Positive start for the Repsol Honda Team in wet Valencia
The final round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship kicked off today under difficult conditions at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia.
The cold temperatures that reached a high of 16 degrees in the afternoon, mixed in with rain showers throughout the day, resulted in a very slick circuit making it almost impossible to take any direction in set up of the bike. Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa finished first and second respectively in the combined free practice times, with Andrea Dovizoso in ninth position.
The final classification of this first day of free practice sessions was determined in this morning's FP1 when, with the track drying up in the last minutes, new World Champion Casey Stoner set a fastest lap of 1'45.513, closely followed by Dani Pedrosa with a 1'45.736 lap and Andrea Dovizioso 0.889 off Stoner.
"It hasn't been a great day to be honest, we've never had a great feeling here in the wet. I love riding this circuit in the dry, but there seems to be some sort of oil or grease on the circuit, I'm not sure if it's due to a lot of car rubber down but it makes things hard for sure. It's been pretty useless in terms of finding a good set up, both sessions began with a little water and then drying out towards the end, when it's like this you're chasing the set up all day so we didn't do too much work on the bike. We tried a few small things to make it better in the wet, but then as it dried up we saw everything we had done was a waste of time. We'll wait and see what tomorrow brings and if it does rain again I hope it at least rains consistently so we can get a full wet session in."
"This morning we had a very good run, but in the afternoon we had some issues on the bike with the rear shock and I only managed a few laps, spending a lot of time in the garage making changes. The track surface is quite old and very slippery, even when the track was drier it was still tough. The feelings are not so bad and I think we need to be ready for mixed weather conditions, improving the set up step by step. Let's wait and see if tomorrow we have some dry sessions to get out on slick tyres, this would be important to better understand the direction to take on the set up of the bike."
"Today the conditions of the track were really demanding as there was no grip. We did good work with the team and we were careful not to make mistakes as we didn't want to take additional risks with these difficult conditions. All in all, I'm quite satisfied as I was able to ride quiet fast without pushing too much but of course we need to keep on working. I hope that tomorrow the weather and the track situation will improve."