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Stoner hot off the mark at Laguna Seca

Stoner hot off the mark at Laguna Seca

The Ducati Team rider was over two-tenths of a second faster than Jorge Lorenzo, as he got within 0.021s of the Spaniard’s 2009 pole position time in the opening practice session at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.

Casey Stoner found an immediately fast pace at Laguna Seca as he took top spot on the timesheet from Jorge Lorenzo just before the midway point of the first practice, and he did not relinquish it as he lapped consistently fast for the rest of the session having switched bikes early on following some dissatisfaction with his front-end feeling.

Inside the final five minutes the Australian posted his best effort of 1’21.699, just 0.021s off Lorenzo’s pole time from last year, and that left the Ducati Team rider 0.233s clear at the top of the timesheet. Fiat Yamaha rider and Championship leader Lorenzo was the only other rider under the 1’22” mark, as he also made a fast start to his weekend with a best of 1’21.932.

Andrea Dovizioso was the highest placing Honda rider in the session as he took his factory RC212V around in a best time of 1’22.225, just over half a second off Stoner’s pace. The Italian’s Repsol Honda colleague Dani Pedrosa, who won last year’s race at the track, was fourth quickest at a further three-tenths down on his team-mate’s time.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies was the highest placing American rider in the session, the rookie – albeit riding on one of the few tracks he has experienced before – setting a best time of 1’22.640 towards the end to secure fifth. Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) was sixth and also the last rider within a second of Stoner, as the recovering Italian put in a best time 0.961s off that of Stoner’s.

American duo Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) and Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech3) were seventh and eighth respectively, with Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) and Aleix Espargaró (Pramac Racing) rounding out the top ten.

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) had a crash at turn three very early in the session but was uninjured and returned to the track to go 12th fastest, and Randy de Puniet’s substitute on the LCR Honda team Roger Lee Hayden was just under four seconds off Stoner in 17th as he took his first ride on the satellite RC212V.


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