Pedrosa On Pole Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa made it three Le Mans pole positions in four years in a thrilling qualifying session for tomorrow's Grand Prix of France. It was a riveting battle for supremacy that went right down to the wire and the...
Pedrosa On Pole
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa made it three Le Mans pole positions in four years in a thrilling qualifying session for tomorrow's Grand Prix of France. It was a riveting battle for supremacy that went right down to the wire and the 23-year-old Spaniard waited until the last possible second to grab top spot by just 0.005s, continuing his spectacular MotoGP qualifying record at the famous French track: Pedrosa was on pole for Repsol Honda in his debut MotoGP season in 2006, and again last year.
His Repsol Honda team-mate, Andrea Dovizioso, also left his best until last this afternoon, putting a in last-gasp hot lap just 0.326s slower than Pedrosa to take fifth position. It was a highly-competitive qualifying session today with the front two rows were covered by only 0.356s. And though Dovizioso wasn't able to repeat his timesheet-topping performance from yesterday, he was content with achieving a second-row starting position having shown consistent race pace on both Bridgestone's soft and hard tyre options.
This afternoon's qualifying session was held in sunny conditions but, on a weekend when rain has been an ever-present threat, the MotoGP paddock knows it can't count on a dry race when the lights go out at 14.00 local time tomorrow.
DANI PEDROSA -- 1st 1m 33.974s
"Obviously I'm really happy with pole today and it was a very close battle for the front row. Right at the end we were able to set the fastest lap and I'm really pleased for the team as well as for myself. Being on the front row is important, and it's also lucky that we had good weather for this afternoon and for most of the morning session because it allowed us to test a few set-up options and learn more about the machine at this track. We still have work to do before the race though, so we're not going to relax at all. It's a long race tomorrow and there are some improvements I'd like to make to the machine settings to give us a good chance. And of course the weather can play a big part at this circuit as we've seen many times before. We have to prepare for many conditions, so we're staying focused."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 5th 1m 34.300s
"Starting from the second row is ok and I feel I could have gone quicker still if I'd managed to get the maximum from the soft tyre. I'm happy though, because I had a good rhythm and was able to maintain a fast pace on both the soft and hard Bridgestone tyre options during the practice sessions. We'll have to take a lot of care with the tyre selection because, with the changeable weather situation and temperature here, the choice of tyres for the race will be crucial. It's likely that we won't know which ones to use until just before the race when we'll have the best idea of the conditions. Tonight we're going to study a few more setting adjustments and aim to finalise things in the warm-up. I like this track and I'm looking forward to the race."
KAZUHIKO YAMANO - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Well, this was a pretty good day for us. Dani's given Repsol Honda its first pole position of the season which is very good for him and also for all the team members. Andrea's position in the middle of the second row is also positive and with a good start he can be in contention tomorrow too. Right now the whole Repsol Honda Team is pulling together and doing an excellent job. We still know we have to improve the machine because it's not perfect though. Both sides of the garage will assess the data they gathered from today's practice sessions and trim the machine settings in the warm-up. It's good to see that there are plenty of Honda fans here at Le Mans and we'll be drawing on their power tomorrow to help us fight for the best possible result."