Reigning double-250cc World Champion Dani Pedrosa made his Repsol Honda debut today at Valencia, when the Spaniard covered 62 laps of the tight and demanding 4.005km circuit as he began the considerable task of unlocking the full potential of a MotoGP prototype.

The diminutive Spaniard was impressed with the RCV, which he had ridden once before - one-year ago, but realises he has a long learning curve ahead of him before he fires up the V5 for the first race of the 2006 season at Jerez on March 24.

"It was a very important day for us today," began the ever intense Pedrosa, who set a best time of 1min 35.5secs in the speed-sapping cool and windy conditions. "My first impression of the RC211V is positive but it is bigger, faster and more difficult to control than the 250cc machine I have been riding for two years. Today was all about trying to understand the bike, how it behaves and what I have to do to understand the machine.

"The team make up is also different. I have some of my old mechanics who don't have MotoGP experience and three very experienced guys from the Honda team but they are all serious and very calm. Tomorrow we will try many things again maybe even the feel of different tyres," added Dani.

Pedrosa's Repsol Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden was the fastest rider on track today, setting a best time of 1min 34.40secs, which in turn was 1.4secs slower than the fastest race lap from Sunday's GP.

 

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