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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stoner leads Silverstone practice


Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner was fastest again in the second practice session of the AirAsia British Grand Prix after also topping FP1 on Friday.

Stoner beat Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), who put forward a valiant effort to top the session, while Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) followed in third.

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) completed the top five.

Stoner set the early fast pace in a practice session that began wet, then turned to mixed conditions. The Australian's fastest time of 2:15.666 in FP2 was close to 12 seconds slower than his FP1 times.

"I'm pretty happy with how the day has gone after mixed conditions," Stoner said. "We've seen a dry track, a wet track and then a 50/50 track so it's been interesting to have these variants throughout the day, but in general the bike has worked well.

"We used both bikes today and in the wet one set up seems to work pretty well, but with wet weather forecast for the rest of the weekend we still have some things we want to improve to make the bike work better giving us some more edge grip and traction.

"The track seems pretty good but some of the older sections are retaining a lot more water which is causing difficulties as in some areas you could be out on slicks but other parts are drenched. Looking at the way the wet tires are working at the moment we shouldn't have too much of a problem though, the track seems to be kind on the Bridgestone tires and not destroying them and even after this afternoon's session we didn't have too big a problem with them."

Simoncelli topped the timings with one minute to go, but Stoner fought back to reclaim his lead by 0.797s in the dying seconds of the final session of the day.

Hayden put his GP11 third in the practice rankings, with Crutchlow, no stranger to Silverstone, following in fourth. Reigning MotoGP World Champion and current circuit record holder Lorenzo finished fifth after his better morning session of third fastest.

Andrea Dovizioso put his Repsol Honda in sixth position with a time of 2:18.783, followed by Factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) in eighth.

At certain points in the session, the long Silverstone circuit simultaneously had dry sections while other sections were under falling rain. As the session progressed, some of the field retreated to the pits to change suspension settings to try to deal with the simultaneously wet and dry conditions, including Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team).

Rossi returned to the pits to swap bikes with 10 minutes left in the session and faired better with the differently set up bike, finishing the session in ninth position compared to his earlier 12th. Toni Elías (LCR Honda) followed Rossi in 10th.

Colin Edwards again retired early, completing only 12 laps and finishing the session in 16th. Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) was just ahead of the American in 15th.

Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing) led the final Moto2 practice session, held in mixed conditions at the AirAsia British Grand Prix. Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing) remained the fastest rider on Friday in the combined times of the two practice sessions.

Krummenacher rode his Kalex machine to the top of the timings in FP2, after grabbing the top spot from reigning 125cc Champion Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol). Swiss rider Krummenacher rode a fastest lap of 2:12.090 on a drying track, though the fastest time of the day – 2:09.808 – was set by Redding in the dryer first session. Bradley Smith (Tech 3) set the third fastest lap of FP2 with a time of 2:16.714 after putting in a seventh place time during FP1.

Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) set the fastest time in a wet 125cc FP2. British rider Danny Webb (Mahindra Racing) followed in second and German rider Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) was third.

Zarco handily topped the practice times held in wet conditions at the British circuit, setting a fastest lap time nearly three seconds ahead of the field. However the rainy conditions put the 20-year-old over 17 seconds slower than his FP1 time. Webb was second in FP2 with a time of 2:36.956 with Folger following 0.598s behind.


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