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Stoner steps it up as final hours approach

Stoner steps it up as final hours approach

The Ducati Marlboro rider has gone within a tenth of a second of his pole position time from 2009, and there have been a series of falls by 10pm local time – including the Australian – on the second evening in Qatar.

Casey Stoner has responded to Valentino Rossi’s form in Qatar by taking the lead at the top of the timesheet, and by 10pm local time at the Losail International Circuit the Australian was fractionally over half a second faster than World Champion with a time of 1’55.353.

Following his fast lap Stoner took a fall at Turn 2 of the track however, the same spot at which Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair Colin Edwards and Ben Spies and his Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden had all hit the asphalt (in that order) inside the last two hours. San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli was also victim of such misfortune, on Turn 6, and all riders were uninjured.

Following Stoner on the timesheet was Fiat Yamaha’s Rossi, by a margin of 0.507s, who is trying new Bridgestone tyres and continuing work on electronics, with Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso achieving one of his targets – getting under the 1’56” barrier. The Italian is so far the third and final rider to have made it under that mark in this session.

Hayden was almost eight-tenths of a second off his team-mate’s marker as he continued to try and find comfort on soft tyres on his Desmosedici GP10, whilst Loris Capirossi and Jorge Lorenzo completed the top six positions by 10pm. The Rizla Suzuki rider is addressing chassis and swingarm variations, whilst for Lorenzo the focus remains not only physical comfort but a setting for the first race of the season at the same circuit.

Randy De Puniet (LCR) was the second highest Honda, with Spies followed by fellow rookie Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) who is testing the same swingarm as team-mate Capirossi. Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing) completed the top ten, and is working on rear suspension and engine mapping on his GP10.

MotoGP, 2010

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