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Under sunny Californian skies it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who set the pace on the first day of practice in the afternoon session of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in front of Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner.
His lap in the low 1m21s, beating the previous circuit record, displaced Yamaha Factory Racing’s championship leader Jorge Lorenzo into second spot, who was just over three tenths off the pace. Pedrosa’s teammate Casey Stoner went third quickest by a narrow margin, yet was held up on his final hot-lap by traffic, forcing him to run off track briefly.
Fourth spot on the timesheet was occupied by Yamaha’s Ben Spies, who earlier this week announced he will leave the team at the end of the season. In fifth, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso was in good shape looking to put on a good show, to challenge for the soon to be vacant factory seat. His teammate Cal Crutchlow posted the sixth quickest time of the day, despite suffering a heavy crash going into turn 10. He was fortunately unhurt in the incident.
Seventh spot went to Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who earlier in the day confirmed a one-year contract extension with the Italian team. In eighth, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl had a good day on his first MotoGP outing at the Californian track, posting his fastest time in the afternoon session just under 1.5s off the top. Ducati’s Valentino Rossi set the ninth fastest time, yet also suffered a crash going into turn three, which prompted the session to be red-flagged for the damaged air-fence to be repaired. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who crashed at the same turn as Rossi shortly beforehand, came in tenth. Both riders walked away unscathed.
Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró was the fastest CRT in 11th, ahead of teammate Randy de Puniet. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards continued his resurgent form coming in 13th, ousting Pramac Racing Team’s Toni Elías into 14th, who is standing in for the injured Héctor Barberá. Attack Performance wildcard Steve Rapp ended the day in 22nd, just under seven seconds off the front.
Saturday's third practice starts at 5:10pm local time (BST -3)
Repsol Honda Team
|1.||D. Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||01:21.088||23|
|3.||C. Stoner||Repsol Honda||01:21.457||19|
|5.||A. Dovizioso||Tech 3||01:22.021||24|
|6.||C. Crutchlow||Tech 3||01:22.258||22|
|8.||S. Bradl||LCR Honda||01:22.568||24|
|Repsol Honda Team|
|19 May||Pedrosa takes second win of the season|
|18 May||Marquez takes second career pole at Le Mans|
|18 May||Marquez fastest in third practice at Le Mans|
|17 May||Pedrosa stays fastest in second practice|
|2012 American MotoGP Grand Prix|
|30 Jul '12||MotoGP video: Hayden gives Rossi a lift|
|30 Jul '12||Stoner back to winning ways at Laguna Seca|
|29 Jul '12||Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Laguna Seca|
|29 Jul '12||Lorenzo on impressive pole at Laguna|
|17 May||Pedrosa tops first practice at Le Mans|
|5 May||Pedrosa sweeps to victory in Jerez|
|20 Apr||Pedrosa beats Márquez in third practice|
|18 Apr||Video: Pedrosa on-board lap at Austin|
|19 May||Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Le Mans|
|19 May||Lorenzo fastest in Le Mans warm-up practice|
|18 May||Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Le Mans|
|17 May||Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Le Mans|
|More Dani Pedrosa photos|