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Simoncelli second Portuguese practice

Marco Simoncelli fastest during Friday free practice for the Portuguese MotoGP at Estoril.
Marco Simoncelli completed a perfect sweep of Friday's free practice sessions for the Portuguese MotoGP - despite a crash in the afternoon session at Estoril.

The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider, still in search of his first MotoGP podium after crashing out of the lead last time in Jerez, suffered a front-end lowside on the entry to Turn 3 just before the halfway stage of the 45-minute session.

The Italian was unharmed and returned to the track soon after, but his fifth lap remained fastest to the chequered flag.

Just 0.061sec behind Simoncelli was Yamaha's world champion and 2011 title leader Jorge Lorenzo, riding with his astronaut helmet at a circuit where he has won from pole on all three previous premier-class appearances.

Completing a top three covered by just 0.064sec was Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, on track for the first time since shoulder surgery.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati) and Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda), who collided at Jerez, set exactly the same lap time on their way to fourth and fifth places, 0.439sec from Simoncelli, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards in sixth (+0.540sec).

Rookie Karel Abraham used a well timed tow from Nicky Hayden to set the seventh fastest lap for Cardion AB Ducati, with Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies eighth (+0.900sec), Hayden ninth (+.933sec) and Hector Barbera tenth (0.948sec).

Third Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso slipped from sixth to twelfth, one place ahead of Cal Crutchlow, who was making his Estoril debut and first day back on a MotoGP bike since an arm pump operation.

Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista, returning to action after breaking his left femur during practice for round one in Qatar on March 18, remained 17th and last but reduced the deficit to Simoncelli to 2.5sec.

Rain has been forecast over all three days this weekend, and while the MotoGP sessions were dry, rain arrived just seconds after the end of second practice.

Estoril has become round three of the 2011 world championship after the postponement of the Japanese Grand Prix.

A one-day test takes place at the track on Monday.

Friday practice (2):

1. Simoncelli
2. Lorenzo
3. Pedrosa
4. Rossi
5. Stoner
6. Edwards
7. Abraham
8. Spies
9. Hayden
10. Barbera
11. Aoyama
12. Dovizioso
13. Crutchlow
14. Elias
15. Capirossi
16. de Puniet
17. Bautista

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Simoncelli, Spanish MotoGP 2011
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demi-god - Unregistered

April 29, 2011 4:01 PM

Did you see Stoner tappig the back fo his bike after the last lap. Pretty sure he was doing it to Rossi who wasn't even following close enough to get a tow. Does he not know you have to share a track with 16 other riders. Do all Aussie complain about everything this much?

joode - Unregistered

April 29, 2011 4:01 PM

What was Stoner's hand gestures all about? Rossi too far back to be accused of getting his slip stream.. or was it just more petulance hiding behind ambiguity?

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