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Motegi MotoGP: Pedrosa Tops Friday Practice

2012 Motegi MotoGP Friday Practice Results

The man with the best shot at beating Jorge Lorenzo for the 2012 MotoGP title, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, was fastest Friday on the opening day of the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan at Twin Ring Motegi.

Pedrosa, who trails Lorenzo by 33 points with four rounds remaining, posted a 1:46.088 during the second free practice at Motegi, which became a new fastest lap at the track and beat his record set in 2011 of 1:46.090.

But not far behind was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, the Spaniard 0.102 of a second back. Behind Lorenzo, who lead the first free practice ahead of Pedrosa, was Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian was 0.194 of a second behind Lorenzo.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Today was a perfect day for practice. The track conditions were very good, the warm temperatures helped as did the new surface, so we were able to do the job we wanted. The main target today was to test the tires and we completed some good laps on both hard and soft compounds.

“The asphalt is new and the grip is quite good, so the lap times are pretty fast from the beginning. We also did some work on the suspension and the mapping to will keep improving on this tomorrow.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “We started in a very good way here, much better than in Aragon where we had issues with the life of the rear tire. We have a very good pace and with a little change in the electronics were able to go a bit faster. We tried with the hard tyre, for me it’s not better than the soft although we can go fast on it. For tomorrow I think the soft one will be better. The Hondas are very good here but our bike is also so I think we can fight with them for the victory.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “It has been a really good start to the weekend because I did my time with the hard tyre and that looks like being a probable choice for the race. The good thing is I am very competitive already but I know we can improve on the last part of the entry to the corner.

“I don’t feel comfortable in that area, but even if I don’t feel 100% confident with the bike and ready to push as hard as I know I can, I am very close to the fastest two. I believe I will be able to follow Dani and Jorge on Sunday and that is basically my aim for the weekend. It will be difficult to fight with them for the victory but I am certainly looking to be battling for the podium again on a track that I really like.”

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl set the fourth fastest time of the day despite a short run off track in the afternoon, with the German keen to make amends for his DNF last time out in Aragón.

In fifth was Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, who jumped up the timesheets with an unexpected hot-lap towards the end, leaving him just half a second off the top. Behind him in sixth, Yamaha’s Ben Spies will be looking to improve for tomorrow’s qualifying, being almost eight tenths down on his teammate with the hard tire.

Seventh spot is occupied by Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner, who looked strong on his first day back from injury, despite pitting frequently to dial in his bike’s set-up. He had a less than ideal start in the morning, as his number one bike stopped with a technical issue just two corners into his out-lap.

San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista finished the day in eighth, and will aim to jump further up the order tomorrow as he continues to work on his Showa suspension, which continues to cause his front tyre to jump heavily under braking. In ninth, Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow had a subdued session for his standards, while Ducati’s Nicky Hayden completes the top ten, with the American doing well to ride with a fractured right radius.

Top CRT spot went to Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró, who did well to overcome a crash in the morning session. His teammate Randy de Puniet crashed out of the afternoon practice early on, but was able to re-join on his second bike, albeit with a contusion to his left knee. Other riders that crashed out were Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham and Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernández.

2012 Motegi 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 307.8 1’46.088
2. 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 294.1 1’46.190 0.102 / 0.102
3. 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 294.0 1’46.282 0.194 / 0.092
4. 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 294.2 1’46.428 0.340 / 0.146
5. 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 298.0 1’46.687 0.599 / 0.259
6. 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 291.0 1’46.912 0.824 / 0.225
7. 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 295.0 1’46.978 0.890 / 0.066
8. 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 297.7 1’46.983 0.895 / 0.005
9. 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 293.5 1’46.984 0.896 / 0.001
10. 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 289.6 1’47.592 1.504 / 0.608
11. 21 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA JPN Yamaha YSP Racing Team Yamaha 291.3 1’47.801 1.713 / 0.209
12. 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 283.7 1’48.232 2.144 / 0.431
13. 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 286.1 1’48.470 2.382 / 0.238
14. 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 285.3 1’48.757 2.669 / 0.287
15. 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 283.2 1’48.770 2.682 / 0.013
16. 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 285.5 1’49.539 3.451 / 0.769
17. 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 283.5 1’49.652 3.564 / 0.113
18. 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 274.9 1’49.770 3.682 / 0.118
19. 84 Roberto ROLFO ITA Speed Master ART 287.7 1’50.292 4.204 / 0.522
20. 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 289.4 1’50.333 4.245 / 0.041
21. 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 281.4 1’50.924 4.836 / 0.591
22. 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 278.6 1’51.270 5.182 / 0.346
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