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Honda duo look to bounce back from Motegi setbacks

Honda duo look to bounce back from Motegi setbacks

For the Repsol Honda team the visit to Philip Island this weekend provides an opportunity to put things right after a frustrating conclusion to the action in Motegi last time out.

For the Repsol Honda team the visit to Philip Island this weekend provides an opportunity to put things right after a frustrating conclusion to the action in Motegi last time out.

The Grand Prix at the Twin Ring circuit ended with 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden finishing ninth after qualifying third, whilst the tricky wet-dry conditions caught out Dani Pedrosa - who crashed out having started on pole after dominating practice in the dry.

After that spectacular highside crash in Japan, Pedrosa has taken advantage of the two week break to recover from a foot injury - though now he returns to the track where he seriously injured both his ankles in 2003, just after being proclaimed 125cc World Champion in Malaysia.

However, the diminutive 22 year-old Catalan rider does have some fond memories from The Island, as one year later he was crowned 2004 World Champion in the 250cc class at the Australian track.

Pedrosa currently occupies third position in the 2007 MotoGP standings, 26 points behind Valentino Rossi in the battle for second place with 75 left to fight for.

Looking ahead to the Australian challenge, Pedrosa commented: "I've had some really great moments at Phillip Island and also some very bad results. I never seem to have an intermediate result at this track. Last year was a disaster with the rain in the race, so this year I'm hoping balance that out with a good result."

"We tested at Phillip Island before the start of the season when the RC212V was very new. That test went well and we achieved a pretty good set-up for the circuit. It was quite a while ago though and a lot has changed with the machine and the tyres since then so we'll still have plenty to learn in practice. I'm feeling better now after the Japan crash. I still have some bruising and pain in my left foot but it should be ok."

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pit-box Hayden is looking to end the year with some good results to lift his confidence, having lost his World title and having not won a race this year.

The GMC Australian Grand Prix gives him the opportunity to do that at a venue where he has previously achieved two poles and been on the podium twice – third in 2003 and second in 2005.

The Kentucky Kid enthusiastically added: "It seems like we wait all year to get our crack at Phillip Island and now finally the time is here and we get our chance. I love the place – it's old-school and I can't wait to get on the track on Friday morning. In the past it has been pretty kind to me as I've had two pole positions in a row and a few good results and it's just a track I really enjoy riding."

"At this time of year though the place could be called Phillip Iceland instead of Phillip Island, but some good weather would be nice because when it's cold at this track it can be hard to get heat into the right side of the tyre. Anyway, we only have to wait a few more days and then we'll be back racing and, as the locals say, let's hope for a ‘bloody good weekend!'"

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GMC AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX

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