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Friday practice at Le Mans

Casey Stoner fastest during Friday practice (2) for the French MotoGP at Le Mans, round four of the 2011 world championship.
2007 world champion Casey Stoner dominated both of Friday's free practice sessions for the French MotoGP at Le Mans.

After leading an all-Honda top four in the morning, when the Australian was 0.298sec ahead of Repsol team-mate Dani Pedrosa, Stoner increased his advantage to 0.404sec over Gresini's Marco Simoncelli in the afternoon.

Estoril winner Pedrosa was 0.292sec behind Simoncelli - and notably the only rider to lap slower in FP2 - while Ducati's Nicky Hayden was a surprise fourth, 0.870sec from Stoner, having been eighth this morning.

Yamaha's reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo, winner at Le Mans for the past two seasons, was fifth in both sessions, with third Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso dropping from third to sixth this afternoon.

Colin Edwards was the top satellite (bike) rider in seventh for the French-based Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team, while rookie team-mate Cal Crutchlow dropped from ninth in FP1 to twelfth in FP2 after a late fall.

The Englishman was forced to try and bump-start his M1 in the asphalt run-off area without apparent assistance from the marshals, reigniting the debate from Jerez.

Behind Edwards came Simoncelli's satellite team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama and then seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi.

The #46 had been sixth fastest and 1.281sec from Stoner this morning, but failed to match the gains of other riders in the afternoon, when he was a similar 1.184sec from Stoner.

Rossi's factory Yamaha replacement, Ben Spies, also struggled - the Texan being tenth in both sessions. Pramac Ducati's French rider Randy de Puniet finished the afternoon between Spies and Crutchlow.

A healing Alvaro Bautista put the lone Rizla Suzuki into 15th place, at a track that saw the GSV-R's only win to date, in the hands of Chris Vermeulen, in the wet 2007 race.

Final practice and qualifying takes place on Saturday.

Friday practice (2):

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



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Southerner

May 13, 2011 2:51 PM

In the greater scheme of things,I sure hope Casey wins this one for two reasons. 1) He's never won a race here in GP 2) More importantly the title chase needs for him to pull back points on Dani and George quickly to circumvent a predictable season. Being the last season of the hated 800's,I hope its a cliffhanger all the way to Valencia. He's got to be happy with the revised Ohlins 2011 forks to be going this quick in Le Mans.



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