Stoner sets early pace in Jerez
With MotoGP returning to Europe, conditions were perfect for the opening practice of the weekend at Jerez and it was Australian Casey Stoner continuing his early season dominance by taking the fastest time of 1’39.551, breaking Dani Pedrosa’s 2010 circuit lap record of 1’39.731. Stoner has yet to be headed in any session in 2011, picking up his form from Losail into this weekend’s Gran Premio bwin de España.
It was an exciting session and it was the Repsol Honda of Pedrosa who finished a mere 0.028s behind his team-mate. The Spaniard this weekend is riding with an injured shoulder which is due to be operated on following the race. The nearest challenger to the Repsol Hondas was Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) who ended up 0.526s behind the fastest time. Rossi is the most successful rider at the Jerez circuit, with eight victories to his name, six in the top class.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) was just behind his compatriot, 0.625s off Stoner’s best lap and was the third fastest Honda rider. Current World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) had set the early pace in FP1, a circuit the Spaniard has ridden well at with a win in 2010 after passing Pedrosa on the last lap, he ended the practice 0.809s behind Stoner.
Andrea Dovizioso took a massive tumble at turn 14 in the dying moments of the session after he lost the front and ended up in the gravel. He was unhurt and finished the session sixth fastest, 0.878s behind his team-mate.
Lorenzo’s Texan team-mate Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) was seventh, a further 1.336s off Stoner’s time. Rounding out the top ten were Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), with a distance of 1.682s covering the gap between the top ten riders on the time sheet.