Misano MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa dominates first practice

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Dani Pedrosa was unstoppable in the opening MotoGP practice session at Misano this afternoon, the Spaniard finishing over 0.6s clear of his rivals with a dominant performance.

A fastest lap of 1.34.772 in the closing stages saw the Repsol Honda rider finish a massive 0.612s clear of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.

Pedrosa, who won his third race of the campaign in Indianapolis last weekend, was on top for the majority of the session after home favourite Valentino Rossi had led the way in the early stages.

The triple world champion briefly surrendered top spot to Fiat Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo after 23 minutes but once he moved back to the top of the timesheets with 28 minutes remaining, he was never bettered.

A lap of 1.35.384 on his last lap moved Italian Dovizioso into second spot with Lorenzo slipping back down to third.

World championship leader Lorenzo clocked a best time of 1.35.444 to finish 0.672s behind Pedrosa.

Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi, who is chasing a third straight win in Misano, was the last rider to lap inside of a second of Pedrosa.

The Italian, who yesterday doubted his victory challenge as he continues to return to full strength after breaking his right leg in June, was 0.767s behind Pedrosa with a quickest time of 1.35.539.

That was just 0.095s behind Lorenzo, who has finished second in the last two Misano races.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards was an impressive fifth to finish top non-factory rider with a best lap of 1.35.834 edging out team-mate Ben Spies by just 0.136s.

Spies, who enjoyed a stellar weekend in Indianapolis with a career first pole position and stunning second place, clocked a best time of 1.35.892.

Nicky Hayden was seventh but big surprise of the day was factory Ducati rider Casey Stoner.

Persevering with the 2011 spec Ohlins front forks he used when crashing out of the top six in Indianapolis last weekend, the Aussie finished way off the pace in eighth place.

The 2007 world champion ended with a best time of 1.36.072 to finish 1.300s off Pedrosa’s benchmark.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt