US MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo fastest in final practice

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Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo was quickest in today’s final MotoGP practice session at Laguna Seca.

The Fiat Yamaha rider posted a best time of 1.21.763 to edge out Aussie rider Casey Stoner by just 0.063s as the pair continued their California tussle this morning.

Stoner had done the early running on his factory Ducati GP10 but runaway world championship leader Lorenzo took charge of the session with 25 minutes remaining.
A lap of 1.21.763 put him 0.215s clear of 2007 world champion Stoner and while the 23-year-old was unable to better his time, it was enough to claim top spot.
Stoner did his best to peg back Lorenzo, who is chasing a sixth win in nine races in tomorrow’s 32-lap American MotoGP clash.

The 24-year-old got as close as 0.063s on his 21st lap but was unable to follow up his impressive display from yesterday when he comfortably set the best pace.
Lorenzo’s best time was marginally slower than Stoner’s Friday best of 1.21.699 but he was almost 0.2s faster than his own first day benchmark.

Sachsenring winner Dani Pedrosa, Lorenzo’s closest rival in the title chase, was third fastest with a best time of 1.21.876. That left him 0.113s behind Lorenzo and just 0.050s adrift of Stoner as he looks to win a second successive American MotoGP race.

Victory in tomorrow’s encounter will see the Repsol Honda rider win back-to-back premier class races for the first time and take his winning tally to three, which would beat his previous best season tally.

Factory Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was fourth quickest with a best time 1.22.166 to finish a further 0.290s back.

Home favourite Ben Spies was once again fifth as he shaved close to four-tenths-of-a-second of his best time from yesterday. A lap of 1.22.293 though was still 0.530s away from Lorenzo as the Texan bids for a second podium finish of the campaign on home soil.

Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi was sixth again on his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine. The Italian, who admitted struggling with strength in his recovering right leg yesterday, was 0.041s behind Spies.

Tomorrow’s race will be just 50 days since he broke his right leg in a crash during practice for his home race in Mugello.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards was seventh again, just edging out compatriot Nicky Hayden as he did in Friday’s opening session.
Roger Lee Hayden showed significant improvement on the LCR Honda.
Replacing injured French rider Randy de Puniet, he clocked the 16th quickest time with a 1.24.368. That was only 2.605s off Lorenzo when yesterday he’d be 3.733s away from the best pace.

Mika Kallio finished 15th on the Pramac Ducati, the Finn recovering well after suffering an early crash on eight minutes at the penultimate corner.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt