Japanese GP: Repsol Honda Saturday notes

Both Repsol Hondas will start Sunday's Grand Prix of Japan from the front row after a highly impressive show of pace by the factory Honda squad in today's qualifying session at the Twin Ring Motegi. Dani Pedrosa produced another dominant display...

Both Repsol Hondas will start Sunday's Grand Prix of Japan from the front row after a highly impressive show of pace by the factory Honda squad in today's qualifying session at the Twin Ring Motegi. Dani Pedrosa produced another dominant display and has been fastest in every session this weekend before taking his second pole position of the season by 0.391s this afternoon. Just as important as securing the front slot on the grid has been Pedrosa's pace on race tyres this weekend. The 21-year-old Spaniard was able to complete a high number of laps on his Michelin race tyre options today including a lap of 1m 47.155s this morning which is inside the existing race lap record of 1m 47.288s.

As promised, Nicky Hayden made substantial improvements at Motegi today as he made full use of the two one-hour sessions. In the morning the World Champion knocked a full second from his best lap time of yesterday and finished the session in third place behind Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi. With his first qualifying tyre in the afternoon the 26-year-old from Owensboro, Kentucky went to second on the time sheets before being nudged back to third by Rossi. A small mistake on his second qualifier cost the World Champion a chance of pole position, but Hayden was pleased to record his fourth front row start in successive races.

The weather is expected to be unpredictable tomorrow at the 4.801km (2.981-mile) Motegi circuit with a chance of rain for the 24-lap race, so the Repsol Honda Team will remain vigilant as the 14.00hrs start time approaches.

Dani Pedrosa Qualifying: Pole Position 1m 45.846s

"I'm very happy to be on pole position and it's been a little while since I've been on the front row so today went very well for us, all in all. We've spent today mostly working on race tyre selection and it looks like we've got good pace in all the conditions we've had so far this weekend. We'll have to look at the weather for tomorrow to make our final selection of race tyre, but I think we're looking pretty good, and hopefully the endurance will be there too because we've tested for that by putting in a lot of laps on the same tyre. We're in a good position for the race, but anything can happen. The weather is looking like it will change and we've seen first corner incidents at this circuit before. I hope we get through the first corner cleanly and have a good race at Honda's home track."

Nicky Hayden Qualifying: 3rd -- 1m 46.575s

"I definitely have to say thanks to the team because we made quite a lot of progress straight away this morning and I felt a lot more comfortable on the bike. I'm not completely thrilled with my second qualifying lap though. My first two splits were quite good but then I made a little mistake and in the last part of the lap I didn't put it together clean enough. I really didn't improve my time from my first qualifier to my second one and with these boys that won't cut it. Nevertheless I'm happy to be on the front row -- that's four in a row -- and the bike, tyres and everything is working pretty well so I'm excited for the race. I know it's going to be difficult tomorrow because there are a lot of guys going quickly but hopefully we've got a package that we can do something with. This afternoon I was able to put in some decent laps on a used race tyre so I'm excited for the race."

Makoto Tanaka - Team Manager

"This was a very successful qualifying session for us because we have both riders on the front row. Dani has had a perfect record at Motegi so far this weekend -- being fastest in every practice session and taking pole position. He was a avery close second at the last race in Portugal and is looking good for tomorrow. The ground temperature changed from the morning to the afternoon but still the race tyres can cover the range of conditions, so thanks to Michelin because we seem to have very good performance on race tyres and qualifying tyres here. Nicky also put in many good laps today. We still need to make some setting adjustments to his machine but with a good start tomorrow I hope he can be at the front too. Anything can happen but we're hoping for a Repsol Honda one-two in the race."

-credit: honda

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Repsol Honda Team