Stoner starts Jerez weekend strongly Casey Stoner was the pace setter in the opening MotoGP practice at Jerez as he set about building the foundations for a strong weekend. Looking to bounce back from his disappointment in Qatar the Australian led the times as he went round the Andalusian circuit in a best lap of 1’39.731, before sliding out at Turn 9 with two minutes to go – a fall that resulted in no ill effects.
Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo, who has started the past two races at the circuit from pole position, was second fastest of the session as he lapped at just over a tenth of a second off Stoner’s pace. The Ducati Marlboro rider’s team-mate Nicky Hayden completed the top three times as he set out on a positive foot, pacing at a fraction over 0.4s off his colleague’s lap time.
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa will be one of the Spanish contingent looking to make home advantage count this weekend as he seeks a vast improvement, and he was fourth in the hour-long session as he took his RC212V around at just under half a second off Stoner’s marker.
World Champion Valentino Rossi was the fifth fastest as he found his level of comfort affected by the injured shoulder he sustained in a motocross training accident during the week following his opening-round win in Qatar. The Italian was 0.628s off Stoner, and placed ahead of fellow compatriot Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Colin Edwards.
Impressive showings from Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) placed the Spanish rookies eighth and ninth respectively in the order of times, after both had experienced falls without consequence – Barberá after just ten minutes and Bautista in the latter half of the session.
Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) completed the top ten, with Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) next on the timesheet.
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