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Dovizioso and Pedrosa assess first night’s work

Dovizioso and Pedrosa assess first night’s work

The Repsol Honda riders give their impressions after recording the fourth and 11th fastest times respectively in the first practice in Qatar.

The first hour of free practice for the Grand Prix of Qatar took place at the Losail Circuit on Friday evening as the 2010 MotoGP season roared into life. After making useful progress throughout the session, Repsol Honda riders Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa lay in fourth and 11th places when the chequered flag waved at 11.30pm to bring the opening practice of the weekend to a close.

Dovizioso, who begins his second season with the factory Honda squad, underlined the ever-improving potential he showed through the winter Test period by finishing in the top four. The Italian and his crew started working from the base machine settings they established at the Test held at Losail three weeks ago and, in lower grip conditions, he was able to set a lap time of 1’56.698, which was 1.198s behind Friday’s fastest time set by Casey Stoner. The 24-year-old is confident that he can advance his set-up on Saturday and move closer to the front riders in terms of lap times too.

His team-mate Dani Pedrosa finished the session a fraction over four-tenths of a second behind Dovizioso and also promised a move closer to the front in Saturday’s two sessions. The Spanish rider had some positive results from a slightly modified chassis he was using and, with more track time, is cautiously confident there is more to come throughout the weekend. Another hour of practice ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session will be followed by Sunday’s floodlit race, which is set to start at 11pm local time.

Andrea Dovizioso, 4th, 1’56.698

“I’m confident after this first session, and I think we can build on this. We started with the same base set-up from the test here, but actually the track conditions were different and there was less grip tonight. We also discovered some small issues that didn’t allow us to use all the potential of the bike so I’m sure we can get quicker. We tried a slightly modified swingarm tonight and we felt a small improvement with it, so we’ll use that tomorrow as well. Casey Stoner’s lap time is very fast and our gap to the front is still big but anyway we need to analyse what we’ve learned from this session and use it to move further forward in tomorrow’s sessions. Our target for tomorrow is to lap in the low 1’56s.”

Dani Pedrosa, 11th, 1’57.133

“Well, we made some progress in this session and there are some modifications that we tried that improved the feeling a little bit. We should be able to continue with that through the weekend, though today we had a couple of issues with the machine which meant we lost some testing time and didn’t make as much progress as we could have done. My finishing position isn’t great today but the team is pushing very hard and we’ll continue that way. We remain optimistic for the two practice sessions tomorrow. Our lap times today were about the same as the Test here three weeks ago so we’ll be looking to make a big improvement tomorrow and confirm the direction we’re going in.”

Press release courtesy of Repsol Honda

MotoGP, 2010, COMMERCIALBANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR, Andrea Dovizioso, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

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