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Stoner sets early pace in Catalunya

Casey Stoner fastest during Friday practice (1) for the Catalan Grand Prix at Barcelona.
Casey Stoner, who became the first double winner of the 2011 MotoGP season last time out at Le Mans, led a rain-interrupted opening practice session for this weekend's Catalan Grand Prix.

The Repsol Honda rider finished FP1 with a 0.486sec advantage over the man who has made all the headlines since Le Mans - Marco Simoncelli - with the first spots of rain having arrived midway through the 45-minute session and slowly increasing thereafter.

Reigning world champion, 2011 points leader and last year's Catalunya winner Jorge Lorenzo was third (+0.725s) for Yamaha, with team-mate Ben Spies just behind him (+0.728s).

Stoner's only team-mate at Catalunya, Andrea Dovizioso, took fifth place (+0.812s), with Monster Yamaha tech 3 riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow sixth (+0.850s) and seventh (+0.879s).

Then came the factory Ducatis of Nicky Hayden (+0.881s) and Valentino Rossi (+0.926s). Simoncelli's San Carlo Honda Gresini team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama rounded out the top ten, 1.414sec from Stoner.

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa is absent this weekend due to the broken collarbone he suffered in the clash with Simoncelli at Le Mans.

Friday practice (1):

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

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