Pedrosa off to a flying start at Czech circuit

Friday, 12 August 2011

The MotoGP class returned to action after a two and a half week break for the opening session of the Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceské republiky with Dani Pedrosa setting a blistering pace ahead of Stoner and Simoncelli.

The MotoGP bikes hit the track for the first practice session of round 11, with grey clouds overhead and cool temperatures welcoming the field into the second half of the season. Pedrosa took his Repsol Honda on a flying lap of 1'56.328, substantially faster than the rest of the field and the only rider under the 1'57” mark.

Fresh off the back of a victory at Laguna Seca Stoner, Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) was second in the field, though his lap of 1'57.294 was nearly a second behind the Spaniard. Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), who topped the timesheets briefly with 30 minutes to go, was 1.080s behind Pedrosa and third fastest of the session. The Italian ended the session with a crash in turn 13 but was unhurt.

Last year’s race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) posted his best time of 1'57.587, two tenths behind Simoncelli to put him fourth in the standings. Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso was fifth quickest as he took his factory RC212V around in a best time of 1'57.776. That placed the Italian 0.127s ahead of Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing), who was sixth on his Yamaha Factory YZR-M1.

Wild card John Hopkins who is returning for a second race aboard the Rizla Suzuki set an impressive seventh fastest time, followed by the other Rizla Suzuki of Álvaro Bautista. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Colin Edwards were ninth and tenth, respectively, with Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) three tenths outside the top ten times.

MotoGP rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) debuting as the first Czech rider to compete in the premier class at a home Grand Prix since 1989, was sixteenth in the standings.

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