Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) will start tomorrow’s British GP from second on the grid after an impressive run in this afternoon’s qualifying session. The Spanish RC212V rider – a winner and a close-run third in the last two races – has been quick in all weathers here. He led yesterday’s opening session run in mostly damp conditions and topped this morning’s session in the sunshine. More rain is forecast for tomorrow, so his speed in all conditions could prove to be vital.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team)
Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)
Pedrosa – currently fourth in the points standings – ended this afternoon’s sunny qualifying session just 0.095 seconds off pole position man Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and 0.191 seconds just ahead of compatriot Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). And he believes he may have had a chance at pole if he hadn’t lost concentration during his final run when he got caught up with some slower riders. Pedrosa is confident of a good pace on race tyres, unlike Rossi who believes his bike is currently working better on soft ‘qualifying’ tyres than on hard race tyres.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) also had a good run this afternoon, coming through to fifth fastest, which puts him in the middle slot of the second row, between 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner (Ducati) and Honda’s former World Superbike king Colin Edwards (Yamaha). The Italian – who has won 250 and 125 GPs at Donington Park – is still honing his set-up, looking for a bit more corner-entry speed and a little more traction.
Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) was eighth fastest today, allowing him to be optimistic about another good result after two consecutive sixth-place finishes in the US and German GPs. The Spaniard has made major forward strides with the set-up of his RC212V in recent weeks, his team finding a setting which allows him to feel comfortable at speed.
Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) and Alex De Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) finished qualifying tenth and 12th fastest, both of them struggling with Donington’s tricky low-speed final section, which requires a very different set-up and riding style from the faster and more flowing first half of the track. De Angelis’ biggest problem has been corner-exit wheelies, which his crew will be working hard to solve overnight.
Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Honda) slid off this afternoon but was able to continue on his second bike. The Hungarian and his crew are working hard to improve the balance of his RC212V for this challenging circuit.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Honda) led much of the 250 qualifying session, eventually ending up third fastest for another start from the front row of the grid. This is the seventh front-row start from nine races for the World Championship leader who was just 0.253 seconds slower than pole position man Hector Barbera (Aprilia).
Aoyama and his team fixed a few bike set up issues during this morning’s session to challenge for pole position, and the Japanese is confident that he can push hard and fight for another win tomorrow.
Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT-SAG) produced a brilliant display in qualifying, going eighth fastest despite suffering some pain from a back injury sustained in last Sunday’s German GP.
Aoyama’s team-mate Raffaele De Rosa (Scot Honda) ended the day a promising 11th quickest, still searching for more corner-exit traction, an issue that his crew will work on before tomorrow morning’s warm-up session.
Hector Faubel (Valencia CF-Honda SAG) had a more difficult day, ending up 14th for the grid and looking for improvements for tomorrow.
Donington Park first-timers Shoya Tomizawa (Team CIP Honda) and Bastien Chesaux (Racing Team Germany Honda) are finding the complex British track difficult to learn. The high-speed, downhill and off-camber Craner Curves section is causing them the most headaches. Yesterday Tomizawa had a spectacular tumble there, from which he walked away unharmed. Chesaux is also trying to work out how to get through Craner without falling or losing too much time.
Valentin Debise (Team CIP Honda) went the wrong way on set-up today and will revert to the settings which he used earlier in the weekend.
Tomorrow’s British GP is the last MotoGP race at Donington Park; next year the event moves to Silverstone. Donington has hosted the event since 1987. Tomorrow’s race is also the last of four MotoGP races in five weekends, the paddock now gets to enjoy two weekends off before the Czech GP at Brno on August 14/15/16.
Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd – 1m 28.211s, said:
“We did a good job in both sessions today and I’m happy to qualify on the front row because, in reality, that’s more important than taking pole position. On my last run at the end of the qualifying session I found some traffic on the circuit which caused me to lose my concentration and rhythm slightly, so I think I could have gone a little quicker. But still, the middle of the front row is OK. Our dry set-up is nearly there so we’ll aim to make just a few little improvements before the race. The weather is looking changeable for tomorrow, though at least we’ve had some practice time in the wet yesterday. If it’s raining I’d like to improve my riding and my pace a bit but the weather is out of our control so we’ll have to see. It’s the last MotoGP race at Donington tomorrow and of course I’d like a good result to sign off with - preferably a win.”
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 5th – 1m 28.778s, said:
“Starting from the second row is not a bad place to be and gives us a chance to get away at the head of the field so I’m satisfied with that. A fast start tomorrow should give us a good opportunity to have a strong race. Having said that, I really like this track and I was hoping to be in a slightly better situation going into tomorrow both in terms of grid position and race pace. We still need to improve our speed and consistency and there is some work to do to take us closer to the frontrunners and be fully competitive. We need to improve on the entry to the corner and also to work on traction, so we’ll look at the data we collected today and I’m confident my team can help me to make these improvements. It could rain tomorrow too, so we’ll come in ready for anything.”
Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 8th – 1m 29.175s, said:
“I’m pretty happy. Obviously I would have preferred to be on the second row and I think we were capable of that today but the third row isn’t bad. It is certainly I big improvement on Germany a week ago, where I started last! We started out well this morning and improved the setting of the bike even more this afternoon. I feel comfortable, my rhythm is good, so the target for tomorrow has to be to get a good start and try to stick with the front group for the whole race.”
Randy de Puniet, LCR Honda: 10th – 1m 29.439s, said:
“Well… it hasn’t been an easy day for me and I always struggle to set my pace on this track especially in the last two corners. Since the beginning of this weekend we had some issues to understand why we could not keep the pace of the front group. We have been focused in the last part of the track because that’s where it seems we are losing too much time. We tried to improve the machine between the two sessions and I did my best to adapt my riding style to these corners to win some tenths. Honestly, we expected a third row start but I am still hoping for a top eight end.”
Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 12th – 1m 29.434s, said:
“We’re having a problem in the slow section, which we expected after Sachsenring. Basically the bike wants to wheelie out of the slow corners and obviously with the chicane, followed by the two hairpins in that last section, that is where we are losing time. I got behind Lorenzo for a lap today and was able to follow him all the way around until that part, where he disappeared! If we can just sort the set-up out for those last two corners we will be ready – if not for the same result as Sachsenring then something close to it. If it’s dry that will be the target. If it is wet, I was constantly in the top eight yesterday in those conditions so there’s no reason why we couldn’t repeat that.”
Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Honda: 17th – 1m 31.193s, said:
“To be honest, I’m not able to tell you why I crashed. I’m going to check the data, but my feeling is that I was on the same line and at the same speed than in previous laps. I simply lost the front, and fell down. The team has been great – when I entered the garage, everything was ready and we lost no more than 15 minutes. In the last part of the session I did not find a situation suitable to get the time I wanted. One of the problems with us is the rear grip. The other is the braking when entering into the turns.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, Scot Honda: 3rd – 1m 32.055s, said:
“We had a few problems in the morning. My crew did an excellent job, and when I went out to qualify the situation was quite good: the speed was higher, the handling better. We did a good job on the set-up and we studied the tyre selection. We have ideas to improve even furthermore, and we are going to try them tomorrow, during the warm-up. I'm confident for the race.”
Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: 8th – 1m 33.046s, said:
“ am very happy with this eighth place, it’s a great result for us. The bike seems to work really well around here, you need a bike with a very good balance which is happy through the fast, flowing corners and through the stop-and-go sections.”
Raffaele De Rosa, Scot Honda: 11th – 1m 33.218s:
“Session by session, we did better and better. We fixed a problem that we had with the gearbox and got a good set-up. We have now to find a better solution for the rear – I still cannot open the throttle as I would like. We have ideas and we are going to test them tomorrow morning. I hope that for the race the weather stays as it is – sunny – because with the wet this circuit is very slippery”
Hector Faubel, Valencia CF-Honda SAG: 14th – 1m 33.503s, said:
“I’m struggling a little bit with rear grip here, especially out of the fast corners, which obviously loses us some time. The engine is working well but we still need to make some further improvements. I need a good start, then I will have to work hard during the first lap or two to make up for this grid position.”
Shoya Tomizawa, Team CIP Honda: 17th – 1m 33.901s, said:
“We’ve been struggling a bit here. Yesterday I crashed at Craner Curves and that lost us a lot of time, which isn’t good when you are learning a track for the first time. It also made me a little tense about today’s sessions. At first I was trying too hard and the lap times weren’t coming, but finally my lap times were okay, all things considered.”
Valentin Debise, Team CIP Honda: 21st – 1m 35.600s, said:
“This morning wasn’t so bad. The grip seemed pretty good so we fitted a harder spring and ran hard race tyres this afternoon, but with more temperature the bike didn’t feel so good. When we tried a softer tyre it was better, but for the race we are going to go back to the setting we started off with.”
Bastien Chesaux, Racing Team Germany Honda: 23rd – 1m 36.309s, said:
“This is my first time here and it’s quite a difficult track to learn. The place I’m losing time is through Craner Curve and the nest few corners, I need to find a solution to be faster through that section. The bike is working really well again, it feels good and the acceleration is good.”