Valencian GP: Repsol Honda qualifying report

Impressive Run Repsol Honda RC212V rider Dani Pedrosa continued his impressive run of form during this afternoon's qualifying session at Valencia, ending the hour a close second fastest, just five hundredths of a second off pole position. Two...

Impressive Run

Repsol Honda RC212V rider Dani Pedrosa continued his impressive run of form during this afternoon's qualifying session at Valencia, ending the hour a close second fastest, just five hundredths of a second off pole position. Two weeks ago Pedrosa scored his first pole with Bridgestone tyres at the Malaysian GP.

Changeable conditions have dominated both days of practice and qualifying here, with rain throughout yesterday's two sessions, more rain this morning and a smattering of drizzle during the qualifying session. Riders have therefore had very little chance to evaluate their range of race tyres, with a dry race in prospect tomorrow. Morning 20 minute warm-up session will therefore be immensely important.

Dani Pedrosa, 2nd fastest, 1m 31.555s

"Finally, it looked like we might get a dry session this afternoon. The hour started dry but then it started raining again, which spoiled the work we had planned focusing on trying different race tyres. I wanted to continue working with race tyres, preparing for the race, but we made an early switch to qualifying tyres to make sure of a good grid position for tomorrow, in case it started raining more heavily. Finally we made the front row, quite close to pole, and the front row is particularly important at this track. We were only able to try one race tyre this afternoon, so we will need a good warm-up and then we will need to think very carefully about which tyres we will run in the race. I hope we can have a dry race tomorrow, not only for us but also for all the tens of thousands of fans who always pack the grandstands here."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"Dani did a great job today, he was very close to scoring his second consecutive pole position. The front row is very important here because overtaking is not so easy at this track. Dani has therefore put himself in a good position for tomorrow's race. The lap times are very close at the front of the pack, so the start will be crucial. Like everyone, he has had very little dry-track time to compare race tyres, but I think he is in good shape, we will make some small settings changes tomorrow morning, make our race tyre choice and target the win."

Third Fastest

Repsol Honda RC212V rider Nicky Hayden battled for pole position throughout this afternoon's Valencia GP qualifying session, finally ending up third fastest, just two tenths of a second off pole position. The American, who won the 2006 MotoGP World Championship here, will thus start his last race with Repsol Honda from the front row of the grid.

It hasn't been an easy two days of practice and qualifying at Valencia, but Hayden showed his mettle by topping all three practice sessions, on a soaking track yesterday and in the damp this morning. With more rain clouds looming this afternoon, Hayden's crew sent him out on his first sets of qualifiers after 20 minutes in case the occasional drizzle turned into rain. His first qualifying run put him fastest, then he improved his time some more, before reverting to race tyres, before a final run on qualifiers which left him just shy of pole. This is Hayden's third front-row start in the last four races.

Nicky Hayden, 3rd fastest, 1m 31.703s

"We were close but close don't count, I guess! We shouldn't be too bummed out though, because we're on the front row. It was pretty obvious that we really wanted to be on pole, we've been fastest all weekend, the bike is working good and the team did a great job when it started sprinkling, getting one bike ready with qualifiers early on. It was quite a tough session, going to qualifiers and then back to race tyres. On my last qualifying run I did a 32.0 on my first lap and I knew it was going to be tough to get into 31s. I really pushed hard, really hung it out, but the bike was just moving around too much to be fast. The best I could do was a 31.7. I definitely pushed as hard as I could, though maybe I should've got the tyre a bit hotter on the out lap. It's always a compromise -- sometimes you get it too hot and sometimes you don't get it hot enough. I didn't get the lap time I needed, so I'm a little frustrated because it would've been cool to give Michelin a pole position for their last MotoGP race. But we've got a good bike and a good set-up, so we'll just try to go for it in the race. I didn't get to do many laps on race tyres, what with the drizzle and the qualifiers. I've only tried a couple of race tyres, so we'll definitely talk to Michelin and use every bit of morning warm-up to get the information we need to make our tyre choice."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"Nicky did a good job, he got very close to pole and it's great that he will start his final race with Honda from the front row of the grid. He didn't get many laps on race tyres, so we still have some work to do on tyre choice, also his crew will try to make some more settings improvements during morning warm-up. We will all work hard tomorrow, targeting victory at the last race of 2008."

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Dani Pedrosa