Casey Sets The Pace In Jerez Practice Sessions

 In News

The first day of the Spanish Grand Prix showed once again the great level of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, who led the classification both in the first and second free practice sessions. The two Repsol riders rode below the circuit fastest time, set by Pedrosa last season, and finished with more than half a second advantage over their closest rival, Valentino Rossi.

In the morning session, Stoner and Pedrosa spearheaded the times classification riding at record pace and being the only ones to lap under 1 minute and 40 seconds. They were separated by only 28 thousandths after the Australian did 17 laps with a time of 1 minute, 39 seconds and 551 thousandths while Pedrosa did 19 laps with a time of 1 minute, 39 seconds and 579 thousandths.

When they went back to the track for the second session, they swapped positions and it was the Spaniard who led the classification. With a higher asphalt temperature (42ºC against 28ºC in the morning) and a high wind blowing the whole day in Jerez, the top seven riders were not able to improve their times of the first free practice. Pedrosa was the fastest, with 1 minute, 40 seconds and 101 thousandths, followed closely by Stoner, 188 thousandths behind.

Andrea Dovizioso, despite a minor crash without consequences at the Crivillé corner, finished the day in sixth place. The Italian did 19 laps in the first free session with a fastest time of 1 minute, 40 seconds and 429 thousandths. In the second session, the Repsol rider had some more problems and finished twelfth after 22 laps.

From this race on, the Repsol Honda Team riders Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso will join their team mate Dani Pedrosa in the actions to improve the motorcyclists’ safety. As the Spanish rider did in all Spanish GPs last season, the three Repsol Honda riders will show the “Seguridad Honda” logo in their RC212V’s fairing during the four appointments in Spanish tracks scheduled for this year. The first will be this Spanish Grand Prix to be held in Jerez this weekend.

Tomorrow, Saturday, the third and last free practice session will take place, as well as the all-important qualifying session that will shape the starting grid for Sunday’s race.

Casey Stoner

1’39.551 sec, 32 laps, 141 km.

“The first session went well and I had a good feeling with the bike, we tried to repeat this in the afternoon session but the conditions weren’t perfect, it was quite windy. It seems to be a little smoother to ride here than in the past, but it’s a shame the weather wasn’t better so we could spend some time working on the settings. In general both bikes we tried seemed to work pretty well and we’ll pick up from there tomorrow to concentrate on the set-up. The grip level doesn’t seem to be so good here, I think everyone is struggling with this so that’s another element we need to work on tomorrow in time for qualifying”.