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As the last night of testing at the Losail International Circuit got underway on Tuesday it was Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner leading the way on the timesheets.
At the midway point of Tuesday night’s concluding test session in Qatar the 2007 World Champion and winner of the last two MotoGP races at the Losail track, Casey Stoner, was again way out in front of his rivals on the timesheet.
A dry, calm day preceded the MotoGP workout at the desert circuit in contrast to the rain on Sunday and wind on Monday. The first rider out on track at 6.05pm local time was Hayate Racing Team’s Marco Melandri, shortly followed by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards and Pramac Racing’s Niccolo Canepa, the proceedings commencing with an ambient temperature of approximately 20°C.
Just four laps into his evening’s work the 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner set down a 1’56.301 marker, shortly before 7pm, a hot lap which had not been bettered as of the midway point in the session at 9pm. Having completed less laps than any other rider Stoner is running quickly, but still in short bursts as he attempts to rebuild his stamina following winter surgery on his left wrist.
Below Stoner on the timesheet in second place was his successor as World Champion Valentino Rossi, though the Italian trailed the Australian by a considerable 0.671s margin as the only other rider to have lapped under the 1’57 mark.
The early evening top five was completed by an improved Nicky Hayden, the new Ducati rider going more than a second faster than his Monday best already, followed by Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha).
The only incident of note was when Canepa suffered a crash on turn 13 but the MotoGP rookie has not been injured. Several riders are expected to undertake race simulations before the test concludes at midnight local time (10pm CET).
Qatar Night Test, day three – best times as of 9pm local time
1. Casey Stoner, Ducati Marlboro Team - 1'56.301 (20)
2. Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team - 1'56.972 (36)
3. Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro Team - 1'57.225 (36)
4. Loris Capirossi, Suzuki MotoGP - 1'57.253 (26)
5. Jorge Lorenzo, Fiat Yamaha Team - 1'57.414 (41)
6. Colin Edwards, Monster Yamaha Tech3 - 1'57.515 (46)
7. Chris Vermeulen, Suzuki MotoGP - 1'57.741 (39)
8. Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda - 1'57.816 (32)
9. Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing - 1'57.938 (36)
10. Niccolo Canepa, Pramac Racing - 1'57.946 (32)
11. Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda MotoGP - 1'58.243 (32)
12. Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini - 1'58.302 (34)
13. Yuki Takahashi, Scot Racing Team - 1'58.455 (34)
14. Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini - 1'58.565 (32)
15. James Toseland, Monster Yamaha Tech3 - 1'59.177 (30)
16. Marco Melandri, Hayate Racing Team - 1'59.575 (34)
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