Reigning MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo made a dramatic leap forward to lead Friday afternoon practice for the San Marino Grand Prix, at Misano.

Lorenzo, sixth and nearly one-second off the pace this morning, slashed his lap time by 1.2sec this afternoon, was under the official lap record and beat the best morning time by 0.251sec.

Yamaha rider Lorenzo, who has dropped 44 points behind championship leader Casey Stoner after two tough races, was quick from the start and set his best time on lap 10 of 22.

Title leader Casey Stoner, fastest this morning, closed to within 0.076sec of Lorenzo in the closing stages - by which time spots of rain were starting to fall - with Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa third in both the morning and afternoon (+0.276sec).

Gresini Honda's Marco Simoncelli was the top Italian, improving from fifth in FP1 to fourth this afternoon, at the expense of Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies. The Texan, second to Stoner in FP1, was the only rider not to improve this afternoon, when he was only fifth fastest (+0.540sec).

Third Repsol rider Andrea Dovizioso - sixth fastest - did improve during FP2, but the gap between himself and the top still grew from 0.831sec to 1.060sec.

Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista recovered from an early engine failure to take seventh place, with Aspar's Hector Barbera claiming solid a 7th-8th during the two sessions to be the top Ducati.

Colin Edwards, expected to confirm his move to a CRT team for 2012 this evening, was tenth for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (+1.372sec), while former team-mate Valentino Rossi was just eleventh in both sessions.

The home hero had been 1.565sec from the top this morning - and that grew to 1.402sec this afternoon. Three fellow Ducati riders followed Rossi on the timesheets in the form of Randy de Puniet, Nicky Hayden and Karel Abraham.

Cal Crutchlow finished 15th for Tech 3, with Pramac's Loris Capirossi, riding for the final time in an Italian-based grand prix before retirement, 16th and LCR Honda's Toni Elias 17th.

Friday practice (2):

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

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