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Positive day for Repsol Honda riders

Positive day for Repsol Honda riders

The MotoGP World Championship rolled out at the beautiful Mugello circuit in Tuscany for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM.

The first free practice session was held under sunny conditions, which was a welcome break from the wet weather encountered in the past few races. Championship leader Casey Stoner experienced a difficult first practice session, with his neck injury sustained during a fall on Friday in Assen causing him discomfort on the long straights. Nevertheless, on lap nine of sixteen he posted a 1'49.027 lap, half a second quicker than the Circuit Record lap recorded by Pedrosa here in 2010. This remained the fastest time of the session until the last moment, when HRC rider Marco Simoncelli managed a 1'48.987 on his last lap of the session aboard his San Carlo Honda Gresini.

Andrea Dovizioso, fresh from his fantastic podium in Assen, enjoyed a positive first practice session and also recorded his fastest lap on his final run, just six hundredths behind Stoner, finishing the session in third position.

For the first time since Le Mans, the Repsol Honda Team was back to full strength with Dani Pedrosa returning from his shoulder injury that has sidelined him for the past three races. The Spanish rider took his time to reacquaint himself with his RC212V and completed an impressive 19 laps in the morning session, where he ended seventh fastest. His shoulder was sore after the session but this was to be expected and Dani will receive treatment over the course of the weekend to ease the pain.

FP2 saw the return of the rain that has been following the Championship since Jerez. The track was neither wet enough to run on wet tyres, nor dry enough to risk slicks, so both Stoner and Pedrosa opted to sit the session out but Dovizioso decided to make use of the time and completed 6 laps in the forty-five minute session.

Casey Stoner:
"This morning we had a pretty tough session, my injuries from Assen aren't completely healed and it seems there is a slightly deeper problem with my neck. On the main straights the wind was knocking my head around quite a lot and we struggled with this and weren't able to get enough time on track to find something decent with set up or complete as many laps as I would have liked to. That said, in general the bike worked very well straight out of the box so I'm very grateful for this and cannot complain too much. There are a few things we would like to improve with how the bike turns, but we didn't get any time on track this afternoon to try anything. At the beginning of FP2 it wasn't wet enough for wet tyres, we would have destroyed them, then when it finally was dry there wasn't enough time out there to do a lap or to get any information so it's better we wait until tomorrow and continue from there."

Andrea Dovizioso:
“I was curious to ride at Mugello with the new asphalt and I have to say that the expectations have been met. It’s great fun to ride here and the track is beautiful. The new tarmac is really smooth and some of the reference points we used to have are now gone and some lines have changed, so this morning we studied the track with fresh eyes. The feeling with the base of the machine is good, but we need to work because here with my riding style the front gets too hot so we need more laps to improve this situation. In the afternoon, light rain spoilt the session, nevertheless I’m happy with how easy I achieved the lap time of 1’49.272 on used tyres, one tenth from this morning’s lap time. We have started the race weekend at my home GP fast and competitive, I'm happy."

Dani Pedrosa:
"It's good to be back on the bike again and regain some feeling. I have pain, of course, especially in hard braking and in the right hand corners is where I suffer more, but it's normal. Considering that it's been one month and a half without touching the bike, I did not do so bad this morning. I know that the race is going to be very tough and it will hurt because there are 23 laps and this circuit is physically very demanding, with constant changes of direction, but we have the whole day tomorrow to work and I hope I can get a more or less good grid position in qualifying. The pain will increase with the effort, but I will try to prepare myself between practices with some treatment, have a good rest and make the most of the laps I can do tomorrow, I remain positive. I was lucky this afternoon with the drops of rain as it meant I could rest a little more. I know tomorrow will be tougher because everybody will improve their lap times and I will need to make a bigger effort."

Repsol Honda press release

MotoGP, 2011, GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA TIM, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team

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