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Casey Stoner headed the timesheets for the third practice of the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, as he has done all weekend. Second went to Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), with Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa third and fourth respectively.
With the weather conditions similar to Friday morning, the temperature was very cool, therefore making it difficult for riders to match their pace from a much warmer second practice on the previous afternoon. Stoner’s best lap time on Saturday morning of 1’33.815 was a tenth slower than he managed in FP2. The Australian snatched the quickest time from Simoncelli on his final attempt with an advantage of 0.260s. Stoner will be looking to claim Honda’s fifth victory at the Le Mans circuit this weekend.
Honda riders have had just three podium finishes at Le Mans since the introduction of the 800cc capacity limit to MotoGP: Marco Melandri was second in 2007, Dani Pedrosa was third in 2009 and Andrea Dovizioso was third in 2010. However, it was Honda dominating the top four places in this final practice with Simoncelli splitting the Repsol Honda riders. The 24 year-old finished tenth here last year after qualifying in 13th and was the highest placed rider to set a quicker time from Friday.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) improved by over half a second on the time he set on Friday afternoon and was only one of just three riders to set a quicker lap in FP3. Dovizioso was just under half a second off Stoner’s fastest lap time. His team-mate Pedrosa who started this race in France from pole in 2006 and 2009 was fourth, 0.730s off Stoner’s time.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) was the top Ducati in practice in fifth, as he was yesterday. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) took his first back-to-back victories after winning at Le Mans last year and was sixth. Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) has had seven rostrum finishes in the premier class at Le Mans, including three wins, and took seventh in the final practice before QP later in the afternoon.
The second quickest Yamaha was Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in eighth, who started from pole at the French GP in 2007. Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) was ninth, in front of Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) on his first racing appearance at this circuit, who was tenth. The man from Coventry has had two eighth places in his debut MotoGP season after three rounds.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) was the only other rider to set a quicker time in FP3 compared to his previous day’s effort. The Czech rider finished 12th and will be aiming to improve on his best result at this circuit, a 12th place in the 250cc class in 2009.
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