First practice for the San Marino Grand Prix took place at the Misano circuit this afternoon with Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso finishing the one-hour session in third and fifth places. On a baking hot afternoon where temperatures reached a sweltering 35 degrees, the factory Honda squad began the delicate process of tailoring the RC212V to the bumps and twists of the 4.226km (2.626miles) track near Rimini.
Pedrosa was among the frontrunners throughout the afternoon and sat on the top of the timesheets for periods during the day’s sole practice session. He finished with a lap time of 1m 36.080m – good enough for third place – with a gap to today’s fastest rider, Valentino Rossi, of 0.776s. The Spaniard’s final run, which traditionally yields the session’s fastest time, was interrupted when a broken radiator cap released some hot water and caused a surprised Pedrosa to abort his final run. In view of this, the Spaniard remains confident of closing in on his rivals in tomorrow’s practice and qualifying periods.
Andrea Dovizioso was just a 0.236s behind his team-mate in fifth place and was clearly enjoying riding at his home circuit – the place where he began his circuit racing career. Riding with Ohlins suspension for the first time at a MotoGP race weekend, Dovizioso was pleased with the progress he and his crew made as he brought his lap time down to 1m 36.316s. With plenty more to come in terms of set-up adjustments, Dovizioso is looking forward to a strong performance tomorrow in front of the partisan crowd that will flock to Misano over the weekend.
DANI PEDROSA – 3rd – 1m 36.080
“My pace was quite good during this first session and I’m sure there’s still more to come tomorrow. We spent some time testing the Bridgestone tyre options and working on general set-up today, and I’m reasonably happy with how it went for most of the session. It was very hot out there and I think the temperature is due to fall later in the weekend so we’ll have to be prepared to adapt our settings for that. We can improve further I think because on my last run out we had a small problem with the radiator cap which broke and spilt some water on my hands, so I lost the final run and wasn’t able to improve my lap time at the end of the session. Still, this means we should be able to close the gap to the front tomorrow because my feeling from the machine was good today.”
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 5th – 1m 36.316
“It was great to get back out on track at Misano because this place holds so many memories for me and you can feel the special atmosphere in the paddock – even on Friday. We made some good progress today and, although it’s early days, we got some useful information riding with Ohlins for the first time here. The biggest thing you notice about this circuit is the bumps because they are quite severe even on the straight, which means it takes a while to dial the machine in and prevent it from wheelieing too much. We still have plenty of work to do in a few areas to find the right set-up, but this was a positive start to the weekend and we’ll aim to keep that going tomorrow.”
KAZUHIKO YAMANO – REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
“This was a decent start to the weekend for the team, and both riders can build on the work done today. After being so fast at Indianapolis, Dani was very competitive again and was at, or close to, the top for almost all the session until he had a small problem which cost him some time at the end. He’s looking very confident again here and should be able to qualify well tomorrow. Andrea also did a good job today and made a promising start to his home GP weekend. He has a lot of scope to improve too, so the Repsol Honda Team is looking in good shape.”