Bautista Leads Hayden At Rain Soaked Valencia

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Alvaro Bautista - Photo Credit: Bridgestone Motorsport

Alvaro Bautista - Photo Credit: Bridgestone Motorsport


Alvaro Bautista gave the Rizla Suzuki team something to cheer by setting the fastest time on Friday afternoon at Valencia. Conditions were atrocious with rain falling for much of the session but the Spaniard coped better than anyone else, leading a trio of Ducatis.

The miserable weather conditions presented an opportunity for a number of unfamiliar names to spend time at the top of the timesheets and Bautista hit the front ten minutes in, only to be overtaken by Cal Crutchlow's 1:52.504.

The Briton was usurped by Bautista who pulled out a one-second advantage on his next attempt but Nicky Hayden found even more time to go fastest on a 1:50.175, with teammate Valentino Rossi slotting in behind in second.

The two factory Desmosedicis were soon overtaken by the satellite Ducati of Karel Abraham before Randy de Puniet took over on the Pramac machine. The Frenchman reeled off a series of personal best laps, culminating in a 1:48.684 but Bautista re-emerged to reclaim top spot in the final five minutes, with his 1:47.975 proving good enough to fend off a late challenge from Hayden.

De Puniet held on to third, partly thanks to a heavy crash for Abraham which eliminated any hopes he had of improving. The Czech rookie lost control as he hit the brakes for turn one and although he escaped unhurt, the GP11 suffered significant damage as it tumbled through the gravel trap.

Behind him came his rookie of the year rival Cal Crutchlow who fought off an impressive display from his new teammate Josh Hayes. Crutchlow was fifth fastest with the AMA champion a sensational tenth.

Andrea Dovizioso was the quickest Honda rider in sixth ahead of Valentino Rossi while the morning pacesetters Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa dropped from first and second to eighth and ninth.

Katsuyuki Nakasuga led the way for Yamaha Factory Racing in 11th but the team were left to count the cost of another crash for Ben Spies. Like Abraham, the American saw the front end of his bike fold up under braking for turn one and although he walked away unaided, the crash will have done his injured ribs no good at all. Hiroshi Aoyama also had a fall on the sole Gresini Honda and although he was uninjured, he finished the session down in 15th.


Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana: First Practice Result

Pos Rider Nat Bike Team Time/Gap
1 Alvaro Bautista SPA Suzuki Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1:47.975
2 Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Ducati Team +0.341
3 Randy de Puniet FRA Ducati Pramac Racing Team +0.709
4 Karel Abraham CZE Ducati Cardion AB Motoracing +1.046
5 Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +1.375
6 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Honda Repsol Honda Team +1.447
7 Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Ducati Team +1.638
8 Casey Stoner AUS Honda Repsol Honda Team +1.699
9 Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda Repsol Honda Team +1.845
10 Josh Hayes USA Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +2.534
11 Katsuyuki Nakasuga JAP Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +3.302
12 Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Pramac Racing Team +3.863
13 Hector Barbera SPA Ducati Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP +3.957
14 Ben Spies USA Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +4.097
15 Hiroshi Aoyama JAP Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +5.311
16 Toni Elias SPA Honda LCR Honda MotoGP +6.367


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