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Stoner sets the pace in California

Stoner sets the pace in California

Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner led the first outing of the Red Bull US Grand Prix weekend at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with team mate Dani Pedrosa second and Jorge Lorenzo third in the timings.

The Australian got his California weekend off to a good start on Friday with the fastest time in the opening practice session. His best lap of 1’22.300 was 0.102s in front of his Spanish team mate Pedrosa, who had a low speed crash when he ran off at the exit of turn 2 and fell over in the gravel in the first ten minutes. Pedrosa remounted and returned to the track to finish the session with a quickest lap of 1’22.402 putting him second in the timings, just 0.081s ahead of the Factory Yamaha of Lorenzo.

The MotoGP field entered the 45 minute practice session with fog hanging over the track, but it burned off by just after mid session when the sun came out. The first American in the timings was Ben Spies on his Yamaha Factory Racing machine, posting a time of 1'22.806 to put him in fourth place. He was followed by the third Repsol Honda of Andrea Dovizioso, who was 0.105s behind Spies and just over half a second behind the leading lap set by Stoner.

Marco Simoncelli rode his San Carlo Honda Gresini into the sixth spot in the charts, with a lap time of 1'23.210, while Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden began his session on his Ducati GP11, jumping to the top of the timings in the first ten minutes, then changed between the GP11 and GP11.1 on his subsequent outings. He finished the practice seventh with a best lap of 1'23.297, made on the GP11 bike.

On the other side of the Ducati box, Valentino Rossi had two GP11.1 Desmosedici machines, setting a time of 1'23.467 on one of them to put him in ninth position. The second fastest American in the field was Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) whose time of 1'23.459 ranked him eighth behind Hayden.

Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) posted the tenth quickest lap, a 1'23.529, with the sole Mapfre Aspar Ducati of Héctor Barberá in eleventh and Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) twelfth.

Rookie Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) had his first outing on the California circuit, placing 13th in the field after running off at the top of the corkscrew, with Toni Elias in 14th, followed by the Pramac Racing Ducati of Loris Capirossi, who returned from injury after missing the last round at Sachsenring.

Two more first timers at the Laguna Seca circuit, Karel Abraham (Cardio AB Motoracing) and Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) made their debut placing 16th and 17th, respectively.

Ben Bostrom, who is making his MotoGP debut as a wild card at the age of 37 for the LCR Honda team, rode an 800cc bike for the first time in the FP1 session, and was just under five seconds off the fastest time set by Stoner, and just under two seconds of the time set by Aoyama.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2011, RED BULL U.S. GRAND PRIX, FP1

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