on softer rubber but, with the high temperatures encountered at Indianapolis so far this weekend expected to continue, Pedrosa also looks in a strong position ahead of round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship, which begins at 15.00 local time tomorrow (GMT - 4 hours).
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 4th -- 1m 40.559s +0.454s
"I'm satisfied with the front of the second row, especially because our race pace is fast - so I'm confident for tomorrow. It will be important to make a good start. I think it will be a tight group going into the first turns, and Spies and Nicky will be very determined in front of their home fans, but actually the fastest person in terms of race pace is Dani. He has a margin of two or three tenths compared to us so it will be a tough race because there isn't much grip and you need to ride smoothly to exploit what grip there is - this can be difficult to do in a race situation. The team did a good job today, we improved the stability at the front a lot and we made a big improvement with the electronic set-up - especially with the traction control. I think the tyre choice will have to be the hard compound, and this means we look in pretty good shape for the race."
DANI PEDROSA -- 5th -- 1m 40.637s +0.532s
"We improved our times quite a lot from yesterday and made some good progress with the machine set-up and race pace. In the final moments of qualifying though we couldn't go any faster on the softer tyre and so we have to settle for the second row - which isn't perfect - but still I think we can make a good start and compete at the front tomorrow. With these high track temperatures it looks like the harder option tyre will be the one to go with and we have a decent pace on this tyre, although I don't know if all the riders will make the same choice. Tomorrow it will be a very tough race physically, and also for the tyres because it will be very difficult to control the tyre temperature in the race. I'm sure the American riders will be very strong, and also the riders who are normally at the front, so here maybe we will have more rivals to consider. Still, my feeling with the hard Bridgestone is good so I think we can do a good race tomorrow."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Today we have qualified on the second row which gives both Repsol Honda riders the chance to get away at the front of the race - this is positive. Of course we would have preferred the front row and I think both Andrea and Dani had the chance for that today - but we struggled to improve as much as our rivals on the softer options Bridgestone tyres at the end of the session. We will look into the reasons for this, but still, Andrea and Dani both have a good race pace on the harder compound and, considering the high track temperatures we have experienced so far this weekend, the harder option looks like the one for the race. So the Repsol Honda Team is in reasonable shape and we'll work hard for the best result tomorrow."