The Repsol Honda Team began the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini in good shape, only five days after racing in Indianapolis with a very different layout but similar weather conditions.
Casey Stoner, the current MotoGP World Championship leader, and Dani Pedrosa, the winner here last year, immediately got down to business in Misano and finished the first day of free practices in second and third positions respectively, while Andrea Dovizioso recorded the sixth fastest time on his return to his home GP.
Both Stoner and Pedrosa lapped under the circuit record (1'34.340 set by Pedrosa in 2010), Stoner achieved this in FP1 with a 1'34.005 lap, and Pedrosa in FP2 with a time of 1'34.205. Dovizioso will work with his team and analyse the data from both sessions to understand where he is losing valuable time.
All three Repsol Honda riders compared the performance of the soft and hard compound Bridgestone tyres. As was the case in Indianapolis, this will be a key point for completing the 28 lap race.
"We made a pretty good step this morning, everything felt pretty good and the bike was working well. We tried a few things this afternoon, but had a slight problem with some air in the brake line which cost us some time. Then we did race distance on the soft tyre and got some good data from that, we're doing some reasonably competitive times but not good enough yet, we'll go away tonight and work in preparation for tomorrow. We still need to get the bike feeling a little more comfortable in the middle of the corner and on the exit, with traction as well as turning. If we can improve these areas then I'm confident we can also improve the lap time quite a lot."
"We had a good start in the morning, I felt quite comfortable from the beginning, but in the afternoon we didn't improve as much as I would have liked. When Bautista's engine blew in front of me I thought the track would become dirty, so I did some slow laps to check and I lost some time and rhythm. We have to keep working with the suspension to get better traction and stability under hard braking, so we will focus on this tomorrow. I tried both tyre compounds, the hard one only this afternoon, and we still don't know which one will be better for the race."
?Today we worked on the general set up of the bike and in the afternoon we made some changes to the rear setting but we didn?t achieve the results we wanted. We need to continue working on the set up to reduce the pitching in the front and the rear. This is a slow track but with many hard braking areas and strong acceleration so we will analyse the data to understand the most critical areas where I am losing time. It was very hot today but the track conditions were ok. We rode with both soft and hard tyres and I felt good on the bike, so now the first thing to do is to study the data and evaluate the best direction to follow in preparation of the qualifying and race. I?m confident that we can recover the gap from the front riders.?