Dani Pedrosa has confirmed that he is a candidate to win the San Marino Grand Prix this lunchtime at the Misano Circuit, after setting the best time of the day in an exciting and tight qualifying session. The Repsol rider took his fourth pole ...
Dani Pedrosa has confirmed that he is a candidate to win the San Marino Grand Prix this lunchtime at the Misano Circuit, after setting the best time of the day in an exciting and tight qualifying session. The Repsol rider took his fourth pole position of the season and will fight to repeat last Sunday's win, against a Jorge Lorenzo who competed against him for the best time until the last minute and Casey Stoner, who will complete the front row. Andrea Dovizioso improved by just half a second compared to yesterday and will start from the third row.
In this morning's free practice, the Spanish Repsol Honda Team rider was barely able to improve on yesterday's time and focused on his race pace, riding three long ten-lap stints. On the other side of the garage, his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso improved on his best time yesterday, finishing sixth while he worked, along with his team, on enhancing the set-up and performance of his Honda RC212V.
This afternoon's qualifying session started with a fast Stoner topping the timesheets, while the rest of the MotoGP riders progressed step-by-step. In the case of the Repsol Honda Team riders, Pedrosa was the quickest to reach the leading positions, while it was more difficult for Dovizioso to set fast times. The Italian rider struggled to find front end adjustments that would allow him to ride more confidently and this was obvious in his best times. In the end, he set the eighth best time and will start from the third row of the grid.
A rider who does seem to have found a good balance on his machine is Pedrosa, who after his win in Indianapolis has proved very competitive throughout the weekend. Best time yesterday, this morning, Pedrosa finished second -- 104 milliseconds behind Lorenzo --, and this afternoon, he continued working patiently on the set-up of his machine, waiting for the right moment to get into the battle for pole position. And that is what he did; just 15 minutes before the end of the qualifying, Pedrosa was at the top of the timesheets and for the rest of the session, battled hard with Lorenzo, Spies, Rossi and Stoner for the best time. For the moment, this battle has been won by Pedrosa, who was also the only rider able to ride at under one minute and 34 seconds.
Dani PEDROSA >> 1'33.948 sec, 58 laps, 245 KM.
"I'm happy to be on pole position because we were strong throughout practice and things have gone according to plan so far this weekend. We are doing a very good job at the moment, improving at every round and now we have the chance to have another good race. I've never won two MotoGP races in a row and this is a good challenge for me - I really want to go for it. Today went well especially because this was a very tight qualifying session and, as I said yesterday, it was crucial to be on the first row of the grid to have the best chance of getting through the first corners cleanly, because they are very tight.
It's a quite a tricky circuit and tomorrow it will be important not to make any mistakes - particularly on the brakes - in order to keep a high pace for the whole race distance. I think it will be very difficult to make a gap, but we'll wait and see what t he strategy is for the race. Hopefully we can get through the first corners cleanly, and then we will simply need to push very hard to win. We have a good opportunity".
Andrea DOVIZIOSO >> 1'34.826 sec. 60 laps, 254 KM.
"We made a big change to the set-up of the bike in terms of weight distribution to get a better feeling with the front end, but it didn't work for us. I was struggling a lot with the front and at the end of the session I almost crashed - like in Brno. It is very difficult to improve your lap time when you don't have the confidence with the front. Now we have to decide whether to keep going in this set-up direction with something more radical or go back to what we had before.
I'm disappointed to have qualified this far back for my home race, so we have some work to do tonight to find a setting that can improve things for warm-up and in the race. We've made it quite tough for ourselves, but we'll aim to get a good start and make up as many positions as possible early on".
-source: repsol honda