Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden was the most consistent rider on a day of changing weather after the first day of practice at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain.Hayden finished second to Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa by .411 secs. in the dry morning session, then third to teammate Casey Stoner in the afternoon rain. The afternoon session was only the second time this season the riders had encountered inclement weather. The other was during practice at the Sachsenring. Hayden was second to Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo after time had expired when Stoner stormed through to take the fastest time of 2:01.710 secs. in the wet. Stoner's gap to Lorenzo was .568 secs., with Hayden another .133 secs. back."I think they've built a track they can be proud of," Hayden said. " It's a nice facility, the layout is good and safe. There are some fun sections with blind entries, some fast corners and some slow ones... it's a nice mix. This morning we were second in the dry and then in the afternoon we were third in the wet so it's been a good day. Casey looks strong too so it's good for the team and everybody back at the factory, who are working hard to give us the opportunity to be competitive over the last six races. Hopefully we can pick up the kind of results that they deserve."Said Stoner, "In the dry session this morning we were more or less happy with the setting. We had a little problem with the balance of the rear wheel that caused some chattering towards the end of the session otherwise I think we could have been a bit faster. Anyway, we were satisfied with how the morning went. We haven't had many wet sessions this year so I think everybody had a lot of work to do this afternoon but we made some progress and at this stage I am happy with the setting in both conditions. As for the circuit, it is quite technical and the last corner is quite different but other than that I don't think it's anything out of the ordinary."The Aragon race marked the return of the four session format for practice and qualifying. Rather than a single one-hour Friday practice, the MotoGP riders had two 45-minute sessions, one in the morning and a second in the afternoon. The fastest times around the 3.155-mile track came from the dry 45-minute morning session. Pedrosa, whose two-year contract extension was announced Thursday afternoon, finished on top with a lap of 1:50.506. Hayden was second followed by Lorenzo and Stoner, with San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli .001 secs faster that Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi. Rossi was fourth in the wet.Pedrosa was on top of the wet session until about the 24 minute mark when Lorenzo went to the top. Then Pedrosa fell into a steady decline that landed him in 13th.Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Ben Spies and Colin Edwards finished at the tail end of the top ten in the morning and about the same in the afternoon. Edwards was eighth to Spies' ninth in the dry, but in the wet he slipped down to 11th while Spies improved two spots to eighth.

Combined Friday Practice:

1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:50.506

2. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:50.917

3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:50.928

4. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:51.195

5. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:51.768

6. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:51.769

7. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1:51.792

8. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:51.845

9. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:52.027

10. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:52.141

MotoGP Headlines

By Cycle News Staff

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