- Casey Stoner on top in first practice
- Pedrosa dealt with tyre problem
- Windy day in Qatar
Stoner happy, problems for Pedrosa in FP1
The first session of the 2011 season commenced at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar. Following pre-season testing which took place earlier this week, conditions were almost identical.
I'd say we're about 80% complete on the bike package.
Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner, retained his position at the top of the timing sheets with a time of 1'55.752 and completed a total of 16 laps. The Australian spent the evening fine tuning his set-up for the weekend. His team mate Dani Pedrosa followed closely behind and completed 18 laps in the forty-five minute session. Pedrosa experienced a rare issue with the rear tyre, a medium compound already used during winter testing with no problem, which his team and Bridgestone need to properly understand. Andrea Dovizioso had some vibration on the front end and he and his team will continue to work on this, when Free Practice 2 continues tomorrow at 18h00 local time.
Earlier in the afternoon, Repsol Honda Team, took the opportunity to show their support for Japan in this difficult time. They displayed a Japanese flag on their bikes, accompanied by a message of support: Hope not give up fighting: "Ganbare Japan!" .
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda
"We started of where we left on Monday and used more or less the same set-up. The wind is a little stronger than we had in the test but the track condition feels pretty good. We need to improve rear edge grip. This is an area we've struggled with a little, so we need to improve that which will give us better turn in and exit from the corner. I'd say we're about 80% complete on the bike package, we have a few main areas we can improve, but this is always the case. You can always improve something, and if we do in those areas, it will make us a lot more confident. I did the whole session with the same rear hard tyre and I was happy with it from the beginning to the end. This is good for the race. Finally the season has started, everything has gone fantastic so far but we need to be realistic and keep focused".
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda
"I had a problem with the rear tyre that we need to understand. It's the first issue we've had this winter with the tyres, so I hope it's an exception to the rule. We started the practice very well, we were fast in the first exit and then we stayed with the same tyre, the softer compound, for the whole session. Even if I used the same compound during the winter test without any problem for several laps, today already in the second round I felt it dropped down a lot, and in the third and last one it was even worse. With only 45 minutes practice, the rounds are very short and you don't have much time to make changes. Maybe the tyre had a problem, maybe it dropped down a lot because with 125cc and Moto2 bikes on track the conditions were very different comparing with the test of few days ago,. We don't know exactly. Anyway, the Grand Prix weekend just started and we will try with another tyre tomorrow to understand more. I hope we can take the best profit of both practices sessions to prepare for the race in a good way.”
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda
“With four days of practice it is important to manage the tyres, so today we used only the hard compound to save the soft tyres for tomorrow and the coming days. I expect it will only be possible to use the soft rear tyre for the race. The biggest problem today was a vibration on the front when I released the brake and this limited me a lot because I was not able to push and lean as I wanted. We need to understand this problem and solve it as soon as possible. Tonight my engineers will analyse the data and we will see how to improve this issue. I am not happy about my lap time, but I am confident that we can improve because I feel that we have margin. Today, I'm very proud as Italy celebrates it's 150th anniversary of unity as a Country, so I have a special sticker on my helmet to commemorate this".