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Pedrosa starts strong in Barcelona practice

Pedrosa starts strong in Barcelona practice

Dani Pedrosa was the fastest rider in the opening morning session for his home race, the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya.

The local favourite at the Circuit de Catalunya, Dani Pedrosa took the early psychological advantage with the fastest time of the first MotoGP free practice session. The Spaniard stopped the clock at 1´43.691 on his quickest lap, undertaken on a tricky surface after overnight rain and morning sun combined.

Current World Championship leader Valentino Rossi was second fastest, less than two-tenths of a second down on Pedrosa´s time. The Italian was running a special livery and leathers combination designed to celebrate his national team´s participation in the Uefa European Championships this month.

Second home hero Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi´s Fiat Yamaha teammate, also showed early promise, as did Rizla Suzuki´s Chris Vermeulen and Tech 3 Yamaha satellite man Colin Edwards in a tightly-bunched top five.

The first ten minutes of the session were strewn with problems for satellite team riders. JiR Team Scot´s Andrea Dovizioso was the first to come into difficulty, running off track just five minutes in. That incident was followed by a crash for Toni Elias, who hit the rumble strip and lowsided his Ducati Desmosedici GP8 Sat, causing a headache for his Alice Team mechanics as the machine suffered damage. LCR Honda´s Randy de Puniet then hit the deck.

Dovizioso came back with the seventh fastest time, just behind Alex de Angelis and faster than World Champion Casey Stoner. The latter suffered two run-offs and a crash during the one hour session, indicating that he won´t have things easy in his quest to repeat his 2007 victory.

Loris Capirossi and James Toseland completed the top ten.


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