MotoGP: Pedrosa 10th, Rossi 1st

Respol Test Day 1

The Repsol Honda Team has completed the first day of the last two-day test of the 2010 pre-season at the circuit that will host, on April 11th, the first MotoGP motorcycle racing Grand Prix of the new season.

The Qatar Grand Prix, the only motorcycle race on the calendar that is held at night, has very special characteristics, which are also difficult, due to the high level of humidity at the circuit located in the middle of the Qatar dessert next to the sea. This significantly reduces the level of grip of the asphalt as the night progresses.

The MotoGP test started at 6:00 pm (local time), with the 17 MotoGP riders out on the track. With a little light still in the sky and the Qatar track offering a good temperature -29ºC- after a sunny day, the two Repsol Honda Team riders went out on the track a few minutes after the pit lane light turned green.

It has been an intense six-hour day during which the two Repsol riders and their technical teams hardly stopped, not even to have dinner. At midnight, the penultimate test day of the 2010 season ended, with a temperature of 22º C, a humidity level of 90% and the asphalt registering seven degrees lower than at 6:00 pm.

Andrea Dovizioso completed a total of 65 laps of the Qatar track, clocking up his best time in lap 52. The Italian Repsol Honda Team rider and his team spent the evening-night trying different solutions to fine tune his Honda RC212V 2010. Andrea once again saw the improved handling of the new machine, which is allowing him to ride consistently in many laps.

Dani Pedrosa, with many new technical components on his machine compared to the Sepang test, completed a total of 60 laps of the Losail track, clocking up his best time in the penultimate lap.

Pedrosa was positive at the end of the session, and although he finished one second and six tenths off the best time achieved by Valentino Rossi, the Spanish Repsol Honda Team rider acknowledged that the improvements brought from Japan allowed him to advance and improve throughout the test.

The test will continue at the Losail Circuit at the same time tomorrow and at midnight, the 2010 pre-season will draw to a close for the MotoGP riders.

Dani Pedrosa Speaks... Best lap 1m 57.047s 60 laps

"We made some progress today and moved forward from where we were at the last test in Malaysia – this is positive. I’m confident that tomorrow we can take some further steps and get closer to the front, and we’ll be working hard to make sure that happens."

"Our issues are still with making the rear suspension work well for us and also with the bike feeling quite nervous under acceleration and going into the corners. So these are the areas we’ll be thinking about overnight and focussing on tomorrow. We’ve got one testing session to go so we’ll be looking to make the most of it".

Andrea Dovizioso Speaks… Best lap 1m 56.811s 65 laps

"I’m quite satisfied because I could lap consistently tonight – which gives us a good base for tomorrow, when the target for us will be to lap in the low 1m 56s. Today we changed my riding position a little bit and the feeling was very good. We also tested a different swing arm which allows us to use some different set-up options."

"Compared to the Sepang test I’m more satisfied with where we are and we could lap well in the first part of the session, although after 10pm the grip changed each time we went out on track. We didn’t reach our full potential today, so I think that tomorrow we can improve further".

MotoGP Qatar Unofficial lap times – Thursday 18th March

1. V. Rossi (Yamaha) 1’55.402
2. C. Stoner (Ducati) 1’55.717
3. B. Spies (Yamaha) 1’55.954
4. C. Edwards (Yamaha) 1’56.540
5. R. De Puniet (Honda) 1,56.588
6. Dovizioso (Honda) 1’56.811
7. J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’56.838
8. N. Hayden (Honda) 1’56.855
9. M. Kallio (Ducati) 1’56.923
10. D. Pedrosa (Honda) 1’57.047
11. L. Capirossi (Suzuki) 1’57.099
12. M. Melandri (Honda) 1’57.605
13. H. Barbera (Ducati) 1’57.822
14. Y.Aoyama (Honda) 1’57.888
15. M. Simoncelli (Honda) 1’57.891
16. A. Espargaro (Ducati) 1’57898
17. A. Bautista (Suzuki) 1’57.960