News 26 Jul 2009

MotoGP: Pedrosa second on Donington grid for Repsol Honda


Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) will start tomorrow’s British GP from second on the grid after an impressive run in this afternoon’s qualifying session. The Spanish RC212V rider – a winner and a close-run third in the last two races – has been quick in all weathers here. He led yesterday’s opening session run in mostly damp conditions and topped this morning’s session in the sunshine. More rain is forecast for tomorrow, so his speed in all conditions could prove to be vital.

Pedrosa – currently fourth in the points standings – ended this afternoon’s sunny qualifying session just 0.095 seconds off pole position man Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and 0.191 seconds just ahead of compatriot Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). And he believes he may have had a chance at pole if he hadn’t lost concentration during his final run when he got caught up with some slower riders. Pedrosa is confident of a good pace on race tyres, unlike Rossi who believes his bike is currently working better on soft ‘qualifying’ tyres than on hard race tyres.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) also had a good run this afternoon, coming through to fifth fastest, which puts him in the middle slot of the second row, between 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner (Ducati) and Honda’s former World Superbike king Colin Edwards (Yamaha). The Italian – who has won 250 and 125 GPs at Donington Park – is still honing his set-up, looking for a bit more corner-entry speed and a little more traction.

Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) was eighth fastest today, allowing him to be optimistic about another good result after two consecutive sixth-place finishes in the US and German GPs. The Spaniard has made major forward strides with the set-up of his RC212V in recent weeks, his team finding a setting which allows him to feel comfortable at speed.

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) and Alex De Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) finished qualifying tenth and 12th fastest, both of them struggling with Donington’s tricky low-speed final section, which requires a very different set-up and riding style from the faster and more flowing first half of the track. De Angelis’ biggest problem has been corner-exit wheelies, which his crew will be working hard to solve overnight.

Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Honda) slid off this afternoon but was able to continue on his second bike. The Hungarian and his crew are working hard to improve the balance of his RC212V for this challenging circuit.

Tomorrow’s British GP is the last MotoGP race at Donington Park; next year the event moves to Silverstone. Donington has hosted the event since 1987. Tomorrow’s race is also the last of four MotoGP races in five weekends, the paddock now gets to enjoy two weekends off before the Czech GP at Brno on August 14/15/16.


Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd – 1m 28.211s
“We did a good job in both sessions today and I’m happy to qualify on the front row because, in reality, that’s more important than taking pole position. On my last run at the end of the qualifying session I found some traffic on the circuit which caused me to lose my concentration and rhythm slightly, so I think I could have gone a little quicker. But still, the middle of the front row is OK. Our dry set-up is nearly there so we’ll aim to make just a few little improvements before the race. The weather is looking changeable for tomorrow, though at least we’ve had some practice time in the wet yesterday. If it’s raining I’d like to improve my riding and my pace a bit but the weather is out of our control so we’ll have to see. It’s the last MotoGP race at Donington tomorrow and of course I’d like a good result to sign off with – preferably a win.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 5th – 1m 28.778s.
“Starting from the second row is not a bad place to be and gives us a chance to get away at the head of the field so I’m satisfied with that. A fast start tomorrow should give us a good opportunity to have a strong race. Having said that, I really like this track and I was hoping to be in a slightly better situation going into tomorrow both in terms of grid position and race pace. We still need to improve our speed and consistency and there is some work to do to take us closer to the frontrunners and be fully competitive. We need to improve on the entry to the corner and also to work on traction, so we’ll look at the data we collected today and I’m confident my team can help me to make these improvements. It could rain tomorrow too, so we’ll come in ready for anything.”

Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 8th – 1m 29.175s.
“I’m pretty happy. Obviously I would have preferred to be on the second row and I think we were capable of that today but the third row isn’t bad. It is certainly I big improvement on Germany a week ago, where I started last! We started out well this morning and improved the setting of the bike even more this afternoon. I feel comfortable, my rhythm is good, so the target for tomorrow has to be to get a good start and try to stick with the front group for the whole race.”

Randy de Puniet, LCR Honda: 10th – 1m 29.439s.
“Well… it hasn’t been an easy day for me and I always struggle to set my pace on this track especially in the last two corners. Since the beginning of this weekend we had some issues to understand why we could not keep the pace of the front group. We have been focused in the last part of the track because that’s where it seems we are losing too much time. We tried to improve the machine between the two sessions and I did my best to adapt my riding style to these corners to win some tenths. Honestly, we expected a third row start but I am still hoping for a top eight end”.

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 12th – 1m 29.434s.
“We’re having a problem in the slow section, which we expected after Sachsenring. Basically the bike wants to wheelie out of the slow corners and obviously with the chicane, followed by the two hairpins in that last section, that is where we are losing time. I got behind Lorenzo for a lap today and was able to follow him all the way around until that part, where he disappeared! If we can just sort the set-up out for those last two corners we will be ready – if not for the same result as Sachsenring then something close to it. If it’s dry that will be the target. If it is wet, I was constantly in the top eight yesterday in those conditions so there’s no reason why we couldn’t repeat that.”

Gabor Talmacsi, Scot Racing Team: 17th – 1m 31.193s.
“To be honest, I’m not able to tell you why I crashed. I’m going to check the data, but my feeling is that I was on the same line and at the same speed than in previous laps. I simply lost the front, and fell down. The team has been great – when I entered the garage, everything was ready and we lost no more than 15 minutes. In the last part of the session I did not find a situation suitable to get the time I wanted. One of the problems with us is the rear grip. The other is the braking when entering into the turns”.