Jorge Lorenzo raised hopes of a Yamaha victory challenge at this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix by setting the fastest time in second practice at Misano. The reigning world champion was an uncompetitive sixth this morning but appeared a man transformed in the afternoon, taking away Casey Stoner's circuit record from the first session.

The Spaniard could only manage a 1:35.042 this morning but wasted no time in banishing that disappointment, beating it on just his fourth flying lap. Once the 15 minute mark passed though, Lorenzo stepped into another gear, following a 1:34.407 with a 1:34.151 and a 1:33.929, giving him a full second in hand over Stoner.

Lorenzo wouldn't improve on that time in the remainder of the session but as it turned out, he didn't have to. Dani Pedrosa pulled out his fastest lap of the weekend but that was still a quarter of a second short of the target time. Stoner got to within a tenth in the dying moments but the honours would go to Yamaha, allowing Lorenzo to top an official timed session since taking pole at Laguna Seca.

Marco Simoncelli and Ben Spies clocked near-identical times in fourth and fifth, adding further cause for belief that this weekend's battle for victory will be a head-to-head scrap between the two leading manufacturers. Andrea Dovizioso was the one member of the top six with ground to make up, finishing a distant sixth with a full second separating him from the pacesetter.

Alvaro Bautista put in another promising performance for Rizla Suzuki in seventh but he was forced to do so on the spare GSR-V after blowing an engine on his first run. Hector Barbera maintained his status as the top Ducati and on this occasion was riding the only Desmosedici in the top ten, with Hiroshi Aoyama and Colin Edwards immediately behind him.

As they were this morning, the GP11.1s of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were a second and a half off the pace in 11th and 13th while Britain's Cal Crutchlow was a couple of tenths further back in

Practice continues tomorrow morning at 9:15am UK time before the riders do battle for pole position at 12:55pm.


GP Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini: Free Practice 2 Result

Pos Rider Nat Bike Team Time/Gap
1 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing 1:33.929
2 Casey Stoner AUS Honda Repsol Honda Team +0.076
3 Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda Repsol Honda Team +0.276
4 Marco Simoncelli ITA Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +0.515
5 Ben Spies USA Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +0.540
6 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Honda Repsol Honda Team +1.060
7 Alvaro Bautista SPA Suzuki Rizla Suzuki MotoGP +1.094
8 Hector Barbera SPA Ducati Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP +1.182
9 Hiroshi Aoyama JAP Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +1.353
10 Colin Edwards USA Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +1.372
11 Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Ducati Team +1.402
12 Randy de Puniet FRA Ducati Pramac Racing Team +1.489
13 Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Ducati Team +1.490
14 Karel Abraham CZE Ducati Cardion AB Motoracing +1.494
15 Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +1.693
16 Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Pramac Racing Team +1.897
17 Toni Elias SPA Honda LCR Honda MotoGP +2.267