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Pedrosa takes practice top spot as clouds clear in Estoril

Pedrosa takes practice top spot as clouds clear in Estoril

Dani Pedrosa rose from sixteenth to first in the free practice standings after the Estoril Circuit dried out, concluding the opening sessions of the bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal in positive fashion.

Dani Pedrosa rose from sixteenth to first in the free practice standings after the Estoril Circuit dried out, concluding the opening sessions of the bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal in positive fashion.

The Repsol Honda rider and winner of the last round in Jerez, Pedrosa laid down a fastest time of 1´38.507 to lead the way, edging out Fiat Yamaha´s Valentino Rossi by under a tenth of a second.

Rossi was the sole Bridgestone rider in a Michelin-dominated top six, in direct contrast to the wet morning session where Japanese rubber reigned supreme. The disparity between the two manufacturers under different conditions could make the weather one of the crucial factors of both Saturday´s qualifying session and Sunday´s all-important race.

Thankfully for Rossi, he showed no after-effects from a morning crash which flung him from his Yamaha M1, and he was able to run a respectable pace over the course of his 26 lap stint on track. The second fastest Yamaha was just under four tenths of a second slower, that of Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards. The Texan has some new firepower at his disposal this weekend, namely the pneumatic valve engine given to both he and teammate James Toseland at Estoril.

Edwards´ countryman and 2007 Portugal poleman Nicky Hayden was fourth fastest, despite taking a couple of wide lines in the afternoon session. He was in turn just quicker than Jorge Lorenzo, the Fiat Yamaha rookie who has taken pole position for the first two races of the current season.

Andrea Dovizioso was once again the fastest satellite Honda rider, onboard his JiR Team Scot RC212V, whilst there were problems for reigning World Champion Casey Stoner as he languished in seventh place. The Australian had a few wobbly moments onboard his Ducati Desmosedici GP8, including an innocuous lowside on his opening run.

San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda´s Shinya Nakano, LCR Honda´s Randy de Puniet and Kawasaki star John Hopkins were the final riders to go round within a second of Pedrosa´s time, with Loris Capirossi completing the top ten with his Suzuki GSV-R.

De Puniet ran off track during the session, whilst there were bigger problems for Toni Elias. The Alice Team rider had steam pouring out of his satellite Ducati down the home straight, and was unable to complete any more than 10 laps of the circuit at which he took his only MotoGP victory to date in 2006.

Alex de Angelis is suffering from a bout of flu this weekend, and his condition won´t have been helped by a highside during the afternoon session.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, bwin.com GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, FP2

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