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Stoner shapes up strong on day one in Misano

Stoner shapes up strong on day one in Misano

In a performance scarily predictable for his rivals, Casey Stoner led the way in Misano on Friday.

Casey Stoner was the almost inevitable fastest rider on track on Friday at Misano, making his opening preparations for the Gran Premio Cinzano di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. The 2007 poleman, racewinner and –lest we forget- MotoGP World Champion clocked a 1´34.806 lap to continue his almost immaculate record of practice session success from the last six races.

Just over four-tenths of a second down on Stoner´s marker was local favourite and current World Championship leader Valentino Rossi, making his first on-track appearance at Misano since his ill-fated race last year. With the series´ top two riders of the moment looking to be in fine form, early indications point to another gripping battle for supremacy between Stoner and Rossi on Sunday.

Someone who will also want to have a say in matters is Loris Capirossi, third in practice on Friday and himself just over half a second down on Stoner. The soon-to-be holder of the record for most Grand Prix appearances was riding the 2007 Misano podium-taking Rizla Suzuki GSV-R for the first time at his second `home´ circuit in the initial sessions.

Another veteran, Colin Edwards gave tyre fabricant Michelin their highest position of the day in fourth, although the Tech 3 Yamaha rider was unable to improve on his morning time in Free Practice 2.

LCR Honda´s Randy de Puniet was the fastest rider for the Japanese factory over the course of the day, in fifth ahead of second Suzuki man Chris Vermeulen and Fiat Yamaha´s Jorge Lorenzo. All of the top seven were within a second of Stoner´s time.

Home rider Alex de Angelis also featured in the top ten, ahead of San Carlo Honda Gresini teammate Shinya Nakano and Tech 3 Yamaha´s James Toseland. John Hopkins played no part in the day´s events, still sore from a minor but awkwardly placed rib injury.


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