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Repsol Honda Team in good form as Qatar Test starts

Repsol Honda Team in good form as Qatar Test starts

The three Repsol Honda riders returned to the track today in Qatar for the first day of the final winter test before the start of the 2011 Championship.

The team arrived at the Losail circuit on Friday, with Japanese members narrowly missing the devastating earthquake that struck Japan the same day. As a mark of respect, all three riders wore a black armband in mourning to show compassion for the terrible disaster that has affected so many people.

Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner all continued development work on the RC212V, each focusing on specific attributes to their machine. Pedrosa finished the session with the fastest time of 1'56.271 which he set on lap 28 of 41, during the course of the evening he tested the 2011 suspension and worked on engine mapping settings.

Stoner, having made a decision on his final chassis in Sepang, tested different rider positions and worked on race set-up, his fastest time set early in the session on lap 13 was 0.143 off Pedrosa. Dovizioso spent the evening working on set-up and electronics.

Dani Pedrosa, 1st, 1'56.271:
“It was a positive first day of practice. We didn't test anything in special, because our priority today was checking that the bike was also working well here in Qatar, a very different circuit than Sepang, where we did the main winter testing. We basically worked on the set-up of the bike, to adapt it for this layout and conditions, and tomorrow we will continue working on mappings and a front fork. It seems like the laptimes are closer here than in Sepang, and I'm sure that the times will improve for all because at this track the surface is quite dirty at the beginning, so we will see tomorrow and I hope to make another step forward and close the winter test in a good shape. I'd also like to say I'm very sorry about what happened in Japan. My Japanese mechanics and engineers were explaining the situation there and it's very moving.”

Casey Stoner, 2nd, 1'56.414:
“Everything has gone well with the bike and in general we don't have a whole lot to test here, we're just trying to get more out of the balance of the bike - both bikes have the same chassis but we tried very different riding positions. It seems to be more difficult to get a decent lap time on the harder tyres, having made my fastest time on an older soft tyre, but our consistency seems to be very good also with the hardest compound. We've been trying to get a little bit more grip and turning out of the bike and work on set-up for this circuit, focusing on race set-up. It's nice to be so close to the season and at the final test, I'm just pleased the team reached here safely and there were no casualties back in the HRC Headquarters in Saitama, my thoughts are with all the people in Japan.”

Andrea Dovizioso, 7th, 1'56.780:
“Today we tested mainly electronics settings, in particular the engine brake and traction control. We also focused on the set-up for this circuit because it’s different from all the other tracks as the angle of the curve is so wide and the critical point is the control of the rear. Considering that it’s the first day of testing I’m quite happy but it’s not enough. Everybody lapped slower than last year, I think this is due to the track condition. As a start it’s not bad, we are close to the fastest riders but we need to improve. I’d like to dedicate a thought to Japan, hit by a tremendous disaster. I hope they can recover soon in this very difficult moment.”

Repsol Honda Team press release

Tags:
MotoGP, 2011, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team

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