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A step forward for Repsol Honda at Estoril

A step forward for Repsol Honda at Estoril

A strong showing from Repsol Honda this weekend at the bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal left Dani Pedrosa and World Champion Nicky Hayden in positive frames of mind at the conclusion of Sundays Estoril action.

A strong showing from Repsol Honda this weekend at the bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal left Dani Pedrosa and World Champion Nicky Hayden in positive frames of mind at the conclusion of Sundays Estoril action.

After the disaster of last year when a crash between the pair famously nearly cost Hayden the World title, some of the 2006 demons were laid to rest as The Kentucky Kid got his first pole of the season and rode a solid race to fourth place.

Meanwhile Pedrosa qualified fifth and battled brilliantly with Valentino Rossi at the front only to miss out on a second victory of the season by just 0.175s on the final straight.

The visible improvement of the Honda RC212V 800cc MotoGP prototype in recent Grands Prix and Michelins provision of some competitive compounds in Portugal combined to produce a package which both riders clearly felt more comfortable with and resulted in both looking forward enthusiastically to the remaining four rounds of the season.

Im happy to be fighting for the win and the pace we were able to run today was very quick, stated Pedrosa. We were lapping very fast right until the end and this is good progress for us because there have been races where this was not possible. I made a good start and pushed very hard at the beginning, got into a strong rhythm and the pace was very high.

I knew my pace was very similar to Rossis because we had both been in the front of the race, continued Pedrosa. When he came past at the end I tried my maximum but did not have the speed to take the lead on the last lap. Still, this was a good race for us and Id like to thank my team and everyone at Honda because theyve been working really hard. Now were going to Motegi which is a track I like and I hope we can put on another good performance there.

On the other side of the pit-box Hayden commented: There are a lot of positives from this weekend and pole position was one of them, though certainly fourth wasnt quite the result we hoped for.

We knew it was going to be tough today and the first lap wasnt so kind to me but actually I was just happy to get through the first lap after what happened at the last race, said the 26 year-old in reference to his Misano setback.

I was riding right on the edge and used up a lot of my tyres to try to catch the leaders, and then I made one big mistake which cost me a lot of time, explained the American. The engine was good and the Michelin tyres worked well so I really dont have a lot of excuses those guys were just a little bit quicker today and I give them credit.Hayden concluded, This was my first pole position of the year and I had the fastest lap of the race which is definitely positive. Were way better off than we were a few months ago so things feel like theyre back on track.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, bwin.com GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, Repsol Honda Team

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