Casey Stoner has topped the final session of free practice at Laguna Seca, but he has Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa and factory Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo hot on his heels. Less than five hundredths of a second separate Stoner from 3rd place man Lorenzo, with Pedrosa 0.017 behind the Australian. Stoner's lap was set early in the session, but Lorenzo's pace was most impressive of all, the Spaniard posting 10 laps in the 1'21s, more than either Stoner or Pedrosa could manage.
But Lorenzo's outstanding performance was marred by a huge crash at the end of the session: the reigning World Champion had come into the pits and then gone out with 1 minute left to go. He then stopped to do a practice start after the session was over, and as he tipped it in to the following corner and gassed it up, the bike spat him off in a big highside, Lorenzo landing heavily, then being hit by the bike as it rolled through the gravel. The Spaniard was transported to the medical center, where he checked out OK and was passed fit to ride, his main injury a nasty knock to his hip from being struck by his M1.
Behind the front three, Marco Simoncelli leads a close group consisting of Ben Spies, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden, Hayden having elected to dump the GP11.1 in favor of the GP11 with which his is much more familiar. Hayden leads Rossi in 8th, both men half a second closer to the front runners than they were yesterday. Alvaro Bautista is the first rider outside of a second off Stoner, and Hector Barbera rounds out the top 10.
|12||14||Randy DE PUNIET||DUCATI||1'23.080||1.274||0.018|