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Pedrosa and Hayden sharing similar approach to Le Mans

Pedrosa and Hayden sharing similar approach to Le Mans

Current MotoGP series leader and 2006 World Champion highlight tyres and first section as key to mastering Le Mans.

Repsol Honda´s Spanish-American duo of Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden are in some ways polar opposites; their bike setup, riding style and builds are markedly different despite bringing the Honda factory team equal amounts of success.

With this in mind, the pair have an incredibly similar approach to the upcoming Alice Grand Prix de France, round five of the MotoGP World Championship. Expect some aggressive riding and hard braking from Messrs. Pedrosa and Hayden this weekend, particularly in the first sector of the historic Le Mans circuit.

`The most exciting part of the Le Mans track is after the first chicane, going downhill and through the long-right hander. The most complicated section is the final few corners after the second chicane,´ says series leader Pedrosa, who holds a seven point advantage over nearest rival Jorge Lorenzo. It is a point with which Hayden, the 2006 World Champion, concurs wholeheartedly.

`I like going over the top of the hill after the first chicane and dropping down into that right-hander, then accelerating out of there; that's probably my favourite part of the track,´ agrees the American. `You need the bike to be stable on the brakes, for sure, you definitely need something for some hard braking. You also need good acceleration from the engine, something that´s smooth and controllable off the bottom.´

Said engine acceleration could come from Honda´s pneumatic valve engine, which has been taken back to the drawing board for modifications and become the subject of much speculation at recent races. Whilst an appearance for the new motor is more likely to come at the post-GP test, the Japanese factory´s stance has always been that it will become immediately available once fully ready.

The Honda team-mates have also identified tyres as pivotal to proceedings in France, and are defending the honour of rubber supplier Michelin at their home track.

`You need to ride aggressively. The weather can be a worry because it often rains. It´s usually cold as well, so we normally use intermediate tyres,´ notes last year´s fourth place finisher Pedrosa, who had an impressive wet weather display.

`The weather can change a lot, so your tyre picks on Thursday are pretty crucial,´ agrees Hayden, himself a victim of the wet weather in 2007 when he crashed out on the final lap. `The track can generate some pretty high temperatures in the tyres and you need good traction accelerating out of all the hairpins because the asphalt at Le Mans can be quite slippery.´

Pedrosa is currently the only rider on a 100% podium run in 2008, whilst Hayden is eager to break his rostrum duck.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

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