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Stoner heads San Marino proceedings

The Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini kicked off with Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner grabbing the top spot ahead American Ben Spies and Dani Pedrosa.

Championship leader Stoner topped the first free practice of the weekend, with full sun and climbing temperatures indicative of what the rest of the 13th round of the MotoGP Championship season will bring.

Last year’s race winner Dani Pedrosa led much of the opening free practice session at the Misano World Circuit, with Yamaha Factory’s Ben Spies occupying the top spot after laying down a time of 1’34.466 in the final minutes. But it was the Australian who outpaced them all with a time of 1’34.180 on his final lap of the session, 0.286s quicker than the American and 0.349s ahead of Pedrosa’s best lap.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) stepped into fourth in the line up with a time of 1’35.011, ahead of San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli who posted a best lap of 1'35.088 at his home track.

Three Spaniards followed the top five, with defending title holder Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) sixth quickest lap, followed by Mapfre Aspar rider Héctor Barberá and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki).

Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was ninth in the timings and MotoGP rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) had a good showing, posting the tenth fastest lap of the session. Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) followed in 11th while his team mate Nicky Hayden was 13th.

MotoGP, 2011, FP1

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