After the first free practice sessions of the Japanese Grand Prix, Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso lead the way occupying the top three spots in a dominant performance in front of an enthusiastic home crowd at the Japanese manufacturers home GP.
As well as setting the fastest lap times of the day, the three Repsol Honda riders also recorded the top speeds with Dani at 293,5 km/h, Casey 291,7 km/h and Andrea 290,2 km/h. Lap times improved from last year due to the new surface which was laid after damage was caused to the Motegi track during the earthquake and tsunami of March 11.
Dani returned back to the track where he was unable to race last year due to his injury sustained on Friday morning, to set the fastest time of the day with a 1'46.790, almost four tenths faster than the circuit record (Stoner, 1'47.091, 2008). Casey, the winner in 2010, finished very close behind, just 0.054 off Dani, while Andrea, who took the pole position last year, is third just 0.162 off the top time. Fourth position of the day belonged to San Carlo Honda rider Marco Simoncelli, who was just two tenths off Andrea.
DANI PEDROSA – 1st 1'46.790
"We did a good job today; in the morning we took a good direction and this allowed us to improve a lot in the afternoon, by a second, and this is very important. Tomorrow we have to focus on the set up of the bike; maybe the weather will change a little bit, so we have to be aware of the conditions and try to be fast anytime. In case it does rain tomorrow and we cannot practice anymore in dry conditions, we already have a good set up for the dry. Everybody here at the Motegi circuit has done a very good job with the new surface, the grip is much better than before and this is one of the reasons why the lap times have improved quite a lot already from last year".
CASEY STONER – 2nd 1'46.844
"The bike felt pretty good this morning and then this afternoon we started the session on pretty much the same setting that we ended on this morning, it felt ok but we felt we could improve. Unfortunately we went in slightly the wrong direction and couldn't get the bike to turn or hook up on the last two exits and then we didn't really have enough time to come in and make a change. We know what direction we want to go in now and hopefully tomorrow we can make the small improvements. The new surface here feels very good, very smooth and the grip level is impressive. It's really great to be racing here on a Honda in front of the home fans and I hope we can get a good qualifying tomorrow to prepare best for the race on Sunday".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 3rd 1'46.952
"I am very happy with today's sessions. All the Honda riders are constantly fast and we are all very close. The new tarmac is ok, but totally different feeling from last season, it's still bumpy, even more then before, but anyway we are faster then in 2010. The feeling with the tyres is totally different due to the new tarmac and the biggest problem is to find rear grip entering corners, this is the area where we will concentrate our efforts for tomorrow"