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MotoGP Motegi: Pedrosa tops opening free practices

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa has topped the opening MotoGP free practice timesheets at Motegi today, going under the lap record in the afternoon session by gnat's and heading title rival Jorge Lorenzo but just a tenth of a second.

The little Spaniard went round in 1'46.088 compared to his compatriot's 1'46.190 while Italian Andrea Dovizioso muscled his way into third place late on in the second period and the Monster Yamaha man is less than a tenth slower than his works counterpart.

Stefan Bradl also put in a late last lap to bag fourth place and elbow Valentino Rossi down to fifth. The Italian found pace for one lap to go from more than a second off the pace to halve the deficit with only a few minutes left of the session and head Ben Spies in sixth.

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Returning world champion Casey Stoner ended in seventh place after having an engine problem in the morning. The Australian got two corners into his opening lap and was forced to park it and go back for his second RC213V. He spent all day in and out of the pits and looked generally unhappy with his setup, doing just 14 laps in the afternoon and finishing nearly nine-tenths off the pace.

Alvaro Bautisa, who is still trying to retain his San Carlo Honda seat, finished in eighth place and kept Britain's Cal Crutchlow in ninth but only by 0.001s, lapping in 1'46.983. Still-injured Nicky Hayden rounded out the top tenand is 1.5s off the pace.

Yamaha wildcard and endurance bike bender Kats Nakasuga finished 11th on home turf, just ahead of CRT-bound Hector 'The Caravan' Barbera. Aleix Espargaro was top CRT man in 13th with Rsndy De Puniet and Colin Edwards right behind him. Britain's James Ellison was 17th and just a second slower than Espargaro.

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