Casey Stoner set the fastest time in Friday Practice for the British Grand Prix on a day where intermittent rain made it difficult to draw any firm conclusions. The World Champion set a 2:04.791 in the drier second session to pip Ben Spies and Alvaro Bautista although he later admitted himself that he hadn't really learned anything in either session.
“In the first session we tried understand the bike in the wet a little better, but it was gradually drying out throughout the session so it was difficult to take any real data. It was a similar situation this afternoon, we went out for a couple of laps and it started to rain which destroyed most of the session. We found the bike very hard to ride so we came in and made a change which took a lot of time and we didn’t manage so many laps. It would be nice if we get some better weather again tomorrow and this wind makes things very tricky, but everyone is in the same position. The chatter is a little better, we made another small improvement but we’ll need to check it tomorrow in some more consistent conditions”.
In the fully wet morning session, the Ducatis of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were first and second but Ben Spies was the early pacesetter in FP2, albeit three seconds shy of the lap record. Just after the half way mark, Alvaro Bautista took over with a 2:06.439 but Stoner raised the bar moments later, breaking into the 2:05s.
Spies had another spell at the top of the leaderboard before Bautista improved to a 2:04.995. The Spaniard was leading for a matter of seconds though as Stoner restored order three minutes from time. Spies squeezed between the two into second before the end while Nicky Hayden took fourth ahead of Stefan Bradl.
Apart from Spies, the dangerous Yamahas were largely anonymous with Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow sixth and eighth respectively, sandwiching championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, with another potential winner ninth in the form of Dani Pedrosa. Hector Barbera was tenth while Valentino Rossi went from quickest in the morning to slowest prototype rider in the afternoon, eleventh overall.
Randy de Puniet led the CRT pack in twelfth with James Ellison in seventeenth and those riders will all fancy their chances of points with the withdrawal of Karel Abraham through injury. The Czech rider crashed in testing last week and was declared unfit by race direction.