Casey Stoner was the man to beat in Friday practice at Laguna Seca, taking the fastest time by a comfortable margin over Jorge Lorenzo.
Yamaha rider Lorenzo had set the pace in the first half of the session, while Stoner (Ducati) hung back in the lower part of the top ten until taking first place with a 1m22.201s just before the halfway mark.
Lorenzo then closed to within 0.007sec of the Ducati, only for Stoner to pull further away with even quicker laps. By the end of the session the Australian was onto a 1m21.699s, 0.233sec ahead of Lorenzo.
Honda pair Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa were third and fourth, followed by a great run from Tech 3 Yamaha's Ben Spies to take fifth on home ground. The recovering Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) set the pace for a brief period in the opening minutes, and ended up a quiet sixth.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati) narrowly beat Tech 3's Colin Edwards to seventh and the honor of being top American on home turf.
Marco Melandri was ninth for Gresini Honda, while his teammate Marco Simoncelli suffered the only major crash of the session with a violent early high-side, but was unhurt.
Pos Rider Team Time Gap
1. Casey Stoner Ducati 1m21.699s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m21.932s + 0.233s
3. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m22.225s + 0.526s
4. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m22.559s + 0.860s
5. Ben Spies Tech 3 Yamaha 1m22.640s + 0.941s
6. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1m22.660s + 0.961s
7. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m22.902s + 1.203s
8. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m22.971s + 1.272s
9. Marco Melandri Gresini Honda 1m23.021s + 1.322s
10. Aleix Espargaro Pramac Ducati 1m23.693s + 1.994s
11. Mika Kallio Pramac Ducati 1m23.825s + 2.126s
12. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m24.002s + 2.303s
13. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m24.326s + 2.627s
14. Alex de Angelis Interwetten Honda 1m24.615s + 2.916s
15. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1m24.710s + 3.011s
16. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1m25.031s + 3.332s
17. Roger Lee Hayden LCR Honda 1m25.432s + 3.733s