Dani Pedrosa struck the first blow in what looks set to be another Spanish head-to-head in this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix by pipping Jorge Lorenzo in Friday practice. The two championship rivals were only a tenth apart in both sessions but after losing out to Lorenzo this morning, Pedrosa took the overnight lead with two minutes of the second session remaining.
The focus of attention when practice began was the returning Casey Stoner but the world champion got off to an inauspicious start when his Repsol Honda RC213V broke down after two corners of his out lap. Stoner made a swift return to the garage though and went back out on his spare bike, taking it to the fourth fastest time of the morning.
In the afternoon, Casey could only manage seventh but his teammate demonstrated the pace of the Honda on their home circuit with a 1:46.088, a tenth quicker than Lorenzo had managed up to that point. The two swapped fastest times throughout but Dani would finish on top with Andrea Dovizioso almost matching them in third.
Stefan Bradl was the next fastest Honda in fourth ahead of the impressive Valentino Rossi who took fifth for Ducati. Ben Spies was sixth ahead of Stoner and Alvaro Bautista with Cal Crutchlow a disappointing ninth. Nicky Hayden, riding with a fractured radius in his right hand, was tenth overall with Japanese wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga eleventh on his Yamaha.
The CRT was led by Aleix Espargaro but his Aspar teammate Randy de Puniet suffered a scare in the afternoon with a crash necessitating a precautionary trip to the medical centre.
|AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan: Combined Friday Practice Classification|
|1||Dani Pedrosa||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:46.699||1:46.088|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha||Yamaha Factory Racing||1:46.558||1:46.190|
|3||Andrea Dovizioso||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:46.919||1:46.282|
|4||Stefan Bradl||Honda||LCR Honda||1:47.561||1:46.428|
|5||Valentino Rossi||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:47.786||1:46.687|
|6||Ben Spies||Yamaha||Yamaha Factory Racing||1:47.328||1:46.912|
|7||Casey Stoner||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||1:47.316||1:46.978|
|8||Alvaro Bautista||Honda||San Carlo Honda Gresini||1:47.637||1:46.983|
|9||Cal Crutchlow||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||1:47.366||1:46.984|
|10||Nicky Hayden||Ducati||Ducati Team||1:47.551||1:47.592|
|11||K. Nakasuga (W)||Yamaha||Yamaha YSP Racing Team||1:48.390||1:47.801|
|12||Hector Barbera||Ducati||Pramac Racing Team||1:49.106||1:48.232|
|13||Aleix Espargaro||ART||Power Electronics Aspar||1:49.265||1:48.470|
|14||Karel Abraham||Ducati||Cardion AB Motoracing||1:49.160||1:48.757|
|15||Randy de Puniet||ART||Power Electronics Aspar||1:49.354||1:48.770|
|16||Colin Edwards||Suter||NGM Forward Racing||1:50.184||1:49.539|
|17||James Ellison||ART||Paul Bird Motorsports||1:51.039||1:49.652|
|18||Michele Pirro||FTR||San Carlo Honda Gresini||1:50.268||1:49.770|
|19||Roberto Rolfo||ART||Speed Master||1:51.225||1:50.292|
|20||Y. Hernandez||BQR||Avintia Blusens||1:50.771||1:50.333|
|21||Ivan Silva||BQR||Avintia Blusens||1:52.044||1:50.924|
|22||Danilo Petrucci||Ioda-Suter||Came Ioda Racing Project||1:52.188||1:51.270|