Stoner tops another practice session
|By Matt Beer||Friday, March 18th 2011, 18:45 GMT|
Casey Stoner completed his clean sweep of fastest times in Qatar practice sessions, but had to fight harder in practice three.
The previous two sessions had seen Stoner unstoppable from the outset, but in Friday's final session he was behind his Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa until the final few minutes, when the Australian delivered a sub-lap-record 1m55.035s to go quickest by 0.158 seconds.
Andrea Dovizioso also made a last-minute improvement to complete a factory Honda one-two-three in third place, although he was 0.7s off Stoner's pace.
The Yamahas were next up, Jorge Lorenzo pushed back to fourth by Dovizioso late on, and Ben Spies completing the top five.
Hector Barbera was the fastest Ducati for the second time this weekend, hurling his Aspar machine to sixth, while the works bikes of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden were only eighth and 14th.
Colin Edwards took seventh for Tech 3 Yamaha, with his team-mate Cal Crutchlow holding on to a top-10 spot until the closing minutes when he was edged back to 11th ahead of the surprisingly slow Gresini Hondas.
The Pramac Ducatis of Randy de Puniet and Loris Capirossi claimed the final top-10 positions.
There was only one crash in the session, but it was a potentially disastrous one for Suzuki.
Its sole rider Alvaro Bautista - already struggling with an arm pump condition - crashed heavily at the penultimate corner with 10 minutes to go. He was conscious but unable to get up after the accident, appearing to be suffering from leg pain and requiring medical assistance in the run-off.
Pos Rider Bike/Team Time Gap 1. Casey Stoner Honda 1m55.035s 2. Dani Pedrosa Honda 1m55.193s + 0.158s 3. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1m55.740s + 0.705s 4. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1m55.814s + 0.779s 5. Ben Spies Yamaha 1m56.003s + 0.968s 6. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati 1m56.266s + 1.231s 7. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 1m56.302s + 1.267s 8. Valentino Rossi Ducati 1m56.306s + 1.271s 9. Randy de Puniet Pramac Ducati 1m56.362s + 1.327s 10. Loris Capirossi Pramac Ducati 1m56.434s + 1.399s 11. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 1m56.437s + 1.402s 12. Hiroshi Aoyama Gresini Honda 1m56.517s + 1.482s 13. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda 1m56.540s + 1.505s 14. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1m56.586s + 1.551s 15. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 1m57.275s + 2.240s 16. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 1m57.601s + 2.566s 17. Toni Elias LCR Honda 1m58.123s + 3.088s