2010-06-04 13:41
The build up to the Grand Prix of Italy began today with the first free practice period taking place at the wonderful Mugello circuit near Florence in Italy. Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso took advantage of the hour-long session to make useful inroads into the process of adapting the new-for-2010 RC212V to the special rigours of one of the most demanding circuits on the MotoGP calendar.

Pedrosa was close to the front for the bulk of the session, lying in third place for long spells as he and his crew homed in on the ideal settings for a circuit where multiple fast direction changes require stability and agility in order to maximise pace. He finished the practice in fifth place, 1.022s behind today’s pace setter Valentino Rossi, and remains confident of closing that gap tomorrow.

Dovizioso was a further half second behind his Spanish team-mate after working with his engineers on a base setting to use in tomorrow’s further practice and qualifying sessions. The 24-year-old Italian is riding in front of his home crowd this weekend and is sure to receive a boost from the feverish fans who will continue to swell the grandstands as the weekend continues. Following two podium finishes in the first three races of 2010, Dovizioso is looking for another rousing performance in Sunday’s 23-lap race.

DANI PEDROSA – 5th – 1m 50.773s +1.022s
"We didn’t go crazy testing many things on the first day here in Mugello. We were focused mainly on testing Bridgestone’s tyre options because it’s very important to get that selection right to find the performance for race distance. The track conditions weren’t bad today although the surface was quite slippery, so times will improve. Stability and agility are very important at this circuit and we still need to work on the chassis set-up side to improve these areas. We were not especially fast today, but we were not looking for an ultimate lap time either. For the first day of practice we are going in the right direction and tomorrow we can move forward.”

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 8th – 1m 51.255s +1.504s
"It’s my home race and already we can feel the atmosphere building - it’s a special event for the Italians here at Mugello. To be honest I’d have preferred to have finished closer to the front because it’s quite a big gap to the leaders, but with some work on the machine set-up I’m sure we can move forward. I was slow mid-corner pretty much everywhere today, and you spend a lot of time leaned over here so that’s why we are quite a way off at the moment. The bike feels like it wants to run-on as I’m exiting the corner so this is the area we’ll focus on tonight. I’m confident we can improve from this position.”

"This was a methodical start for the Repsol Honda Team at Mugello today. Both sides of the garage have collected useful information for the rest of the weekend and have the potential to close the gap to the front runners tomorrow. Some of our rivals are clearly very strong here and it’ll take a dedicated effort to defeat them - and that’s our target for the next two days. It looks like the weather could be stable this weekend - in contrast to last year - so this means we have a strong chance to fix a good race setting for the RC212V.”

Source: Repsol Honda Team

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