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Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Friday, 1 April 2011 17:47 UK

Stoner and Pedrosa fastest in Spanish MotoGP practice

Spanish MotoGP, Jerez 2-3 April
Saturday, 2 April: Qualifying: 1150-1500, BBC Red Button/online. Sunday, 3 April: 125cc and Moto2: 0950-1205, BBC Red Button/online. MotoGP live: 1230-1400, BBC Two/online

Dani Pedrosa

Pedrosa crashes at Motegi

Dani Pedrosa cast aside injury concerns to record the second fastest time in practice for Sunday's Spanish MotoGP.

The Spaniard discovered he had damaged nerves in his arm in a crash at the Japan Grand Prix in October 2010 and will have surgery after Sunday's race.

But he was fastest in the afternoon session in one minute, 40.101.

Honda team-mate Casey Stoner posted the day's best overall time, his effort in first practice some six-tenths quicker than Pedrosa's afternoon best.

Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo improved on his fifth place in the morning to take third, half a second behind Pedrosa, while Marco Simoncelli posted the fourth fastest lap.

Valention Rossi was next up on the Ducati, almost a second slower than Pedrosa, while Randy de Puniet, Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden completed the top eight.

Britain's Cal Crutchlow finished the second session in 15th place for Yamaha.

Pedrosa looked to have made a good recovery following an operation after the crash in Japan but complained his arm felt numb during the season-opening Qatar GP on 20 March.

A scan showed his broken collarbone had mended but unearthed a nerve problem.

The 25-year-old said he is "relaxed" about the forthcoming surgery.

With the Japanese Grand Prix, which was due to take place on 24 April, now cancelled as a result of the tsunami and earthquake which have devastated the country, the Spaniard will have four weeks in which to recover from the operation. He plans to return to action in Portugal on 1 May.

"It's never nice to have an operation but we've had a lot of time searching for an answer to the effects of this injury and I'm relaxed because I finally know what has happened," Pedrosa said on Thursday.

We started the championship so well in Qatar and I believe it is a great moment to ride for my people and my fans here in Spain

Jorge Lorenzo

"Now we are in Jerez and I want to concentrate on the race, working with my team in the best possible way to prepare for it."

Pedrosa is not the only rider looking to use the extended break after Jerez to improve fitness.

Rossi, the nine-time world champion, said the opening race of the season in Qatar had been "difficult" for his injured right shoulder because of the circuit's "many hard corner entries and areas where we brake to the right".

The Italian, who made his debut for Ducati in the season-opener, had shoulder surgery in November to repair ligament and tendon damage he suffered in a moto cross accident last April.

He said: "We'll see if Jerez is a little easier from that point of view, although I think I'll still have to grit my teeth for a while.

"Since Qatar, I've continued working out in the gym to try and increase my strength and especially my endurance, but after Spain I'll have almost a month to recuperate more fully."

Rossi finished seventh in Qatar, more than 16 seconds behind winner Stoner.

But despite his strong start to this season, Stoner said he was yet to hit peak form at Jerez.

"In the last few years I haven't had very good results at Jerez, as I could be fast but in the race things didn't always go my way," stated the Australian.

He finished fifth in last year's race and third in 2009, riding for Ducati on both occasions.

Casey Stoner

Stoner is king in Qatar

Lorenzo said he was confident of building on his second-place finish in Qatar in front of his home fans.

"We started the championship so well in Qatar and I believe it is a great moment to ride for my people and my fans here in Spain," reflected the Yamaha rider, who triumphed at Jerez in 2010.

"Last year the situation was quite similar and perhaps I got the best victory of my career, closing a big gaps in the last few laps.

"We can't make predictions for Sunday, but my crew and I will work as much as possible to be in front.

"Jerez is a special place for me, maybe the best track in the world.

"When I was only 15, the day right after my birthday, I raced for the first time in front of 100,000 people here."

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see also
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
30 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
Hopkins set for MotoGP comeback
28 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
Stoner takes opening win in Qatar
20 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
MotoGP on the BBC
15 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
Honda trio lead the way in Sepang
02 Feb 11 |  MotoGP
Rossi admits struggle for fitness
11 Jan 11 |  MotoGP
Lorenzo ends season with victory
07 Nov 10 |  MotoGP
Lorenzo takes MotoGP world title
10 Oct 10 |  MotoGP
Pedrosa fit for Australian MotoGP
13 Oct 10 |  MotoGP
Injured Pedrosa to miss Malaysia
07 Oct 10 |  MotoGP
Pedrosa has collarbone operation
02 Oct 10 |  MotoGP

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