Pedrosa puts Honda on top in Qatar The Repsol Honda Team wrapped up the penultimate pre-season test in Qatar today with Dani Pedrosa topping the timesheets after a blistering lap on Michelin qualifying tires. The 21-year-old Spaniard focused on tire testing in the morning before completing a valuable 22-lap race distance early in the afternoon, maintaining a consistently high race pace. His best lap on race tires was 1m 56.835s, nearly 0.5s quicker than the existing race lap record. At the end of the day with the Michelin qualifier in place Pedrosa was able to go 0.2s inside last year’s pole position time with a lap of 1m 55.471s.
World Champion Nicky Hayden today worked with his crew on tire testing and suspension settings for the prototype 800cc RC212V he and his team-mate will race here at the 2007 season opener. Instead of going for outright lap times the 25-year-old American put in an impressive 97 laps as he made up for the track time he lost yesterday and tried to improve the feeling from the bike’s front end. Hayden wasn’t able to repeat the performance from the team’s last test at Phillip Island, Australia where he finished on top of the timesheets, but he remains confident of improvements at the next test in Jerez.
The Repsol Honda Team now loads the crates and heads to the south of Spain for the official IRTA test which will include the traditional 40-minute pre-season "qualifying" shoot-out. The test begins on Friday February 23, at the Jerez circuit.
Nicky Hayden Best lap time: 1m 57.269s – 97 laps "After yesterday I just needed to come in and do some laps to try to get the feeling back, so today I got comfortable and didn’t get too carried away chasing lap times. I’ve been trying to get some more feeling from the front – that’s what we’re working towards. I’d have liked to have gone a bit faster today but we’re still positive and we’ll go back to work in Jerez and make some improvements. Things started out so good on the first morning here – since then it’s been a tough couple of days. Sometimes this is a hard a game and you’ve got to adjust to it - I go away from here healthy and hopefully we’ll go to the next test and get some things sorted out with me and the bike. I want to thank my team because yesterday was pretty hard on those guys and they were really cool about it."
Dani Pedrosa Best lap time: 1m55.471 – 87 laps "On the final day we didn’t test too much on the bike. We took the best settings from yesterday and the day before and put in a good number of laps to get a better feeling for how the tires will behave during the race. I also did a race simulation and put on qualifying tires at the end of the day. Definitely this was as a test for myself more than for the bike and that’s good. It was really important to get a good feeling here because the first race of the season will be held here and now I hope that when we come back the conditions are similar and we can take advantage of this test. But it wasn’t only us that had a good test: also Yamaha and Suzuki are fast, Ducati as well. We will continue to see how the tires work and that’s why we cannot relax. We wanted to see the performance of the bike at the end of the race and we’ve got some information about this which is important. Now we have to keep improving".
Unofficial lap times: 1. D. Pedrosa 1’55”471 2. J. Hopkins 1’55”825 3. V.Rossi 1’55”954 4. A. Hoffman 1’56”315 5. C. Edwards 1’56”371 6. R. De Puniet 1’56”753 7. L. Capirossi 1’56”807 8. C. Stoner 1’56”834 9. A.Barros 1’56”950 10. M. Melandri 1’56”980 11. S. Nakano 1’56”980 12. M. Tamada 1’57”232 13. T.Elías 1’57”246 14. N. Hayden 1’57”269 15. C. Vermeulen 1’57”365 16. K. Roberts 1’57”408 17. C. Checa 1’56”497 18. S. Guintoli 1’58”379 19. S. Itoh 1’58”974 20. A. Pitt 2’00”455
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