Hayden leads rain-affected Qatar test

Nicky Hayden topped the first night of MotoGP testing in Qatar, but a surprise rainstorm led to many of the main contenders choosing not to run at all

Hayden leads rain-affected Qatar test

Strong winds in recent days meant the Losail track was already extremely dusty when the floodlit evening test began, and then a downpour struck an hour into the session.

The track took a long time to dry in the cool conditions, although by the final hour the surface had improved enough to allow several riders to set quicker times.

Hayden, who has so far struggled to get to grips with the Ducati, jumped to the head of the field with a lap of 2:00.717, putting him 0.150 seconds clear of Marco Melandri, as the Hayate Racing-run 2009 Kawasaki made an encouraging debut, just two days after the team's future was secured.

Pramac Ducati duo Mika Kallio and Niccolo Canepa were third and fifth, sandwiching Gresini Honda's Alex de Angelis, while Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) eventually fell to sixth having been fastest of all prior to the rain.

But the results could not be taken as representative given that all the 2009 title favourites decided there was no point running in the conditions.

Both works Yamahas, Ducati's Casey Stoner and Honda's Dani Pedrosa - the quartet generally tipped to fight for this year's championship - opted out of the evening, as did Suzuki's Loris Capirossi, who had been a consistent top three contender in the previous test at Sepang.

The test is scheduled to continue for a further two nights.

 Pos Rider Bike Time Laps 1. Nicky Hayden Ducati 2:00.717 29 2. Marco Melandri Kawasaki 2:00.867 31 3. Mika Kallio Ducati 2:01.020 27 4. Alex de Angelis Honda 2:01.074 15 5. Niccolo Canepa Ducati 2:01.328 21 6. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 2:01.843 5 7. Yuki Takahashi Honda 2:03.221 18 8. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 2:03.233 15 9. James Toseland Yamaha 2:03.417 6 10. Randy De Puniet Honda 2:03.580 14 11. Colin Edwards Yamaha 2:03.652 5 12. Toni Elias Honda 2:08.637 3 13. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2:24.832 1 14. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 0 15. Dani Pedrosa Honda 0 16. Casey Stoner Ducati 0 17. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 0 
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