Repsol Honda PR:
The first practice session for this weekend’s Grand Prix of Catalunya took place today with the Repsol Honda Team beginning its meticulous machine set-up process at the Montmelo circuit near Barcelona. It was a positive day for Andrea Dovizioso, who finished the hour-long practice period in a competitive fourth place with a lap time of 1m 43.684s – just 0.646s back from today’s pace-setter, Valentino Rossi. This is a track that Dovizioso enjoys and the 23-year-old Italian is intent on making further improvements tomorrow.
The day was less productive for local hero Dani Pedrosa who wasn’t able to ride at 100 per cent pace today as he nurses his problematic right hip. The 23-year-old Spaniard received a pain-killing injection prior to this afternoon’s session but remained in considerable discomfort from the unfortunate injury he picked up at the last round in Italy. Pedrosa won the race in Catalunya last year and, in spite of his injury, remains determined to pursue the best possible result here in front of his home fans in Sunday’s 25-lap race. Due to low grip conditions here today, all the riders’ lap times today were well off the pace of Pedrosa’s lap record.
The Grand Prix of Catalunya continues with a further hour of practice tomorrow morning before the qualifying session at 13.55.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 4th 1m 43.684s
“Today’s result was pretty good and we are not too far from the front which is encouraging – though we still need to close the gap. This afternoon we worked on the set-up of the bike to improve the handling during corner entry and in the turn, which remains our main issue. We tried a different set-up solution on the second bike that worked well and I was able to improve the lap time and reduce the gap to the frontrunners. Fourth place today is a good start but we are still too far from the first three top riders, so we’ll continue to work on this tomorrow.”
DANI PEDROSA – 14th 1m 45.043s
“It’s my home race and already the atmosphere and support is incredible, but of course this wasn’t one of the best days of riding for me. I had a pain-killing injection before I rode this afternoon but it’s still very uncomfortable on the bike and this means I wasn’t able to ride at my normal pace. MotoGP machines are very physical to ride – it’s not like a street bike – so it’s tough when you are not at full strength. It’s frustrating because this is one of my favourite circuits of the season and also one where I have had a lot of good results. However, we certainly aren’t going to give up. It’s a long season and although today didn’t go too well, we’ll come back tomorrow and see what we can do.”
KAZUHIKO YAMANO – REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
“It was a mixed day for us today. Andrea was able to make some good progress with the settings for his machine and his final lap time is quite competitive. He’s made a strong start to the weekend and has given himself a good platform on which to build. For Dani, the situation is more complex. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to ride to his maximum potential which is a shame because he is extremely strong at this circuit in normal circumstances. We’ll have to monitor his physical condition tomorrow and hope that he can move forward step by step.”