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US MotoGP: Bradl on the boil in Laguna warm-up

Stefan Bradl fastest during warm-up for the US MotoGP at Laguna Seca.
Stefan Bradl backed up his debut MotoGP pole by leading morning warm-up for the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

Unlike the cool and misty Friday and Saturday morning practices, the Californian sun was out in force on Sunday morning, when Bradl set the best time on lap 12 of 14 during the 20-minute session.

The LCR Honda rider, the first ever German to claim a premier-class pole, enters the race with an excellent chance of a debut MotoGP podium - and perhaps challenging title leader Marc Marquez for victory.

Rookie Repsol Honda star Marquez, who dominated practice but saw his pole hopes end in a late qualifying fall, finished the session just 0.008s slower than Bradl.

A weekend best third place went to Yamaha's reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo, who will start sixth on the grid, just ahead of fellow injured title contender Dani Pedrosa. Both face a major challenge to overcome their recent collarbone injuries during the 32-lap race.

But Lorenzo, riding through the pain of two major collarbone operations in the last three weeks, topped the session several times and was left just 0.091s behind Bradl - signaling he has the pace to attack this afternoon, at least in the early stages.

By contrast Pedrosa, riding in his first morning session of the weekend after opting to sit out the cool Friday and Saturday sessions, claimed a cautious eleventh place (+1.0s).

Pedrosa trails team-mate Marquez by just two points with Lorenzo eleven points from the top.

Alvaro Bautista, who took his first front row start of the year in qualifying, spoiled his session with a lowside fall at the halfway mark, which flipped his Gresini Honda into an air fence.

Despite the incident, Bautista - who will start alongside Bradl and Marquez - remained fourth quickest, albeit +0.616s from Bradl. Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith followed in fifth, sixth and seventh underlining the apparent Honda advantage at this circuit.

Rossi, Crutchlow and Lorenzo will form row two of this afternoon's grid.

Top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro was eighth for Aspar this morning, followed by the factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden, who were the final riders within one-second of Bradl.

A minute's silence will be held today in memory of Andrea Antonelli, who died in an accident at the Russian round of the World Supersport Championship.

Warm-up:
1. Stefan Bradl
2. Marc Marquez
3. Jorge Lorenzo
4. Alvaro Bautista
5. Valentino Rossi
6. Cal Crutchlow
7. Bradley Smith
8. Aleix Espargaro
9. Andrea Dovizioso
10. Nicky Hayden
11. Dani Pedrosa
12. Hector Barbera
13. Colin Edwards
14. Alex De Angelis
15. Randy De Puniet
16. Claudio Corti
17. Yonny Hernandez
18. Hiroshi Aoyama
19. Danilo Petrucci
20. Michael Laverty
21. Karel Abraham
22. Bryan Staring
23. Lukas Pesek



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