Valentino Rossi was the fastest man on day 1 of the Red Bull US GP weekend at Laguna Seca, though he didn't secure that spot until the end of the session. As ever, it was Casey Stoner who was fastest in the early running, being the first rider into both the 1'23 and 1'22 bracket, and holding the top spot for most of FP1.
With just over 10 minutes to go, Jorge Lorenzo, who had been closing in on Stoner's time for the past 10 minutes, finally shot ahead of Stoner to take the top spot, but his lead would not stand. As the flag fell, Valentino Rossi crossed the line to set the fastest time, and the only man to crack into the 1'21s.
There is little to choose between Rossi, Lorenzo and Stoner, though. All three men were setting consistently fast times, and lapping within a few hundredths of each other. The only worry is that Stoner's health problems have not gone away: The Ducati rider looked pale and shaky as he got off his bike at the end of the session, clearly still unwell. Stoner is obviously fast enough to match the pace of Rossi and Lorenzo, but at an intensely physical track like Laguna, it is doubtful he will be able to maintain that pace for 32 grueling laps.
Dani Pedrosa is in 4th place, but over 6/10ths behind Rossi, and only just ahead of a rejuvenated Toni Elias, much preferring the 2008 chassis he now has to use on the factory-spec Honda RC212V.
Honorable mentions have to go to Marco Melandri and Gabor Talmacsi. Melandri was 7th fastest, on a bike that has not changed since the start of the season, while Gabor Talmacsi finished the session ahead of Niccolo Canepa at just his third event on a MotoGP bike. As tragic as it is to lose a Japanese rider from the MotoGP series, Yuki Takahashi having been forced out to make way for the Hungarian, Talmacsi's results are starting to back up the financial reasons behind that decision.
Results of MotoGP FP1 at Laguna:
|10||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||1'23.406||1.425||0.121|
|11||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||1'23.439||1.458||0.033|