The first session of free practice was very much business as usual at Laguna Seca. Casey Stoner was quickest, though it took him 6 laps to be the fastest man on track this morning, rather than his usual 3. Stoner was running low to mid 1'22s with ease, until he started hitting 1'21s. As a reference: That's nearly 4/10ths of a second faster than the existing pole record, set by Casey Stoner last year at Laguna.
Valentino Rossi was the only man who managed to get close, though every time he got anywhere near, Stoner went back out and took another couple of tenths off his best time, opening the gap up to over a second, before Rossi closed it back down again. Chris Vermeulen's form shows that he is still very good here at Laguna Seca, and will be a factor in the race on Sunday.
Biggest surprises are Shinya Nakano, Marco Melandri and Toni Elias. Melandri obviously gets on well at Laguna Seca, and may yet keep his seat for the rest of the season if he keeps this up. Nakano getting a top three time is outstanding, and very promising, and Elias, though only 8th, is much better than he has been. The top 5 riders are all on Bridgestones, but as it was cool and overcast, that probably favors the Japanese rubber.
Ben Spies suffered a crash at one of the right handers during the session, losing the front, while Dani Pedrosa is not looking well at all. He is managing to limp on and off the bike, but he is having a great deal of difficulty using his left hand. His place at the bottom of the timesheets tells you just how badly he is hurting.
Practice resumes this afternoon.
|Pos.||No.||Rider||Manufacturer||Fast Lap||Diff||Diff Previous|
|10||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||1'23.896||1.981||0.136|
|14||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||1'24.356||2.441||0.039|
|Fastest Lap:||23||Casey STONER||1'21.915||158.652 Km/h|
|Circuit Record Lap:||2007||Casey STONER||1'22.542||157.447 Km/h|
|Circuit Best Lap:||2008||Casey STONER||1'21.915||158.652 Km/h|