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Stoner leads the way in initial hours of Qatar night test

Stoner leads the way in initial hours of Qatar night test

World Champion Casey Stoner was the early pace setter during the initial hours of practice in MotoGPs first ever night-time test at the Losail International circuit in Qatar on Thursday night.

World Champion Casey Stoner was the early pace setter during the initial hours of practice in MotoGPs first ever night-time test at the Losail International circuit in Qatar on Thursday night.

Having set a scorching time of 155.368 in the first hour of the session - inside his own best race lap time recorded last year the Australian improved his best time to 155.330 three hours into the workout, keeping him nearly a second ahead of second fastest participant at the 10pm mark, English MotoGP rookie James Toseland.

In general the initial feedback from the riders has been fairly positive, as they have used the early laps to adapt to the unique environment in which they find themselves. Visibility is of course the main element with which the riders have to become accustomed with several testing which helmet visors permit them to view their surroundings most efficiently.

The immense job undertaken by Musco Lighting in installing the mammoth floodlight system has to be acknowledged and although some small shadows have been noted on-track, they have not been enough to adversely affect the riders.

The teams have been focussing on the respective set-ups of their prototype racing machinery, whilst special attention is being paid to tyre testing due the relatively low track temperature which will of course be replicated come the opening race of the season at the same venue on 9th March.

As of 10pm local time only one rider had suffered an accident, Kawasakis Anthony West being the man to hit the deck on the last corner of the track. The Australian was unaffected by the incident.

Meanwhile, his team-mate John Hopkins, Repsol Hondas Dani Pedrosa and Tech3 Yamahas James Toseland, who are all recovering from various recent injuries, were all clocking up valuable laps. Toselands ankle knock at Jerez was clearly not affecting him too badly as the second fastest rider as of 10pm.

All the riders have remained on race tyres thus far, with the lap times comparing favourably to those recorded previously at the desert circuit during daylight practice sessions and races.

MotoGPs first ever night-time test will conclude at 1am local time.

Qatar MotoGP February 2008 test day one best times (top ten riders only) as of 10.00pm local time:
1. C. Stoner, DUCATI MARLBORO - 1´55.330
2. J. Toseland, YAMAHA TECH3 - 1´56.251
3. A. Dovizioso, JiR TEAM SCOT - 1´56.442
4. R. De Puniet, LCR HONDA MotoGP - 1´56.591
5. C. Edwards, YAMAHA TECH3 - 1´56.860
6. V. Rossi, FIAT YAMAHA - 1´57.038
7. J. Lorenzo, FIAT YAMAHA - 1´57.100
8. A. de Angelis, HONDA GRESINI - 1´57.210
9. J. Hopkins, KAWASAKI RACING - 1´57.220
10.L. Capirossi, RIZLA SUZUKI - 1´57.551

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

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008

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