Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa was in impressive form at windswept Estoril today, heading a closely bunched leading group on the first day of practice, team-mate Nicky Hayden just 0.181 seconds down in fourth place.
Strong, blustery winds and a morning rain shower complicated the day's proceedings, but once the track was mostly dry World Championship leader and Spanish GP winner Pedrosa quickly got into the groove to set the pace, recording the fastest lap of the day and establishing a good rhythm.
2006 MotoGP World Champion Hayden was also happy with his day's work, making only minor changes to his RC212V's setup, and is looking forward to further progress tomorrow. Last year Hayden got pole position and the lap record here, while Pedrosa finished the race in second place.
Dani Pedrosa, fastest, 1m 38.507s
"We started today using the base setup we used at Jerez and we didn't need to make too many changes. This morning's session was quite complicated because it had been raining, so conditions were constantly changing as the track dried, then we had a minor technical issue with one of my bikes, so we had to stop before the end of the hour. This afternoon we had a dry session which allowed us to start doing some tyre testing in preparation for the race, which is especially important considering the changeable weather during the weekend. After a few laps this afternoon I began to get into the rhythm of Estoril again."
Nicky Hayden, fourth fastest, 1m 38.688s
"Everything went pretty well, it's been quite a positive day, I think we had a pretty good start to things. Sure we're gonna have to improve a little bit, but seems like in the wet and dry we got a bike working relatively well, so if we can sweeten up a few things tomorrow, hopefully we can really be up there come Sunday. More or less the bike was working okay without a lot of big changes, so we're running a pretty similar setup to what I ran at Jerez, just a few little clickers here and there. Conditions were not easy, the morning was wet, then half and half and the afternoon was a little bit patchy and windy, so sure it was quite challenging, but the team's done a good job and we've got a pretty decent setup, so we'll see tomorrow."