San Marino GP: Repsol Honda preview

Back To Full Strength The Repsol Honda Team will be back to full strength for the San Marino Grand Prix, with Nicky Hayden coming back from injury to rejoin team-mate Dani Pedrosa. Hayden missed the recent Czech GP due to a foot injury ...

Back To Full Strength

The Repsol Honda Team will be back to full strength for the San Marino Grand Prix, with Nicky Hayden coming back from injury to rejoin team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

Hayden missed the recent Czech GP due to a foot injury sustained during an X Games Supermoto event in Los Angeles on August 1. Doctors told the 2006 MotoGP World Champion that a hasty return to racing might complicate the right-heel injury, advising him to delay his comeback until Misano.

Pedrosa and Hayden will race their usual RC212V machines at Italy's second MotoGP event of the year, the Spaniard using his valve-spring engine, while the American rides the pneumatic-valve machine he first raced at June's British GP. Pedrosa is hoping that the grip issues that consigned him to a 15th place finish at Brno will have been resolved for the San Marino event. The team will stay on to test at Misano, when it's likely that Pedrosa will try the pneumatic-valve engine.

Misano hosted its first Grand Prix event in 1980 and staged the Italian world round (then called the Grand Prix of Nations) on and off throughout the decade. Last year the circuit returned to the World Championship calendar after an absence of 14 years, having undergone major changes, most importantly a change of direction that transformed the circuit from anti-clockwise to clockwise. Misano, situated just inland from Italy's Adriatic holiday coast, is mostly dominated by tight, slow-speed turns that give MotoGP riders a tough time on their 220 horsepower machines. Last year the Repsol Honda team had an unlucky race at the venue. Pedrosa and Hayden were the innocent victims of a turn-one melee which took out Pedrosa and left Hayden to battle back from last position.

Dani Pedrosa

"I am hoping that we can have a better weekend at Misano, though I had bad luck there last year, another rider knocked me off at the very first corner. The Misano circuit is quite fast but it feels tight and narrow. The grip level is okay; last year we used medium-compound tyres because it was quite hot. The track was also very bumpy last year, which was probably its worst feature. From a set-up point of view the most important thing at Misano is having good braking power and good stability when accelerating out of the corners. It's the kind of track that requires you to ride aggressively. My favourite section is the final part, though the most important section for good lap times is the first. The atmosphere is great and it can get quite intense. You get a lot of Valentino Rossi fans there because his hometown is nearby."

Nicky Hayden

"I'm certainly excited to be getting back out there with the boys, because I hated missing Brno. I've been doing all the old 'voodoo' stuff they tell you to do: bone stimulators, lasers, ultrasound, all that stuff, I'm doing everything possible to get back. I had hoped my progress would be quicker. I still need crutches at this stage, but unless something goes south I definitely plan on trying to ride. I've been seeing doctors, and I'm going to get something moulded to wear in my boot. I've been doing some training in the pool and a few things at the gym, nothing too crazy. Misano is almost a Laguna without the hills, it's a tight little scrappy track where you need a bike you can be aggressive with. I enjoyed it last year but I'd just as soon they flipped it back around and go the old direction for those big lefts that used to go on to the back straightaway, I remember seeing the old 500s guys riding those on TV."

MISANO - THE TRACK
Constructed: 1972
Latest modification: 2007
Length: 4,180m
Width: 4 m
Pole position: left
Right corners: 9
Left corners: 5
Longest straight: 565 m

2007 Motogp race: 1st C.Stoner (Ducati), 2nd C.Vermeulen (Suzuki), 3rd J.Hopkins (Suzuki)

RECORD
Circuit fastest lap (new record): C.Stoner (Ducati): 1'34.649
Circuit best lap: C.Stoner (Ducati) 1'33.918

-credit: repsol

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