Ducati’s Casey Stoner started the season off in dominating fashion, topping the first practice by a healthy margin.
Stoner wasted no time getting to the front, setting the pace right from the early going on his factory Ducati. By the 20-minute mark the Australian was well out front, the first and only rider to dip into the 1:55s, with Valentino Rossi second and rookie sensation Ben Spies already turning heads in third. Randy de Puniet jumped up the order to third spot shortly after on his LCR Honda, relegating Spies to fourth in front of Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo.
At the halfway mark Spies had retaken third, the rest of the top-five remaining the same. This stayed relatively consistent for most of the session, however at the end the real sparks flew, with everyone showing their hand and in the process mixing up the order.
Despite nursing a broken hand, Jorge Lorenzo was second-quick. He did suffer a small fall at the end of the session but wasn’t hurt any further.
Stoner continued his dominance of the opening day, consistently setting times in the mid-1:55s, cementing his spot atop the timesheets. Lorenzo leapfrogged his teammate to slot into the second position with under five minutes to go, only to lose the front and fall shortly after. Luckily he appeared to be unhurt and wasn’t shown holding his already-injured right hand in any way.
Rossi ended the session third-quick, a mere 0.02 seconds behind Lorenzo. Nicky Hayden found some speed on his Ducati in the late going, jumping up from outside the top-10 to grab the fourth spot, only to have Andrea Dovizioso steal it from him with less than a minute remaining. Hayden would end the opening practice in fifth.
Continuing to show a consistently fast pace was Tech 3 Yamaha’s Spies, who had dropped down to eighth at one point but was able to finish his first-ever official MotoGP practice sixth quickest. Fellow rookie Alvaro Bautista opened some eyes on the Rizla Suzuki, ending the session not far behind Spies in seventh and ever so slightly in front of eighth-fastest man De Puniet.
Pramac Ducati’s Mika Kallio was ninth, with another MotoGP rookie, Hector Barbera, rounding out the top-10 on his Aspar Ducati.
MotoGP Friday Practice Results
1. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:55.500
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:56.026
3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:56.028
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:56.698
5. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:56.793
6. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:56.818
7. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1:56.998
8. Randy De Puniet (Honda) 1:57.031
9. Mika Kallio (Ducati) 1:57.059
10. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1:57.105
11. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:57.133
12. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:57.167
13. Loris Capirossi 1:57.363
14. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:57.535
15. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) 1:57.605
16. Marco Melandri (Honda) 1:58.035
17. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1:58.082
In Moto2 action, it was reigning 125cc GP world champion Julian Simon leading the way early in the session, only to have MotoGP refugee Alex de Angelis take over the top spot 15 minutes in. He was still up front at the halfway point, followed by Yuki Takahashi on the Tech 3 machine.
Youngster Scott Redding then went P1 with 15 minutes remaining, while shortly Stefan Bradl jumped up to third spot, only to have both Simon and Dominique Aegerter leap in front of him. De Angelis then followed with a late attack, laying down a blistering lap time to again go to the front.
And that’s exactly where the Spaniard stayed, topping the timesheets for the very first Moto2 practice in history, his best lap a 2:03.239. This put the Team Scot rider a solid half-second up on the field, with Brit Redding finishing second on his Marc VDS Racing entry at a 2:03.834. Third was Simon on the Mapfre Aspar machine, quick time a 2:03.868, the final rider to break under the 2:04 mark.
Swiss rider Aegerter followed closely being in fourth, while Bradl rounded out the top five on his Viessmann Racing entry. Sixth was Italian Roberto Rolfo on the Italtrans STR bike, just a few hundredths in front of Alex Debon on his Aeroport-sponsored machine. Czech rider Karel Abraham was eighth, followed by former 125cc world champion Gabor Talmasci, while Alex Baldolini rounded out the top 10.
American Kenny Noyes was inside the top-10 at points during the session, but ended 21st with a 2:05.249.
Moto2 Friday Practice Results
1. Alex de Angelis (Team Scot) 2:03.239
2. Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing) 2:03.834
3. Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Racing) 2:03.868
4. Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP) 2:04.067
5. Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Racing) 2:04.110
6. Roberto Rolfo (Italtrans STR) 2:04.150
7. Alex Debon (Aeroport) 2:04.164
8. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motosport) 2:04.269
9. Gabor Talmasci (Fimmco Speed Up) 2:04.337
10. Alex Baldolini (Caretta Technology) 2:04.365