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Simoncelli fastest again in FP2

Simoncelli fastest again in FP2

San Carlo Honda Gresini Team’s Marco Simoncelli was quickest for the second practice for the bwin Grande Prémio de Portugal after also topping the timesheets in FP1. The Honda rider got the better of reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda).

The Italian lost the front end of his Honda going into Turn 3 midway through the second session so had to jump onto his second machine, but he was never headed. The 24 year-old won at this circuit back in 2009 in the former 250cc class and will be aiming for his maiden podium finish this weekend, after missing out on the opportunity at Jerez in the previous round.

The second session of the day – in the afternoon – was run in much hotter temperatures underneath the Portuguese sunshine. The MotoGP class just missed out on the rain which began to fall at the end of the 45-minute practice, and all 17 riders improved on their earlier times to end the day spread across 2.510s.

Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) who has won from pole position at Estoril for the previous three seasons was consistently quick throughout the day and finished with a deficit of just 0.061s to Simoncelli. The 23 year-old was 0.003s faster than his rival Dani Pedrosa in third. The Repsol Honda rider has yet to win in any category at this circuit and it is one of only four venues the Spaniard has been unable to achieve victory at.

Finishing on identical lap times of 1’38.102 were Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) and Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) after their much talked about coming together from the last race in Jerez. The Italian has had five wins here in the premier class, whilst the Australian is yet to take victory in the premier class at Estoril.

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was again solidly in the top ten, keen to put the disappointment of Jerez behind him. The American has had two fourth places here, in 2006 and 2008, which are his best results at this circuit. Rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) was seventh quickest, and the Czech rider finished in 10th place here last season in the Moto2 race.

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) has not had a happy time so far at this venue after crashing on the sighting lap in 2010. After a run off in first practice in the morning, the Yamaha rider was eighth fastest, 0.9s off Simoncelli’s best time.

The final two places in the top went to two Ducati machines. Ninth was Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) who will be hoping to achieve the first win for Ducati at this circuit. Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar Team), who had his best ever finish in MotoGP thanks to his sixth place in Jerez, was tenth quickest in FP2. The ten riders were covered by less than a second.

Making his return to action was Rizla Suzuki rider Álvaro Bautista, who completed both the practice sessions in his first MotoGP action since breaking his left femur in Qatar.


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