Mugello, Day One: Casey On Competitive Form From The Outset

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The Motorcycling World Championship arrived this week to the green valleys of Tuscany, where the changeable weather conditioned the first practice sessions held at the Mugello circuit. Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso were competitive from the beginning and finished in second and third position, respectively, while Dani Pedrosa, returning after undergoing surgery twice on the right collarbone, took a remarkable seventh place.

At half past ten this morning, with ambient temperatures up to 26ºC and the tarmac nearly at 40ºC, started the first free practice of the Italian Grand Prix, that were very positive for the Repsol Honda Team riders. Under those conditions and with a resurfaced track, the riders progressed quickly, with Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso again among the fastest. They finished second and third, respectively, and just 40 and 101 thousands behind Marco Simoncelli, who set the fastest time of the day.

Conditions were ideal for Dani Pedrosa to get on his bike again after his collarbone fracture last May 15th in Le Mans. Visibly recovered and with the cautiousness that he always shows, the rider picked up his pace gradually and reduced his own times until finishing seventh, 1 second and 117 thousandths behind Simoncelli. A positive first contact for the Spanish rider of the Repsol Honda Team.

In the afternoon, the weather surprised again and very few riders were able to do a couple of laps. At 1pm, clouds gathered quickly and it started to rain intermittently, without the rain ever being intense enough to use wet tyres. When at ten past two the track was opened for the second MotoGP practice session, Andrea Dovizioso was one of the few that took the track, setting the fastest time after only six laps, while Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, among others, did not even get out of the garage, waiting for the conditions to improve tomorrow. For Dani this was a good situation, as it allowed him to let his shoulder rest after the effort of the morning.

Casey Stoner

FP1 – 1:49.027, 16 laps, 84 km.
FP2 – Not qualified

“This morning we had a pretty tough session, my injuries from Assen aren’t completely healed and it seems there is a slightly deeper problem with my neck. On the main straights the wind was knocking my head around quite a lot and we struggled with this and weren’t able to get enough time on track to find something decent with set up or complete as many laps as I would have liked to.
That said, in general the bike worked very well straight out of the box so I’m very grateful for this and cannot complain too much. There are a few things we would like to improve with how the bike turns, but we didn’t get any time on track this afternoon to try anything.
At the beginning of FP2 it wasn’t wet enough for wet tyres, we would have destroyed them, then when it finally was dry there wasn’t enough time out there to do a lap or to get any information so it’s better we wait until tomorrow and continue from there”.