The Repsol MotoGP riders made an impeccable start to round four of the World Championship, which kicked off today at the Le Mans Circuit in France. Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa headed the standings in both the first and second practice sessions, showing good early form at a demanding track for braking and acceleration.

After the emotion of yesterday, in which Casey Stoner announced his plans to retire at the end of the season, the reigning World Champion showed that he still has plenty to show for himself: The Repsol rider was the quickest in both practice sessions, which took place in overcast conditions. In the morning run, Stoner went round in under 1’35 and was the first to do so, ending the session with a best time of 1’34.321. The series leader didn’t settle for that and further improved with a final best lap of 1’33.740.

His teammate in the Repsol Honda Team, Dani Pedrosa, was second in both sessions. He joined the Australian in becoming the only two to break the 1’35 barrier in the morning (1’34.908) In the second practice, Pedrosa knocked almost a second off that, with 1’34.005 his best effort. After the first adjustments made to the bike settings, the Repsol Honda Team will have two further sessions in preparation for Sunday’s race. Qualifying to decide grid positions takes place tomorrow.

 Dani Pedrosa

FP1 – 1:34.908, 20 laps, 84 km.

FP2 – 1:34.005, 17 laps, 71 km.

“The feeling was pretty good overall; normally with these cold conditions the track here is very slippery, but the tyres worked well, the grip level is good and we managed two good session practices. We still have some work to do, mainly on the corner entry, but the first impression has been positive so far.

It looks like the temperature will drop and some rain is coming, so it’s been useful to have time in the dry to get the feeling at a track like this, where you have a lot of wheelie. I didn’t test the new front Bridgestone tyre today, but I would like to do it tomorrow if it’s dry”.

Casey Stoner

FP1 – 1:34.321, 16 laps, 67 km.

FP2 – 1:33.740, 17 laps, 71 km.

“The sessions today went quite well for us. Believe it or not, today we were trying to create chatter, so we can make the most use of this dry time on track to understand it a little better and make some improvements for the rest of the season. We are happy to use some of the sessions to focus on fixing the chatter issue, and not worry about the set up immediately. We started to find some chatter at the end of the day when we switched to the hard front tyre and hopefully it will stay dry tomorrow so we can continue to work on this.

After yesterday’s announcement, I definitely felt a weight off my shoulders when I got on the bike this morning. The last two races I’ve had a lot of thoughts running through my mind and this weekend I already feel better knowing it’s off my chest and we can now focus on the rest of the season, and try to enjoy it”.