Storming start from Stoner in Valencia
Casey Stoner got his Valencia weekend off to a blistering start on Friday with the fastest time in the opening practice session, posting a best effort of 1'32.897 which left the Ducati Team rider comfortably over half a second quicker than the rest of the MotoGP class.
Stoner, the only rider under 1'33" during the 45-minute session, was 0.558s faster than World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who timed in at 1'33.455 on his Fiat Yamaha M1 machine. Completing the top three was Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, who was a fraction under five-hundredths down on Lorenzo.
Rookie Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) carried his form over from last weekend in Portugal with the fourth-fastest time, finishing the practice ahead of fellow Italian Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) who along with pace man Stoner bids farewell to his current team after this final round.
On factory and satellite Ducati machines Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) and Hector Barbera (Paginas Amarillas Aspar) were sixth and seventh respectively, with Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) eighth.
Ben Spies, riding despite dislocating his left ankle just five days ago at Estoril, was ninth but had a crash at turn six at the very end of the session. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider encouragingly did walk away from his fall however. Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Racing) completed the top ten behind the American, with Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) 11th and 12th respectively.
The session took place in cool (track 17ºC) conditions and the premier class will return to action at 2.05pm local time for the second practice.