Honda’s Casey Stoner ruled the timesheets during practice at Valencia as rain slowed the field in the afternoon.
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner continued his dominance heading into the final round of the 2011 MotoGP Championship during Friday’s practice. The Australian posted the best lap during the morning session at Valencia before weather hampered the paddock’s attempts in the afternoon. Stoner’s Honda teammate, Dani Pedrosa, was just 0.223 seconds behind the 2011 champ during the morning as numerous tributes were paid to Marco Simoncelli.
“It hasn’t been a great day to be honest, we’ve never had a great feeling here in the wet,” said Stoner. There seems to be some sort of oil or grease on the circuit, I’m not sure if it’s due to a lot of car rubber down but it makes things hard for sure.”
Overall it was a strong session for factory Ducati riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden as the duo placed third and fourth respectively in the timesheets.
“We’ll have to see how to proceed throughout the weekend, because if it stays wet, we could do pretty well,” Rossi said. “If it improves, we’ll have to see how we are in the dry.”
San Carlo Honda’s Hiroshi Aoyama is paying special tribute to his fallen teammate, Marco Simoncelli, by riding an unbranded bike this weekend.
Hayden was followed by Pramac Racing’s Loris Capirossi, who displayed Simoncelli’s No. 58 on his bike while grabbing fifth in the charts more than half a second adrift of Stoner.
Yamaha’s Ben Spies secured the sixth-fastest time of the day, with Frenchman Randy de Puniet running just a little more than a tenth behind the American. LCR Honda’s Toni Elias, who briefly spent time leading the field throughout the morning, finished eighth in the timesheets. Meanwhile Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso was the final rider within a second of Stoner after finishing 0.889 seconds adrift of the Aussie. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow rounded out the top-10.
Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista and Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera secured 11th and 12th respectively, followed by Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, who went on to crash heavily during his final lap in the afternoon. San Carlo Honda’s Hiroshi Aoyama rode an unbranded bike with a special message to his fallen teammate as the Japanese rider seized 14th in the timesheets.
“The conditions made life hard today and I had a crash,” said Aoyama. “The grip levels weren’t the best and even though I tried to find the limit it was very hard and I am not happy with the result.”
It was a strong debut for ’11 AMA SuperBike champ Josh Hayes in MotoGP as the American finished ahead of Jorge Lorenzo’s replacement rider, Katsuyuki Nakasuga.
“My first day in MotoGP has been very difficult and quite scary at times to be honest,” said Hayes. “Before I went out this morning I don’t think I have ever been so nervous in my life. I was happy with my lap times this morning in tricky conditions, but then in the full wet this afternoon it meant it was quite a scary introduction to MotoGP.”
Valencia MotoGP Practice Results 2011:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1’45.513
Dani Pedrosa earned the second-best time in practice after posting a lap just 0.223 seconds off the pace.
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1’45.736
3. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1’45.828
4. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1’46.073
5. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1’46.108
6. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1’46.259
7. Randy de Puniet (Ducati) 1’46.371
8. Toni Elias (Honda) 1’46.393
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1’46.402
10. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) 1’46.581
11. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1’46.922
12. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1’46.967
13. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1’47.079
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) 1’47.581
15. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1’48.037
16. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha) 1’48.382
Moto2 Championship leader Stefan Bradl conquered the timesheets at Valencia on Friday. The German rider was more than three-tenths faster than Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing’s Randy Krummenacher, who secured second in the charts with a lap of 1’42.106. Meanwhile Jir Moto2’s Alex de Angelis and Ioda Racing Project’s Mattia Pasini rounded out the top-four riders of the day. There was a notable absence from Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol during practice as Marc Marquez dropped out of the final round due to his poor physical condition. The 18-year-old’s practice crash at Sepang forced him out of the previous round also as his hopes of winning the 2011 crown have been dashed by injury.
Valencia Moto2 Practice Results 2011:
1. Steven Bradl (Kalex) 1’41.777
Stefan Bradl is on pace to secure the 2011 Moto2 title after posting the fastest lap in practice on Friday.
2. Randy Krummenacher (Kalex) 1’42.106
3. Alex de Angelis (Motobi) 1’42.688
4. Mattia Pasini (FTR) 1’42.941
5. Dominique Aegerter (Suter) 1’43.038
6. Kenny Noyes (FTR) 1’43.814
7. Kenan Sofuoglu (Suter) 1’43.933
8. Anthony West (MZ-RE Honda) 1’44.307
9. Michele Pirro (Moriwaki) 1’44.672
10. Mika Kallio (Suter) 1’44.924
11. Mashel al Naimi (Moriwaki) 1’45.073
12. Scott Redding (Suter) 1’45.210
13. Alex Baldolini (Moriwaki) 1’45.996
14. Xavier Simeon (Tech 3) 1’46.189
15. Raffaele de Rosa (Suter) 1’46.686