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Qatar Test concludes with Stoner top of the timesheet

Qatar Test concludes with Stoner top of the timesheet

The Repsol Honda rider beat team-mate Dani Pedrosa to top spot on the timesheet in the final pre-season Test of 2011, as the MotoGP class wrapped up its preparations for the opening round which takes place at the same track later this week.

Casey Stoner struck the final psychological blow prior to the start of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship by setting the fastest time of the Qatar Test on Monday, as the last pre-season meeting concluded with the Australian top of the timesheet. An effort of 1'55.681 from the Repsol Honda rider placed him 0.064s ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa, who was the only other rider under 1'56” during the session.

The pair, who spent the five-hour second session finalising their set-ups for the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar which takes place at the circuit from Thursday to Sunday, were well clear of the rest of the field, with Yamaha Factory Racing's Ben Spies third at a distant 0.549s further down on Pedrosa as the American sought improved grip on his M1.

The session got underway in difficult conditions with strong winds having dusted the track with a coating of sand, but after a slow start the riders began to adapt and competitive lap times were soon being laid down.

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) closed the session with a best effort of 1'56.433, whilst Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) at just six-thousandths of a second behind made it four RC212Vs inside the top five on the timesheet as the latter Italian made headway with electronics settings. Randy de Puniet of the Pramac Racing team was the final rider to get within a second of Stoner's time thanks to a late lap of 1'56.445, making him the highest-placing Ducati of the final day.

World Champion Jorge Lorenzo spent Monday in search of better acceleration in the lower gears, focusing on electronics and the swingarm on his M1. However, the defending World Champion ended up 1.026s down on Stoner and in seventh position. Close on his heels and also on an M1 was Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), with Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden and San Carlo Honda Gresini's Hiroshi Aoyama completing the top ten and all within four-hundredths of a second of Lorenzo.

Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) were next on the timesheet, both experiencing falls during the day, with Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) in 13th. The Italian also had a crash, at Turn 7, and closed the day 1.307s off top spot as his pre-season on the GP11 ended in a frustrating manner. His team-mate Hayden was one of a group of riders who fell inside the final hour.

Loris Capirossi on the Pramac Desmosedici suffered a similar fate and was eventually just under 1.7s off Stoner, with rookie Cal Crutchlow sustaining a finger injury on his left hand when his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine went down at Turn 10. The Brit was only able to complete 28 laps, finishing up 2.049s off top spot.

Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) and Toni Elías (LCR Honda) completed the timesheet, which you can view by clicking here. The pair both had crashes inside the final hour of the session.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2011

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