Spaniard leads countryman Lorenzo on day one in Japan
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa continues to heap the pressure on current Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) following today’s free practice sessions ahead of the Air Asia Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi where Pedrosa set the fastest time of the day 1m 46.088s while Lorenzo was close behind setting a 1m 46.190s lap wit Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso finishing the session in third with a best lap of 1m 46.282s.
Today was a perfect day for practice. We were able to do the job we wanted.
Finishing the day in 8th was the San Carlo Honda Gresini of Alvaro Bautista with a best lap of 1m 46.983s with Cal Crutchlow in 9th place (1m 46.984s) while rounding of the top ten in the timings was the Ducati Racing GP12 of Nicky Hayden who set a best time of 1m 47.592s. Regular Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga set the 11th fastest time of 1m 47.801s for the Yamaha YSP Racing Team while Hector Barber and the Pramac Ducati team in 12th (1m 48.232s). The first CRT on the timing screens was that of Aleix Espargaro and the Power Electronics Aspar team with a best lap of 1m 48.470s that was good enough for 13th while the last of the prototypes was that of Karel Abraham and the Cardion AB Motoracing squad with a best lap of 1m 48.757s. Abraham had a slight crash early on this afternoon but was unhurt.
Pedrosa was very happy with his performance on day one saying, “Today was a perfect day for practice. The track conditions were very good, the warm temperatures helped, as did the new surface, so we were able to do the job we wanted. The main target today was to test the tyres and we completed some good laps on both hard and soft compounds. The asphalt is new and the grip is quite good, so the lap times are pretty fast from the beginning. We also did some work on the suspension and the mapping to will keep improving on this tomorrow.”
Lorenzo led the earlier morning session and is confident about his chances in Sunday’s race. He said, “We started in a very good way here, much better than in Aragon where we had issues with the life of the rear tire. We have a very good pace and with a little change in the electronics were able to go a bit faster. We tried with the hard tire, for me it’s not better than the soft although we can go fast on it. For tomorrow I think the soft one will be better. The Hondas are very good here but our bike is also so I think we can fight with them for the victory.”
“I believe I will be able to follow Dani and Jorge on Sunday and that is basically my aim for the weekend. It will be difficult to fight with them for the victory but I am certainly looking to be battling for the podium again on a track that I really like,” Dovizioso added.