Repsol Honda riders Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa made a positive start to the U.S. Grand Prix weekend today as the first hour of MotoGP free practice took place at the famous Laguna Seca circuit in California. The factory Honda squad got...
Repsol Honda riders Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa made a positive start to the U.S. Grand Prix weekend today as the first hour of MotoGP free practice took place at the famous Laguna Seca circuit in California. The factory Honda squad got stuck in to the detailed process of dialing in the RC212V to the demands of this unique and challenging track - Dovizioso and Pedrosa finishing the session in third and fourth places, with further improvements expected tomorrow.
Dovizioso rode with confidence from the outset and quickly got into a good rhythm around the 3.610km (2.243 miles) circuit - remaining near the top of the timesheets throughout. Towards the end of the session the Italian tried some electronics settings adjustments with positive results and he recorded his best time of 1m 22.225s on the last of his 33 laps this afternoon, a mark which was 0.526s back from today's quickest lap time set by Casey Stoner. After the positive opening session, Dovizioso is confident about qualifying well tomorrow.
Pedrosa was a further 0.334s behind his team-mate and is certain that there's more to come in tomorrow's two sessions. The Spaniard is looking to take his first back-to-back wins in the MotoGP class this weekend following his victory at the previous race in Germany last Sunday. After a promising start to this afternoon's session, Pedrosa didn't improve his lap times as much as he anticipated and is looking for improved rear grip and more stability at the front - areas his crew will work on this evening. But having won last year's U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca after also placing fourth in Friday practice, the 24-year-old is confident of closing the gap to the top of the timesheets in tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 3rd -- 1m 22.225s +0.526s
"I'm happy with the start we've made to the weekend today. We got into a good rhythm quickly and we're faster than we were last year here. This year's RC212V is much more controllable and so it's quite a lot easier to get into a rhythm and set quick and consistent lap times. On our last run out of the pits we tried some new electronics settings for traction control and the feeling was generally good. Of course we need to continue working on this and testing them tomorrow to understand the changes better, but it's a positive step. The asymmetric tyre Bridgestone has brought here is working well. I used the harder Bridgestones for my fastest laps so I'm confident we can find a good race setting and also qualify well tomorrow."
DANI PEDROSA -- 4th -- 1m 22.559s +0.860s
"I know we can improve quite a lot from today so I'm reasonably confident about the rest of the weekend. After the first run this afternoon we made some settings adjustments to the bike which didn't improve the pace as we'd anticipated and there are a few areas we need to work on in order to move forward. For the first day the lap times at the top are quick already but I'm not worried about the gap because I know we can improve from here. We need to work to increase the grip at the rear and also get some more stability at the front. Last year here we were also not so fast on the first day so we'll keep working and get ready to take a step forward tomorrow."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Today we completed the first practice session at Laguna and the team have made a reasonable start to the weekend. Andrea was very comfortable from the outset and was able to improve his pace through the session. He tried some new electronics settings with positive initial results and we'll analyse the data from today and fine tune these further. There's still some work to do on Dani's side in terms of chassis settings, but once those adjustments are made he can get much closer to the front. We saw last year that both Dani and Andrea can be strong here, so I'm confident the team can qualify well tomorrow."