Dani Pedrosa set a blistering pace in the opening practice session for the Czech Moto GP at Brno on Friday morning.
The Spaniard, refreshed from the mini summer break, having suffered a sequence of injury issues, moved to the top of the times halfway through the 45-minute session. The Honda rider then emphasized his pace with a sub-lap record 1m56.328s lap on his penultimate lap.
Championship leader Casey Stoner was second quickest, 0.966sec behind his teammate. Marco Simoncelli was third fastest on the Gresini-run factory Honda, having set the pace early in the session. But his program was not without drama as he lost the front on the left-hander before the pits and fell. Neither rider nor bike was particularly damaged in the crash.
MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo was fourth fastest on the Yamaha, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso on the final of the factory Hondas. Ben Spies was sixth fastest on the second Yamaha, ahead of an impressive Jon Hopkins on the wild-card Suzuki. The American, on his second outing for the factory squad this season just outpaced team regular Alvaro Bautista, though both were two seconds off Pedrosa's pace.
Cal Crutchlow, on a circuit he knows, was ninth fastest on the Tech 3 Yamaha, just ahead of teammate Colin Edwards.
Factory Ducati riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were 11th and 14th.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m56.328s
2. Casey Stoner Honda 1m57.294s + 0.966s
3. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m57.408s + 1.080s
4. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m57.587s + 1.259s
5. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m57.776s + 1.448s
6. Ben Spies Yamaha 1m57.903s + 1.575s
7. Jon Hopkins Suzuki 1m58.321s + 1.993s
8. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1m58.345s + 2.017s
9. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m58.390s + 2.062s
10. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m58.497s + 2.169s
11. Valentino Rossi Ducati 1m58.819s + 2.491s
12. Randy de Puniet Pramac Ducati 1m58.927s + 2.599s
13. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m58.973s + 2.645s
14. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m58.975s + 2.647s
15. Hiroshi Aoyama Gresini Honda 1m59.289s + 2.961s
16. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 1m59.334s + 3.006s
17. Loris Capirossi Pramac Ducati 1m59.706s + 3.378s
18. Toni Elias LCR Honda 2m00.201s + 3.973s