Dani Pedrosa’s golden run of form in 2010 showed no sign of relenting this morning when he dominated the opening MotoGP practice session at the new Motorland Aragon track in Spain.
With Friday morning practice restored for the first time since 2008, Pedrosa dominated for most of the 45-minute session and at one stage led the field by over a second.
The Repsol Honda rider, who signed a new two-year deal with HRC yesterday (Thursday), eventually finished with a quickest lap of 1.50.506 to finish nearly 0.5s clear of the field.
His closest challenger came in the surprise form of factory Ducati rider Nicky Hayden, who found his pace in the final ten minutes to climb into second spot.
A lap of 1.50.917 from the 2006 world champion put him 0.411s behind his former HRC team-mate but he edged out current series leader Jorge Lorenzo by 0.011s.
The Spaniard, who is bidding for a third win on home soil this weekend, had to settle for a best lap of 1.50.928 that left him 0.422s behind Pedrosa.
With Pedrosa winning the previous two race in Indianapolis and Misano, Lorenzo’s lead has been cut to 63-points ahead of Sunday’s 23-lap encounter.
Aussie Casey Stoner, who has reverted back to the 2009 spec Ohlins front forks for this weekend, set the fourth best time.
The 24-year-old clocked a best lap of 1.51.195 but that was a massive 0.689s behind Pedrosa. Stoner had briefly led the session with nine minutes remaining but he ended up the last rider to lap inside of a second of in-form Pedrosa, who is enjoying his best ever MotoGP campaign with four victories so far.
San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Marco Simoncelli was fifth fastest with reigning world champion Valentino Rossi just 0.001s back in sixth as the Fiat Yamaha rider logged a best time of 1.51.769. That left him 1.263s behind Pedrosa.
Hector Barbera was an encouraging seventh on the Aspar Ducati with Pedrosa’s team-mate Andrea Dovizioso dropped down the rankings to eighth after he’d challenge in the top five for most of the session.
Spaniard Aleix Espargaro finished in 13th after he'd walked away unhurt from a big high-side at the second corner on only his second lap of the session.