Big Improvement Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden finished in fifth and eighth positions on the first day of practice for the U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca on Friday. Both riders improved their times from the morning session as...
Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden finished in fifth and eighth positions on the first day of practice for the U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca on Friday. Both riders improved their times from the morning session as they worked on optimum machine settings and tyre choice for the newly-surfaced California circuit.
With the grip levels still not up to expectations as the track surface warmed to 42 degrees in the afternoon, both riders experienced some problems achieving maximum traction today at the spectacular 3.610km (2.243-mile) circuit. Following their dominant one-two finish last year, where Nicky Hayden scored a second successive home GP win, the Repsol Honda pair will be intent on taking further steps ahead of tomorrow afternoon's one-hour qualifying session.
In honour of his home Grand Prix Hayden is sporting a special one-off helmet design this weekend featuring iconic landmarks from the United States. As well as images of Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty, the reigning World Champion has also chosen Churchill Downs -- the venue of the Kentucky Derby horse race -- in recognition of his home state.
Free practice for the U.S Grand Prix continues at 10am tomorrow.
Dani Pedrosa -- 3rd 1m 23.548s
"We made quite a big improvement in the lap time at the end of the afternoon session and we've got a lot of information to work with from practice today. The main issue is the grip levels. We're trying to get some more traction and reduce the amount of wheelspin around the circuit. This afternoon, it was a similar situation to the morning. The track felt quite slippery and we weren't able to get the best out of our tyres for most of the session. Still, we've got some things to go on and we'll aim to improve the set-up and hone the gearing again tomorrow ahead of qualifying."
Nicky Hayden -- 8th 1m 23.768s
"Well we went quite a lot faster this afternoon but today has proved that coming home is really nice but it doesn't necessarily cure all your problems! The support I'm getting from the fans is unreal, however we've struggled to get a good direction here which has been a bit frustrating. The new track surface isn't working the tyres like we thought it would and we've been down around mid-pack all day. It's still early though, and we've proved this year that we can improve a lot through the weekend, so we'll definitely chip away at it. The new surface is still bumpy in some places, though not nearly as bad as last year. We're going to have to sit down and look at the data tonight - we've got work to do, no doubt, but you can bet we'll be working our hardest to come up with something."
Makoto Tanaka - Team Manager
"Today has been a slightly tricky situation for us and the new surface is proving more slippery than expected for our riders. I think tomorrow it will improve step by step and hopefully give us more traction because that's what we need at the moment. The temperatures increased by 10 degrees from 32 degrees C in the morning to 42 in the afternoon, but this didn't give us the increase in grip we anticipated. So for tomorrow we'll be looking to improve the settings for both machines ready for qualifying."