Former World Champion Casey Stoner topped Qatar practice at the Losail MotoGP Circuit highlighting the dominant pace that the factory backed Repsol Honda has been having throughout the pre-season testing. Stoner went fastest with the best lap time of 1:55.752 while team mate and fellow Honda rider, Spaniard Dani Pedrosa was 0.610 seconds behind Stoner. With this timing, Stoner was the only man who was in the 1m:55s while every other rider in the top 8 could manage times only in the 1m:56s.
Italian ace and seven time World Champion Valentino Rossi, who previously struggled all winter to come to terms with the brash and bucking Ducati and his still-healing shoulder injury made dramatic improvement by finishing fifth fastest, and seven tenths of a second behind Stoner. This obviously is a massive boost for the Marlboro Ducati team which has been off color compared to Honda in pre-season testing. Here is what Rossi had to say about his improved practice lap times.
We modified the set-up a little compared to the test, and we immediately found it to be better, to the point that within just a few laps, I improved on my time from Monday. The last run was particularly positive and my final lap time, done with a hard tire that had 19 laps on it, was my best, a bit more than a tenth off second place. The shoulder is holding up well. It was only at the end that it started to lose a little strength, and tomorrow we’ll see how it reacts with two practice sessions. In any case, we’re happy today.
Casey Stoner on a 2011 Repsol Honda
Valentino Rossi on a 2011 Marlboro Ducati
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