Laguna Seca MotoGP | Crutchlow Leads Rossi in FP1

Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow

2013 Laguna Seca MotoGP Free Practice One Results

Practice got underway Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the second of three MotoGP rounds held on stateside soil. At 2.243 miles, Laguna is the shortest circuit on the 2013 MotoGP calendar, and features many technical sections, such as the infamous Corkscrew.

And though Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow was still sore from crashes two weeks ago at Sachsenring, the Brit was able to edge out Valentino Rossi in the final moments of the 45-minute session at round nine of 18 in 2013 MotoGP.

Crutchlow, who finished second at Sachsenring last weekend, posted a quickest time of 1:22.757 aboard his satellite YZR-M1. he was 0.091 of a second quicker than Rossi, who finished third in Germany.

The nine-time World Champion led most of the opening practice session of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, and was the first rider to break the 1:23 barrier with 20 minutes remaining.

As for Rossi’s teammate, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo only rode eight laps Friday due to his recovering shoulder. The reigning MotoGP Champion crashed hard two rounds ago at Assen, breaking his shoulder. But he still competed in the race, finishing fifth 38 hours after surgeons installed seven pins and a titanium plate in his collarbone.

But at Sachsenring, Lorenzo suffered another high side, further upsetting his shoulder. He was forced to miss Sachsenring, and underwent a second surgery, getting an additional four pins installed. Regardless, he rode Friday at Laguna, finishing 11th quickest, 1.684 seconds behind the group.

The other rider sidelined at Sachsenring was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who also hurt his left shoulder. Due to the misty conditions at Laguna Seca, Pedrosa didn’t attempt any laps aboard the RC213V, and will likely ride in this afternoon’s FP2 session.

It was a different story for his teammate Marc Marquez, though.  Marquez bolted to the top of the time sheets during the final moments. The rookie, who won at Sachsenring and also at the Circuit of the Americas earlier this season, was the only other rider besides Crutchlow and Rossi to post under the 1:23 mark.

Marquez, who never piloted a world-championship motorcycle around the technical Laguna Seca before Friday, trailed Crutchlow by 0.223 of a second.

Fourth fastest was LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who finished 0.276 off the top time. Bradl was followed by his fellow Honda satellite rider, GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Baustia, who was 0.498 of a second off Crutchlow’s time.

The top Ducati time went to Andrea Dovizioso aboard the factory GP13. Dovi was the final rider to post within a second of Crutchlow, the Italian 0.623 of a second back.

The gap between Dovi and the seventh-place rider was huge, considering Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was 1.148 of a seconds back. Espargaro, the top CRT finisher in MotoGP so far this season, finished just ahead of Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden.

Rounding out the top 10 at the first free practice for Laguna Seca MotoGP were Crutchlow’s teammate Bradley Smith and Espargaro’s teammate, Randy de Puniet. The Frenchman almost crashed with Cruthlow mid session, but Crutchlow remained cool and regained his rhythm to take the top time.

As for the other Americans, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards was 18th quickest, 2.907 off the top time, and wildcard-rider Blake Young on the Attack Performance Racing Aprilia CRT was 21st, 3.911 off Crutchlow’s time.

The riders will return to the circuit at 2:05 p.m. PDT for second and final free practice of the day.

Photos by Ara Ashjian

2013 Laguna Seca MotoGP Free Practice 1 Results:

135Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha262.91’22.757
246Valentino ROSSIITAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha265.41’22.8480.091 / 0.091
393Marc MARQUEZSPARepsol Honda TeamHonda252.61’22.9800.223 / 0.132
46Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda262.81’23.0330.276 / 0.053
519Alvaro BAUTISTASPAGO&FUN Honda GresiniHonda266.11’23.2550.498 / 0.222
64Andrea DOVIZIOSOITADucati TeamDucati263.91’23.3800.623 / 0.125
741Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART254.21’23.9051.148 / 0.525
869Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati263.61’23.9271.170 / 0.022
938Bradley SMITHGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha253.11’24.2871.530 / 0.360
1014Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART251.51’24.3631.606 / 0.076
1199Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha255.61’24.4411.684 / 0.078
128Hector BARBERASPAAvintia BlusensFTR253.91’24.4671.710 / 0.026
1315Alex DE ANGELISRSMIgnite Pramac RacingDucati261.41’25.1332.376 / 0.666
1468Yonny HERNANDEZCOLPaul Bird MotorsportART244.01’25.3092.552 / 0.176
1517Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingART255.41’25.3942.637 / 0.085
167Hiroshi AOYAMAJPNAvintia BlusensFTR251.11’25.4512.694 / 0.057
179Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter254.01’25.5942.837 / 0.143
185Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki251.31’25.6642.907 / 0.070
1971Claudio CORTIITANGM Mobile Forward RacingFTR Kawasaki253.31’25.7703.013 / 0.106
2070Michael LAVERTYGBRPaul Bird MotorsportPBM243.21’26.6593.902 / 0.889
2179Blake YOUNGUSAAttack Performance RacingAPR244.71’26.6683.911 / 0.009
2267Bryan STARINGAUSGO&FUN Honda GresiniFTR Honda233.01’26.7533.996 / 0.085
2352Lukas PESEKCZECame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter234.81’27.8255.068 / 1.072
26Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda