2006 MotoGP Laguna Seca Warmup

Sunday morning's warmup threw up a few surprises at Laguna Seca. Firstly, prior to the warmup, the FIM ordered the AMA classes, which run at Laguna Seca at the same time, not to run until after the MotoGP event had finished. The next surprise was the names running at the front. After a previously dire qualifying session, Valentino Rossi lead the timesheets for a good deal of the session, with a very fast 1:23.494, nearly half a second quicker than the race record set last year. He was pipped shortly before the end of the session by Dani Pedrosa, who ran a 1:23.409, before fellow rookie Casey Stoner shattered the times in the dying seconds with an astonishing 1:23.029. If that was set on race tires, it's a staggering time.

The other surprise was the poor showing by front row man Kenny Roberts Jr, who languished in 18th spot for a long time, before finally climbing to 9th. The top ten at the end of the session was Stoner, Pedrosa, Rossi, Vermeulen, Hayden, Melandri, Hopkins, Edwards, Roberts Jr, and Capirossi. The first 7 are within a second, but over 3/10ths of that is Stoner's lead over the 2nd placed Pedrosa. Starting from Pedrosa, less than a second covers 2nd place down to 12th.

Things are likely to change during the race, as, although the air temperature climbed rapidly during the session, the track temperature stayed fairly steady at around 40 C, or 104 F. This afternoon, though, track temperatures are expected to rise to around the 60 C or 140 F mark, which is a whole different ball game as far as tires are concerned. It's likely to end up as a war of attrition, with the winner the rider who makes the best tire choice. It's going to be good ...

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