The Repsol Honda Team riders opened their accounts for the Dutch TT weekend at Assen today with fifth and sixth places in a tightly contested hour of free practice. With only 0.6s separating the top 10 places, this was one of the closest sessions...
The Repsol Honda Team riders opened their accounts for the Dutch TT weekend at Assen today with fifth and sixth places in a tightly contested hour of free practice. With only 0.6s separating the top 10 places, this was one of the closest sessions of the 2009 season so far and bodes well for another exciting MotoGP race.
Both Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa were riding with the latest developments to the Honda RC212V, and spent time evaluating the modified chassis first seen at the Catalunya round two weeks ago. With a string of fast laps towards the end of the session, Dovizioso moved up to third place before being relegated to fifth in the closing moments.
Pedrosa topped the timesheets twice during the session as he narrowed down his set-up options ahead of the 26-lap race on Saturday. Though he finished up in sixth position, the 23-year-old rider from Barcelona, Spain, rode without hindrance from his recovering hip injury and looks in good shape to have a competitive weekend.
Randy de Puniet finished today's session in first place for the LCR Honda squad, setting a late lap of 1m 37.842s on his satellite RC212V. Today's single session was held in warm dry conditions, but with rain forecast for Assen on Saturday, the MotoGP paddock will once again be looking at skies come race day.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 5th 1m 38.092s
"The final result from the session was pretty reasonable - 5th place and two tenths from the front is a decent start. We'll be looking to make some more improvements tomorrow though because I'm not totally satisfied with how the practice went and we struggled a little to find a good feeling with the bike, in particular under braking and on corner entry. Now we'll analyse the data and come up with a plan for tomorrow, possibly working with the weight distribution to improve the set-up. It was actually quite a difficult practice session for me because I wasn't feeling too well, so I'll get checked out at the Clinica Mobile and be ready for tomorrow."
DANI PEDROSA -- 6th 1m 38.194s
"Riding felt much better today than it did at the last race in Barcelona which is a positive sign. Even without any painkilling injection I was able to ride with quite a good pace this afternoon so I'm very happy about that. Now, after riding, it doesn't feel great and I have some pain, but that's to be expected. With some ice on it and some rest tonight, I'm expecting to feel in good shape for tomorrow's sessions. The feeling with the new chassis is good and I immediately felt much more comfortable than in Barcelona. I still need to learn more about the new chassis, but the initial feeling is positive, with improvements under braking and stability. Obviously, I need to do more laps to better understand its performance so we'll continue with that tomorrow."
KAZUHIKO YAMANO - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"This was a session where the times were close and both Repsol Honda riders were near the front in term of lap times, so we have a solid platform to work from. Andrea did a good job to climb the timesheets through the session and with his feedback from today the team should be able improve his pace still further. Dani is clearly getting stronger after his recent injury and that showed with his lap times, which were fast from the start of the session. This is very encouraging. There are many riders going fast out there, so we can't afford to relax at all."