Saturday morning’s top practice times were ten seconds faster than Friday’s in the rain. Quelle Suprise. It was grey and overcast for most of the hour-long session, but the sun did come out for the later moments. The ambient temperature was 72 degreesF/22C, and the track temperature was 68 degreesF/20C.
Many riders went out early on, and then waited in the garage and held detailed briefings with their teams. At the half-way point, only six riders were on track. Near the end all were on track.
DANI PEDROSA/Repsol Honda Team was fastest most of the practice, with a brief pip by JORGE LORENZO/Fiat Yamaha Team. Pedrosa kept laying down faster and faster laps. Pedrosa’s best was 1:40.271 – the only rider to get below 1:41. The circuit lap record of 1:49.668/62+ mph/138.395 km/h was turned last year by VALENTINO ROSSI.
Lorenzo ran in second place much of the time. Third fastest ended up ALEX de ANGELIS/San Carlo Honda Gresini, who charged up at the end, to pass Rossi, COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3, and NICKY HAYDEN/Ducati Team who had been running in that order most of the session.
Fourth and fifth ended up being Rossi and Edwards, with ANDREAS DOVIZIOSO/Repsol Team Honda edging Hayden for fifth.
MIKA KALLIO, substituting for the recuperating CASEY STONER/Ducati Team, finished ninth. ALEIX ESPARGARO/Pramac Racing was fourteenth in only his second MotoGP session. He’s filling in for Kallio until Stoner returns.
All 17 MotoGP riders were on track. The most laps turned were 28 run by Dovizioso and Hayden, and the fewest was 22 by Toseland.
British rider JAMES TOSELAND/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was sixteenth fastest. If he’s replaced on the team, say by (as rumored) BEN SPIES, the American who could be headed for his third World Superbike championship, MotoGP will not only lose its only Brit rider, but its band. Toseland and his band Crash play at MotoGP functions. This weekend he/they are playing Saturday afternoon at the track after qualifying.
MotoGP qualifying is 1:55 EDT.