Stoner heads Jerez opening day

Autosport

Casey Stoner topped the opening day of MotoGP's final pre-season test of 2012 at Jerez on Friday.

The reigning world champion completed 54 laps on his Honda and set the benchmark time of 1m39.146s on his very last tour, leaving him 0.273s ahead of Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo.

Stoner declared himself happy with the day, having gone quickest at a time when increasingly windy conditions were making it difficult for riders to keep control of their bikes.

"Today has been quite good, we did a race distance with a soft set tyres this morning and we were getting quicker and quicker as we progressed, but I think also the circuit was getting better," Stoner said.

"Then we put the hard tyre on and did a tyre comparison and we had very similar feelings to what we had in [the previous test at] Sepang.

"We tried a few things with the chassis as the bike was proving slow to turn in the corner but in general it is working well especially at the end of the tyre life. On the last exit we did our fastest lap on a new soft rear tyre. It's been a good first day."

Lorenzo had held the top spot for much of the day as the Spaniard focused on the electronics on his Yamaha, but was forced to settle for second, ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who lost a chunk of the afternoon to a mechanical problem on one of his two factory Hondas.

Ben Spies was fourth for Yamaha ahead of the Tech 3-run M1 of Cal Crutchlow, who was the fastest of the non-factory riders in fifth.

Next up were Ducati rider Nicky Hayden and Alvaro Bautista on his Gresini Honda, although the latter crashed early in the day.

Rounding out the top 10 were Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso, the struggling Valentino Rossi's Ducati and Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl's LCR Honda.

Former LCR rider Randy de Puniet was the fastest of the CRT riders in action on his Aspar Aprilia, just 0.1s off Rossi's time.

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