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:

1 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 262.9 1'22.757
2 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 265.4 1'22.848 0.091 / 0.091
3 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 252.6 1'22.980 0.223 / 0.132
4 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 262.8 1'23.033 0.276 / 0.053
5 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda 266.1 1'23.255 0.498 / 0.222
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 263.9 1'23.380 0.623 / 0.125
7 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 254.2 1'23.905 1.148 / 0.525
8 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 263.6 1'23.927 1.170 / 0.022
9 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 253.1 1'24.287 1.530 / 0.360
10 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 251.5 1'24.363 1.606 / 0.076
11 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 255.6 1'24.441 1.684 / 0.078
12 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Blusens FTR 253.9 1'24.467 1.710 / 0.026
13 15 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati 261.4 1'25.133 2.376 / 0.666
14 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Paul Bird Motorsport ART 244.0 1'25.309 2.552 / 0.176
15 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing ART 255.4 1'25.394 2.637 / 0.085
16 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Avintia Blusens FTR 251.1 1'25.451 2.694 / 0.057
17 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 254.0 1'25.594 2.837 / 0.143
18 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 251.3 1'25.664 2.907 / 0.070
19 71 Claudio CORTI ITA NGM Mobile Forward Racing FTR Kawasaki 253.3 1'25.770 3.013 / 0.106
20 70 Michael LAVERTY GBR Paul Bird Motorsport PBM 243.2 1'26.659 3.902 / 0.889
21 79 Blake YOUNG USA Attack Performance Racing APR 244.7 1'26.668 3.911 / 0.009
22 67 Bryan STARING AUS GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda 233.0 1'26.753 3.996 / 0.085
23 52 Lukas PESEK CZE Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 234.8 1'27.825 5.068 / 1.072
26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda


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