September, 13 2012
The Repsol Honda team may have been forced into a change of line-up for this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix, but that hasn’t stopped Dani Pedrosa and Jonathan Rea from eyeing up a Misano masterclass.
The Spaniard sits 13 points behind leader Jorge Lorenzo going into the race and will be joined by Rea, who has temporarily stepped up from World Superbike to stand in for injured Casey Stoner.
Rea has successfully completed recent tests for Honda at Brno and Aragon and is pumped for his first ‘dream’ ride in MotoGP.
“For me it’s a big dream come true just to race in MotoGP; it's been very unfortunate for Casey to sustain such an injury when he was having a very strong season. Now my job is to replace him and I will try to do the best I can.”
Misano is a track very close to the heart of the Northern Irishman. It is there that he won his first WSBK race three years ago. Add to that the fact Rea has already raced there this season and the signs look good for a strong Misano showing.
“I love Misano, I've already raced there this year and I finished second,” said Rea. “It's also where I had my first ever Superbike win in 2009 and I enjoy the circuit and the Italian fans, they are always very enthusiastic.”
Pedrosa’s recent form has put the Spaniard hot on the heels of Lorenzo and, more importantly, he has silenced his critics.
Where it was once thought Pedrosa could only win from the front, his racing style has matured to make him a threat whenever he’s within striking distance of the leader, something that was evident at Brno.
Pedrosa has made podium in his last three races at Misano (second in 2011, winning in 2010, and third in 2009). Consistently strong performances have been his calling card this season where he has taken a podium place in every race with the exception of Le Mans in May.
“Misano is a tricky track, quite bumpy, with a lot of braking and accelerations. The grip level is always a challenge, because it changes a lot from the morning sessions to the afternoon,” said Pedrosa.
“I hope the work we have done in the Brno and Aragon tests with suspension and electronics can help us to start the weekend strong in Misano,” the Spaniard added.
“We need to continue working in the same way, focusing on our bike's performance and my riding to keep reducing the gap in the championship.”
Thanks to Honda Racing for help with this article