2012 MotoGPOn Thursday, Casey Stoner announced his retirement, and on Friday he was on top of the time sheets.
The Repsol Honda RC213V rider, who has won the past two rounds (Jerez, Estoril), immediately went to work at the first free practice for Le Mans MotoGP, setting the pace with a 1:34.321.And like always, the Australian significantly bettered his time in the second free practice. During FP2, Stoner posted a 1:33.740. This time was quicker than the best time in the corresponding sessions at last year’s French Grand Prix, which took place under warmer temperatures.These times arrived after Stoner announced he will retire following this year’s season, attributing the move to various reasons. But regardless of his decision, he was untouchable Friday at Le Mans.Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “The sessions today went quite well for us. Believe it or not, today we were trying to create chatter, so we can make the most use of this dry time on track to understand it a little better and make some improvements for the rest of the season.“We are happy to use some of the sessions to focus on fixing the chatter issue, and not worry about the set up immediately. We started to find some chatter at the end of the day when we switched to the hard front tyre and hopefully it will stay dry tomorrow so we can continue to work on this.“After yesterday’s announcement, I definitely felt a weight off my shoulders when I got on the bike this morning. The last two races I’ve had a lot of thoughts running through my mind and this weekend I already feel better knowing it’s off my chest and we can now focus on the rest of the season, and try to enjoy it.”Following 0.265 of a second behind Stoner in FP2 was Dani Pedrosa, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo 0.396 of a second back.Putting in spectacular performance was Alvaro Bautista on the satellite San Carlo Honda RC213V. The Spaniard was 0.697 behind Stoner, and was followed closely by 0.030 of a second by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies, who has struggled so far this season.In sixth and seventh were the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, respectively. Taking the top spot for Ducati was Pramac Racing Team’s Hector Barbera, who was just ahead of the Ducati Team duo of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden. Rossi, who announced Thursday that he will remain in MotoGP for the following two years, was 1.372 seconds behind Stoner.MotoGP reports that the top CRT honor went to local favorite Randy de Puniet, who put in a good performance in 13th, despite still suffering back-pain from his crash at Estoril. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s replacement for Colin Edwards, 2007 Le Mans race-winner Chris Vermeulen, finished in last place, as he was getting used to the Suter-BMW machine.Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci had a day to forget, as he suffered a serious engine failure early in the second session. It was misery as well for Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini as he dropped his bike in the gravel after running wide, while in the final few minutes of the afternoon, Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró had his second crash of the day as lost the front of his ART machine. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro was the only other rider to crash in the morning session, after coming off in Museum corner, MotoGP says.2012 Le Mans MotoGP Free Practice One Results:
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!