Donington Park MotoGP: Marco Simoncelli continues good form with best pace in Saturday’s 250 Free Practice

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The winner of the previous two 250cc Grand Prix races at Mugello and Catalunya, Marco Simoncelli, has proved he’s got the ability to ride fast in all conditions by braving the torrential conditions at Donington and lap fastest out of the quarter-litre class.

The MotoGP paddock was treated to glorious sunshine yesterday, but all the riders and teams woke up to a very different situation this morning with the rain coming down on the 2.5-mile Leicestershire circuit.

And with standing water and many people criticising the levels of grip at the track even in the dry, a mass of 125cc boys have been caught out by the difficult conditions, as di a few MotoGP riders including James Toseland.

The 250cc hour-long session didn’t have the same level of drama in the shape of crashes, but a number of riders were caught out including Roberto Locatelli, team-mate to Simoncelli, who landed heavily after high-siding his Metis Gilera at the Old Hairpin.

Mattia Pasini and Mika Kallio also fell victim to the conditions at Mcleans and Redgate respectively.

Kallio’s KTM team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama was having much better fortunes however, regularly topping the time sheets in a heated fastest-lap-battle between himself, fellow KTM rider Julian Simon, Honda’s Yuki Takahashi and 2006 125cc World Champion Alvaro Bautista.

But it was Simoncelli who took the spoils in the practice session, lapping with a 1.47.055, just edging out Takahashi.

British hopeful Eugene Laverty had a difficult session and ended up 23rd fastest, a full eighth seconds off the pace.

1. M. SIMONCELLI Metis Gilera 1'47.055
2. Y. TAKAHASHI JiR Team Scot 250 + 0.075
3. J. SIMON Repsol KTM 250cc + 0.687
4. K. ABRAHAM Cardion AB Motoracing + 1.041
5. A. BAUTISTA Mapfre Aspar Team + 1.111
6. H. AOYAMA Red Bull KTM 250 + 1.291
7. M. KALLIO Red Bull KTM 250 + 1.301
8. F. LAI Campetella Racing + 1.522
9. A. DEBON Lotus Aprilia + 1.534
10. M. PASINI Polaris World + 1.623
11. T. LUTHI Emmi - Caffe Latte + 1.670
12. L. PESEK Auto Kelly – CP + 2.424
13. R. WILAIROT Thai Honda PTT SAG + 2.469
14. A. ESPARGARO Lotus Aprilia + 2.554
15. H. BARBERA Team Toth Aprilia + 3.055
16. I. TOTH Team Toth Aprilia + 3.691

23. E. LAVERTY Blusens Aprilia + 8.373

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Rob Hull

By Rob Hull