Stoner continues good form with early pace in Valencia2009-11-06 14:11
In fine sunshine at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on Friday, Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner started the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana weekend in the manner which he hopes will secure a third straight race win as he recorded the best lap time in Free Practice 1.
After overcoming some early dissatisfaction with the response of his Desmosedici GP9, Stoner set a best time of 1'32.813 to leave Jorge Lorenzo second fastest. Fiat Yamaha rider Lorenzo aims to secure second spot in the World Championship standings this weekend, ahead of Stoner, and he followed the Australian on the timesheet by a margin of 0.382s.
In the wake of his confidence-boosting first wet podium in Malaysia last time out, Dani Pedrosa was third on the timesheet as he kept a close tab on Lorenzo, timing his fastest lap just 0.046s slower.
World Champion Valentino Rossi completed the top four after experiencing a rare run-off midway through the session. The Italian star came in almost half a second ahead of Randy de Puniet, who bounced back from his high-side crash and DNF at Sepang to ride a good session and record the fifth-fastest lap.
Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro) all recorded top-ten times in the session as well, with wildcard Ben Spies 15th on his factory Yamaha.
A fastest lap of 1'36.185 from Héctor Barberá made him the quickest rider in the 250cc session, with Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Racing) and Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera) both recording top-six times.
Barberá, who beat Simoncelli to second place in Malaysia via a photo finish, was 0.317s faster than second placed Alex Debon (Aeropuerto-Castello-Blusens) in this practice, with Álvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Team) registering the third-fastest lap of the session.
Aoyama, who needs just an eleventh-placed finish in Sunday's race to secure the 2009 World title ahead of Simoncelli â€” regardless of where the Italian finishes â€” was fourth quickest around the track, as his best lap was just over 0.7s off Barberá's pace.
Aoyama's Italian Scot Racing team-mate Raffaele de Rosa followed him in the order, with Simoncelli sixth-fastest at just under a full second slower than the pace set by Barberá.
Julián Simón was the leading rider in the 125cc practice, setting a fastest time of 1'42.536 on the 21st of his 22 laps, as he led next fastest in line Nico Terol (Jack & Jones Team) by a 0.193s gap.
Marcel Schrotter impressed on his Honda as the Toni â€” Mang Team rider led the timesheet at one point, eventually placing third in the timings, whilst a late crash for Simón's Bancaja Aspar team-mate Sergio Gadea did not prevent him from setting the fourth-fastest time.
Gadea had already lapped at almost 0.4s slower when a low-side ended his session with five minutes remaining, with Pol Espargaró also inside the top five.
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