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Bautista stars on 250cc opening night

Bautista stars on 250cc opening night

The opening night for the 125cc and 250cc riders in Qatar was not only the first two-stroke activity to take place under the momentous lighting project, but also the largest simultaneous night time participation of World Championship riders to date.

The opening night for the 125cc and 250cc riders in Qatar was not only the first two-stroke activity to take place under the momentous lighting project, but also the largest simultaneous night time participation of World Championship riders to date. Two combined sessions involving both of the lower cylinder categories sandwiched separate nocturnal runs, with nearly 60 riders on track at any one time.

Aside from being a night of firsts, the sessions also served as one of the final opportunities to prepare for the 2008 season, which begins next week at the Losail International Circuit. On current form, the man best equipped for the March 9th 250cc showdown at sundown is Mapfre Aspar rider Alvaro Bautista, the fastest rider in both the opening session and the overall combined timesheet.

Bautista clocked a quickest lap of 2'00.931 at the Qatari track, a time some way off Jorge Lorenzo's storming pole lap from last season. To be expected under conditions much colder than in 2007's daylight qualifying session, the Mapfre Aspar rider will draw positives from the fact that he was the only rider to break the 2'01 barrier over the duration of the first night's Official Test action.

Pepe Team Toth's Hector Barbera also got off to a good start, three tenths of a second off Bautista's time. The top five at midnight remained the same as after the opening combined session, with Hiroshi Aoyama, Marco Simoncelli and Roberto Locatelli all reaping the benefits of 250cc experience in Qatar. Locatelli suffered a light crash in the separate 250cc session, but continued riding after picking himself up.

Having only recently returned from an operation on a fractured collarbone, Swiss rider Thomas Luthi edged out rookie Mattia Pasini for the final place in the top six, with the duo the final two riders to go round in under 2'02. Yuki Takahashi, Alex Debon and Lukas Pesek completed the fastest ten of the first night under the floodlights, with Red Bull KTM's Mika Kallio strangely subdued after having been 2008's standout performer so far.

250cc testing resumes tomorrow night in Qatar.

Official Test: Night One
Combined Times – 250cc

1. A. BAUTISTA, Mapfre Aspar - 2'00.931
2. H. BARBERA, Team Toth Aprilia - 2'01.288
3. H. AOYAMA, Red Bull KTM - 2'01.348
4. M. SIMONCELLI, Metis Gilera - 2'01.409
5. R. LOCATELLI, Metis Gilera - 2'01.730
6. T. LUTHI, Emmi Caffe Latte Aprilia - 2'01.848
7. M. PASINI, Polaris World - 2'01.945
8. Y. TAKAHASHI, Scot Racing Team 250 - 2'01.950
9. A. DEBON, Lotus Aprilia - 2'02.423
10. L. PESEK, Auto Kelly CP - 2'02.518

Tags:
250cc, 2008

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