Estoril, Day One: “Bike Issues Took A Lot Of Time Out Of Our Sessions”

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The Motorcycling World Championship resumed today its activity in Portugal after a 1-month break from the second race of the year. Four weeks that allowed Dani Pedrosa to undergo surgery on his shoulder and get back to the track with a great level, as he finished just 64 thousandths behind the fastest time of the day. Still with doubts about how his arm will respond during the weekend, the start of the Repsol rider was certainly positive. His team mates Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso, who suffered some problems in those two sessions, finished fifth and twelfth, respectively.

In the first free practice session, Pedrosa had a good start and was soon among the fastest of the session. The Repsol rider did 19 laps and finished a little more than two tenths adrift Marco Simoncelli, who today dominated both sessions, and just 18 thousandths behind Casey Stoner, who was second, with Andrea Dovizioso sixth.

In the second practice session, Pedrosa was again very competitive and, after another 19 laps, set a time of 1 minute, 37 seconds and 727 thousandths, just 64 thousandths behind the best register of the day and only 3 behind the second fastest, Jorge Lorenzo. In fourth and fifth position finished Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner, both with exactly the same time, 439 thousandths behind Simoncelli. The Australian, who never hid his difficulties on this track, improved a tenth from the time set in the morning.

With twelve riders in the same second, Andrea Dovizioso closed this group, 995 thousandths behind the fastest time. The Repsol rider, who finished third in the race held last season in this setting, was delayed in this first day, focused on making the first adjustments to the set-up of his Repsol Honda RC212V to suit Estoril’s circuit features.

Apart from the competition, the three Repsol Honda Team riders collaborated yesterday with a campaign to support Japan developed by MotoGP in these difficult times for the Japanese country after the tragedy it suffered last March.

Casey Stoner

FP1 – 1:38.241, 17 laps, 71 km.
FP2 – 1:38.102, 15 laps, 63 km.

“To be honest I’m not very happy with how the day has gone, we had a few small issues with the bike that took quite a lot of time out of our sessions today. We could have had a much more productive day than we did as we didn’t really find any improvements, we have to wait for tomorrow and hope for some dry weather because at this moment we’re not too happy with the setting of the bike.
We need to improve it a little under braking point and in the middle of the corner where we seem to be struggling to get the bike to turn so if there is some good weather tomorrow we should be able to improve the situation and not be so far”.