Casey Stoner dominated on Friday afternoon at Estoril as Repsol Honda flexed their muscles in second practice. The World Champion was a low-key fourth in the morning session which was affected by rain but was comfortably quickest on a bone-dry track later in the day.
Ben Spies' morning benchmark of 1:40.813 was beaten almost immediately as Stoner took charge. His teammate Dani Pedrosa was the first to break into the 1:39s though before Spies demoted the Spaniard to second on the factory Yamaha. The American was looking strong on a 1:39.505 but Stoner raised the bar with a 1:38.982, comfortably the quickest time of the day so far.
Spies eventually overhauled Stoner with eight minutes to go but Casey responded again, setting a 1:38.396 to confirm his status as the man to beat heading into qualifying. After his tough start to the season, Spies will have been delighted with second while Cal Crutchlow was the next of the Yamahas in third.
On the day of his 25th birthday, Jorge Lorenzo was a disappointing fifth, just behind Dani Pedrosa, while Alvaro Bautista completed the top six on the Gresini Honda. A trio Ducatis followed, led by Nicky Hayden with Hector Barbera pushing Valentino Rossi down to ninth. The Italian was on a strong final lap which looked set to promote him into the top six but a poor final sector cost him half a second.
Andrea Dovizioso was only tenth this afternoon, almost a second down on his Tech 3 teammate, with Karel Abraham avoiding the fate of being the slowest prototype rider by edging out Stefan Bradl. Randy de Puniet was the quickest of the CRT entrants, just over a tenth behind Bradl, but James Ellison was the slowest man on his ART machine, five seconds off the pace.