A short trip from Spain to Portugal didn't account for much change in MotoGP results, at least with regard to Friday's practice sessions for the Grande Premio de Portugal Circuito Estoril.
Casey Stoner, winner of last weekend's Spanish race overcame early damp conditions to lead all comers in free practice for Sunday's race; Stoner took his Repsol Honda to a fast lap of 1:38.396, three-tenths ahead of American Ben Spies on the Factory Yamaha motorcycle (1:38.717), who had been quickest in the first practice session. Third on the time sheets is Monster Tech3 Yamaha's ever improving Cal Crutchlow, just two hundredths off Spies' best.
Stoner's teammate Dani Pedrosa is fourth best, hoping to reprise his 2011 win and Jorge Lorenzo, celebrating a birthday this week lies fifth on a track where he has three wins in the last four races. San Carlo Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista holds the sixth fastest time, half a second from Stoner. Nicky Hayden is seventh on the Ducati, Pramac Racing's Hector Barbera is eighth and Valentino Rossi lies ninth, while Tech3's Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top 10. Best CRT rider is Power Electronics Aspar's Randy de Puniet.
While Stoner's result isn't much of a change, Spies has had a difficult time thus far in the 2012 season and he thanked his crew for today's result, particularly for changes to the bike that included "some rider position settings that I asked for - the bike seems good. Not only are the lap times fast, it's much easier to ride at that speed than the slower times at Jerez," the Texan noted. "To be in the top three on the fist day after two difficult weekends is a positive start."