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2011-11-05 08:28

SALUTE TO MARCO: A giant image of the late Marco Simoncelli, his bike and his helmet is on display at the Ricardo Tormo track for the 2011 Valencia MotoGP. Image: AFP

VALENCIA, Spain - Australia's freshly crowned motorcycle World champion Casey Stoner topped the time sheets from the first two free practice sessions on Friday ahead of Sunday's season-closing Valencia MotoGP.

The Honda rider set an early benchmark with a 1min45.513. Team mate Dani Pedrosa was 0.223sec slower and multiple former champion Valentino Rossi's Ducati was third at +0.315sec.


In Moto2, Germany's Stefan Bradl is poised to take the 2011 title as Spaniard Marc Marquez, the only rider close enough in the standings to deny him the championship, is likely to miss the race.

Marquez has had vision problems since falling during testing for the 2011 Malaysia GP in October and sat out Friday's rain-hit practice.

Sunday's race will be run in the shadow of Italian former Moto2 champion Marco Simoncelli's death a fortnight earlier in Sepang.

First practice times
1 Casey Stoner (AUS/Honda) 1min45.513
2 Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) +0.223
3 Valentino Rossi (ITA/Ducati) +0.315
4 Nicky Hayden (USA/Ducati) +0.560
5 Loris Capirossi (ITA/Ducati) +0.595
6 Ben Spies (USA/Yamaha) +0.746
7 Randy de Puniet (FRA/Ducati) +0.858
8 Toni Elias (ESP/Honda) +0.880
9 Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Honda) +0.889
10 Cal Crutchlow (GBR/Yamaha) +1.068

1 Stefan Bradl (GER/Kalex) 1min41.777
2 Randy Krummenacher (SUI/Kalex) +0.329
3 Alex De Angelis (RSM/Motobi) +0.911
4 Mattia Pasini (ITA/FTR) +1.164
5 Dominique Aegerter (SUI/Suter) +1.261

1 Sandro Cortese (All/Aprilia) 1min56.928
2 Johann Zarco (Fra/Derbi) +0.002sec
3 Adrian Martin (ESP/Aprilia) +0.424
4 Efren Vazquez (ESP/Derbi) +0.887
5 Marcel Schrotter (All/Mahindra) +1.407


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