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Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, separated by just one tenth of a second, will start the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix tomorrow from second and third place respectively, with team mate Andrea Dovizioso starting in sixth position for the thirty two lap race.
All three riders have struggled to find the perfect set up on their RC212V to tackle the Laguna Seca circuit, which demands a lot from both bike and rider. The early part of the session saw, Stoner, Pedrosa, Spies and Lorenzo trading fastest laps, with Lorenzo finally securing pole a mere seven hundredths faster that Stoner who's first flying lap was affected by Spies' crash and subsequent yellow flags.
Pedrosa will be looking for one of his trademark fast starts and the long race on an uneven track surface will test the young Spaniard's fitness to the maximum. Dovizioso, who shares the second row with Spies and Simoncelli, will fight to stay with the front group and will be aiming for a podium finish.
Tomorrow morning's warm up session will be important for all three riders; as it is the last opportunity they will have to tweak the set up ready for the race which starts at 14h00 local time.
"For the whole session we were trying to find the right set up. All weekend we've been struggling a little and we've not found anything I'm comfortable with, I've closed the front many times and we're still looking to find some balance on the bike to get it working on this track, where we expected it to work well. On my first soft tyre I encountered some traffic and was held up, also there was a crash and a yellow flag so I lost my chance on that tyre. Then on the next soft tyre we had one lap to find some pace and we managed front row which is important for tomorrow. I don't feel we're running with the pace of Dani and Jorge, they seem to be constantly one to two tenths quicker but we have warm up tomorrow morning to find something in time for the race so we'll see what we can do."
"We couldn't improve as much as I'd like to in the final part of the practice, we tried some different settings and unfortunately we didn't find a good one, but to start from the front row is always important and here we are again. I felt more comfortable with the hard tyres, which it's positive because they will be the ones used for the race, but we still need to make another step forward tomorrow and hopefully find a little more grip in the rear. Lorenzo seems very stable and fast, so I hope to find something else with my mechanics tonight and to be able to fight for a great result tomorrow. The race will be very fast, there are many laps here, so it will be important to be focus on every lap and stay strong until the end. I know the race distance will be hard for me physically, you have to work a lot in this track, there are a lot of bumps and you need to be very focused not to make any mistakes. But I will try my best and I hope to stay strong and consistent until the end."
“My target was to start from the first two rows, so finishing sixth is not too bad, but I hoped to start at least from the 4th position because it’s external and gives more advantages from the start. Anyway, we are quite close and we need to work more to gain another two tenths in race pace. This afternoon we improved a lot thanks to some changes we made in the set up, moving the weight more to the back. This setting helps us to brake stronger and this suits more my riding style. We will continue working in the warm up tomorrow because the pace of Lorenzo and Dani is really high. I hope to make a good start and maintain contact with the front group. I will do my best to have a good race and get a good result.”
Repsol Honda press release.
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