Nicky Hayden set the MotoGP pace today in the first free practice of the Chinese GP, clocking the fastest lap ahead of Macro Melandri and Sete Gibernau.
The Repsol Honda Team rider, who finished seventh last week at Estoril, clocked a fastest lap of 2´02.327 to finish 0.158 ahead of Melandri (Movistar Honda MotoGP) who clocked 2´02.485. Spain’s Sete Gibernau – who has had a very turbulent start to the season – finished third fasted with 2´02.557, putting both Movistar Honda Team riders in the top three.
Carlos Checa (Ducati Marlboro Team) lapped fourth fasted to clock 2´02.664 ahead of reining World Champion Valentino Rossi in fifth, with a time of 2´02.667. Loris Capirossi was sixth fastest with 2´02705 and last week’s Estoril winner Alex Barros (Camel Honda) finished seventh fastest with a lap of 2´02. 816.
Argentinean Aprilia Aspar rider Sebastian Porto was the fasted man in the 250cc class – which was plagued by rain towards the end of the session. Porto clocked a fastest lap of 2´09.301 to finish ahead of Team Scot rider Andrea Divizioso, who lapped in 2´09.321. Australian rider Casey Stoner (Carrera Sunglasses – LCR) lapped third fastest with a time of 2´09.390. Dani Pedrosa was fourth fasted with a lap of 2´09.657 ahead of Alex de Angelis on 2´09.904 and Frenchman Randy de Puniet in six place with a lap of 2´10.405.
Last week’s Estoril winner Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM) was the fastest 125cc rider with a fastest lap of 2´15.582. Italian Kopron Racing World rider Fabrizio Lai was second fastest on 2´16.140 ahead of Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand PRIX) who lapped in 2´16.359. Gabor Talmacsi and Julian Simon finished fifth and sixth respectively, putting three KTMs in the top five.
All of the practice session after the 125cc were delayed due to a technical problem with the medical helicopter. This has also had a knock-on effect on this afternoon’s qualifying practice sessions and the MotoGP second free practice. The 125cc QP1 will now start at 15:15; MotoGP FP2 at 16:00 and the 250cc QP1 at 17:10.