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Consitent performances again for Repsol Honda

Consitent performances again for Repsol Honda

Consitent performances again for Repsol Honda

Repsol Honda take another consistent performances A gripping Qatar Grand Prix at the 5.383km (3.343 mile) Losail circuit today saw the Repsol Honda team both pleased with their performance and frustrated at what might have been. Nicky Hayden battled to a close second place to record his sixth podium finish on the trot and move to second in the world championship standings after two rounds. And his team-mate, Dani Pedrosa, put in another blistering come-back performance to finish sixth after a wheelie at the start dropped him down the field.

Hayden made the most of his fourth-place grid position to get away at the front as pole-sitter Casey Stoner set the early pace. When Stoner faded, the 24-year-old American hot-shot engaged in a thrilling battle with World Champion Valentino Rossi, trading the lead several times before a slide on the last lap forced the Repsol Honda rider to settle for second, just 0.9s adrift.

`Battling for the win is so much more fun than battling for fourth place! I pushed Valentino hard and I pushed myself about as hard as I could too. We had the bike that could win, but on the last lap in a left-hander I got into a nice little slide, Valentino gapped me pretty good and it was hard to recover. We gambled a bit with set up, we rolled the dice, and it worked well for me in the race, helping a lot in the fast corners. So a big thanks to my crew.´

`It's my second year with my crew chief and we're working really well together´, added the American. `All the guys have been working hard and making some good improvements on the bike. We've still got some work to do and we'll be back here in the morning testing, but the new bike's definitely getting better and we're heading in the right direction. Six podiums on the trot is cool, but it would be nice to get a few wins along the way!´.

Pedrosa suffered a bad start from 5th on the grid as a clutch problem saw the 20-year-old Spaniard wheelie off the line and drop to 13th . His climb back through the field was hampered when fluid from another bike coated his visor, forcing him to back off momentarily and lose time on the leaders. A fierce battle with Marco Melandri for sixth place saw the pair exchanging places time after time, before Pedrosa made the decisive move on the penultimate lap to round off the top six.

`It's easy to say this now, but I believe I could have finished further up, at least in 4th, if I'd made a better start´, explained the Spanish rookie. `We had a problem with the clutch, like Nicky when he was practising his starts yesterday. At first I thought the wheel was spinning but actually it was the clutch. Then, when I was behind Elias and we were both overtaking Hopkins his bike put oil on our visors. Elias closed the throttle and we lost a lot of time on the leaders – at least 3 or 4 seconds. When I caught Melandri we had a big battle. My bike was really fast and I could overtake him, but he was braking so late!´.

` I'm not angry with the result, but I'm upset because today I lost a good opportunity to be battling at the front. In the race I learned a lot of things and I know I performed as well as I could have. Although I'm frustrated today, the two races so far have been really positive.´

Today Hayden returns to the track here to continue the development of his RC211V. There's then a three-week break before the MotoGP paddock congregates at Istanbul Park for the Turkish Grand Prix on April 30.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006, COMMERCIALBANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Repsol Honda Team

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