The Repsol Honda Team opens the season setting the pace in Sepang
The Malaysian circuit of Sepang was the venue for the first practice session of the 2011 pre-season, and the Repsol Honda Team started out as it means to go on, which after the expectation it raised during its presentation in the hotel Pan Pacific in Sepang, was the centre of attention again as it got the best results of all the teams out on the track.
Casey Stoner, who was dressed in the Repsol Honda Team colours for the first ever time -- in Valencia he was dressed in white for contractual reasons - once again showed his innate class and was fast from the very first moment. He was always among the fastest five, and Casey finished the day as leader - 4 tenths faster than the second placed rider, the reigning World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo. The Australian expressed his delight with how the Honda RC212V 2011 works and with his arrival in the Repsol Honda Team. He and his technicians have made a few small adjustments to his two bikes, and preferred to concentrate on regaining his pace after the winter break. At the end of the day the Australian said he was very satisfied with his first day" work.
Dani Pedrosa, third fastest at the end of the day, also had a promising and satisfying day. Last season" runner up arrived without knowing whether his left shoulder and arm would react after a difficuilt end to the 2010 season after a fall in Japan. The Spaniard felt relieved and satisfied at the end of the first day because in spite of feeling tired he was able to see that he has recovered his fitness and has taken an important step forward during the winter. Pedrosa, who spent the day on the bike from 2010, set his fastest times after returning to the track with some small improvements that will be applied to the bike for 2011.
Andrea Dovizioso, eighth fastest on the day, also felt satisfied with his results. In spite of finishing behind his team mates the Italian, who rode the Honda RC212V 2011, expressed his satisfaction with the potential of the new bike and with the first of these practice sessions.
"I am pleased with how things went today. My priority was to see how I felt on the bike after such a long time without riding and the sensations were very positive. Obviously I still lack a bit of power for braking and stability in my shoulder when changing direction, but the cramps that I had have disappeared and that is very positive for me. We have time to continue with my physical preparation and to get some power back before the season starts. Sincerely I did not think I would do so many laps today".
"I am pleased because this year we start with a very good base. All the riders at Honda are very competitive, so I feel very confident and that is an extra dose of motivation for me. Today we tested the new engine - it has more power at lower revs - and this helps me to keep my lines. We also tried the new chassis and it has some positive points and some negative ones, so we have to understand it better. We compared the forks from 2010 and 2011, and the braking stability is better, but we have to work on the suspension so as to avoid some of the vibrations when taking corners. I am satisfied because it has been easier for me to find a fast pace."
"This first day was very positive. At the beginning I took a bit of time to get used to the bike again, but I felt comfortable very quickly and we had a good day of testing. We did not make many changes compared to the bike we tested in Valencia and I am pleased to see that, in spite of the fact that the circuit is different, the bike also went well here in Sepang. At the end of the day we made some tests with the engine braking so as to lower the chattering, and it seems that we have found a good solution. Over the next couple of days we will start to test new things, but it has a good start after the winter break".