Pedrosa's Gutsy Ride Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa rode a gutsy race in today's Italian Grand Prix, battling back and forth with reigning World Champion Casey Stoner and eventually finishing third aboard his RC212V. Nicky Hayden had high hopes...
Pedrosa's Gutsy Ride
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa rode a gutsy race in today's Italian Grand Prix, battling back and forth with reigning World Champion Casey Stoner and eventually finishing third aboard his RC212V. Nicky Hayden had high hopes of a strong race following a promising performance in morning warm-up but the American ran into difficulties and came home an unlucky 13th.
HRC test rider Tadayuki Okada did a sterling day's work with Honda's new pneumatic-valve-spring RC212V engine, scoring two World Championship points. Contesting his first GP in almost eight years, the 41-year-old gathered a full race of data that will help Pedrosa and Hayden decide which type of engine they will use at next weekend's Catalan GP.
Second quickest in qualifying, Pedrosa got another stunning start to lead the first two laps then played his part in a thrilling three-way contest with race winner Valentino Rossi and Stoner. After slipping to third for a while he moved back into second during the mid-stages of the race before finally returning to third place for 16 hard-fought World Championship points.
After Mugello the MotoGP action switches to Spain for the following weekend's Catalan GP outside Barcelona. This is MotoGP's busiest period with six races over eight weekends.
Dani Pedrosa finished 2nd, 2nd in World Championship
"That was a really tough race because Valentino's pace was very, very fast. I got a good start and the rhythm was really high, at first I was able to go with them, then I had a battle with Casey. I tried to catch him at the end but it was impossible. It was great to be on the podium, it's a good result for the championship, but while consistency is always important, we need to win more races. The engine was good today, our main concern now is tyre consistency during the second part of races. I was losing the front towards the end of today's race, so tyres are what we must focus on. It was very important that Okada finished today, gathering a lot of data which we will examine and discuss tonight. Valentino had his seventh win here today, I hope it will be my turn at Catalunya."
Nicky Hayden, finished 13th , 9th in World Championship
"This morning we made a nice step, we made a suspension adjustment and the bike felt a lot better, so we had a pretty good pace. We were certainly unlucky in the race. I got an awesome start, felt pretty good, but it was clear from the beginning that we had a problem. Guys started coming past and there was nothing I could do, there was no way to defend. So I just tried to get to the finish and get a couple of points. They're checking the data now to see exactly what happened. Like I said, we were quite unlucky, I knew we didn't have Rossi's pace this morning, but we had enough pace to be in there, to be quite competitive. I don't know yet which engine I'll be using next weekend. To be honest, I've been concentrating on this race, so I haven't thought about it yet."
Tadayuki Okada, finished 14th, 19th in World Championship
"We finished the race and this was the most important thing of all -- we have gathered plenty of data which we can now analyse. We still have some issues with edge grip and this is the next step to improve the engine -- the bike was sliding today so I couldn't fully use its power. The engine's strong point is its higher rev ceiling which gives an advantage on the straights, but we still need to improve driveability. My thanks to Repsol Honda and to HRC for all their work with this engine. It was very exciting for me to race in a GP again -- it felt really amazing when I crossed the finish line!"
Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager
"That was a hard race, but Dani fought at the front and got third, so he did a good job for the championship. Nicky was unlucky, so now we are checking the data to see what happened to his machine. We are very happy that Tady finished the race. We are also looking at his data, later we will talk to Dani and Nicky to discuss the engine plan for next weekend's race. We will never give up -- our target is always to win."