Repsol Honda Team riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso will start side-by-side on the third row of the grid for the Grand Prix of Valencia after qualifying in eighth and ninth positions today. Both riders will be targeting a fast start when the lights go out at 14.00 tomorrow in order to get away with the leaders and fight for a podium finish to close out the 2010 season.
Pedrosa made good progress in the morning practice session and finished in second position with a lap time of 1m 32.945s. He was one of only two riders to dip below the 1m 33s mark and it was an encouraging 45 minutes for the 25-year-old Spaniard, who is still recovering from last month's operation to plate his broken left collarbone. Pedrosa went quicker still in the afternoon session, shaving a further 0.3s from his lap time, but with other riders making bigger improvements, his time translated to eighth place on the grid. His home fans will be willing Pedrosa to make an excellent start tomorrow to give himself a chance of repeating last year's victory at Valencia.
Starting from ninth, Dovizioso will need to repeat his lightning getaway from last weekend in Portugal, where he converted a third row starting slot into second place after the first corner. The Italian made improvements in both today's sessions but struggled in the second half of the lap and wasn't able to climb higher than ninth in the closing moments of qualifying. Dovizioso and his crew are now aiming to find improvements in two or three corners in the morning warm-up session tomorrow, and if they he can achieve this, the 24-year-old is confident he can run at podium pace.
DANI PEDROSA - 8th - 1m 32.603s + 0.804s
"I would like to be a bit higher in the standings but considering my physical condition eighth is not so bad. This is a short track and the lap times are very close, and so two tenths means two or three positions higher or lower on the grid. This is the position we have achieved and we will deal with it. This morning we did a good job with the set-up of the bike and this afternoon we didn't touch much in the session - improving by a couple of tenths. Anyway we need to be ready for a very tough race, and it's the endurance over race distance that will be the key point - 30 laps is a lot. Now I will try to rest as much as possible, and tomorrow I will aim to make a great start and keep the rhythm in the race for as long as I can."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - 9th - 1m 32.886s +1.087s
"Yesterday we started well and we have improved our pace in every practice session, but this afternoon I haven't managed to use the full potential of the bike. I'm struggling in sector three and sector four and this is affecting my lap time. More than the set-up I need to better interpret the lines I'm taking, and also to adapt my riding style. In particular I'm quite slow in two or three corners and this is what is holding me back at the moment. Our overall pace in the rest of the lap is not too far from the riders at the front, so if we improve in these corners I'm sure we can fight for the podium tomorrow. Concerning the tyre choice, if the conditions remain as today I think we will use the hard compound."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"It's the final race of the 2010 season tomorrow and the Repsol Honda Team is determined to finish the year with the strongest possible result. The grid positions we've achieved today are not as far forward as we would have liked of course, and this means both riders will need to make fast starts to give themselves the best chance of fighting at the front tomorrow. Dani has made steady improvements with his speed and physical condition, and tomorrow he will find out more about his ability to keep a high pace for race distance. We know how determined he is and how strong he can be at this circuit, so he will be worth watching. With a few adjustments to his settings in the warm-up, Andrea also has the ability to move forward from his starting position and fight for the podium - as we saw him do last weekend."
-source: repsol honda