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Rossi lowers time in third MotoGP free practice session

Rossi lowers time in third MotoGP free practice session

Italian leads Pedrosa and Stoner to set up potential three-man qualifying battle, having led the way on Friday.

As predicted by Valentino Rossi yesterday afternoon, the five-time MotoGP World Champion appears destined to become embroiled in a battle for victory with reigning title holder Casey Stoner and 2006 racewinner Dani Pedrosa at the Pramac Grand Prix of China.

The three previous triumphant parties in Shanghai were once again at the sharp end of the timesheets in the third free practice session, improving upon their times from the Friday runs. Rossi was once again the frontrunner with a 1´59.690 lap, although he has stated that morning conditions are more favourable to his cause.

Pedrosa dropped below the 2´00 barrier for the first time in the final five minutes of the run-out, the marker also breached by Stoner as the trio were separated by just two tenths of a second. The gap between Pedrosa and Rossi was less than five hundredths of a second.

Along for the ride was Rossi´s former team-mate in the factory Yamaha team, Colin Edwards, in fourth place and tagging onto Stoner´s time. He headed another resurgent veteran in Shinya Nakano, the second fastest Honda ahead of 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden.

Rizla Suzuki´s Loris Capirossi, Kawasaki rider John Hopkins and JiR Team Scot´s Italian rookie Andrea Dovizioso rounded up the riders to go round within a second of Rossi´s time, with Chris Vermeulen completing the top ten onboard the second Suzuki GSV-R,

`Sucking it up´ in the morning session, Jorge Lorenzo put his fractured and bruised ankles to the test by opting to participate in the action.

The alchemistic rookie has thus far had things all his way in qualifying, but will find it very difficult to make it four pole positions from as many races bearing in mind the tenderness of his injuries and the blistering pace of Messrs. Rossi and Stoner. The Spaniard was not scheduled to receive painkilling injections, making his very appearance on-track an impressive feat.

Lorenzo was 14th in the session, with a fastest time of 2´00.799 highly respectable under the circumstances.


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