Casey Stoner edged works Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa in a tight first MotoGP practice session ahead of the Catalunya Grand Prix.
Pedrosa was the first rider to dip below the 1m43s mark, which was enough to keep him on top for the majority of the session.
With seven minutes to go, however, Stoner captured the top spot with a two-lap salvo, shaving one tenth of a second off Pedrosa’s benchmark.
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo moved into third in the final 30 seconds of the session, finishing just 0.233s down on Stoner.
Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow sealed fourth, although Ben Spies’ Yamaha, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and the works Ducati of Nicky Hayden all finished within seven hundredths of a second of his time.
A close session was also reflected in the fact that Karel Abraham on the Cardion Ducati finished 0.540s down on Stoner in eighth, and also in the fact that Tech 3′s Andrea Dovizioso, second fastest with 15 minutes to go, was bumped down to ninth at the finish.
Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda), Valentino Rossi (Ducati) and Hector Barbera (Pramac Ducati) rounded out the top 12, all three lapping within nine tenths of a second of Stoner.
Aspar’s Randy de Puniet topped the CRT standings in 13th, while Forward’s Colin Edwards, returning this weekend after injury forced him to miss Le Mans, was 17th.
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time Gap
1. Casey Stoner Honda 1m42.775s
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m42.875s + 0.100s
3. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m43.008s + 0.233s
4. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m43.182s + 0.407s
5. Ben Spies Yamaha 1m43.191s + 0.416s
6. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda 1m43.245s + 0.470s
7. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m43.246s + 0.471s
8. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 1m43.315s + 0.540s
9. Andrea Dovizioso Tech 3 Yamaha 1m43.371s + 0.596s
10. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda 1m43.493s + 0.718s
11. Valentino Rossi Ducati 1m43.537s + 0.762s
12. Hector Barbera Pramac Ducati 1m43.624s + 0.849s
13. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia 1m44.915s + 2.140s
14. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 1m45.281s + 2.506s
15. Michele Pirro Gresini FTR-Honda 1m45.939s + 3.164s
16. Mattia Pasini Speed Master Aprilia 1m46.234s + 3.459s
17. Colin Edwards Forward Suter-BMW 1m46.748s + 3.973s
18. Ivan Silva Avintia Inmotec-Kawasaki 1m46.848s + 4.073s
19. James Ellison Paul Bird Aprilia 1m46.908s + 4.133s
20. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Aprilia 1m47.149s + 4.374s
21. Yonny Hernandez Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 1m47.181s + 4.406s