Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

North West 200: Dani Pedroza is quickest as Honda dominate

North West 200 - May 2013
North West 200 - May 2013

Honda began the French Grand Prix weekend strongly as Dani Pedrosa led team-mate Marc Marquez in practice at Le Mans.

The Spaniards claimed a win apiece at the last two rounds in Austin and Jerez, and the Repsol factory bikes were once again the best of the field on the tight and twisting Bugatti configuration of the famous French circuit.

Pedrosa topped both the morning and afternoon running, with his lap of one minute 34.035 seconds, during the second session, being the quickest of the day, allowing him to edge out rookie Marquez by less than two-tenths of a second.

Valentino Rossi was the quickest of the factory Yamahas as he got the better of team-mate and world champion Jorge Lorenzo to claim the third-fastest time.

Stefan Bradl produced his best Friday performance of the season to date to take fifth on his LCR Honda, with Britain's Cal Crutchlow sixth aboard his Tech 3 Yamaha at the end of a week where his future in the team has been thrown into doubt.

Bradley Smith was 11th on the second Tech 3 bike, but there was disappointment for Toombridge's Michael Laverty who could only finish in 23rd with his Paul Bird Motorsport machine well off the pace.