The final track session before tonight’s season-opening Qatar MotoGP race saw Dani Pedrosa finally end new Repsol Honda team-mate Casey Stoner perfect domination of the timesheets.
Stoner had been fastest in all four track sessions heading into Sunday, with Pedrosa second on each occasion.
The Spaniard then went one better in the 20-minute warm-up, when he replaced Stoner at the top by 0.160sec.
Stoner, a three-time winner of the Qatar Grand Prix for Ducati, pitted several minutes before the end of the session.
Stoner’s last four laps (of his six warm-up laps) were all in the 1min 55.5sec. Pedrosa’s run of eight fast laps varied from 1min 55.3sec to 1min 56.3sec.
The front-row qualifying order was repeated in warm-up with world champion Jorge Lorenzo third for Yamaha.
The #1 was only 0.337sec from Pedrosa, raising hopes that he might hang with the top Hondas. Lorenzo looked comfortable in the high 1min 55sec range – close to Pedrosa’s average, but a few tenths off Stoner.
Lorenzo’s team-mate Ben Spies claimed fourth place, but 0.772sec from Pedrosa and didn’t lap below 1min 56sec.
Randy de Puniet, who qualified just eleventh, had a strong session to take fifth for Pramac Ducati (+0.835sec), with Andrea Dovizioso sixth (+0.866sec), Marco Simoncelli seventh (+0.942sec) and Valentino Rossi eighth (+1.280sec).
The race will start in just under four hours, at 10:00pm local time, which is later than any track session so far this weekend.
Grip levels could also be altered by the upcoming 125cc and Moto2 races.
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