Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) will start tomorrow’s Czech Grand Prix from the front row of the grid after a strong run in this afternoon’s sun-soaked qualifying session at Brno. The Spaniard was third fastest in the outing, for his fifth front-row start this year, just behind Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
Pedrosa may have been faster if he hadn’t found some traffic at the most crucial stage of the session and is convinced he will be able to fight for the win if his crew can fine tune his set-up before morning warm-up. Most of all, Pedrosa is looking for more consistency in his lap times. His RC212V is certainly performing well here, heading the top speed charts at 301.8km/h.
Compatriot Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) put in a sterling performance to lead the second row, less than three tenths slower than Pedrosa.
Elias has shown a steady and marked improvement in recent races, enough to make him confident of a good result here. Yesterday he worked hard on honing his RCV’s electronics set-up for this track, yielding excellent results which allowed him to up his pace today.
British GP winner Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) completes the second row in sixth place, having reduced the gap between himself and the leaders in the qualifying session. Most importantly the Italian has improved his race pace and is sure he can be faster in the race if a few overnight tweaks give him more performance.
Like team-mate Elias, Alex De Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) has been steadily building speed in recent outings and the San Marino rider was in excellent form once again today, taking seventh place immediately behind Dovizioso. During the session De Angelis ran into some difficulties with his machine running wide through the corners, but a clever set-up adjustment in the final few minutes of the hour-long outing cured the problem.
Unlucky Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) was 13th fastest, riding in some discomfort after breaking bones in his left ankle last Saturday. The Frenchman was riding a motocross training session when he fell and sustained the injury. He had the damaged bones screwed to allow him to ride here and underwent pain-killing injections before going out to qualify. In the circumstances, 13th place, just 2.1 seconds off pole position, is a brave result.
Thousands of Hungarian fans flocked into the Brno circuit this morning to cheer on Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Honda) in his first MotoGP qualifying session in eastern Europe. The former 125 World Champion ended the day 17th, 2.6 seconds off Rossi’s pole time, working hard with his crew to find more grip to cure an understeer problem.
HONDA MotoGP RIDER LAP TIMES AND QUOTES
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd – 1m 56.528s.
“I’m happy enough with today because we’re on the front row and that’s the most important thing to achieve in qualifying. I think I could have gone even quicker at the end of the session, but on my final run lap I had a lot of traffic and I had to do two slow laps until I found a clear track.
Still, I think we had some more potential to go faster so this is positive. For tomorrow we still have to improve the set-up and achieve a little more consistency in our lap times so that I can run at the front. I like this circuit and I’ve had some good results here previously, so I hope I can make a quick start and fight for the win tomorrow.”
Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 4th – 1m 56.817s.
“We’ve been strong in every session, always among the top six and to have qualified fourth, we can’t ask for much more. We worked hard to solve the problems we had yesterday and now the objective is to get a good start and try and follow the lead group. It is going to be difficult because the top three are all fast riders on top material but you never know what can happen in racing. The important thing from our point of view is that we’re close. We have been to two tracks recently in Donington and Sachsenring that I don’t like but I love it here and it shows. Hopefully it will show in the race tomorrow too!”
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 6th – 1m 57.108s.
“During the qualifying session we improved the race pace and reduced the gap to the leaders by about four tenths, so this is a positive move. We were further away than that yesterday and this morning so we’re going in the right direction. We still need to go quicker if we want to fight for the lead in the race tomorrow so me and the engineers will be working on a few set-up areas that will, hopefully, give us an extra edge and allow us to compete at the front. In terms of the tyre choice we’ll be going for the hard compound Bridgestones. There’s only a small difference between the compounds but the hard tyre is the choice – no question. We’ll aim to get the most of the warm-up session and give it everything in the race.”
Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 7th – 1m 57.775s.
“I’m really pleased because we had some problems during the session getting the bike to hold its line through the corners – it kept wanting to run wide – but we found a solution in the final few minutes without having to dramatically alter the general balance of the bike. I felt I could go faster and that proved to be the case and now I think we have even more room for improvement before tomorrow. I think at any racetrack a position inside the top eight or even ten is a good result for us and that is the target for tomorrow, although the most important thing is to bring it home in the points.”
Randy de Puniet, LCR Honda: 13th – 1m 58.298s.
“Well… it’s extremely tough for me but I am satisfied about my performance. I am still walking on crutches but when I come out on the track I absolutely want to do the best despite my condition. The team is doing an excellent job to adjust the bike as I can’t give them any specific set-up information. My foot is getting better but it aches so much! We are really pleased about our pace and every day is a step closer to making a full recover. I won’t be easy to maintain my best rhythm for 22 laps but we have the potential to score some points.”
Gabor Talmacsi, Scot Honda: 17th – 1m 58.749s.
“I expected something more. The point is that we are experiencing the same lack of grip we had in the previous race. I feel I can go faster, but when I open the throttle the bike goes wide and off the best line, where there is less grip. There are are eight riders within seven tenths of each other, so there’s not much of a gap between me and the guys in tenth and 11th. We must find a solution to improve our set-up. My crew will analyze the data; then we will test something different tomorrow morning, in the warm-up.”