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Stoner fastest on first day in Portugal

The Grand Prix of Portugal, third round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship, began today at the Estoril circuit with Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner on top of the time sheets (1'38.396). Team mate Dani Pedrosa finished in fourth position (1'38.797) with the combined practice times, after another tight battle between the Honda and Yamaha riders as we've already seen in the first two races of the season.

The weather played a big part in the first MotoGP practice session and again, as was the case in Jerez last week, the Portuguese GP got underway with wet patches and cold temperatures in the morning. The Repsol Honda riders went out on track on slick tyres with only 10 minutes of the first session remaining and both Casey and Dani had to wait until the afternoon to get some proper track time on the tricky Estoril circuit with the new 1000cc machines.

The Honda factory riders made the most of the second free practice to begin tuning the set up of their RC213V's at one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar, which combines a fairly long straight with long corners and very hard braking. The action continues tomorrow with FP3 and the qualifying session to decide the grid for Sunday's race
CASEY STONER 1st 1'38.396
"We did a few laps this morning to try and understand the bike, to make sure everything was working and like Jerez we wanted to see where the wet patches were on the track. Then this afternoon, unfortunately there were still areas of the track that hadn't dried out but we managed to get some good dry time, the bike seems to be working ok at this point and we have a fairly good idea of what we need to do tomorrow"

DANI PEDROSA 4th 1'38.797
"It was quite similar to Jerez, in the first session we were almost unable to ride and in the afternoon it was difficult because the track conditions were poor, it was very slippery, we had no grip in the front or rear and it was kind of hard to get feedback from the bike because the tyres were just sliding. Water is holding on the new asphalt, so it's necessary to change the line. It would be good if it doesn't rain anymore and if they could dry this area up in some way because in the last corner especially, it's very damp. I hope the track gets better tomorrow on the grip level, so we can start working hard on the suspension. As long as the track improves, the bike will do also".

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