Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso qualified in third place for the U.S. Grand Prix today and in so doing secured the first front row start of his MotoGP career. The 24-year-old Italian was delighted to notch up this particular milestone and with...
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso qualified in third place for the U.S. Grand Prix today and in so doing secured the first front row start of his MotoGP career. The 24-year-old Italian was delighted to notch up this particular milestone and with a clear run into the Laguna Seca circuit's fast turn one he has given himself an excellent chance of battling at the front of tomorrow's 32-lap race. Dovizioso pipped his factory Honda team-mate by just 0.038s, and Dani Pedrosa will start in fourth place and the front of the second row.
From the start of the qualifying session both Repsol Honda RC212Vs were well in contention and remained in the top three positions for much of the hour. Dovizioso continued his confident form from yesterday and several times was the quickest rider over the first part of the lap, before losing a little time in the final sector. It's an area he improved on his last qualifying run and Dovizioso is confident that the race pace he established today will allow him to fight for podium honours.
Pedrosa was also on the pace today and in the morning session finished just 0.113s behind the fastest time. In the afternoon he continued to work on his pace in race trim, but when it came to the final qualifying laps on soft tyres he couldn't improve as much as the other frontrunners and so settled for a place at the head of second row. His rivals can't relax though because this is the same position from which Pedrosa won last year's U.S. Grand Prix, and the 24-year-old Spaniard is confident that a few set-up adjustments in warm-up tomorrow can allow him the chance to make a repeat of that result and give him his first back-to-back MotoGP wins after his victory at the last race in Germany a week ago.
After a 20-minute warm-up session in the morning, round nine of the MotoGP world championship starts at 14.00 tomorrow (GMT - 7 hours).
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 3rd -- 1m 21.617s +0.639s
"I'm very happy about this session because this is my first front row of the season and qualifying was an area that we had to improve. We were fast from the beginning today and I have to thank the team because they've done a good job this weekend. Yesterday and also today I have been losing some time in T4, but for the final qualifying lap I pushed at 100 per cent and did my best final sector time - which gave me my fastest lap time and a place on the front row. I have a good race pace but we still need to improve a little because Stoner and Lorenzo are very fast. There is still a gap but we are not too far away. I think the race pace tomorrow will be between the high 1m 21s and 1m 22 dead, and I'm confident I can fight with the others. Plus, starting from first row makes this easier. For the tyre choice we will probably go with the soft option rear. Our machine balance is good and we have a positive feeling on this track so I'm confident for tomorrow."
DANI PEDROSA -- 4th -- 1m 21.655s +0.677s
"We've improved the feeling from yesterday and this morning our pace was pretty good - we were closer to the other riders in terms of lap times. This afternoon with the soft rear at the end of the session we didn't go quicker, but the front of the second row isn't a bad place to start and we could probably have been further forward if we hadn't had a bit of an issue with some chattering at the rear of the machine on my final run. We put a lot of laps on the Bridgestone tyres this afternoon - more than 30 on the same tyre - and they are working well. In the warm-up tomorrow we need to make a few final adjustments to the machine settings to improve our race pace by a tenth or two - we've got a few things to try. The choice of race tyre will be important so that we have the best feeling for race distance. I think we can be competitive if we make the most of the warm-up well tomorrow."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Both riders have improved their pace today and they are looking in quite good shape for the race. Tomorrow I expect the race pace to be in the low 1m 22s bracket, with perhaps some laps dropping into the 1m 21s, and I think both Andrea and Dani can compete at this pace, which means they can be fighting with their rivals to decide the podium positions. The choice of race tyres is marginal and will depend on the track temperature tomorrow afternoon and the work we do in the warm-up. Dani had a small issue with rear of his machine in the final qualifying run so we'll look into the reasons for this. Both Repsol Honda riders have quite a good set-up and we're looking forward to tomorrow's race."