Marco, Marco, Marco… Simoncelli Leads Day One

Cycle News Staff | July 15, 2011

San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli ended the first day of action at the Sachsenring perfect, the big-haired Italian leading both sessions today after snatching the top time from World Champion Jorge Lorenzo on his final lap this afternoon.Simoncelli led a crash-marred opening session in the morning, then came back to top Lorenzo on the 23rd of his 23 laps in the afternoon session. Simoncelli’s best was a 1:22.225 – just .095 of a second better than Lorenzo’s fastest lap, the factory Yamaha man ending up as the only non-Honda in the top five.”Everything is going well although I am not totally happy because we have some rear traction problems on the left side that we are struggling to resolve,” Simoncelli said in a team release. “It seems everybody is in the same boat, but we will be working mainly on this area tomorrow to try and improve the situation. Our other main aim is to get a clear idea about tire choice for Sunday’s race. Thirty laps is a lot here, especially because there is barely a single straight for you to relax on.”Third went to Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, the Spaniard looking fitter in his return from shoulder injuries to post a 1:22.432. He bested his World Championship-leading teammate Casey Stoner by .112 of a second with Stoner ending up fourth on the day. Then came the third of the Repsol men with Andrea Dovizioso just a tick behind in fifth. The top five are separated by less than half a second.The first of the Americans was next – Marlboro Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, who was also in the 12:22s with his 1:22.8823. That was just .012 of a second faster than his countryman Ben Spies, the Texan riding the second factory Yamaha to the seventh quickest time of the day.Pramac Racing Ducati’s Randy de Puniet was next, besting the factory Suzuki of Alvaro Bautista and the Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati of Karel Abraham. Then came Colin Edwards in 11th, the Texan 11th but just 1.2 seconds off Simoncelli’s best effort.Valentino Rossi had a tough day at the office with the multi-time World Champion suffering one of five crashes (Stoner and Pedrosa also crashed) in the morning session. In the afternoon session, Rossi had electrical issues with his Ducati and ended up 12th. Although he was taken to the medical center, Rossi escaped his crash without serious injury, though he did bruise his right elbow.Sylvain Guintoli, who is filling in for the still-injured Loris Capirossi in the German Grand Prix, ended up 17th of the 17 riders in the session. The World Superbike racer ended up 1.6 seconds slower than Toni Elias, the Spaniard crashing twice in the morning session and ending up 16th in the afternoon session.Friday Practice

1.                  Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:22.225

2.                  Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:22.320

3.                  Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:22.432

4.                  Casey Stoner (Honda) 1:22.542

5.                  Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:22.654

6.                  Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:22.882

7.                  Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:22.894

8.                  Randy de Puniet (Ducati) 1:23.037

9.                  Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) 1:23.037

10.                  Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1:23.352