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Lorenzo laps fastest in first practice

Lorenzo laps fastest in first practice

The Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya got underway on Friday afternoon and the Fiat Yamaha rider was quickest. Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa were inside the top three in soaring temperatures.

The sun was beating down on Montmeló on Friday afternoon (37ºC air temperature, 52ºC track surface) as the opening MotoGP practice session of the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya got underway, and by the end of the hour it was Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo at the top of the timesheet thanks to a best lap of 1’43.259.

The Fiat Yamaha rider, who is going for a third straight win this weekend in front of a home crowd, was 0.153s faster than Casey Stoner. The Ducati Team rider had a run-off early on in the session at Turn 1 but it was a minor event, as he went on to time in second fastest on board his Desmosedici GP10 at a track he enjoys.

Completing the top three was Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa at almost four-tenths off Lorenzo as he attempts to fight his fellow Spaniard for victory this weekend. Seeking a consistency in results on his RC212V Pedrosa started his quest in promising fashion on a track he has won races in three different classes.

Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was 0.094s further back in fourth and will challenge Pedrosa for second spot in the Championship standings in round seven. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Ben Spies meanwhile put in a hot penultimate lap to shoot up from 15th to fifth inside the final minutes of the session, as he set about learning another new track.

Aleix Espargaró’s improvements continued on board the Ducati of the Pramac Racing team as he set the sixth fastest lap of the session, just under nine-tenths off Lorenzo, whilst Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) will also aim for another consistent result at Catalunya – the Frenchman was seventh, just 0.06s behind Espargaró.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) made a step up towards the end of the session to move into eighth spot, with Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) also taking top-ten times.

The only crash of the session occurred 23 minutes in when Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) fell on his tenth lap whilst running fifth fastest, spraining his already injured left shoulder. The rookie was back out shortly after and completed a further ten turns, as he showed a determination to not let his injured left shoulder hinder his progress any further, and placed 12th, one spot behind team-mate Loris Capirossi. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Melandri was 14th, as he made his return after sitting Assen out with a dislocated left shoulder.

Wataru Yoshikawa started his first GP weekend as Valentino Rossi’s substitute on the Fiat Yamaha team and was 17th fastest, just behind Kousuke Akiyoshi who continues to fill in for the injured Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team).


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