Stoner claims fastest lap on day one at Jerez

[The final official MotoGP™ Test of the pre-season at Jerez got underway on Friday with Casey Stoner laying down the fastest time, as the reigning World Champion shot to the top of the timesheet with his 54th and final lap of the opening day. Breaking the 1'40” barrier with five of his laps, it was the Repsol Honda rider's final turn of the session which left him 0.273s quicker than Jorge Lorenzo.

Stoner's blistering lap of 1'39.146 came after the Australian spent most of the latter part of the day heading out for runs of between three and four laps, as many riders found increasingly windier conditions harder to deal with.

Yamaha Factory Racing rider Lorenzo had occupied top slot for the majority of the day, as he focused on the electronics settings on his YZR-M1 to aid an improvement in acceleration. His best time of 1'39.419 was set on the 46th of a tiring 76 laps, and at one point the Spaniard set five sub-1'40” laps on the trot as he rode with a similar set-up to the one used at the last Test at Sepang.

[Dani Pedrosa got under 1'40” once and it was that lap of 1'39.579 which left the Repsol Honda rider third on the timesheet at the conclusion of the day. The Spaniard highlighted an improvement in braking as the main outstanding issue to be tackled on the RC213V. In fourth position Ben Spies, who at one stage had led the timings with his best lap of 1'39.984, ended 0.838s off Stoner with that effort.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow was the fastest non-factory rider in 1'40.130, with Nicky Hayden the quickest Ducati in sixth. The American of the factory team's best effort was a 1'40.512, which left him 1.366s off Stoner's pace. Álvaro Bautista (San Carlos Honda Gresini) was unharmed following a crash early in the day as he continued his adaptation to the RC213V with the seventh-best time, and Andrea Dovizioso (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) tried to concentrate on the base setting of his M1. The Italian's day was hampered however as he complained of not feeling well.

In ninth spot Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) struggled to a best time of 1'40.920, almost 1.8s off Stoner. The nine-times World Champion explained at the end of the day that he was losing time on corner entry, as he encountered problems loading the front of the Desmosedici GP12 and carrying speed into each turn. Rookie Stefan Bradl's (LCR Honda) inauguration into the premier class continued as the 2011 Moto2 World Champion completed the top 10 with a time of 1'40.983.

[In 11th position Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar) was the fastest of the CRT bikes, as the nine riders who will compete on the new regulation machinery pitted themselves against one another on the same track for the first time this pre-season. The Frenchman was largely concerned with the seat height and subsequently the riding position of his Aprilia machine, and escaped unhurt from a fall around midday and went on to register a 1'41.015.

De Puniet's team-mate Aleix Espargaró timed in just ahead of Colin Edwards, as the American continues to fine-tune the Suter-BMW CRT machine of the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team. Italians Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Danilo Petrucci (Came Iodaracing Project) and Mattia Pasini (Speed Master) were separated by less than three-tenths behind the American as half a second stretched across all four riders.

Avintia Racing riders Yonny Hernández and Iván Silva on the BQR-FTR machines sandwiched Paul Bird Motorsport rider James Ellison on an Aprilia.

The Test continues on Saturday and Sunday, with the track open from 10am to 6pm local time on both days.