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Stoner lays down the marker in afternoon practice session

Stoner lays down the marker in afternoon practice session

Casey Stoner's own prediction that his Ducati Desmosedici GP07 would not give him much advantage over his MotoGP rivals in Turkey seemed to be proved wrong by the Australian's performance in the second free practice session at Istanbul Park this afternoon.

Casey Stoner's own prediction that his Ducati Desmosedici GP07 would not give him much advantage over his MotoGP rivals in Turkey, as it did so sensationally in Qatar in March, seemed to be proved wrong by the Australian's performance in the second free practice session at Istanbul Park this afternoon.

All four top speeds were recorded by Desmosedici equipped riders and Ducati Marlboro's Stoner found space to open the throttle and reach 298.6 km/h at one stage - 6km/h quicker than the fastest non-Ducati bike on track.

The Turkish circuit does seem well suited to the Australian's machinery and he took full advantage to lap in 1'54.200, which was 0.779s ahead of his team-mate Loris Capirossi's best effort and 0.862s faster than Rizla Suzuki rider John Hopkins' best time.

Five-time former World Champion Valentino Rossi never seems to be far off the pace and the current World Championship leader let Stoner know that he will not be too far away from him this weekend, as he lapped less than a second behind the Aussie with the fourth best time of the afternoon on one of the few tracks where he has never tasted victory.

The quickest Honda rider of the practice was Spaniard Toni Elias who was marginally slower than Fiat Yamaha's Rossi, while the presence of Kawasaki Racing's Olivier Jacque just behind Elias on the timesheet – albeit 1.451s off Stoner's pace – meant that five different manufacturers featured in the top six.

In addition to Rossi, the only other rider on Michelin tyres in the top ten was Dani Pedrosa in ninth place on the time-sheet - and with moisture still on track today following overnight showers the French suppliers will be looking closely at the situation tomorrow as their riders look to push harder on day two of the Grand Prix.

The only previous winner of a premier class Grand Prix in Turkey, Honda Gresini's Marco Melandri, who won at this track in 2005 and 2006, appears to be finding the circuit a different proposition on 800cc machinery having suffered light crashes in both outings today. He ended the afternoon practice tenth on the timesheet after sliding off early on, though no injuries are reported.

World Champion Nicky Hayden is hoping for a good result in Turkey after two third places from his previous two Grands Prix at the Asian track, but after struggling in Qatar and Jerez he was again well off the pace to end the session 14th - more than two seconds slower than Stoner.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GRAND PRIX OF TURKEY, FP2

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