A dry line and a determined effort from Dani Pedrosa at the Donington Park circuit on Friday gave the Repsol Honda rider the fastest time of Friday afternoon, in practice for the British Grand Prix.
Pedrosa clocked a 1’38.627 time on his final lap of the day to continue his strong run of form from recent weeks, and take the early advantage ahead of this Sunday’s race.
Second quickest in the session, Casey Stoner recorded the fewest laps of any rider with 16 turns of the British track –some eleven fewer than Pedrosa. He was examining his Ducati Desmosedici GP9 in the garage whilst his rival was reducing his time by 0.245.
World Championship leader Valentino Rossi was third, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and title challenger Jorge Lorenzo in a top five separated by half a second.
There were difficulties in the session for home rider James Toseland, who had a run off track during the session and was also unable to bring his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike back to the pits after an incident at the end of the session.
Spaniard Alex Debón was the quickest rider in the opening practice session for the 250cc class, a run-out that took place on a dry track following mixed conditions for the 125cc and MotoGP classes.
The Aeropuerto Castello Blusens rider put down a 1’33.432 lap to continue his fine form from one week ago, when he took second place at the German round of the World Championship at Sachsenring. He was just 0.041 ahead of the second quickest man in the session, series leader Hiroshi Aoyama.
Álvaro Bautista placed third on Friday afternoon using his second Mapfre Aspar Aprilia bike, following a fall under braking at the midway point. He landed on his right elbow in the crash, but was otherwise okay to continue with fine-tuning.
Sachsenring racewinner Marco Simoncelli was the final rider within two-tenths of a second of Debón’s marker, ahead of Lukas Pesek and Mike di Meglio.
The session marked the return to action of Viessmann Kiefer’s Ralf Waldmann at the age of 43. The German substitute was 18th in his first day of World Championship riding since 2002.
Last weekend at Sachsenring the 125cc riders had an abundance of rain with which to contend, and the opening day of practice in England was no different for the lower cylinder category.
Once again the times were largely inconsequential, as it took just five minutes for a trademark Donington downpour to dampen the mood. Speediest was Spaniard Esteve Rabat, with a 1’45.105 lap on his Blusens Aprilia before the track got soaked.
Despite the conditions, there were relatively few falls on the slippery asphalt. Lukas Sembera came off his bike after wobbling the back tyre in the only notable incident of the hour.
Regular British riders Bradley Smith, Scott Redding and Danny Webb barely had a chance to test their home form in the afternoon run, and will have to wait in hope for consistent or sunny conditions to get into the groove on Saturday morning.