ASSEN, HOLLAND, JUNE 24: World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo set the fastest time in first practice for Saturday's 80th Dutch TT, but a resurgent Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro) was a tick behind with Nicky Hayden a close third on the second Ducati Marlboro machine.Lorenzo set the fast time four days after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and establishing a 37-point championship lead. The Majorcan expressed a quiet confidence the day before the weekend began and he backed it up with his performance in today's opening practice session.On a track that was shortened by 13 meters, the Fiat Yamaha rider lapped in 1:35.169, well under Stoner's pole position time of 1:35.520 from 2008. Regardless of the lap times set in qualifying and the race, the times will stand as records because of the shorter track.For a day, at least, Stoner and Hayden weren't bothered by front-end woes. Of the two, Stoner has had the harder time, finishing consistently behind Hayden and crashing more than he has in years. His lap of 1:35.180 was only .011 of a second slower than Lorenzo's best. Hayden lapped the now 4.542 meters/2.82 miles track in 1:35.686. What was encouraging for the Kentuckian was that he was among the leaders on the first day, when too often he's started slowly.Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards recovered from a disappointing weekend in England to log the fourth fastest time and just .013 of a second behind Hayden's. The Texan had a set-up problem that caused a return of a previous arm pump problem.Repsol Hondas were next, Andrea Dovizioso just in front of teammate Dani Pedrosa.Pramac Racing's Aleix Espargaro had an encouraging opening day by setting the seventh fastest time and only .005 of a second off Pedrosa's best. Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Ben Spies, who finished on the MotoGP podium for the first time at Silverstone, was just .015 of a second slower than Espargaro.The San Carlo Honda Gresini team of Marco Simoncelli and Marco Melandri finished ninth and 10th, with the younger teammate outriding his senior teammate in this session.

Results:

1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:35.169

2. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:35.180

3. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:35.686

4. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:35.699

5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:35.868

6. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:35.922

7. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) 1:35.927

8. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:35.942

9. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1:36.002

10. Marco Melandri (Honda) 1:36.269

MotoGP Headlines

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

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