US MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo fastest to deny Honda trio

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Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo ended the first day of practice for the US Grand Prix on top of the timesheets to deny Repsol Honda trio Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso at Laguna Seca.

The factory Yamaha rider, who was third fastest in this morning’s opening session, finished with a best time of 1.22.056 to edge out compatriot Pedrosa by 0.141s.

This afternoon’s session was run in much warmer and brighter conditions after the chilly weather that greeted the paddock earlier cleared and Lorenzo set his best time on his ninth lap.

Sachsenring winner Pedrosa, who crashed out while leading the Laguna Seca race 12 months ago, set a best of 1.22.197 to finish just 0.034s clear of world championship leader Casey Stoner.

The Australian was fastest this morning but he couldn’t improve his pace by more than a tenth-of-a-second to finish third, with Dovizioso a further 0.306s back in fourth.

Home favourite Ben Spies was only fifth quickest but 0.559s back while it was another struggle for factory Ducati duo Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi.

Hayden finished 10th with a best time of 1.23.195, while Italian Rossi was 0.174s behind him in 11th.

Nine-times world champion Rossi again finished over a second off the pace, with the 32-year-old’s 1.23.369 over 1.3s behind Lorenzo.

Fastest Ducati rider today was Frenchman Randy de Puniet, who was eighth on the Pramac GP11.

British rider Cal Crutchlow was 13th this morning and he stayed in the same position this afternoon, despite lapping over 0.3s quicker.

He ran off at the famous Corkscrew section again in the second session but ended with a best time of 1.23.707. That put him just 1.651s behind Lorenzo on his first visit to the California track.

LCR Honda rider Ben Bostrom shaved 1.1s off his best time from this morning but not surprisingly he still finished last in 18th position. He dropped his best time down to a 1.26.159 to finish 1.469s behind Italian veteran Loris Capirossi in 17th.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt