Lorenzo Sets Blistering Pace In Mugello Practice

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Jorge Lorenzo looks the overwhelming favourite for Italian Grand Prix victory after setting an ominously quick pace in Friday practice at Mugello. The championship leader was half a second clear of the field in FP1 and although Dani Pedrosa cut the gap in FP2, Lorenzo's race pace will have sent shockwaves up the pitlane.

The Yamaha rider set the morning pace on a 1:48.131 and it took him just two flying laps of the afternoon session to go faster. First he clocked a 1:48.095 before going 0.019s quicker on his next lap to open up a 1.5 second lead over the competition. Cal Crutchlow was the first to get within a second of him and as Lorenzo focused on race preparation later on, the gap was reduced to almost nothing.

Dani Pedrosa got down to a 1:48.107 on his second run while Nicky Hayden flew the flag for Ducati by joining Pedrosa in the low 1:48s late in the afternoon. While they were doing that, Lorenzo's race simulation was well underway. The no.99 took a brief trip through the San Donato gravel trap but in the nineteen flying laps he completed, every single one was in the 1:48s bracket, a level of speed and consistency that no-one could get anywhere near.

Hector Barbera certainly couldn't describe his afternoon as consistent. The Pramac Ducati rider brought the red flags out with a spectacular off at the Casanova Savelli bends, sending his bike bouncing into the middle of the road, dragging plenty of gravel with it. Barbera redeemed himself though with a 1:48.254 on his spare bike to go fourth, outpacing Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner.

Stoner didn't have the best of afternoons to end up sixth as he wrestled his Honda RC213V around Mugello. The world champion also had an altercation with Danilo Petrucci with the two almost coming together at Bucine as Stoner scythed in front of the Ioda rider.

Ben Spies was seventh fastest on the second factory Yamaha while the second satellite rider was eighth quickest in the form of Cal Crutchlow. Valentino Rossi slipped from seventh in the morning to ninth in the afternoon while Stefan Bradl completed the top ten.

Alvaro Bautista had an untidy day with crashes at San Donato in both sessions, leaving him down in eleventh, with the two Aspar CRT machines next up, Aleix Espargaro leading Randy de Puniet. James Ellison, meanwhile, was eighteenth out of twenty for Paul Bird Motorsports.

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