2008-02-17 08:26
Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden took third place in today's official preseason MotoGP practice session - the first actual competition of the year, in which MotoGP riders compete to win a BMW car. The American was fired up for the 40-minute qualifying-style shootout which was run on a wet track following heavy morning rainfall. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa didn't take part, sensibly choosing not to risk aggravating his hand injury in the treacherous conditions. The Spaniard broke his right hand at Sepang, Malaysia, on January 22 and only returned to riding yesterday.

Both riders are hoping for better weather tomorrow to allow them to continue working on development of their 2008 RC212V machines before they head to Qatar for the final preseason tests on February 28 and 29, one week before the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.

Nicky Hayden - fastest lap: 1m 50.785s (lap 15 of 16)

"It was fun, because it's a bit of competition, and not just because there was a car on the line, we could've been racing for a piece of bubblegum and everybody would've tried just as hard! We're all competitors and it was pretty fun but conditions were not ideal. I wish they had been a little more stable, but right at the end when the clock was about to hit zero the conditions were almost at their worst, they were about to go dry. We did our best time a little earlier in the session. We ran full rains throughout, I seen that 49 and knew that was going to be tough, Casey (Stoner) really put one down. Nonetheless the bike was working pretty good in the rain. I'm not happy about third but for me those intermediate conditions - a little patchy with a dry line starting to form - are about the worst. That's something I've definitely been working on and thinking a lot about, so in some ways I'm happy we did okay in those conditions. Full rain's normally not too bad for me and the dry's not bad but that in between bit is quite tricky, so we've worked a lot on that. It's been a positive day, even this morning in the rain we didn't have to make any big changes to get the bike reasonable. We were really good in the full wet, the Michelins were working good and there was one front in particular that I liked. We just need to improve some more in those in between conditions."

Dani Pedrosa - didn't ride in the session

"After riding yesterday for the first time since I injured my right hand, the hand was quite swollen and inflamed, so we didn't want to take any further risks going out in the wet today. I will go out again when the track is dry. We have three weeks to go before the first race of the year in Qatar, so I hope the hand will continue to improve so I can work on my physical condition and on bike set-up."

Source: Repsol Honda

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