Last year’s Laguna Seca race winner Jorge Lorenzo stoodatop the times after the second free practice for Sunday’s MotoGP US Grand Prix.
The Spanish Yamaha rider, who won at the northern California circuit last year, went straight to the top spot in the second session and stayed there, finishing with the day’s best time of 1min 22.056 sec.
Compatriot Dani Pedrosa, riding a Honda, was second fastest, 0.141sec back and Australian Honda rider Casey Stoner, the current series points leader, was third-quickest 1.175 behind Lorenzo as most of the riders improved their times in the second session.
Stoner had topped the times in the morning’s first free practice, which started under lingering coastal fog.
Andrea Dovizioso was the fourth fastest overall, his time of 1:22.537 fourth-quickest in the afternoon after he was fifth-fastest in the morning.
Factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies, who claimed his first career victory at Assen this season, was the fastest American on the day with a time of 1:22.615 that was two-tenths quicker than his morning run and left him fifth overall.
“I am very happy to be back riding here at Laguna, a track I love,” said Lorenzo, who like teammate Spies donned Yamaha Factory Racings special 50th anniversary red and white kit for the occasion.
“We need to try to improve corner entry for the bike because there are some tenths in that and it will give me more confidence turning in,” he added. “Its not so bad to begin and we will try to go faster tomorrow.”
Spies said the first day of practice had given the team plenty of information to improve on Saturday.
“We’ve worked on a lot of different set ups,” he said. “We havent found a perfect one, weve found a compromise so far but tomorrow we have a pretty good game plan on what were going to fine tune from the bike we ended on today to get a bit of a better set up for front feel.”
The Laguna Seca circuit offers a technical challenge with a tight, twisting layout epitomized by its signature “corkscrew” turn.
On Saturday Lorenzo will try to maintain his dominance in the third free practice and afternoon qualifying.
Stoner, who has twice earned pole and notched one victory at Laguna Seca, leads the standings with 168 points to Lorenzo’s 153 going into Sunday’s race.
The afternoon practice times indicated that teams were getting to grips with the intricacies of the circuit. France’s Randy de Puniet jumped from 12th to eighth with a time of 1:23.135 in the second practice.
The fastest Ducati belonged to American Nicky Hayden. With both the GP11 and GP11.1 available to him, Hayden opted for the GP11.1 machine for the duration of the second session and notched the 10th-quickest time, one place in front of Italian Legend Valentino Rossi.