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Stoner Goes Quickest In Damp First Practice At Valencia

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Casey Stoner - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Casey Stoner - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

 

MotoGP bikes returned to action for the first time since the tragic death of Marco Simoncelli on Friday morning at Valencia, and Casey Stoner led a Repsol Honda 1-2 at the end of first practice. The session took place in damp conditions following overnight rain but thankfully there was no repeat of the chaos that took place in the earlier 125cc session.

Fittingly, Loris Capirossi was the first man to take to the track when the pitlane opened. The Italian, racing in his 328th and final Grand Prix, is sporting the no.58 plate this weekend in tribute to his late friend and actually topped the timesheets with less than ten minutes to go.

Track conditions were constantly improving, meaning everybody stood a chance of finishing on top if they timed their final run to perfection. Capirossi had actually taken the fastest time from LCR Honda's Toni Elias but Nicky Hayden would move in front of him six minutes from time as Ducati showed a god turn of pace in the slippery conditions.

Hayden's 1:46.073 only stood up for a couple of minutes before Stoner rose to the top of the leaderboard for the first time. Ducati weren't finished yet though and Valentino Rossi jumped up into second shortly afterwards, only to be pipped in the dying seconds by Dani Pedrosa.

Nicky Hayden hung onto fourth, ensuring Ducati finished as the closest challengers to Repsol Honda while Capirossi's earlier time kept him up in fifth. Ben Spies completed the top six on the leading factory Yamaha ahead of Randy de Puniet and the impressive Elias who spent as much time as anyone at the top of the timesheets this morning.

Andrea Dovizioso was a slightly subdued ninth, just in front of future colleague Cal Crutchlow with the Briton leading the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 challenge this weekend. His rookie teammate Josh Hayes did well on his first taste of MotoGP action though, finishing 15th ahead of Yamaha tester Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

Following the tragic events of Sepang two weeks ago, San Carlo Honda Gresini will have just one rider out on track this weekend in the form of Hiroshi Aoyama. The Japanese rider is riding in his final GP before moving to World Superbikes and was 14th fastest on Friday morning.

 

Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana: First Practice Result

Pos Rider Nat Bike Team Time/Gap
1 Casey Stoner AUS Honda Repsol Honda Team 1:45.513
2 Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda Repsol Honda Team +0.223
3 Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Ducati Team +0.315
4 Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Ducati Team +0.560
5 Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Pramac Racing Team +0.595
6 Ben Spies USA Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +0.746
7 Randy de Puniet FRA Ducati Pramac Racing Team +0.858
8 Toni Elias SPA Honda LCR Honda MotoGP +0.880
9 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Honda Repsol Honda Team +0.889
10 Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +1.068
11 Alvaro Bautista SPA Suzuki Rizla Suzuki MotoGP +1.409
12 Hector Barbera SPA Ducati Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP +1.454
13 Karel Abraham CZE Ducati Cardion AB Motoracing +1.566
14 Hiroshi Aoyama JAP Honda San Carlo Honda Gresini +2.068
15 Josh Hayes USA Yamaha Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +2.524
16 Katsuyuki Nakasuga JAP Yamaha Yamaha Factory Racing +2.869

 

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