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Stoner ends Friday MotoGP action as fastest rider in Brno

Stoner ends Friday MotoGP action as fastest rider in Brno

Casey Stoner recorded the fastest time in the combined free practice session standings for the Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceske republiky.

A back-and-forth battle between the top two MotoGP riders of the moment continued in Brno on Friday, as Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner took turns in leading the way in the first free practice sessions for the Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceske republiky.

Having been usurped in the closing stages of the morning run by his Italian rival, it was Stoner who ended the day as the premier class´ leading man, recording a fastest lap of 1´57.231 and edging out Rossi by 0.179. The winner and poleman of the 2007 Czech race has been the dominant force in practice and qualifying runs since late June, and proved that he hadn´t missed a beat over the summer break. He ran off track shortly after clocking his quickest time of the day, but otherwise had little problem in navigating the Brno track onboard his Ducati Desmosedici GP8.

He was, however, suffering from a fever. This was made obvious by the image of a spent Stoner slumping into his hands during the afternoon session. This has not put him off in the past; his first MotoGP pole position at Qatar in 2006 was taken under similar circumstances.

Catching up with his countryman and his former teammate at the termination of the session, 2006 racewinner Loris Capirossi had his first experience of the circuit onboard Rizla Suzuki machinery. The Italian veteran was half a second down on second placed Rossi on the combined timesheet.

Entrusted with a factory spec Honda RC212V from this weekend until the end of the season, San Carlo Honda Gresini´s Shinya Nakano edged out his teammate on the standard bike, Alex de Angelis, in the final moments of the session. The satellite team duo were separated by just 0.036, although Nakano had been very happy with the handling of his new machine.

Chris Vermeulen completed an all-Bridgestone top six, with the only Michelin rider featuring in the top ten on day one being Tech 3 Yamaha´s seventh-placed Colin Edwards. Last year´s runner-up at Brno, John Hopkins, was eighth despite a pair of crashes on his return to action from a leg fracture, whilst Toni Elias and Sylvain Guintoli rounded off the fastest ten riders of the day onboard their satellite Ducati bikes.

There were crashes in the session for De Angelis, LCR Honda´s Randy de Puniet and second Tech 3 Yamaha rider James Toseland, without consequences, whilst bigger difficulties came for Repsol Honda´s Dani Pedrosa. Third in the World Championship standings, the Spaniard was once again feeling the after-effects of his Sachsenring crash and hand injuries, finishing sixteenth on the opening timed runs at Brno.


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