The Repsol Hondas of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso were separated by just 0.3s seconds in today’s first practice for the German Grand Prix, yet finished in second and ninth places on the timesheets as the Sachsenring circuit produced a typically tight session. A heavy rain shower before the session meant the hour-long practice started wet and ended dry, with Pedrosa eventually dipping fractionally below his race lap record – set here on his way to victory in 2007.
Pedrosa, who is looking for a second consecutive victory after his win in Laguna Seca two weeks ago, is strong at this circuit and proved this once again despite the mixed conditions, finishing just 0.255s behind the fastest time set by Casey Stoner. He and his factory Honda team-mate were riding with the latest specification engines in their RC212Vs, designed to further improve the race machine’s driveabilty and to enhance power delivery in the middle of the rev range.
Dovizioso was fast in both wet and dry conditions, briefly topping the timesheets after 15 minutes on a wet track before appearing on top again as a dry line emerged. As the times tumbled in the final few minutes the Italian was able to up his pace further and finished just 0.591s behind Stoner. However, on a day when the top 12 riders were covered by a single second this was good enough only for ninth place. Like his team-mate, Dovizioso is confident of further progress in tomorrow’s practice and qualifying sessions.
DANI PEDROSA – 2nd, 1m 23.034
“As a first practice session here, this has been pretty good for us. The track was wet at the beginning and then began to dry out, which made things a little complicated, but it was the same for everyone and we made some progress. I have to say that at the beginning in the wet I took it easy after what happened last year, but actually, when I saw the rain before the session I thought, OK, we can pick up from where we left off and change the outcome. We rode with the new engine today although, because of these mixed conditions, it wasn’t really possible to draw definite conclusions – but the feeling was positive. We need more laps to fully evaluate the engine, so we’ll continue with that tomorrow. The main goal is to set the bike up as best as possible for any conditions – rain or dry – ready for the race.”
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 9th, 1m 23.370
“Even though the track conditions were not ideal, we already felt some improvements from the new engine that Honda has brought for us this weekend. The situation wasn’t perfect for a comparison test because we started with a wet track and then it started to dry, so we began with the current version of the engine and then we did the last run with the new one. The feeling was good both in wet and dry conditions and we did a lot of testing without focussing too hard on setting ultimate lap times, so I’m confident for tomorrow. We’ll continue with the set-up and tyre testing work tomorrow, and continue to evaluate the new engine. Today we couldn’t use the hard Bridgestone tyre option, but it will be important to test it in preparation for the race. The weather forecast looks really mixed. Of course we would prefer dry, but we we’ll see.”
KAZUHIKO YAMANO – REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
“This was a good start for the team and initial feedback from the riders is positive. We need to study carefully the information we gathered today and, because the conditions were varying right through the session, we probably won’t be able to draw too many firm conclusions just yet. There are also a few areas of the machine package we still have to work on to get the ideal set-up, so we’ll work on the plan for tomorrow’s sessions in readiness for whatever the weather will throw at us.”