Saturday, July 16, 2011

Strong Repsol Honda showing after Stoner, Pedrosa falls

The first day of the German Grand Prix began badly for the Repsol Honda team when Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa were among four riders to suffer big falls at Turn 11 this morning. 

Stoner's accident was the most spectacular, the world championship leader bouncing off the front of his RCV after being unseated in a highside. 

The Australian returned to set the second fastest lap time of the session, but the incident left him with a bruised arm and disrupted his plans. 

"I'm not too happy with how today has gone, we had a crash second lap out in FP1 and this affected us quite a lot, we lost a lot of time coming in and changing leathers and then I had to go out on a bike that I wasn't quite as comfortable with, so apart from the last few laps, this morning's session was a bit of a waste for us," said Stoner. 

Stoner finished the day in fourth place, 0.317sec behind Marco Simoncelli. 

"Then this afternoon we tried the bike from this mornings crash but something wasn't quite right with it so we had to come back in and get on the other bike. We definitely made some progress, we started using hard tyres front and rear and made some positive steps but we still need to take a big step forward tomorrow. 

"Our confidence was knocked today and I'm feeling a little sore still but we remain positive for tomorrow and hopefully we'll be able to close the gap a little more". 

Pedrosa, riding in his second event since returning from a broken collarbone, fortunately avoided further injury in his Turn 11 lowside. 

The Spaniard, winner of last year's event, went on to finish afternoon practice in a strong third place, 0.207sec from Simoncelli. 

"I crashed in the fast downhill right hand corner, like everyone else because the tyre was very cold and I had no warning," said Pedrosa. "Fortunately I did not hurt myself which is good and in the afternoon I was able to improve my lap times because in the morning, after the crash, we didn't have much time on track. 

"In the second practice, with sunshine and a little more temperature on the track, we had better grip especially in these critical turns on the right, although the track conditions are not great. Anyway, times are pretty good compared to last year although the track conditions are worse. 

"We will keep working on the bike tomorrow and I will probably try the new swing arm I tested in Mugello on Monday". 

Andrea Dovizioso was the only Repsol rider not to fall and he made it three orange RCVs in a row with fifth place, 0.429sec from the top. 

“I'm happy with how we worked in both sessions today," he said. "This is a complicated track as there are only three right corners and it's difficult to get the right side of the tyre into temperature and there is not so much grip. This morning it was colder than expected and we saw many crashes. 

"We focused on riding constantly at a good pace without being too much on the limit. In this circuit you spend most of the time on the edge of the tyre so we tried to maintain a good rhythm to avoid stressing the tyres too much. We started well this morning and we improved in the afternoon session. We tried to ride consistently with race tyres as it's hard to maintain a good rhythm for the 30 laps of the GP on Sunday.” 

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