World Championship leader Casey Stoner dominated Friday's first free practice session for the US MotoGP at Laguna Seca.

With air temperatures of only 16 degrees, riders were naturally cautious not to add to the long list of cold tyre crashes when the session opened.

Home star Nicky Hayden was bravest in the early stages, before Repsol Honda rider Stoner took over at the top.

Stoner, who set a circuit record of 1min 21.376sec on his way to second behind Jorge Lorenzo in last year's race, then remained in charge (courtesy of his sixth of 19 laps) right to the chequered flag.

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who took his second win of the year - and first since fracturing his collarbone at Le Mans - last Sunday in Germany, tipped off his RCV at low speed when he ran into the turn two gravel after 15 minutes.

The Spaniard recovered to finish in second place, 0.102sec from Stoner, having set his best time on his last lap of the morning.

Reigning world champion Lorenzo, who has cut Stoner's points lead to 15 points, took third place for Yamaha (+0.120sec), with team-mate Ben Spies the top American in fourth - but over half a second from Stoner.

Factory RCV mounted Italians Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol) and Marco Simoncelli (Gresini) were fifth (+0.611sec) and sixth (+0.910sec) with Hayden slipping to seventh (+0.997sec), but still the lead Ducati.

Hayden, who took his most recent MotoGP win at Laguna Seca 2006, and team-mate Valentino Rossi each have one GP11 and one GP11.1 motorcycle at their disposal this weekend.

Rossi has used the GP11.1 for the last three rounds, but has failed to find a clear gain - despite promising tests when fitted with next year's 1000cc engine.

Hayden made his debut with the GP11.1 this morning, but is thought to have set his best lap with the GP11.

Eighth place and top satellite bike rider was Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards in eighth (+1.159sec), with Rossi ninth (+1.167sec) and Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista tenth (+1.229sec).

Cal Crutchlow was the top Laguna rookie in 13th (+1.718sec) for Tech 3 - despite a scare at the Corkscrew - during a session that saw 37-year-old Ben Bostrom complete his first ever MotoGP laps, on a second LCR Honda.

The American - who currently races for Michael Jordan Motorsports in the AMA Superbike Championship, where he will continue to compete this weekend - finished the session 18th and last, 4.986sec behind Stoner and 1.961sec from Hiroshi Aoyama.

Bostrom finished third in the 2001 World Superbike Championship, behind Troy Bayliss and Colin Edwards, and won three times at Laguna Seca as a Ducati WSBK rider.

The Factory Yamaha team are riding in special red-and-white livery for the second time this season, continuing their 50th anniversary of grand prix road racing celebrations. Spies took his first ever MotoGP win in red-and-white at Assen.

Friday practice (1):

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


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