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Friday, April 1, 2011

Pedrosa sets FP2 pace but Stoner remains fastest overall

It was the familiar Repsol Honda duo leading the way in the second free practice but this time it was the Spanish rider Dani Pedrosa who got the better of his team-mate Casey Stoner for this weekend’s Gran Premio bwin de EspaƱa.

Pedrosa’s lap time of 1’40:101 in FP2 was 0.188 faster than the Australian. The Spanish rider is a previous winner here in Jerez and on home soil he will be wanting to build on his third place after Qatar, after being compromised by a shoulder injury. Team-mate Stoner is the first Honda rider to be leading the MotoGP championship standings since Pedrosa, after the Dutch TT in 2008. This session was the first time the ex-Ducati rider will not top the timesheets since the season has begun.
In glorious conditions for free practice 2 for MotoGP, with temperatures of around 31 degrees and a strong breeze, the top seven riders failed to improve on their times set in the morning practice. Pedrosa’s time was nearly six tenths slower than Stoner’s best lap from FP1.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) was the best of the rest, moving up from fifth from the morning session to third. Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) repeated his form from FP1, with the fourth fastest lap, 0.600 off the time from the Repsol Honda rider. Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) was the fastest Ducati, registering a time 0.946 behind Pedrosa.
The next Ducati was that of Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) in sixth place who finished ahead of Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), who was further back in eighth. Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) making only his second visit to the Jerez circuit after his debut here in 2010, was seventh fastest splitting the two Ducati bikes. Ninth quickest was Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) who had been 13th in the first practice and is a previous victor in Jerez after a race win in the 250cc race in 2009, his only podium at the circuit.
Rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) who scored 3 points his debut MotoGP race in Losail, had a few incidents in FP2, firstly when he had a minor excursion into the gravel but regained control, then later on sliding off at turn 6. He managed to finish in tenth place, 1.203 behind Pedrosa, ahead of both Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and Rizla Suzuki riders in just his second outing in the premier class.

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