Lorenzo on form as Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix gets underway

Last year’s Laguna Seca race winner Jorge Lorenzo put in a remarkable run in the second free practice session on Friday, as the Red Bull US Grand Prix kicked off at Laguna Seca.

The Yamaha Factory Racing rider led the times with consistent laps from the early part of the session until ending on the top of the field with a time of 1'22.056, one-tenth of a second quicker than the 2009 race winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and four-tenths faster than his own time set in FP1 earlier in the day.

In third place in the combined free practice standings was Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda), who had an upset in turn 3, saving the Honda from a crash with his knee. After leading the first practice session, the Australian was 0.175s off the reigning World Champion’s leading time.

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) was the fourth fastest in the order, with a time of 1'22.537, moving him up one spot from his earlier fifth position. The first American in both sessions was Ben Spies on his Yamaha Factory machine kitted out in a special anniversary livery, improving on his time by two-tenths of a second with a lap of 1'22.615 to put him in fifth place on his home turf.

Bigger time improvements were seen from position six onwards, starting with Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) whose time of 1'22.803 was almost a half second improvement for the crowd favourite, and was 0.253s quicker than seventh place lap of Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), who also made a half second step up from the earlier session.

Next came Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing), who jumped from 12th to eighth with a time of 1'23.135, followed by Americans Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and the fastest Ducati in the pack, that of Nicky Hayden, who, having both the GP11 and GP11.1 available to him, decided on the GP11.1 machine for the duration of the session.

Valentino Rossi, who has Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess back in the garage after a two race absence, followed his Ducati Team mate in eleventh position, ahead of Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) in twelfth and MotoGP rookie Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in thirteenth, who ran off at the top of the corkscrew in both practice sessions in his first day at the circuit.

Wildcard and MotoGP first timer Ben Bostrom riding the RC212V of the LCR Honda Team knocked over a second off his times from the first session though trails four seconds off the leading time.