STONER SPEEDS AND LORENZO LEAPS

CASEY STONER/No.27 Repsol Honda Team led the entire 45-minute MotoGP practice session Saturday morning as a run-up for qualifying in the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The temperature never reached 60 degrees F and it was foggy all morning, with a stiff breeze. Points Leader Stoner turned a 1:21.806, his fastest lap of the weekend, and remains the fastest rider overall.

Except for TONI ELIAS/No.24 LCR Honda MotoGP, all riders turned their fastest weekend laps Saturday morning. Elias was fastest Friday afternoon.

The same five riders occupied the top five positions Saturday , with some shuffling around. At the end, for the session and the weekend, it was DANI PEDROSA/No.26 Repsol Honda Team, JORGE LORENZO/No.1 Yamaha Factory Racing, MARCO SIMONCELLI/No.58 San Carlo Honda Gresini, and BEN SPIES/No.11 Yamaha Factory Racing – the fastest American rider.

On Lorenzo’s last lap, he took a bad flip off his bike in Turn Five. Yamaha said “he suffered a huge high as he accelerated away into the left-hand corner.” He flipped at least twice, was hit by his bike, and landed into the gravel. Lorenzo’s long time on the ground was worrisome, but he got up and walked with assistance off track. After being checked in the Medical Centre, he was released, suffering only thigh contusions. Yamaha said Lorenzo was “fit to ride.”

Jorge Lorenzo

Jorge Lorenzo

“That isn’t how I planned to finish the free practice. I am not sure yet why I crashed, I need to take the video from Dorna and study it as I was not going that fast. Anyway I am very sore especially in my hip but happy to be uninjured and will still be there to give 100% in qualifying this afternoon. Apart from the crash the morning session was good, the bike still needs more going into the corners but we are getting there.”

The 2010 MotoGP World Champion had been practicing starts. This one didn’t go well as his tires were cooling. Lorenzo’s fastest time was set on Lap ten of twenty-six.

Sixth through tenth were ANDREA DOVIZIOSO/No.4 Repsol Honda Team, the two Ducati riders, NICKY HAYDEN/No.69 and VALENTINO ROSSI/No.46, ALVARO BAUTISTA/No.19 Rizla Suzuki MotoGP and HECTOR BARBERA/No.8 Mapper Aspar Team MotoGP.

The other season-long American rider, COLIN EDWARDS/No.5 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was eleventh.

Rookies CAL CRUTCHLOW/No.35 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was thirteenth and KAREL ABRAHAM/No.17 Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati was fifteenth.

Again Wild Card rider, BEN BOSTROM/No.23 LCR Honda MotoGP was last, although his times continue to improve.

Qualifying for Sunday’s 32-lap race will be Saturday afternoon at 1:55 pm local time.

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