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.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
1.27Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda299.11’45.513
2.26Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda298.31’45.7360.223 / 0.223
3.46Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati294.41’45.8280.315 / 0.092
4.69Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati291.71’46.0730.560 / 0.245
5.65Loris CAPIROSSIITAPramac Racing TeamDucati291.81’46.1080.595 / 0.035
6.11Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha291.31’46.2590.746 / 0.151
7.14Randy DE PUNIETFRAPramac Racing TeamDucati293.31’46.3710.858 / 0.112
8.24Toni ELIASSPALCR Honda MotoGPHonda297.31’46.3930.880 / 0.022
9.4Andrea DOVIZIOSOITARepsol Honda TeamHonda297.41’46.4020.889 / 0.009
10.35Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha295.01’46.5811.068 / 0.179
11.19Alvaro BAUTISTASPARizla Suzuki MotoGPSuzuki293.91’46.9221.409 / 0.341
12.8Hector BARBERASPAMapfre Aspar Team MotoGPDucati297.41’46.9671.454 / 0.045
13.17Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati290.61’47.0791.566 / 0.112
14.7Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNSan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda296.91’47.5812.068 / 0.502
15.41Josh HAYESUSAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha287.71’48.0372.524 / 0.456
16.89Katsuyuki NAKASUGAJPNYamaha Factory RacingYamaha290.21’48.3822.869 / 0.345

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).