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Stoner leads the pack in Phillip Island

Stoner leads the pack in Phillip Island

On the first day of free practice at the Iveco Australian Grand Prix, local boy Casey Stoner ended the top of the timing sheets with Respol Honda team mates Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa sixth and seventh.

Weather conditions at Phillip Island were perfect with an afternoon air temperature of 21 degrees and a track temperature of 44 degrees, however all three riders reported a very bumpy track compared to last year.

Stoner had a fall in FP1 but soon put it behind him and concentrated on finding the best set up for his RC212V to attack the bumpy Phillip Island track. In FP2 he found some more rear grip but lost some front end feeling, he remained fastest of the day with a 1'30.475 lap. Dovizioso also complained about the track surface and spent the sessions working on the feeling in the front of the bike, alternating between the hard and soft compound tyres to see which worked best. Pedrosa struggled with rear grip and only improved his lap time slightly from the morning session, he and his team will work hard in FP3 tomorrow morning to find the best set up for Qualifying.

Casey Stoner:
"I don't feel totally comfortable with the bike today and I'm sure we can improve the bike a lot. The track is certainly a lot more bumpy than last year and I think it will be very difficult to get the bike feeling 100% as the circuit is making things worse. In general we've found the Honda is better in certain aspects than what we had last year but with these bumps it's difficult to compare in other areas. We need to get the bike riding the bumps in the front a lot better, and also find some more rear grip. There is still a lot of work before we find the right race set up and we know we can go a lot faster".

Andrea Dovizioso:
"It's been a difficult first day of practice. The track has many more bumps than last year and it's difficult to see them, maybe because the surface is very dark I don't know, but I've been struggling to get a good feeling with the front. I decided to keep the hard tyre in front because it suits my riding style more, but with these bumps it's impossible to control the bike and when I switched to the soft front tyre I couldn't improve my time either. If the temperature drops tomorrow it will be even more complicated, but we will try our best to improve and have a good qualifying session".

Dani Pedrosa:
"In the morning I began calm just to get the feeling with the track and we did a decent time, but in the afternoon I struggled a lot with the rear grip, the bike was spinning a lot and we couldn't fix it during the session. The fact that my lap times are practically the same in the morning and in the afternoon is a sign that something is not right. It's a pity because maybe tomorrow the weather is not as nice as today, possibly colder, but I trust my team and I hope we can improve. The track is also very bumpy, much more than last year, which makes things even more difficult, there are many places where the wheels are off the ground. Anyway, we will try to make some changes on the bike and I will do my best to improve my riding and let's see what we can do tomorrow".

Repsol Honda press release.

MotoGP, 2011, IVECO AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team

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