MotoGP: Casey Stoner Leads Valencia FP1

2011-motogp-casey-stoner-leads-valencia-fp1

2011 MotoGP Finale

As many assumed, two things occurred at the first free practice for the 2011 MotoGP finale at Valencia – tributes for Marco Simoncelli and Casey Stoner leading the charge.

Pramac Racing Ducati’s Loris Capirossi displayed the number 58 to honor MotoGP’s fallen hero Simoncelli, and Hiroshi Aoyama’s San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V went unbranded at FP1.

With Simoncelli’s memories looming in the atmosphere, the riders got down to action in the first of three free practice sessions for Valencia MotoGP, with Repsol Honda’s Stoner setting a last-minute fast lap to post a 1:45.513 under drying conditions at Valencia, Spain.

The Australian, who clinched the 2011 MotoGP Championship at his home round in Phillip Island two rounds earlier, finished 0.223 ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa.

As the Honda RC212Vs continued their normal positions in practice sessions as they did throughout the other 17 races in 2011 MotoGP, two Ducati GP11.1 prototypes followed, bikes that are somewhat unfamiliar with top positions.

These Ducati Team machines were piloted by Valentino Rossi, who held second position in FP1 until the final laps, and the American Nicky Hyaden. As Rossi trailed Pedrosa by 0.092 of a second, Hayden was only 0.245 of a second behind Rossi.

Fifth went to Capirossi, who will be competing at his last GP race this Sunday at Valencia; the Italian was followed by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies. Capirossi’s teammate Randy de Puniet followed in seventh, with LCR Honda’s Toni Elias eighth fastest.

Rounding out the top 10 times were Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow.

As for Colin Edwards replacement on the other Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, American Superbike Champion Josh Hayes, the American posted the 15th fastest time of 1:48.037 on his first time on a MotoGP machine, 2.524 of a second behind Stoner. Hayes finished just ahead of Jorge Lorenzo’s substitute rider, the Japanese rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

The MotoGP grid will be back on the Valencia circuit this afternoon for free practice 2.

2011 Valencia MotoGP: Free Practice 1 Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 299.1 1’45.513
2. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 298.3 1’45.736 0.223 / 0.223
3. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 294.4 1’45.828 0.315 / 0.092
4. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 291.7 1’46.073 0.560 / 0.245
5. 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 291.8 1’46.108 0.595 / 0.035
6. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 291.3 1’46.259 0.746 / 0.151
7. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 293.3 1’46.371 0.858 / 0.112
8. 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 297.3 1’46.393 0.880 / 0.022
9. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 297.4 1’46.402 0.889 / 0.009
10. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 295.0 1’46.581 1.068 / 0.179
11. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 293.9 1’46.922 1.409 / 0.341
12. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 297.4 1’46.967 1.454 / 0.045
13. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 290.6 1’47.079 1.566 / 0.112
14. 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 296.9 1’47.581 2.068 / 0.502
15. 41 Josh HAYES USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 287.7 1’48.037 2.524 / 0.456
16. 89 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA JPN Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 290.2 1’48.382 2.869 / 0.345