Stoner dominates qualifying test

Casey Stoner dominated the MotoGP qualifying test at Jerez, beating perennial rival Valentino Rossi by 0.7 seconds just before rain halted the event

Stoner dominates qualifying test

The Ducati rider won a new BMW road car for his performance in this traditional curtain-raiser to the new season.

The session was marred by a massive accident for James Toseland, who landed heavily after a high-side at Turn 4. The red flag came out for five minutes while he received medical assistance, but initial reports from the circuit suggest he has escaped serious injury.

Just as he had in this morning's practice session, Stoner threw in a blistering early time - lapping in 1m39.176s with his first attempt

That put him a second in front, before Rossi started narrowing the gap, getting down to 0.6s behind by the middle of the session.

The action was then paused after Toseland crashed with 16 minutes to go. The Tech 3 Yamaha rider had just been getting back up to speed this weekend after recovering from his enormous Sepang testing accident. He lost control through the fast Turn 4 and landed heavily before tumbling through the gravel trap.

The clouds moved in during the pause, and when the green flag flew there was an immediate rush to set quick times.

Rossi improved to a 1m39.3s, only for Stoner to raise the bar even further with a staggering 1m38.646s lap.

With the rain arriving a few minutes later, Stoner was confirmed as the winner of the BMW Award.

Loris Capirossi continued Suzuki's excellent form by beating Saturday pace-setter Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) to third, while his team-mate Chris Vermeulen took a strong fifth place.

The star of the session was rookie Mika Kallio, who was as high as fourth on his Pramac Ducati and managed to hang on to sixth by the end of the session, despite a high-speed trip through the gravel.

Andrea Dovizioso was only seventh as the factory Honda team's troubles continued, while returnee Sete Gibernau took an encouraging eighth for the new Francisco Hernando Ducati team.

Gresini Honda's Toni Elias and Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards completed the top ten, with Nicky Hayden only 11th on the factory Ducati after a trip off the road.

Testing now continues for a further two hours and 45 minutes - the final chance to get mileage prior to the Qatar season-opener.

Pos Rider Bike Time 1. Casey Stoner Ducati 1:38.646 2. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1:39.365 + 0.719 3. Loris Capirossi Suzuki 1:39.757 + 1.111 4. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 1:39.829 + 1.183 5. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 1:39.848 + 1.202 6. Mika Kallio Ducati 1:40.149 + 1.503 7. Andrea Dovizioso Honda 1:40.168 + 1.522 8. Sete Gibernau Ducati 1:40.228 + 1.582 9. Toni Elias Honda 1:40.266 + 1.620 10. Colin Edwards Yamaha 1:40.305 + 1.659 11. Nicky Hayden Ducati 1:40.401 + 1.755 12. Marco Melandri Kawasaki 1:40.405 + 1.759 13. Randy de Puniet Honda 1:40.646 + 2.000 14. Yuki Takahashi Honda 1:40.814 + 2.168 15. Alex de Angelis Honda 1:40.869 + 2.223 16. James Toseland Yamaha 1:41.425 + 2.779 17. Vittoriano Guareschi Ducati 1:41.485 + 2.839 18. Niccolo Canepa Ducati 1:41.551 + 2.905 19. Kosuke Akiyoshi Honda 1:42.206 + 3.560 
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