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Stoner quickest ahead of qualifying

Stoner quickest ahead of qualifying

Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner was Saturday morning’s fastest rider at the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice.

In the continued sunny weather at Italy’s beautiful Tuscan circuit of Mugello on Saturday morning Casey Stoner shone the brightest in free practice as his early marker of 1’49.323 on the fifth of his 23 laps put him at the head of the timesheet.

Stoner’s best time was well inside his own circuit record of 1’50.003 and was fractionally better than the best Saturday morning time of his closest rival, Jorge Lorenzo, who trailed the Australian by just 0.027s. Ducati star Stoner suffered a crash towards the end of the session but was not hurt and soon re-emerged on track for a final pair of laps.

Behind Stoner and Lorenzo on the timesheet was the latter’s Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi who lapped just under two tenths of a second off the former’s pace. As long a Rossi can qualify on the front row this afternoon he will be hopeful of continuing his amazing Mugello winning streak on Sunday.

Behind the front three in this session were an improved Toni Elías (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and the experienced Italian Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki), who both lapped under seven tenths down on Stoner.

In sixth and seventh respectively Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) were both just over seven tenths off the top spot, whilst Dovizioso’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa wrapped things up early in eighth place due to fatigue after 45 minutes, still recovering from his winter injuries.

The top ten was completed by Honda satellite riders Alex de Angelis and Randy de Puniet.

The hour-long MotoGP qualifying session at the fifth round of the season takes place at 1.55pm on Saturday afternoon.


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