REPSOL HONDA TEAM MAKES STRONG START IN CHINA

2007-05-04 08:04
Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden made a positive start on the first day of practice for the Grand Prix of China, finishing in third and fourth positions in another very close MotoGP session. With the factory Honda pair less than 0.2s from the front and the top 14 riders covered by one second, Sunday's 22-lap race at the dramatic 5.281km (3.280-mile) Shanghai International Circuit promises to be another exciting battle.

World Champion Hayden was cautiously optimistic after finishing the day in fourth place and just 0.142s from the top of the timesheets. The 25-year-old American was quickly able to find an improved set-up for his 800cc RC212V and was encouraged to be running quickest towards the end of the afternoon, before ending the one-hour session in fourth.

Pedrosa finished the day in third place, fractionally ahead of his team-mate and only 0.129s from the fastest lap time, set today by John Hopkins on a Suzuki. The 21-year-old Spaniard showed no ill-effects from the last round in Turkey, where he was taken down by another rider, and worked up to speed before putting together a string of laps in the 2m 01s bracket. Pedrosa set pole position in China last year, took his first MotoGP win and set the fastest lap of the race.

A one-hour qualifying session takes place on Saturday afternoon ahead of round four of the World Championship which begins at 15.00hrs local time.

Nicky Hayden - 4th 2m 01.346s

"The day went pretty smoothly and we tried some adjustments in the afternoon that I liked and improved the feeling from the machine. I was able to get a pretty good direction on tyres and the set-up today and the team's working really hard, so thanks to those guys. It's early and we've still got some work to do but it felt pretty good to see P1 on my pit-board late in the session, especially with the way things have gone in the first few races. We certainly won't relax though because I was also quite fast on Friday morning in Jerez and it didn't turn into much, so hopefully this time I can give the team a result they deserve."

Dani Pedrosa - 3rd 2m 01.333s

"This was a pretty normal Friday practice for us - trying tyres, working on the gear ratios and the machine set-up. It went pretty well and the weather was kind to us and stayed dry. The lap times on the 800cc RC212V are a little slower than the 990cc machine but the power doesn't actually feel very different, even though the straight is very long here. The track conditions were OK today though it was a little bit misty in the morning. I think if it does not rain the surface will continue to get better as the track cleans up further. I was on pole position here last year so I hope it stays dry and we can put in a good performance in qualifying tomorrow."

Makoto Tanaka - Team Manager

"Both Repsol Honda riders are in a good position even though we finished just below the top of the timesheets today. I was worried about Dani after the crash at the last race, but it seems he is OK and can ride at a fast, consistent pace. Nicky also put in a good lap time and has made a steady improvement from the first race of the season. I'm slightly worried about the weather tomorrow because there may be rain. We will hope for good conditions and another positive result in qualifying."

Source: Respol Honda

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