Qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portugal took place at Estoril today with Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso securing fourth and eighth places on the grid in the hour-long session. Pedrosa finished just 0.174s from Casey Stoner...
Qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portugal took place at Estoril today with Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso securing fourth and eighth places on the grid in the hour-long session. Pedrosa finished just 0.174s from Casey Stoner in third, which gives the Spaniard a starting slot at the front of the second row. If Pedrosa can once again make one of his now-customary fast starts, he is confident that further improvements to his machine set-up will allow him to fight at the front of the race tomorrow.
Dovizioso was able to increase his pace from yesterday afternoon by seven tenths of a second, though the Italian was a little frustrated to finish in eight today - a ranking which translates into a place in the middle of the third row. That said, the winner of the British Grand Prix and his crew know that with further improvement to their suspension settings they have plenty of potential to find some extra pace, and that's what they will be focusing on in the 20-minute warm up session.
There was some good news for the factory Honda squad today with the news that Repsol will once again be the team's title sponsor in 2010. This means the Repsol Honda Team will enter its 16th successive season having established itself as one of motorsport's most recognizable and successful partnerships.
Tomorrow's 28-lap race begins at 1pm local time (GMT +1 hour).
DANI PEDROSA -- 4th -- 1m 36.702s
"We were working hard on machine set-up this morning, though we experienced a few issues which delayed us a little this afternoon in the fight to set the best lap times on the softer Bridgestones. It's always better to start on the front row of course, but I think fourth is not a bad starting slot. We improved our lap times significantly this afternoon and if we can make a few more improvements to the set-up, everything is possible in the race. It's difficult to know what the rhythm and race pace will be tomorrow because maybe the conditions will be a little cooler. Casey's performance today was impressive, so compliments to him - I'm not surprised he was this fast. My main goal for the rest of the season will be to retain third in the championship and we hope take the first step towards that goal tomorrow."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 8th -- 1m 37.541s
"We got through a lot set-up work today trying to improve the feeling from the machine at this circuit, which is quite bumpy. There's definitely more to come, and starting from eighth obviously isn't ideal -however with a good warm-up tomorrow we should be able to make some progress. At the moment we don't have the rhythm to fight with the leading riders and we'll be focussing on suspension settings to try to get closer to them. We cannot be happy with today's result, but the important thing is to maintain concentration and try our best in the race. The characteristics of this racetrack accentuate some issues we found at the last race in Misano, but I'm confident we have a lot of potential with the Ohlins suspension. Plus we only have experience from one race, so there's a lot more to come. We be looking to take a step forward in warm-up and to get as strong a result as possible in the race."
KAZUHIKO YAMANO - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Dani was really close to the front row and has more potential so he is looking in quite good shape for tomorrow. If he and his crew can have a profitable warm-up then he has a chance to fight with the leaders tomorrow. Andrea and his team are making progress with the machine set-up and he too can move forward from his current position. The conditions tomorrow may be a little different, so the team will be working hard tonight and in the warm-up to give us the best possible chance in the race. Today we have also had some excellent news about Repsol joining us for another season. This is a very strong and valuable partnership and we're all focused on creating further success for the Repsol Honda Team."