The Grand Prix of France weekend got under way today with the first hour of practice taking place in welcome warm sunshine at Le Mans. The Repsol Honda RC212Vs of Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa finished the session in fourth and fifth...
The Grand Prix of France weekend got under way today with the first hour of practice taking place in welcome warm sunshine at Le Mans. The Repsol Honda RC212Vs of Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa finished the session in fourth and fifth positions, with both setting lap times within striking distance of today's fastest rider, Valentino Rossi. They are confident of moving further forward in qualifying tomorrow.
Dovizioso was fast out of the blocks in today's sole session, holding the second quickest time early in the hour before spending time on fine machine settings and evaluating the two compounds of Bridgestone tyres available. At the end of the session the 24-year-old Italian once again went into attack mode and produced a lap time of 1m 34.625s, which was less than a quarter of a second behind the fastest time. The 24-year-old Italian was riding with the latest evolution chassis he tested on Monday after the last race at Jerez.
Pedrosa will take part in his 150th Grand Prix on Sunday and began his weekend with a respectable fifth place and a best lap time of 1m 34.989s. This is still some distance off the current pole position lap record Pedrosa set at Le Mans two years ago and the Spaniard will be determined to climb the timesheets and repeat his pole from last year when qualifying takes place tomorrow afternoon. Like his team-mate, Pedrosa was riding with a slightly modified fairing on his RC212V designed for enhanced aerodynamic performance.
With clear skies forecast at Le Mans for the rest of the weekend, the MotoGP paddock is looking forward to a rare event: a Grand Prix of France weekend unaffected by wet weather.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 4th 1m 34.625s +0.223.s
"I'm happy about how we started here at Le Mans. I didn't do the maximum number of laps this afternoon because we were working in the garage to make some changes to the settings - but I had three laps where I could push and I'm happy with my lap times and the feeling with the bike. At the beginning of the session we were working on the power control settings and making some adjustments to improve the rideability, and I'm confident we're working in the right direction. Le Mans is a track that I like and it's really a pleasure to ride with this nice weather. Long may it continue."
DANI PEDROSA -- 5th 1m 34.989s +0.587s
"Well this was a fairly normal first Friday session and the feeling today was positive. Obviously we were working a lot to find a good base setting for this circuit in these conditions and we haven't found the perfect set-up yet, but I'm sure we can improve it a lot tomorrow. I tested some electronics settings that I didn't feel 100 per cent comfortable with, so we'll analyse the data with the team and I'm confident that tomorrow I can make a big step forward. It's good to have these weather conditions straight away here in Le Mans because usually we lose some set-up time with bad weather."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"We did a lot of set-up work in all areas today and both riders made progress and we have plenty of options to work on and improve. The warm conditions today were not typical for Le Mans but if the weather is stable then both riders have a good chance of finding a good setting for the race. Andrea's pace was good especially towards the end of the session, and Dani can make a significant step forward tomorrow, so we're looking in good shape."