Mixed conditions at MotoGP’s Phillip Island round gave both Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner a chance to top the timesheets in today’s free practice sessions, with the Aussie romping away in the dry.
Stoner was nearly seven tenths of a second faster than Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi in the dry first free practice and came within a gnat’s of breaking Marco Melandri’s lap record which has stood since 2005. He was also riding without the protective strapping which helps his broken scaphoid.
Alex De Angelis was third fastest but is nearly a second down on Stoner’s dry time with Andrea Dovizioso in fourth, just 0.08s in arrears. Randy De Puniet and Dani Pedrosa round off a theoretical second row.
Britain’s James Toseland started the first session brightly and was fastest at one point but gradually slipped down the order to finish in tenth, two places ahead of team mate Colin Edwards and one in front of Hayden.
In the afternoon second free practice, the heavens had opened with Hayden rising from the middle of the order and knocking his 2009 replacement Dovizioso off the top spot with two minutes to go, and then extended his lead to a quarter of a second. Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen moved into the top-three with a third of the session left and lapped consistently fast in the torrential conditions, with Stoner and Rossi in fourth and sixth.
Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was fifth with Toseland at the tail of the fieldin 17th place, just in front of Melandri.
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