Saturday, May 19

STONER SETS EARLY LE MANS PACE

A day after announcing he will be retiring from grand prix motorcycle racing at the end of this year, Casey Stoner put his race face on and set fastest time in the first free practice at Le Mans, which is hosting round four of the MotoGP Championship on Sunday.


Stoner scorched off a best lap of 1m 34.321s, which is less than a second outside Dani Pedrosa's 1m 33.617s lap record, set last year.


Tech 3 Yamaha rider Andrea Dovisioso was third fastest ahead of a resurgent Ben Spies on the first of the factory Yamahas, then Hector Barbera surprised with fifth fastest time on the Pramac Ducati.


Chris Vermuelen, subbing for the injured Colin Edwards on the BMW-powered NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter, was not within 107 per cent of Stoner's fast time and if he fails to get under that barrier in official qualifying, he will be watching from the garage on Sunday.


For all the lap times, click here