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Hayden ends Jerez test on top

Nicky Hayden ended the official MotoGP test at Jerez in Spain with the fastest time on Monday, providing some encouragement for Casey Stoner's rivals, who had seen the Australian dominate the weekend's qualifying practice session

Hayden's fastest lap of 1:38.848 came right at the end of a day that had started in damp and cool conditions, although thankfully the wind that had caused Sunday afternoon's test session to be abandoned had abated.

Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was second fastest, also saving his best effort for his final lap of the day to end up just four tenths of a second behind Hayden.

Andrea Dovizioso continued to show the progress of the JiR Team Scot team to set the third fastest time, ahead of Randy de Puniet on the LCR Honda and Valentino Rossi on the Fiat Yamaha.

"At the end of today it was quite cold which made things difficult, and generally the conditions have made our job harder for the whole three days," said Rossi. "Despite this I think we've done some good work; I have a good rhythm and I am having a lot of fun riding the bike.

"I'm quite excited now about the start of the season! We have things to work on, especially our speed in the exit of the corner, which was worse today because we had less grip on the damp track.

"Overall though it's been good, and I think we've learnt a lot both about the bike and the Bridgestones, plus I have been quite fast both with the qualifier and the race tyres.

"I didn't use the qualifier I like best here, so I am confident that when we use it in Qatar we can be faster. Now there's just one test left, which will be in the dark and therefore something quite strange! We will focus on our final days of preparation and be ready for the first race."

Briton James Toseland managed to set the sixth fastest time in the afternoon despite having a sizeable accident at Turn One earlier in the day.

After trapping his leg under the bike in the high side accident, he was taken to the medical centre to check that he had not suffered any broken bones. After being given the all-clear he returned to action to put in another confidence-boosting performance.

MotoGP champion Casey Stoner, who left his rivals in no doubt about the speed of the Ducati Marlboro with his dominant performance on Sunday, ended up seventh overall with a lap that was set early on.

The Autralian had a small shunt with no consequences.

"The conditions haven't been perfect here this weekend but this afternoon the sun came back out and we were finally able to get some good laps in and work on finding some more grip on the rear," said Stoner.

"We had another chassis setting prepared on my second bike but the crash meant that we weren't able to switch the tyres over and make a direct comparison so that was a shame.

"The wind was making it quite difficult in some corners and it didn't help with the crash but it was just a small front end slide and I was fine. We were able to continue the test and I tried out a completely new qualifying tyre.

"We actually tried it at the wrong time of the day because the wind was up and I could have gone much faster a little later on but the point of the test wasn't to set the fastest time but to see if the new qualifier was better than the previous one, which it was so that was positive.

"Generally speaking it has been a very positive test although we have been careful not to make the setting too specific to this circuit because it is very unique and you often find that the same setting doesn't work as well anywhere else."

Recovering riders John Hopkins and Dani Pedrosa both returned to action for the final day, having elected to skip Sunday's qualifying practice session for fear or aggravating their injuries.

Pedrosa ended up 16th on the timesheets, completing 35 laps, while Hopkins put in 18 laps to finish two places further adrift.

Today's times:

Pos  Rider        Team                       Time                Laps
 1.  Hayden       Repsol Honda Team          1:38.848             82
 2.  Lorenzo      Fiat Yamaha Team           1:39.252  + 0.404    60
 3.  Dovizioso    JiR Team Scot MotoGP       1:39.313  + 0.465    65
 4.  De Puniet    LCR Honda MotoGP           1:39.351  + 0.503    68
 5.  Rossi        Fiat Yamaha Team           1:39.568  + 0.720    79
 6.  Toseland     Tech 3 Yamaha              1:39.727  + 0.879    36
 7.  Stoner       Ducati Marlboro Team       1:39.845  + 0.997    57
 8.  De Angelis   San Carlo Honda Gresini    1:39.932  + 1.084    56
 9.  Nakano       San Carlo Honda Gresini    1:40.333  + 1.485    66
10.  Capirossi    Rizla Suzuki MotoGP        1:40.442  + 1.594    54
11.  Vermeulen    Rizla Suzuki MotoGP        1:40.576  + 1.728    62
12.  West         Kawasaki Racing Team       1:41.026  + 2.178    65
13.  Guintoli     Alice Team                 1:41.177  + 2.329    47
14.  Melandri     Ducati Marlboro Team       1:41.292  + 2.444    72
15.  Elias        Alice Team                 1:41.311  + 2.463    71
16.  Pedrosa      Repsol Honda Team          1:41.699  + 2.851    35
17.  Canepa       Ducati Marlboro Team       1:42.160  + 3.312    74
18.  Hopkins      Kawasaki Racing Team       1:42.970  + 4.122    20
19.  Jacque       Kawasaki Racing Team       1:43.496  + 4.648    18
20.  Guareschi    Ducati Marlboro Team       1:45.597  + 6.749    66

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