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Stoner sets the pace in Catalunya

Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner led the first practice session of the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya, ahead of San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli.

The Australian was fastest in the first practice session of the Spanish race weekend, topping the field with a best time of 1’43.918. Simoncelli collected the second quickest time, following Casey by 0.486 seconds. The Italian initially lead the session, but lost the lead time after a short time by a still recovering Casey Stoner.

Hopes of favorable weather conditions at the Montmeló circuit were dashed as the first practice of the weekend for the MotoGP class began in cloudy conditions that preceded intermittent rain in the second half of the session. No doubt the rainy conditions affected the practice result times.

The Yamaha Factory Racing riders were third and fourth quickest, with reigning World Champion and current points leader Jorge Lorenzo producing a third fastest time of 1’44.643, followed very closely by Texan teammate Ben Spies just 0.003 seconds behind the Spaniard.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) took fifth position, with a time of 1’44.730, followed by both Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders, with American Colin Edwards finishing 0.038s behind the Honda rider, and Cal Crutchlow following by 0.029s.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) was the quickest Ducati in the first practice, finishing eighth, just ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team). The Ducati team duo were 0.881s and 0.926s respectively off the fastest time of the session.

Rounding out the top ten was Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini). The top ten riders were within 1.414s of each other.

Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) who is returning to top fitness after breaking his left leg in the season opener at Losail finished in 14th place, 2.942s off the pace, showing promise of improvements over the previous race weekend results.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2011, FP1

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