MotoGP Points Leader JORGE LORENZO/Fiat Yamaha was fastest in Saturday’s hour-long mid-morning U.S. Red Bull Grand Prix practice at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with a time of 1:21.763.
Lorenzo had dogged the faster CASEY STONER/Ducati during the first 40 minutes of the hour-long qualifying session, clinched his time on his nineteenth lap but was unable to improve. He and Stoner both went out and ran to the end, trying to best each other.
Most of the top riders set their best times 15-20 minutes before the checkered flag.
Stoner was second fastest in the second practice, with a lap of 1:21.826; but his overall weekend time of 1:21.699 still is tops. He holds three other records, all set in 2008: Pole position and Circuit Best Lap/1:20.700/100.065 mph/161.kph; and Circuit record Lap/1:21.488/99.098 mph/159.483.kph. Bridgestone, now the sole tire supplier for MotoGP, points out that 2008 was the last year there was tire competition in MotoGP.
Third and fourth were Repsol Honda teammates, DANI PEDROSA and ANDREA DOVIZIOSO.
Fifth, top Rookie and top American was BEN SPIES/Monster Yamaha Tech 3. Spies comes to MotoGP this season from World Superbike, but racing at Laguna Seca this weekend is only the third MotoGP circuit with which he has previous experience. The other two were Assen in The Netherlands and Silverstone in England.
VALENTINO ROSSI/Fiat Yamaha was sixth.
The other three Americans were COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in seventh, followed by 2006 MotoGP Champion, NICKY HAYDEN/Ducati in eighth. His younger brother, ROGER LEE HAYDEN was sixteenth, substituting for injured RANDY DE PUNIET for LCR Honda. Roger Lee comes from AMA and runs World Superbikes, so Laguna Seca is familiar for him also.
Laguna Seca has its own micro climate. All around the track the Monterey Bay fog was still lurking, and nearby Salinas was all grey. However, the 2.238-mile elevated road course was nearing sixty degrees F/ midmorning for MotoGP Qualifying. Laguna Seca, which has 11 turns, runs counter-course wise, not that common on road courses.
The only fall was MIKA KALLIO/Pramac Racing Ducati who fell in Turn Nine at the very beginning of the session. But, as the song goes, he picked himself up, dusted himself off and started all over again. He ran 26 laps and placed fifteenth overall.
Qualifying is at 2 PM local time Saturday.