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Stoner goes fastest before rain hits Catalunya track

Stoner goes fastest before rain hits Catalunya track

Casey Stoner takes the top spot in the final MotoGP free practice session, hit by rain in the final fifteen minutes.

Last year´s racewinner in Catalunya, Casey Stoner put his Friday grip problems behind him with the fastest time of Saturday morning. The Ducati Marlboro rider shaved 0.004 off Dani Pedrosa´s fastest lap to also lead the combined standings in Barcelona, with his 1´43.013 hot lap coming before a smattering of rain fifteen minutes from the end of the session.

Said rainfall is likely to present a tricky challenge for the riders in terms of tyre choice for the afternoon qualifying session. Times and requirements will depend heavily on how much the track dries out in the next few hours.

Nicky Hayden was second quickest in the morning session, making strides with his Repsol Honda RC212V after also having problems with grip on the opening day. The American was just ahead of Tech 3 Yamaha´s Colin Edwards and current standings leader Valentino Rossi, with a top six also including Chris Vermeulen and James Toseland all within a second of Stoner´s time.

After crashing twice on Friday, Randy de Puniet improved on his pace onboard the LCR Honda satellite machine, going faster than factory rider and previous fastest man Pedrosa. Another satellite rider, Andrea Dovizioso also featured in the top ten, ahead of Loris Capirossi.

Kawasaki´s John Hopkins passed a late fitness test to participate in the session, having suffered a serious back contusion four laps into the second free practice outing. He was eleventh fastest after riding through the pain barrier. As reported yesterday, Jorge Lorenzo will not be cleared for action this weekend after his own spill and subsequent concussion.


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