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Stoner takes it up a notch at Catalunya

Stoner takes it up a notch at Catalunya

In the third free practice session of the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya weekend on Saturday morning Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner stepped up the pace to register a time of 1'42.562s, almost half a second quicker than any of his competitors have managed all weekend.

In the third free practice session of the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya weekend on Saturday morning Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner stepped up the pace to register a time of 1'42.562s, almost half a second quicker than any of his competitors have managed all weekend.

Second quickest in the morning session was Kawasaki's Randy de Puniet, who despite still riding with a badly swollen knee following his Mugello crash cut more than a second off his best Friday time – although he was still 0.483s slower than Stoner.

Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins has been putting in good times all weekend so far and was the third fastest rider of this session, lapping just 0.060s behind De Puniet and 0.107s ahead of the fourth fastest participant - Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi.

Dani Pedrosa was fifth quickest this morning but remains third on the combined timesheets, behind Stoner and De Puniet, courtesy of his best lap of the weekend set yesterday morning. Having crashed in yesterday afternoon's session and damaging his Repsol Honda RC212V the local rider has not been able to improve his time from FP1 on his replacement bike but does not appear overly affected by his accident and came within 0.158s of his own best time in FP3.

Hopkins' Suzuki team-mate Chris Vermeulen was sixth quickest in the session, while with similar times to yesterday Loris Capirossi (Ducati Marlboro), Toni Elias (Honda Gresini) and Colin Edwards (Fiat Yamaha) were seventh, eighth and ninth respectively. A near half second improvement from yesterday by Repsol Honda's World Champion Nicky Hayden meanwhile saw him finish tenth in the morning outing.

De Puniet's compatriot and Kawasaki colleague Olivier Jacque suffered a crash which resulted in him being placed in a neck brace and was sent to Clinica Mobile for an x-ray. Although his participation in tomorrow's seventh Grand Prix of the year has not been ruled out, the signs are not good for the injury plagued Frenchman.

Jacque has been transferred to a local hospital for further assessment – having only made a comeback last week at Mugello after recently missing the Chinese and French Grands Prix following a practice crash in Shanghai.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, GRAN PREMI CINZANO DE CATALUNYA, FP3

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