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Repsol Honda duo on top spot trail

Repsol Honda duo on top spot trail

Repsol Honda duo on top spot trail

Repsol Honda riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa will once again go head to head with the best riders in the world this weekend as round three of the MotoGP World Championship sees the teams arrive in Turkey. After two races the talented Honda factory team pairing lie second and third in the world championship and go to the 5.340km (3.318 miles) Istanbul Park circuit determined to put further pressure on early championship leader Loris Capirossi.

In his fourth year with the Repsol Honda team 24-year-old American Hayden is enjoying by far the strongest start to a season of his MotoGP career. He followed up his third place in the first race in Jerez with a gutsy performance at round two in Qatar where he battled to second, crossing the line just 0.9s behind World Champion Valentino Rossi. Another top-three finish at the demanding Turkish track on Sunday would be his seventh straight visit to the podium and underline the consistency Hayden has added to his unquestioned talent. This year though, the laid-back American has made it clear that he's satisfied with nothing less than race wins.

As a rookie in the MotoGP class this year, Pedrosa will once again be tackling a track he's visited before but this time on a bike with more than double the power and 50 per cent more weight than the Honda RS250 he rode to the 250cc World Championship in 2005. With a stunning second place in his debut MotoGP and a sixth place finish at round two in Qatar, it's a challenge the 20-year-old from Barcelona, Spain has proved he's more than a match for. If he can get a faster start than he made in the first two races, Pedrosa will be hoping to battle at the front from the first lap of the race.

Nicky Hayden

"Turkey doesn't remind me of any other track - you've got to be ready for everything! It's got a lot of elevation changes which means you've got to get a compromise for the bike's suspension set-up - something that's going to work in the flat corners but also be ok for the uphill and downhill corners too. The track's got some really high speed stuff, some hard braking and then at the end of the lap there's some really slow first gear corners. Turn one is pretty wild and the fifth gear right hander at turn 11, which you take almost flat out, is about as good as it gets on a MotoGP bike. The last little bit of the circuit I don't like too much because it's a bit too tight for MotoGP – first gear and really go-kartish – but the rest is pretty good. We're going to Turkey at a completely different time than last year and we'll find out how much difference it makes."

Dani Pedrosa

"I remember it was a difficult race in 2005, especially at the start, when there was a bit of confusion as the riders went into the first corner. Definitely we need a good start! And also at the end of the race I had problems with the front tyre as it had worn more on the left side than I thought it would. Nevertheless, we did a good race and finished second. In Istanbul you notice that the designer and creator of the circuit has also designed other circuits we visit, for example, Shanghai, although I think that it's a much more balanced and varied circuit. It combines uphill and downhill sections and has good asphalt. It's quite wide and the grip it offers is not bad. It has some rather slow sections, but I guess it's because it's a circuit that has been designed with Formula 1 in mind. In general terms however, it's a circuit that is not bad at all. This weekend we need to do same as always: try to understand the circuit as soon as possible and to find a good set-up for the race. I hope to have also good weather all the weekend."

MotoGP, 2006, GRAND PRIX OF TURKEY, Repsol Honda Team

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