The Repsol Honda pair of Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa finished in third and sixth places in MotoGP free practice today as the Road Racing World Championship returned to the Silverstone circuit for the first time since 1986. With a track...
The Repsol Honda pair of Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa finished in third and sixth places in MotoGP free practice today as the Road Racing World Championship returned to the Silverstone circuit for the first time since 1986. With a track layout that is totally new to the riders and crews - save for the few laps they completed on a scooter yesterday - today's single session was very much about assessing the new circuit, establishing the basic racing line and confirming the gear ratios and machine settings they will work on tomorrow.
Dovizioso spent significant time at the top of the timesheets today and was immediately comfortable on his RC2121V on Silverstone's bumpy surface. The Italian rider won last year's British Grand Prix at Donington Park and is determined to extend his run of three podiums from the first four races of 2010 on Sunday. At 5.902km (3.667 miles), the new Silverstone circuit has the longest lap on the MotoGP calendar and Dovizioso's best lap today of 2.06.347s reflected this. The next longest lap is at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia (5.548km, 3.447 miles) where the race lap record is 2m 02.108s.
Pedrosa took his usual methodical approach to learning a new track and upped his pace steadily through the session, finishing with a lap time 1.239s behind his team-mate. Like Dovizioso, he enjoyed his first encounter with the Silverstone circuit and also commented on the bumpy surface. The 24-year-old Spaniard, who is looking for back-to-back wins after his victory in Mugello two weeks ago, is confident there's plenty more to come in tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions. Pedrosa's RC212V was the fastest machine through the speed trap today recording a top speed of 310.8km/h (193.2mph). Dovizioso was second fastest on 309.5km/h (192.3mph).
Today's first practice session was held in cool, cloudy conditions and with five minutes to go rain brought proceedings to a halt just at the time when the fastest laps of the session are usually set. The weather is set to improve through the weekend with sun forecast for Sunday's 20-lap race, which begins at 13.00 (GMT +1 hour).
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 3rd -- 2m 06.347s +0.356s
"The first impressions of Silverstone are very positive. It's a technical track, very fast and I had a lot of fun riding here today. There are different kinds of asphalt but this is not an issue, the main difficulty is the bumps. There are many bumps and it's difficult to control the bike because of these. I'm happy that I managed to interpret the track layout quite quickly from the beginning of the session. I had a good feeling with the bike and I think that we are starting from a good base. I also think there is a lot of room of improvement and we didn't push too much at the end because it started raining. We didn't test the new frame we have available here because it was important to learn the new circuit first. I hope we will have dry conditions tomorrow and for race day. Anyway the weather forecast is good so I'm optimistic we can have another good weekend."
DANI PEDROSA -- 6th -- 2m 07.586s +1.595s
"It's funny because there was a very precise forecast of rain to arrive at 2.50pm and that's exactly when it came - with five minutes to go - so in fact we were very lucky to have most of the session with a dry track on our first visit to Silverstone. It's quite good fun to ride at this circuit - and it's also pretty bumpy. You can feel the difference between the old and the new parts of the track because the old sections are bumpy and slippery whereas the new sections are quite good. There are two or three very fast corners and some long straights, and obviously we've started with an approximation of the right gearing and we will need to adjust this a little bit. I think that the lap times will be very different tomorrow. At the beginning of the session we had a lot of traffic because everyone was checking the track. I didn't really push today for a lap time - I preferred to check my braking points and get my bearings. The circuit was also quite dirty especially at the start of the session, but I think it will improve tomorrow and the times will come down a lot."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"This was a positive start for the Repsol Honda Team on our return to Silverstone. Both riders have learned a lot in this session and I'm sure their times will improve rapidly through the weekend, which is usually the case, but especially so at a new circuit. The surface is quite bumpy and we need to work on the right settings for this, but overall our machine package seems to be working well here so far."