Pedrosa Breaks Laguna Seca Record

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2012 U.S. Red Bull Grand Prix

Respol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was the dominate rider Friday, leading both free practice sessions at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., the shortest track on the 2012 MotoGP schedule.

The Spaniard was quick in FP1, but it was in FP2 where Pedrosa showed the true performance of the RC213V, which features a new frame and engine for round 10 of the 2012 MotoGP Championship at Laguna Seca.

During FP2, Pedrosa posted a best lap of 1:21.088, beating the circuit record set by Casey Stoner while with Ducati in 2010 (1:21.376). And just like in FP1, Pedrosa was followed by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, and Stoner.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “We did a good job today, we managed to get a good lap time in the morning and improved it in the afternoon, although the grip level was very poor and we struggled a bit with the rear. The tires were working a little better in the afternoon, but it was hard to work on the consistency due to the lack of grip. I hope to be able to work on the pace tomorrow to prepare the race. The new bike is working good here, I will continue working on the set up tomorrow.”

Lorenzo, who currently leads Pedrosa in the overall championship by 19 points, trailed Pedrosa by 0.334 during FP2.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “This afternoon we tried the hard rear tyre but it didn’t work as well as the soft one this morning. We have to try the soft again tomorrow to improve the setting for the hard so we can decide which tire to use for the race. We also tried a different setting in the last ten minutes of FP2 but it didn’t improve anything so we lost that time. I’m hoping to improve both the feeling and also the lap time for tomorrow.”

As for Pedrosa’s teammate, Stoner utilized a new new engine in the RC213V, but remained with the frame he has used all season. The Australian, who was 0.369 of a second behind Pedrosa, also got stuck in traffic during his hot lap, forcing him off the track.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “It hasn’t been a particularly eventful day, we didn’t really get the package we were hoping for. We struggled a little this morning with stability on the soft tyre, we improved it slightly this afternoon on the hard tire but found the bike to be quite aggressive and there wasn’t much grip.

“We have a few things to try tomorrow morning, if we can make some small improvements then we’ll be very happy with the bike. As it is now, we need to improve before we can say if we’re competitive or not.”

Just as in the first free practice, fourth quickest in FP2 was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies, who announced he will depart with the factory Yamaha team at the conclusion of 2012 MotoGP. The Texan trailed Pedrosa by 0.620 of a second.

And fifth fastest was the man who will be seeking Spies vacant seat, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian, who landed the satellite Yamaha on the podium four times this season, was the final rider to post within a second of Pedrosa, Dovi 0.933 of a second behind.

Dovi’s teammate Cal Crutchlow was sixth quickest, though he suffered a crash at turn 10. Crutchlow, who was 1.170 of a second slower than Pedrosa, walked away unharmed.

The fastest Ducati of the day was two-time Laguna Seca winner – the Nicky Hayden. The Kentuckian, who has re-signed with Ducati Team for another year, was 1.346 seconds off the top time. Hayden was followed LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, and the other Ducati Team rider, Valentino Rossi.

Rossi suffered a crash at turn 3, which brought out the red flag due to crews having to repair the air fence. Rossi, who was 1.684 off the top time, was followed by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who also crashed at turn 3. Both riders walked away without injury.

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 was in resurgent form coming in 13th, ousting Pramac Racing Team’s Toni Elías into 14th, who is standing in for the injured Héctor Barberá this weekend. Attack Performance wildcard Steve Rapp, who is running an in-house built APR CRT machine, ended the day in 22nd, just under seven seconds off the front.

The 22-rider grid will return to Laguna Seca Saturday for the third and final free practice at 10:10 p.m. PDT, and qualifying at 1:55 p.m. PDT.

Photos by Ara Ashjian

2012 Laguna Seca MotoGP Free Practice 2 Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time Gap 1st/Prev.
1. 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 266.7 1’21.088
2. 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 264.5 1’21.422 0.334 / 0.334
3. 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 268.1 1’21.457 0.369 / 0.035
4. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 265.1 1’21.708 0.620 / 0.251
5. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 262.4 1’22.021 0.933 / 0.313
6. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 266.1 1’22.258 1.170 / 0.237
7. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 264.0 1’22.434 1.346 / 0.176
8. 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 256.2 1’22.568 1.480 / 0.134
9. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 268.0 1’22.772 1.684 / 0.204
10. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 263.0 1’22.853 1.765 / 0.081
11. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 249.1 1’23.835 2.747 / 0.982
12. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 251.2 1’23.870 2.782 / 0.035
13. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 250.9 1’24.732 3.644 / 0.862
14. 24 Toni ELIAS SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 259.0 1’24.739 3.651 / 0.007
15. 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 246.7 1’24.774 3.686 / 0.035
16. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 257.9 1’24.849 3.761 / 0.075
17. 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 244.7 1’25.000 3.912 / 0.151
18. 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 245.6 1’25.065 3.977 / 0.065
19. 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 239.3 1’25.166 4.078 / 0.101
20. 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 240.2 1’25.405 4.317 / 0.239
21. 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 241.7 1’25.422 4.334 / 0.017
15 Steve RAPP USA Attack Performance APR 245.2 1’28.016 6.928 / 2.594