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First ever MotoGP night test runs smoothly in Qatar

First ever MotoGP night test runs smoothly in Qatar

Ducati Marlboro's World Champion Casey Stoner was the fastest rider in MotoGP's inaugural floodlit test at Losail International circuit on Thursday evening, lapping 0.689s ahead of his nearest rival in a groundbreaking session which concluded without problems.

Ducati Marlboro's World Champion Casey Stoner was the fastest rider in MotoGP's inaugural floodlit test at Losail International circuit on Thursday evening, lapping 0.689s ahead of his nearest rival in a groundbreaking session which concluded without problems.

Also in the top five were Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo, LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet, JiR Team Scot's Andrea Dovizioso and Tech3 Yamaha's James Toseland – a quartet of Michelin riders who all lapped within a second of Stoner's hot lap.

Under the state-of-the-art lighting system at the desert circuit, Alex de Angelis from the San Carlo Honda Gresini squad made it a good night all round for the 2008 MotoGP rookies as he lapped sixth quickest.

Behind the San Marino rider came Kawasaki's John Hopkins, who lapped 71 times despite still being on the comeback trail after his groin injury. Meanwhile Repsol Honda's own comeback kid Dani Pedrosa, who rides with an injured hand still, used a softer tyre at the end of the session to cut his lap time, with experienced Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards rounding off the top ten.

The entire 2008 MotoGP field was in attendance, gaining a crucial first taste of what to expect at the season opening Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar on 9th March and focusing mainly on race tyre tests for the majority of the seven hour session with temperatures a cooler than expected average of 16ºC.

In the last hour of the practice Lorenzo improved his own time to move up into second on the timesheet. The 250cc World Champion was still more than half a second behind Stoner though, the premier class title holder having set the pace right from the start with a time of 1'55.368 in the first hour of the outing, a time which he later reduced by a further 0.038s midway through the evening.

Anthony West was the session's only crasher, an accident early on which did not result in any significant injury for the Australian Kawasaki rider, whilst the majority of the feedback from the teams and their MotoGP charges with regard to visibility and riding conditions was highly positive.

The test visit continues on Friday with a second and final 2008 MotoGP preseason test under the Losail floodlights, followed by three days (1st-3rd March) of testing for the smaller classes as of Saturday – just days before the start of the World Championship at the same venue.

Qatar MotoGP February 2008 test – day one – best times:

1. C. Stoner, DUCATI MARLBORO 1'55.330 / 61 laps
2. J. Lorenzo, FIAT YAMAHA 1'56.019 / 77
3. R. De Puniet, LCR HONDA MotoGP 1'56.062 / 88
4. A. Dovizioso, JiR TEAM SCOT 1'56.121 / 81
5. J. Toseland, TECH3 YAMAHA 1'56.251 / 90
6. A. De Angelis, SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI 1'56.571 / 69
7. J. Hopkins, KAWASAKI RACING 1'56.614 / 71
8. D. Pedrosa, REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1'56.621 / 72
9. V. Rossi, FIAT YAMAHA 1'56.749 / 82
10. C. Edwards, TECH3 YAMAHA 1'56.762 / 86
11. T. Elias, ALICE TEAM 1'57.007 / 85
12. N. Hayden, REPSOL HONDA TEAM 1'57.010 / 91
13. S. Nakano, SAN CARLO HONDA GRESINI 1'57.223 / 79
14. C. Vermeulen, RIZLA SUZUKI 1'57.522 / 80
15. L. Capirossi, RIZLA SUZUKI 1'57.551 / 66
16. M. Melandri, DUCATI MARLBORO 1'57.593 / 70
17. S. Guintoli, ALICE TEAM 1'57.644 / 66
18. A. West, KAWASAKI RACING 1'57.787 / 51

Race record: 2007, Casey Stoner - 1'56.528
Qualifying record: 2007, Valentino Rossi - 1'55.002

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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