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Today, the first day of the Australian Grand Prix, saw Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa topping the time sheets at Phillip Island.
Stoner set the best lap time of 1'29.999, faster than the circuit record (Nicky Hayden, 1'30.059 in 2008), with Pedrosa in second position, 0.8 tenths off the Australian hero with 1'30.884. Stoner began his mission to take the victory on his last career appearance at Phillip Island, while Pedrosa aims to keep his current momentum and finish in front of Jorge Lorenzo again to bring the fight for the championship to the last round in Valencia.
The Repsol Honda Team garage will be busy early in the morning tomorrow to prepare a Honda RC213V for a demonstration run with Mick Doohan, the five time 500cc World Champion, at 09h15 local time.
"It was a very positive first day, we were pretty quick to get on the pace and to be honest I didn't expect to achieve the lap times we did. With the extra horse power we have this year it's a little easier to get around this place quickly! The times we were able to do in the first session were pretty good but I thought everybody would improve a lot more in the second session but we were able to go quite a lot faster than everybody with almost race distance on our soft tyres and then we put the hard tyre on and were able to improve again. This is very positive at this stage of the weekend but we'll have to wait for tomorrow and Sunday to see where everyone else is. My ankle is in a lot worse condition than in Motegi but coming here, there are a lot less right hand corners, it's nice to take a bit of weight off it.”
"Fortunately, today we've had two dry sessions which was not expected and that's good at a circuit like this as the first day is important to find a good direction for the set up. I only tried the soft rear tyre today, so tomorrow will be important to test the hard compound and some different ideas on the electronics and suspension to improve the feeling. Casey is going very fast here, as expected, so let's see if it stays dry tomorrow and we can work on the pace and close the gap to Casey.”
Press release courtesy of Repsol Honda Team.
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