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MotoGP morning outing sees Hopkins on top in Le Mans

MotoGP morning outing sees Hopkins on top in Le Mans

John Hopkins enjoyed an excellent morning outing in Le Mans on the second day of the Alice Grand Prix de France, heading the timesheets in the third MotoGP free practice of the weekend.

John Hopkins enjoyed an excellent morning outing in Le Mans on the second day of the Alice Grand Prix de France, heading the timesheets in the third MotoGP free practice of the weekend.

Having finally achieved his first ever podium finish in Shanghai a fortnight ago, the 24 year-old Anglo-American is confident of another good result in France and he knocked more than half a second off his best Friday time this morning as he lapped in 1'35.128s. The Rizla Suzuki man displayed a good rhythm throughout the session, putting in more laps than any other participant and setting his best time on the 25th lap of 32.

The hour-long session took place in fairly cloudy and slightly windy conditions, but the weather appears to be stable and the possibility of rain predicted yesterday has fortunately subsided with a dry afternoon now expected.

Second quickest was Honda Gresini's Toni Elias, just 0.060s behind Hopkins, with Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner following closely behind the Spaniard by 0.057s. In perhaps his best session of the season so far Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3's Makoto Tamada was next in the classification, lapping 0.117s off Hopkins' best time.

Experienced American rider Colin Edwards (fifth fastest) had a spectacular highside crash which saw him thrown over the handlebars of his 800cc prototype, but was not injured and was later seen smiling as he made light of the incident in the Fiat Yamaha pit-box.

Alex Hofmann (17th) also suffered a slight crash, whilst Randy de Puniet (sixth) exited the asphalt at one stage though neither were affected adversely.

Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi both had decent run-outs as the seventh and eighth fastest participants respectively, with the extremely tight margins currently featuring in the MotoGP class meaning they were less than three tenths of a second slower than Hopkins.

Indeed 16 riders lapped within one second of the fastest time of the practice, adding to the expectation of yet another intriguing 2007 qualifying battle at 1.50pm this afternoon.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, ALICE GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, FP3

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