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Stoner continues as the man to beat in Assen MotoGP practice

Stoner continues as the man to beat in Assen MotoGP practice

Casey Stoner set a blistering pace to lead the opening MotoGP practice session in Assen.

In pursuit of two victories in less than a week, Casey Stoner proved to be the early form rider in the Netherlands on Thursday morning. The Australian recorded the fastest time in the first practice session for the A-Style TT Assen, and was over half a second quicker than any of his rivals.

Stoner´s marker was a storming 1´36.569 lap, comfortably six-tenths of a second lower than 2006 race-winner Nicky Hayden - who was second fastest in the session - and faster than the race lap record. The Ducati factory rider looks to be as dominant as he was at Donington Park and, on this performance, will be clearly the man to beat over the course of the next three days.

Hayden was once again benefitting from his preferred pneumatic valve Repsol Honda engine, and was in turn two-tenths of a second faster than teammate Dani Pedrosa during the opening practice session. The rider who came so close to beating Hayden two years ago, Colin Edwards, was also showing his cards early as the most mercurial satellite rider.

San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alex de Angelis was fifth fastest in his first MotoGP practice session at Assen, ahead of celebrated 2007 race winner Valentino Rossi. Andrea Dovizioso, John Hopkins, Shinya Nakano and Randy de Puniet completed the top ten in the session, which experienced sunshine and only the lightest of breezes.

Making his return after missing the British visit, Rizla Suzuki´s Loris Capirossi was twelfth on the timesheet.


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