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Repsol Honda full of confidence

Repsol Honda full of confidence

Repsol Honda full of confidence

Dani Pedrosa is determined to keep his feet on the ground following his brilliant maiden victory in Sunday's Grand Prix of China. As the MotoGP paddock dashes back to Europe for this weekend's French Grand Prix, the Repsol Honda Team's new signing knows the world of motorcycling will be looking to see how he reacts after winning in only his fourth MotoGP race.

The 20-year-old 250cc World Champion amazed the Grand Prix paddock by taking the chequered flag in Shanghai to become the equal second-youngest ever winner in the premier class of motorcycle racing. And Pedrosa is now expecting his MotoGP rivals to be more determined than ever to beat him at the famous Le Mans circuit on Sunday.

Current world championship leader Nicky Hayden goes to France focused on stretching his superb run of consistency and notching up his first win of 2006. This season the 24-year-old from Kentucky, USA has been developing the evolution version of the Repsol Honda RC211V, which makes his lead in title race all the more impressive. If the former dirt-tracker scores another podium finish this weekend it will be his ninth in succession.

The Le Mans circuit is hosting the French Grand Prix for the 18th time this year having received extensive safety-enhancing changes over the winter. The notorious uphill right-hander at turn one, scene of Alberto Puig's infamous crash in 1995, has been re-profiled which has actually made it faster, but the run-off has been extended and the chicane that follows the corner has been made slower. To make way for the modifications many buildings had to be controversially demolished, including a hotel.

The track is stop start in nature, putting an emphasis on stability under braking and strong acceleration off the bends. With the Repsol Honda RC211V on Michelin tyres proving to be the most consistent package so far this year, Hayden and Pedrosa will be confident of further success this weekend.

Nicky Hayden
` I'm looking forward to being back in Europe and the pace is always faster here because a lot of the riders are at home. Also the European crowds make it fun – these places really come alive on race day. Since they re-paved Le Mans the track's got a lot better. I can't say there's one part that's my favourite and there's a lot of stop and go stuff – nevertheless, I quite like the track. In the past I've gone well there but I've had some bad luck and haven't had great results so I'm looking forward to going there and putting that right. It's good to be leading the world championship and to pull it out a bit at the last race - I'm proud of that - so I'm going to try to stay consistent and not do anything silly. But I want that win. We've still got to make some improvements and we know what out issues are – we're working on edge grip and on engine braking. If we get that sorted out we'll be even stronger. It's still early – we've got a long way to go in the championship and these guys aren't going to lay down, everybody's going to come back fighting. So now it gets busy – it's going to be a good summer´.

Dani Pedrosa
` Finally we come back to Europe! I'm really looking forward to these races, even though we haven't had time to rest since the last round. It has been a tough start of the season but I'm happy with the results so far. After Shanghai I know that all the rivals will be trying to beat me and I'm waiting for their reaction, but my goal is the same: to focus on my job and forget what we did in Shanghai. Every race is different and we cannot be relaxed. Le Mans is very close to Spain so I hope to see a lot of my home fans there, as there are every year. Technically speaking, Le Mans is very different from Shanghai. This circuit has a lot of hard acceleration, a lot of hard braking sections and a very fast, long corner at the end of the straight. Having good drive at the exit of the corners is fundamental to making a fast lap. And the gearbox has to be very well set up´.

MotoGP, 2006, ALICE GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Repsol Honda Team

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