2009-09-05 10:53
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa secured his fourth front-row start in succession at the Misano circuit today as qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix produced a gripping spectacle that went right down to the final seconds. The Spanish ace spent the bulk of the hour-long session working with his crew on race set-up, before unleashing a series of quick laps on Bridgestone’s softer option rear tyre.

Pedrosa’s best lap of 1m 34.560s was an impressive half second faster than his time from the morning practice, but in the final moments of qualifying he was pipped for top spot by Valentino Rossi riding at his home circuit. Still, Pedrosa’s front row start - his seventh of the season - gives him an excellent chance of getting away at the front tomorrow.

Andrea Dovizioso will start two rows behind Pedrosa after clocking the eighth fastest time this afternoon. The Italian was able to significantly increase his race pace and looked good for a starting position on the front two rows. However, he wasn’t able to extract the maximum from the softer tyres which were the favoured option for riders setting their fastest qualifying laps. As a result Dovi will start from the middle of the third row and will be relying on a quick getaway when the lights go out for tomorrow’s race.

The 28-lap San Marino Grand Prix begins at 14.00 local time (GMT +2 hours) after a 20-minute warm-up in the morning.

DANI PEDROSA – 2nd – 1m 34.560
“It’s great to get a front row start here and we weren’t far away from pole position which is a good result from this afternoon because our rivals are very strong again here. During the session we were working on race set-up and we still have a little way to go to improve my race pace and consistency compared to the others. In qualifying I was able to up my speed towards the end and I was pushing really hard because it’s very important to get on the front row here and give yourself the best chance of a clean getaway. It’s sure to be an exciting race tomorrow and I hope we can find that little bit extra so we can challenge for the win again. It’s likely to be a tough race because it was hot and windy today, but I’m looking forward to it - the atmosphere is sure to be special.”

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 8th – 1m 35.492
“I have a good pace with race tyres, and we improved the rhythm and reduced the gap to the front riders this afternoon which I’m pleased about. We are six tenths behind with our race pace and quite close to Dani so I was happy about this. Unfortunately I couldn’t go fast enough with the soft tyre and so my starting position is not what I wanted. I’m disappointed about that because it could compromise the race and it means I really have to make a good start and try to recover positions right from the beginning. It won’t be easy as it’s tricky to overtake in the first corners because you have a group of bikes all going through together. But still, I think we’ve been making progress with the set-up and the potential from our package is good.”

“Dani has put his RC212V on the front row which was his main target today. Pole position is always nice for the record, but actually it doesn’t give you any significant advantage and this wasn’t our focus. Still, he came close and that’s good for the team. Andrea was unlucky to not qualify better and he’s a little frustrated naturally, but we can work on his race pace still further and I think he can have a good showing in front of the Italian fans tomorrow.”

Source: Repsol Honda Team

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