Pedrosa Dazzling, Hayden Strong Repsol Honda RC212V rider Dani Pedrosa was in dazzling form at Assen this afternoon, ending up just 0.032 seconds off pole position. Team-mate Nicky Hayden also enjoyed a strong qualifying session, the American...
Pedrosa Dazzling, Hayden Strong
Repsol Honda RC212V rider Dani Pedrosa was in dazzling form at Assen this afternoon, ending up just 0.032 seconds off pole position. Team-mate Nicky Hayden also enjoyed a strong qualifying session, the American fourth quickest, just 0.455 seconds off pole.
Pedrosa and Hayden were also impressive in this morning's practice session, run on a damp and drying track, ending the outing in first and third positions. This afternoon's conditions were dry but blustery, Pedrosa's final lap taking him to a tantalisingly close to pole-sitter Casey Stoner. Hayden, using the pneumatic-valve RCV engine for the second race, might have done even better if he had had time to use his final qualifying tyre. He also lost some time on his fastest lap when John Hopkins crashed just in front of him as they attacked the high-speed Ramshoek left-hander in the closing stages of the hour-long outing.
Tomorrow's 60th Assen World Championship TT is the ninth race of the 2008 season and the halfway point in the 18-race campaign.
Dani Pedrosa, 2nd fastest, 1m 35.552s
"I'm very happy with this afternoon's result, especially because this will be the first time I've started from the front row in MotoGP at Assen. The first part of the track is very tight, so it is really important to start from the front row here. Casey will try to escape from the pack at the start, which means it will be crucial to get a good start and try to stay in contact. We still have some improvements to make. This is a very complex track for set-up and we need to try some small changes to help make me feel at ease on the bike because the pace is going to be very fast tomorrow. Once again the weather has played a part, this morning's rain meant that we couldn't do any proper work with slicks, so we aren't yet 100 per cent sure about our race tyre choice. If it rains again tomorrow, the race will be more complicated."
Nicky Hayden, 4th fastest, 1m 35.975s
"This morning the bike was working quite good in the wet and on intermediates. That session sucked for learning much about the dry but I got some good experience out there on intermediates front and rear and it felt quite good, I was able to stay out and get a good feel for it. This afternoon seemed to go so quick. We tried a couple of little things on the front, but after the first run we had to go back to what we had before because the changes helped in some areas but overall they made it worse. We started putting our qualifiers and then I had an issue with the clutch which lost us some time in the tyre changes, so ultimately I didn't get to use my last qualifier, so we had one bullet left in the chamber that we didn't use. The Michelin qualifiers were working awesome round here, every one we put in I kept getting faster, so it would've been fun to fire the last one in there. It's going to be a hard race tomorrow, I'm not making no predictions, we'll see what we can do, go for the best result we can."
Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager
"Both riders did a very good job today, both of them in the top four in both sessions, so my thanks to them and to the team. I think they have both got their machines working very well round here. The start is extra important at this track, so it is great news to have both our riders on the front two rows. Their race pace isn't so bad, but we know tomorrow won't be easy because there are many strong riders out there. As always, we will challenge for the win."