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Hayden best in wet; Stoner leaves rivals thunderstruck in dry

Hayden best in wet; Stoner leaves rivals thunderstruck in dry

Nicky Hayden was quickest at Philip Island in the second MotoGP practice session, held on a wet track, but was unable to match the pace of Casey Stoner earlier in the day.

Casey Stoner left his rivals thunderstruck on Friday in Phillip Island, making the most of the morning dry practice session for the Australian Grand Prix to record the fastest time of the day. The Ducati rider started strongly at his home track, with a 1´30.094 quickest lap nearly seven-tenths of a second quicker than MotoGP world title successor Valentino Rossi in the opening run.

Stoner came close to breaching the circuit record, set by teammate Marco Melandri in 2005, despite riding without the protective strapping on his injured scaphoid in order to increase mobility. The local rider and 2007 racewinner picked up from where he left off on Friday, showing that he is not going to ease off the throttle despite his concession of the World Championship to Rossi at the last round.

Rain in the second session allowed the riders to work on their wet setup, with forecasts for the weekend suggesting that both settings will be required over the course of the weekend. Repsol Honda´s Nicky Hayden was fastest in that outing, with Stoner and Rossi down in fifth and sixth, respectively.

A further second back in the dry, Alex de Angelis came off his San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V in the second session in a light off, and was a little way off the pace in the rain. Somewhat more consistent, whatever the weather, was JiR Team Scot´s Andrea Dovizioso, fourth fastest in the dry and second quickest in the wet afternoon session.

Randy de Puniet also suffered an afternoon fall after clocking the fifth fastest time of the morning, ahead of Dani Pedrosa, Shinya Nakano, Jorge Lorenzo, Loris Capirossi and James Toseland.

Twice poleman at Phillip Island, Hayden was surprisingly on much better form in the wet, only able to place eleventh in the morning´s dry run.

Having taken time out from his schedule to release penguins into the wild earlier in the week, Rizla Suzuki´s Chris Vermeulen another close encounter of the ornithic kind in afternoon session, having to duck behind his visor to narrowly avoid a low-flying bird. The home rider placed fourteenth overall.


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