US MotoGP: Casey Stoner tops Laguna Seca warm-up

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Casey Stoner’s ominous form in Laguna Seca continued this morning when the factory Ducati rider finished warm-up with the fastest time.

Stoner, who will start from pole position for this afternoon’s American MotoGP race, has dominated so far in California and his relentless pace continued this morning.
The 21-year-old posted a brilliant best time of 1.21.975, which was comfortably faster than his pole time of 1.22.361 as he beat factory Suzuki duo Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins.

Fellow Aussie Vermeulen was second with a best of 1.22.400, but that was 0.425s behind Stoner’s pace. Hopkins was third with a 1.22.446 as he was 0.311s clear of Valentino Rossi. The Italian clocked a 1.22.757 to finish a massive 0.757s behind Stoner.

Reigning world champion Nicky Hayden didn’t have the best preparation for his bid to win a third successive Laguna Seca GP when he crashed at the last corner just before the halfway stage.

He lost the front on his Repsol Honda but was able to sprint across the track into pitlane to jump on his spare bike and finish the session only 11th fastest. Hayden will start his home GP from fourth place on the grid.

Veteran Miguel DuHamel also walked away unhurt from a big crash in the same place where Marco Melandri tumbled yesterday. He crashed on his eighth lap and ended up slowest with a best of 1.25.822.

Gresini Honda rider Melandri missed this morning’s session, choosing to rest a left ankle injury he suffered in a horrible crash yesterday when he clipped Kurtis Roberts.
British rider Chaz Davies, replacing injured Alex Hofmann on the D’Antin Ducati, finished in a brilliant 13th position. His time of 1.23.952 was just 1.977s slower than Stoner and he beat the likes Carlos Checa, Makoto Tamada and Shinya Nakano.
The 32-lap race gets underway at 10pm UK time tonight.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt