News 30 Sep 2011

Pedrosa leads as Repsol Honda dominate opening day at Motegi

Spanish star tops teammates during hard-fought Friday practice sessions in Japan.

Dani Pedrosa was on top in a dominant day for Repsol Honda at Motegi.

Dani Pedrosa was on top in a dominant day for Repsol Honda at Motegi.

Dani Pedrosa led a Repsol Honda top three on day one of the Grand Prix of Japan, with Casey Stoner second and Andrea Dovizioso following in third on the timesheet.

The MotoGP class headed out for the second free practice session on Friday afternoon under cloudier skies than the morning run, and all but one of the riders in the field improved upon their earlier times with the top four spots of the day going to Honda machines.

Pedrosa took over the top spot with 21 minutes to go and set a new fast lap of 1’46.790 ahead of team-mate Stoner by a margin of 0.054s.

Dovizioso followed with a 1’46.952, an improvement of eight-tenths over his FP1 time, with San Carlo Honda Gresini Team’s Marco Simoncelli occupying the fourth spot after leading in the early part of the session.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) was fifth in the combined times, posting a lap of 1’47.310, six-tenths better than his earlier time, while Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team), who had been third in FP1, bettered his earlier time by four-tenths to end the day in sixth.

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) stepped up his pace by a full second, putting the Japanese rider seventh with a time of 1’47.785, two-tenths ahead of Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi in eighth.

Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) ended the day ninth just 0.02s ahead of Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in tenth.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies was the sole rider who did not improve in the outing. The American ended the session early having completed just five laps after exhaustion got the better of him – he had been taken ill on the flight to Japan.

Spies visited the medical center and will try to rest enough to participate in tomorrow’s sessions.

Meanwhile, Australian debutant Damian Cudlin was 19th and last aboard Loris Capirossi’s Pramac Racing Ducati, 4.559 seconds off the pace of Pedrosa in his first visit to Motegi.

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