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Stoner leads Pedrosa and Rossi in Valencia FP1

Stoner set a last minute fast lap to jump to the front of the pack in the first practice session of the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, ahead of team mate Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi.

The MotoGP class took to a drying track for the first practice outing of the 2011 season closer, with several tributes to Marco Simoncelli revealed as the bikes hit the asphalt. Loris Capirossi's Ducati displayed Marco Simoncelli's number 58 on his Pramac Racing machine and Hiroshi Aoyama's bike ran unbranded, instead featuring a message to his fallen team mate.

As the riders gingerly made their way around the slippery Ricardo Tormo circuit, various riders took turns at the top of the times, including Toni Elías (LCR Honda), Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team), Nicky Hayden and Capirossi. It wasn’t until the final three minutes that World Champion Casey Stoner claimed the top spot with a time of 1’45.513, with Pedrosa jumping into second, two tenths behind his Repsol Honda team mate.

The Ducati Team duo of Rossi and Hayden posted the third and fourth quickest laps, the Italian just 0.092s off Pedrosa’s pace and Hayden two tenths off his team mate.

For the first practice of his final GP, Capirossi was fifth in the field with a time of 1’46.108, ahead of Factory Yamaha’s Ben Spies. Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) was seventh ahead of Elias in eighth and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) ninth. Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completed the top ten times with a lap one second off the lead time of Stoner.

As Colin Edwards continues to recover from the injuries he sustained in Malaysia, his replacement American superbike champion Josh Hayes made an impressive debut on a MotoGP machine, climbing as high as 13th position for not only his first experience in a GP field but also his first time at the Valencian circuit. Hayes concluded the session ahead of Jorge Lorenzo’s replacement on the Factory Yamaha team, Japanese rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2011, FP1

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