Stoner throws down the gauntlet in second Le Mans free practice

Friday, 18 May 2012

Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner set the tone for this weekend’s Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans, after setting the fastest time of the day in the second MotoGP practice session.

Set in dry conditions, a lap of 1.33’740 placed him just over two tenths ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa in second, who has performed solidly all weekend. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo completed the top three as he continued to hunt down the Hondas, which have dominated all day.

In fourth, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista was having a tremendous outing, as he continues to improve on-board his satellite machine, just under seven tenths off Stoner at the front.

Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies set the fifth quickest time of the day, as he looks to get his championship back on track after some difficult first rounds. Sixth place was occupied by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who continued where he left off at Estoril by beating his teammate Cal Crutchlow, who finished in seventh.

In eighth, Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá was in impressive form as he finished top Ducati, ahead of Ducati Team duo Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden. Rossi, who announced he will continue racing for at least another two years, finished just under 1.5s off the top.

Top CRT honour went to local favourite Randy de Puniet, who put in a good performance in 13th, despite still suffering pain from his crash at Estoril. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s replacement for Colin Edwards, 2007 Le Mans race-winner Chris Vermeulen, finished in last place, as he got used to the Suter-BMW machine.

Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci had a day to forget, as he suffered a serious engine failure early in the second session. It was misery as well for Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini as he dropped his bike in the gravel after running wide. In the final few minutes, Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró had his second crash of the day as lost the front of his ART machine. Both riders walked away unscathed.

TAGS France

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