131 milliseconds separated Dani Pedrosa from pole position in the German Grand Prix, which he will start third tomorrow. On an intensive day of work, Pedrosa was able to gradually improve his times until he secured a place at the front of the grid tomorrow, behind Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner, from where he will battle for the win in Sachsenring. His team-mate, Andrea Dovizioso, took a clear leap forward compared to yesterday’s practices and finished just behind Pedrosa in fourth.
Pedrosa’s relationship with the German track is so special that he is always considered one of the clear favourites to win here and today, he has demonstrated this again. The Repsol Honda Team rider got down to work preparing for tomorrow’s race from the very start of the day. With the track still cold and drying out after the rain that fell over night, the Repsol rider went out on the track ready to fine tune details of the set up of his Honda in the free practice. He finished fourth, riding two tenths slower than his best time yesterday.
After overcoming the technical problems that set him back yesterday, Andrea improved his times this morning, climbing to sixth place with a best time that was half a second faster than his best time in the first free practice held on Friday. With this result, Dovizioso approached this afternoon’s qualifying in different way. As regards the qualifying session, Pedrosa completed the most laps of the German track and got into the leading positions from the beginning, regularly setting a pace of 1 minute and 22 seconds. Andrea Dovizioso also set a good race pace during the qualifying, although his best times were closer to the high end of one minute and 22 seconds.
With just 25 minutes to, Lorenzo’s mechanical problems, which caused his engine to fail in the middle of the straight, red flagged the race after the oil spilt by his bike at the end of the straight caused De Puniet and Spies fall.
When the session restarted almost half an hour later, when Pedrosa was leading and Dovizioso was sixth, the minutes continued to pass by until the final minutes. Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa showed that they were one step ahead of the rest of the riders and the three played their best hand to try to set the best time, which finally went to Lorenzo, followed by Stoner and Pedrosa. With the first row complete – these three riders were the only ones capable of riding at under one minute and 22 seconds -, Dovizioso secured fourth, allowing him to start from the second row of the grid tomorrow.
Dani PEDROSA >> 1’21.948 sec, 66 laps, 242 KM
“The main target today was to get onto the first row and we’ve achieved this so I’m happy. It’s important to start from the front row because the first corner is close to the starting grid and also the first few corners are very tight, so it’s better to be up front and try to stay out of trouble. Always at this track the lap times are very close and we often see a really hard fight in the race – and it looks like this could be the case again tomorrow. We were lucky with the weather today and we got more dry practice time than expected.
Generally we did a good job in the two practice sessions and our race pace looks pretty reasonable. I didn’t see the crash at turn one but I saw the smoke and I thought maybe there’s some oil on the track. I think I was lucky not to be the first one through after Lorenzo’s problem. We’ll have to be very concentrated during all 30 laps tomorrow because it’s a short lap and there’s no time to relax. We’ll try to find a little something extra with the set-up in warm-up tomorrow but I’m confident we can have a strong race”.
Andrea DOVIZIOSO >> 1’22.263 sec, 63 laps, 231 KM
“I’m pretty satisfied to have qualified in fourth and to be only four tenths from pole position. We made constant improvements in both of today’s sessions and we’re in much better shape than we were yesterday. Being fast on this track is really important for me because previously I’ve struggled here a little bit in all the categories, but today we could go quickly and qualified pretty well. Fourth position equals my best qualifying position so far this season and I’m happy about this.
We have a good race pace too. We are not as fast as the first three riders but I think we can improve in a few areas, close the gap, and fight for the top step of the podium. One of the areas where we are still losing out is in the middle of the turn with the bike wanting to go straight, so we’ll continue to try to improve this particular part of our set-up. I’m confident for tomorrow’s race”.
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