Pedrosa, Hayden Go Smooth Inclement weather and changeable track conditions dominated today's proceedings at Mugello, riders contending with a damp track this morning and heavy rainfall this afternoon. Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden excelled...
Pedrosa, Hayden Go Smooth
Inclement weather and changeable track conditions dominated today's proceedings at Mugello, riders contending with a damp track this morning and heavy rainfall this afternoon. Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden excelled in the conditions, the American leading the morning session at one point and ending the afternoon outing second fastest. On combined session times Hayden was 12th overall while team-mate Dani Pedrosa was eighth and wild card rider Tadayuki Okada 17th.
Okada's progress was watched with special interest because he is giving Honda's pneumatic-valve-spring engine its MotoGP debut this weekend. The Japanese rider, who hasn't contested a GP since October 2000, was satisfied with progress, though he had a high-speed tumble this afternoon when he lost the front while braking for the downhill Casanova right-hander. The six-time GP winner was forced to sit out the remainder of the session because he has only one bike here.
Dani Pedrosa, 8th fastest, 1m 55.805s
"This morning track conditions were 50/50, not completely dry, not completely wet. We started working on wet set-up and we needed to do a lot of testing. We also tested different rain tyres as the track conditions always change a lot when it's raining. In the afternoon the track was properly wet, in one area there was a lot of standing water which made riding quite dangerous. At the end of the session the rainfall slowed and the lap times improved. If it's wet again tomorrow we are in quite good shape, though there is still room for improvement. If it's dry, as the weather forecast suggests, it will be a completely new story as far as set-up is concerned. Mugello is a very technical and demanding track where you need perfect chassis settings. So if it's dry tomorrow we will have to work hard for the race."
Nicky Hayden, 12th fastest, 1m 59.436s
"Everything went pretty smooth today apart from the weather. This morning right at the end it didn't look good because we were on wets and the guys on slicks took a lot of time out of us, but earlier when it was raining, we were on top with not long to go. This afternoon at the beginning things weren't great, we were maybe a little bit too hard on set-up, then when the heavy rain stopped the tyres and bike worked better. We tried a few things for the rain but we ended up with the bike exactly how it was when we got it off the truck and that seems the best set-up for us. I know it's only in the wet, but the way things went at Le Mans, it's certainly a bit more fun when you're near the front and competitive, whether it's wet or dry or snowing or whatever. If it's dry tomorrow it'll be really important to make the most of the two hours for the race on Sunday."
Tadayuki Okada, 17th fastest, 2m 02.810s
"When I crashed, it was my second lap on new tyres and they were not warm enough, so when I braked the front end tucked under. Till then, I was setting up the machine smoothly. Although it is almost eight years since I last raced in a GP I had a good feeling and felt confident riding with the other riders. Of course, wet conditions hide the subtle differences between settings changes, so we will have to see how it goes in the dry. I hope it will be dry tomorrow and that I can find a good set-up for the race."
Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager
"Tady's comments about the engine are quite positive, he says power delivery is not so bad and the handling is easy here. Now we need to spend some time checking all the data. Unfortunately he crashed this afternoon but he is okay and the bike wasn't badly damaged. Of course, it's been raining most of the day, so we have only been able to check the bike with rain settings. Both Nicky and Dani have focused on wet set-up in case it rains for the race. Nicky's lap time in the rain wasn't so bad, it's good to see him up the front."