Dani Pedrosa, in his works Repsol Honda, set the pace in day one of activity for the Italian Grand Prix, sixth round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) that takes place this weekend on the Mugello circuit.
The journey was split in two with a dry condition free practice one to pass later a rainy track in the second free practice on Friday. The Spaniard young ace set 1.50:743 in his best shot in the morning practice, the 12th lap of the 22 that Pedrosa used on board his Honda.
"In the morning we had a normal practice session and took the usual set-up and tyres selection process as far as possible. My lap-time was pretty good and we found a decent base setting for the machine as this was the first time for the RC212V at this circuit", Pedrosa stated.
Second fastest, like all riders, set his time in practice one was Valentino Rossi, who clocked a best time of 1.50:901. The Italian was pleased with the initial performance of his Yamaha and is confident of making further improvements tomorrow as he works towards a record sixth consecutive home race victory on Sunday.
"This weather isn't really what we expect in Mugello! I'm quite happy today however because this morning in the dry I was already fast, setting some good lap times and finishing second. We still need to improve the setting a little bit but I think we're going in the right way. We tried some new tyres that we found during the Le Mans test and they weren't so bad, so hopefully we can improve things more tomorrow", Rossi commented.
About the performance of the bike in rainy conditions, the five-time MotoGP world champion said: "I'm happy about this afternoon's session in the wet too because I was also very fast! I think if I hadn't crashed it would have been possible to have finished on top, so I'm sorry about that".
Rossi referred to the fall he had in practice two when the conditions of the track was not at their the best. "It was my mistake! I arrived a little bit too fast at the braking and went down but I was lucky; I didn't hurt myself and the bike is not so bad."
Third fastest was John Hopkins riding the Rizla Suzuki bike on the Italian racetrack. The American took a lap time of 1.50:022 to finish 0.279 seconds adrift of Pedrosa in the classification. "I was also pleased with the direction that we went this morning. We were comfortable and the Bridgestone tyre that I used showed good consistency and grip", he mentioned.
"It was good to have a completely wet session where we could work in detail on the bikes, and we managed to get a really good rain set-up towards the end," added Hopkins. "So whatever the weather is over the rest of the weekend -- wet or dry -- we're going to be ready and I've got a really good feeling about Mugello!"
Standings leader, Casey Stoner, put his Marlboro Ducati in fourth spot with sunny conditions and then dominated the actions when the rain fell in Mugello`s afternoon practice. The Australian ended with a time of 1.50:356 on practice one and later set 2.07:107 when the rain said present.
"The wet is no real drama for me, at Le Mans we didn't really have the perfect setting, we definitely gained experience from that, so we changed the wet setting a bit and definitely made improvements, so I feel a lot more comfortable now. I came in after three or four laps this afternoon because it kept raining and getting wetter, so I said that's enough for now, it was getting too much", Stoner commented.
On the performance of the Desmosedici GP7 in the dry, Stoner explained: "This morning we weren't too bad in the dry - race pace was pretty good straight away. For sure we can improve the bike. We need to improve traction a little bit, which we did this morning, and we need to improve the turning a bit because I don't have the same sensitivity I've had at other tracks. We pretty much know what settings we need to change to make it turn a bit harder and we should be all right, so it's looking good wet or dry".
The activity for MotoGP will continue tomorrow at 10.00, local time, with another free practice session before the qualifying session, set to take place starting at 13.50 (local time).