Stoner quickest off the mark in Japan

The Australian began the weekend in a focused manner, leading the way at Honda’s home track with Italian team mate Dovizioso following and Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden posting the third fastest time.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) continued his domination of the field at a track where he won last year, setting the fastest lap of the session with a time of 1’47.289, three tenths quicker than his team mate Andrea Dovizioso. Despite an early run off, Nicky Hayden stepped into the top three with a time of 1’47.732 at a track he finished 12th at last year.

Fourth in the field was another Repsol Honda rider, Dani Pedrosa, whose time was just over a half second off the leading time posted by Stoner, while fifth was occupied by Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo with a time of 1’47.912.

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) lost the front in turn 9 and went down with 15 minutes remaining, the Italian then ran back to his box and rejoined the session, ending the outing with the sixth fastest time. Colin Edwards followed in seventh with a 1'48.169, with Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) taking eighth ahead of Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) and Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team).

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) landed 11th in the field at his home track, while HRC test riders and wild cards for the MotoGP class, Kousuke Akiyoshi (LCR Honda) and Shinichi Ito (Honda Racing Team), finished the session in 17th and 18th.