Current MotoGP championship leader Dani Pedrosa was the fastest man on track in the second free practice session in Le Mans this afternoon.
The Repsol Honda rider, who is still to have the benefits of a pneumatic valve engine on his Honda RC212V, was up the top of the timesheets early on in the session before veteran Colin Edwards repeated his regular fast Friday routine.
But the Spaniard was on top form and his final lap of 1:34.227 was enough to take the top spot.
Jorge Lorenzo was the early man on the pace with a 1:37.660 as he braved the pain he’s still suffering in his ankles from his Shanghai crash. But Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi was also on a charge, as he looks to build on his China win, by recording the fastest time after eight minutes of 1:35.498.
Fastest man from this morning Dani Pedrosa was first to dip under the 1min 35sec mark to go top with a 1:34.572 on the Repsol Honda and Colin Edwards was soon to follow, posting a 1:34.957 to go second on his Yamaha YZF-M1. Edwards then improved his time to a 1:34.287 after a quarter of an hour to be the fastest man on track.
And the veteran Texan improved further after half an hour knocking almost 0.7secs off his previous time. Pedrosa improved his time in second place to a 1:34.414 with just over 16 minutes to go and on the next lap he knocked this down to 1:34.399.
With seven minutes remaining it was time for defending MotoGP champion Casey Stoner to show his capabilities as he went to the top of the timesheets with a 1:34.276. But early front man Dani Pedrosa was back on the pace at the end of the session and undercut Stoner’s time by 0.016secs with just two minutes remaining.
But he wasn’t done yet and shaved a further 0.4secs off his previous best to finish the session on a 1:34.227.
Jorge Lorenzo, already struggling after his Shanghai crash came off his Fiat Yamaha in the dying seconds of the session and could do nothing more than slowly limp back to the side of the track before medical staff gave him a helping hand and fetched a stretcher.
Britain’s James Toseland had a slightly disappointing day to finish 15th on a 1:35.848, which was an improvement on his first free practice time.
Only Valentino Rossi failed to improve on his time from this morning as he finished up in sixth place. The Fiat Yamaha rider could only manage a 1:34.959 this afternoon, which was almost a second slower.
French MotoGP second free practice results:
1 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1'34.227
2 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 1'34.276
3 Colin EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha YAMAHA 1'34.287
4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 1'34.487
5 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 1'34.630
6 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team YAMAHA 1'34.959
7 Shinya NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA 1'35.047
8 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 1'35.073
9 John HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI 1'35.133
10 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA 1'35.239
11 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 1'35.256
12 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 1'35.378
13 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP HONDA 1'35.450
14 Marco MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team DUCATI 1'35.678
15 James TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha YAMAHA 1'35.848
16 Anthony WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team KAWASAKI 1'35.877
17 Toni ELIAS SPA Alice Team DUCATI 1'36.039
18 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team DUCATI 1'36.414