Pace-setting Casey: “Hopefully We Can Stay Ahead Of The Rest”
The Repsol Honda Team started on a roll the French Grand Prix with a first Practice day where Casey Stoner led the two Free Practice sessions. At the end of the day, the Australian was four tenths ahead of the rest of the MotoGP riders, while Dani Pedrosa was third and Andrea Dovizioso, sixth.
In the first Free Practice session, the three riders of the blue and orange Honda dominated the session, taking the first three places. Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso finished in that order a practice session where they were the only ones to set a time below 1 minute 35 seconds. A very positive start at the mythical Bugatti circuit in Le Mans.
Those good feelings were confirmed at the second session where, from the beginning, the Repsol riders put themselves in the top five. Casey Stoner had the initiative at all times and finished the day as the only rider able to run under 1 minute 34 seconds with a final time of 1 minute 33 seconds and 782 thousandths.
The Repsol rider beat Marco Simoncelli, second, by four tenths and had nearly seven of margin over Dani Pedrosa, who completed 23 laps setting a good pace despite still feeling a little pain on his right shoulder. Andrea Dovizioso, nearly a second behind Stoner, finished sixth after running in the top five for most of the session. The Italian of the Repsol Honda Team concluded the session satisfied and with a fastest time 9 tenths behind Stoner, but with a good margin to improve.
FP1 – 1:34.133, 20 laps, 84 km.
FP2 – 1:33.782, 20 laps, 84 km.
“The track has quite good grip and we have a better feeling than in the past few years in this track and we are very happy, we went out this morning and didn’t change so much from Portugal as the tracks are pretty similar for us, we felt good immediately and then changed a few things and tried something we haven’t tested before on the Honda which seemed to give us more traction in the rear without affecting anything else. The weather is fantastic here and I hope it stays this way!
We’re happy to be where we are and we’ll continue to work tomorrow morning to ensure we have the best set up for qualifying. Every session we do we’re trying to modify something to improve the bike, I don’t know if this is good enough to get pole at the moment as people are able to pull out a very good lap on the soft tyre, today we are fast but I’m sure tomorrow the others will also be fast, at this moment we feel comfortable with the settings with just a few more adjustments to make tomorrow, hopefully we can stay ahead of the rest”.