Dani Pedrosa dominated the opening day of practice for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang, the Repsol Honda beating new world champion Casey Stoner by over 0.8s in typically hot and humid conditions.
The Spaniard had topped the timesheets in this morning’s session with a 2.01.916 but improved to a 2.01.250 in the second 45-minute session.
He was the only rider to break into the 2.01 bracket and his best time easily beat Aussie Stoner by 0.820s, though he did use Bridgestone’s soft compound tyre while most of the field concentrated on evaluating the harder option.
Stoner was almost 0.5s faster in the second session with a 2.02.070 to finish 0.594s clear of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in third.
The Italian was a massive 1.414s slower than Pedrosa yet still in the top three as Honda dominated the opening day of the penultimate round of the 2011 MotoGP series.
Marco Simoncelli was fourth quickest with a 2.02.823 and Japanese rider Hiroshi Aoyama was fifth quickest. Aoyama, who is moving to World Superbikes in 2012 with the Ten Kate Honda squad, set a best time of 2.02.951 to finish just 0.040s ahead of experienced American Colin Edwards.
Edwards was the first non-Honda rider on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine and a best lap of 2.02.991 placed him sixth, with Alvaro Bautista impressing again on the factory Suzuki to finish seventh. He was just 0.132s behind Edwards with Randy de Puniet finished eighth.
The Frenchman was quickest Ducati rider but a 1.909s behind Pedrosa, though he did edge out factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies.
Valentino Rossi had another tough time and he could only finish 13th fastest with a best time of 2.03.677. That left him almost 2.5s off the best pace and only Hector Barbera was slower on a Ducati Desmosedici today while he recovers from the broken collarbone he suffered in Japan earlier this month.
Jorge Lorenzo's injury replacement Katsuyuki Nakasuga had a torrid day. He crashed at the last corner in this morning's session and again at Turn 13 in the second session.
He ended with a best time of 2.05.996 to finish 4.746s behind Pedrosa.
Lorenzo is currently recovering at home in Barcelona after he suffered a serious hand injury during the warm-up session for last weekend's Phillip Island race in Australia.
He remains a doubt for the final race of the season in Valencia next month.
1. 26 Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 310.7 2'01.916
2. 27 Casey Stoner AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 310.9 2'02.557 0.641 / 0.641
3. 4 Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 309.3 2'02.590 0.674 / 0.033
4. 58 Marco Simoncelli ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 305.6 2'03.311 1.395 / 0.721
5. 19 Alvaro Bautista SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 308.3 2'03.558 1.642 / 0.247
6. 11 Ben Spies USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 303.4 2'03.586 1.670 / 0.028
7. 14 Randy De Puniet FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 306.1 2'03.760 1.844 / 0.174
8. 5 Colin Edwards USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 305.2 2'03.778 1.862 / 0.018
9. 7 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 308.0 2'03.908 1.992 / 0.130
10. 46 Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Team Ducati 305.3 2'04.280 2.364 / 0.372
11. 17 Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 306.9 2'04.345 2.429 / 0.065
12. 69 Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team Ducati 303.5 2'04.474 2.558 / 0.129
13. 65 Loris Capirossi ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 303.2 2'04.521 2.605 / 0.047
14. 21 John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 302.3 2'04.609 2.693 / 0.088
15. 35 Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 304.6 2'04.666 2.750 / 0.057
16. 24 Toni Elias SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 308.3 2'04.890 2.974 / 0.224
17. 89 Katsuyuki Nakasuga JPN Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 300.9 2'05.390 3.474 / 0.500
18. 8 Hector Barbera SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 300.3 2'06.199 4.283 / 0.809