Stoner Rolls On

Cycle News Staff | November 6, 2009

Casey Stoner took his first step toward trying to win a third successive MotoGP by turning the fastest lap of today’s free practice session at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain. The Marlboro Ducati rider lapped at 1:32.813 – the only rider to crack into the 1:32s – to best local hero Jorge Lorenzo.Lorenzo and his Fiat Yamaha ended up just .382 of a second off Stoner’s best on the Desmosedici GP9.Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa ended the day third,the Spaniard just .046 of a second slower than Lorenzo but ahead of Fiat Yamaha’s World Champion Valentino Rossi. Rossi ran off the track midway through the session, but held on to maintain the number-four spot – almost half a second quicker than Randy de Puniet.World Superbike Champion Ben Spies made his first laps on the Sterilgarda-backed Yamaha M1 today, the Texan ending up 15th in his Yamaha MotoGP debut.Sixth fastest was San Carlo Honda’s Alex de Angelis,the Italian besting Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards and Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso.Loris Capirossi was the first of the factory Suzukis in ninth, the Rizla-backed Italian just .035 of a second quicker than Nicky Hayden. Hayden lapped at 1:34.462 on the second of the two Marlboro Ducatis – some 1.6 seconds slower than his teammate Stoner – to complete the top 10.Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s James Toseland was 13th in preparation for his final race with the team while Chris Vermeulen ended the day 16th in his last ride on the factory Suzuki. Both are headed back to the World Superbike Championship in 2010.

Friday Practice

1.                  Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:32.813

2.                  Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:33.195

3.                  Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:33.241

4.                  Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:33.499

5.                  Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:33.910

6.                  Alex de Angelis (Honda) 1:34.106

7.                  Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:34.123

8.                  Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:34.382

9.                  Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:34.427

10.                  Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:34.46215.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:35.052