In a rain-interrupted day at the Jerez circuit, Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa was back in the saddle on the first day of the final MotoGP test of 2006. Though cold track temperatures in the morning and rain from lunchtime onwards made lap-times largely irrelevant today, Pedrosa completed a valuable 44 laps as he eased himself back into riding the 800cc Honda RC212V he will campaign next year.
In the brief dry session this morning the 21-year-old Spaniard clocked a best time of 1m 44.030s. As the rain eased, Pedrosa's team then worked on settings for the tricky 'half-and-half' conditions encountered on a slowly drying track. After today's test Pedrosa, the 2006 MotoGP Rookie of the Year, confirmed that his left arm felt fine following the minor operation that saw him sit out the previous test in Sepang.
World Champion Nicky Hayden remains at home in the United States during this test as he undergoes treatment on his injured shoulder. The 25-year-old American will return to the track in the first test of 2007 at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia on January 22.
The Repsol Honda Team 250cc was also at the Jerez Circuit to start with their 2007 preseason. Japan's Shuhei Aoyama, who will be facing his second season in the Motorcycle World Championship, was joined by Spanish rider Julito Simón, new rider of the Repsol Honda Team 250cc. Simón, 125cc rider in the 2006 season, had his debut in the new class today, although the weather was not of much help, hindering him from making more than 41 laps on the Andalusian track. Both Aoyama and Simón hope to be able to continue with their work tomorrow.
Dani Pedrosa Best lap time: 1m 44.030s - 19 dry laps, 25 wet laps;
"Today we didn't get to test much really because of the weather, but it was useful for me to get back into the rhythm of riding a MotoGP bike after nearly one month off. If the weather is good tomorrow then I will be fine to do a full day's practice - so today was worth it as a warm up, and the arm felt fine."
"We were hardly able to draw any conclusion from what we did today because I only was able to do some 20 laps. First the track was wet and then it rained, so it's not really been a useful day. Let's hope for better weather tomorrow to be able to do everything we had planned. The only good thing is that I've been able to get back the pace since the last Grand Prix in these 20 laps because I hadn't been on a bike since then."
"Too bad the weather wasn't good today, but it's been good as a first experience in the new class and with the new bike. I like the bike a lot, it's very easy to ride and very driveable. I thought it would be much more difficult. It's obviously been only a first contact but the feelings have been very positive. What impressed me most was the engine - the power delivery - and how stable and driveable it is. Today has only been a first contact and what I really need now is to cover lots of kilometres to get used to the bike. Let's hope for better weather tomorrow to be able to keep on lapping."