USGP: Stoner again fastest
Ducati’s MotoGP World Championship leader Casey Stoner repeated his morning performance in the afternoon session at Laguna Seca - to finish the opening day of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix weekend as the fastest rider at the recently resurfaced Californian track.
Honda Gresini’s Marco Melandri was the second quickest participant in the later session, as he was in first free practice, this time lapping 0.180s off Stoner’s pacesetting time of 1’22.997s.
Third fastest rider John Hopkins (Rizla Suzuki) lapped just ahead of American compatriot Colin Edwards (Fiat Yamaha) – whilst Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) completed the top five, having found the rhythm he lacked in FP1 when he finished eleventh.
Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) was sixth and Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) seventh, with homecoming World Champion Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda) again eighth on the timesheet - as he was in the morning. The MotoGP World title holder improved on his first free practice time by 0.748s, to lap within 0.771s of Stoner, after earlier being more than a second slower than the pretender to his crown.
The top ten was completed by Ducati’s Loris Capirossi and Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3’s Makoto Tamada, both riders going round within a second of Stoner’s best time.
Kawasaki’s Randy de Puniet was the only rider to crash in the second outing of the day, the Frenchman coming off the track at high speed early in the practice, but soon rejoining the action on his replacement bike – though only able to lap twelfth fastest having been seventh on the morning timesheet.
De Puniet’s fellow Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3) was another crasher on day one - fourteenth quickest in the afternoon having collided with Alex Hofmann in FP1, resulting in the German’s withdrawal from the eleventh Grand Prix of the season due to a hand injury.
Hofmann’s hastily recruited Pramac d’Antin replacement Chaz Davies has to quickly get the hang of his 800cc MotoGP challenge on Saturday having understandably lapped 3.462s off the pace as the slowest rider of the day in his FP2 test run. Kawasaki wildcard Roger Lee Hayden, meanwhile, was a respectable 1.328s off Stoner’s hot lap as the day’s fifteenth fastest rider.
Pos Rider Bike Time Behind
1. Casey Stoner Ducati 1:22.997
2. Marco Melandri Honda 1:23.177 + 0.180
3. John Hopkins Suzuki 1:23.452 + 0.455
4. Colin Edwards Yamaha 1:23.535 + 0.538
5. Daniel Pedrosa Honda 1:23.548 + 0.551
6. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:23.550 + 0.553
7. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 1:23.576 + 0.579
8. Nicky Hayden Honda 1:23.768 + 0.771
9. Loris Capirossi Ducati 1:23.912 + 0.915
10. Makoto Tamada Yamaha 1:23.965 + 0.968
11. Carlos Checa Honda 1:23.998 + 1.001
12. Randy de Puniet Kawasaki 1:24.043 + 1.046
13. Anthony West Kawasaki 1:24.077 + 1.080
14. Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha 1:24.173 + 1.176
15. Roger Lee Hayden Kawasaki 1:24.325 + 1.328
16. Alex Barros Ducati 1:24.457 + 1.460
17. Kurtis Roberts KR 1:24.666 + 1.669
18. Shinya Nakano Honda 1:24.850 + 1.853
19. Miguel Duhamel Honda 1:25.726 + 2.729
20. Chaz Davies Ducati 1:26.459 + 3.462