Stoner quickest in opening practice

Casey Stoner led the way in the first practice session in Qatar today, while Jorge Lorenzo continued his good form from testing last week to trail the Australian by just half a tenth

Stoner quickest in opening practice

Stoner made the early running in the first of today's two night practice sessions and was six tenths clear at the top for most of the session.

But Yamaha teammates Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi closed the gap in the final 10 minutes, along with Andrea Dovizioso, who finished third despite a fall earlier in the session.

With Stoner lowering his time to a 1:55.870 in the last five minutes, only Lorenzo was able to respond significantly and join the Ducati rider below the 1:56 barrier. Dovizioso and Rossi's best efforts a couple of tenths shy in the 56.2s.

Dani Pedrosa finished the session in fifth place, thanks to a dramatic improvement in the final five minutes which knocked nine tenths of his best time from the remainder of the hour-long session.

Briton James Toseland finished the session eighth. He matched the pace of the fellow Yamahas of Lorenzo and Rossi for the first half of the hour, but a fall limited his progress.

Stoner's Ducati teammate Marco Melandri continued to struggle, finishing 11th, 1.2 seconds off Stoner's time.

Pos  Rider                Team                     Time              Laps
 1.  Casey Stoner         Ducati Marlboro Team     1:55.870            19
 2.  Jorge Lorenzo        Fiat Yamaha Team         1:55.924  + 0.054   22
 3.  Andrea Dovizioso     JiR Team Scot MotoGP     1:56.221  + 0.351   15
 4.  Valentino Rossi      Fiat Yamaha Team         1:56.269  + 0.399   22
 5.  Dani Pedrosa         Repsol Honda Team        1:56.478  + 0.608   23
 6.  Randy De Puniet      LCR Honda MotoGP         1:56.525  + 0.655   22
 7.  Colin Edwards        Tech 3 Yamaha            1:56.574  + 0.704   22
 8.  James Toseland       Tech 3 Yamaha            1:56.950  + 1.080   21
 9.  Nicky Hayden         Repsol Honda Team        1:57.069  + 1.199   22
10.  John Hopkins         Kawasaki Racing Team     1:57.085  + 1.215   20
11.  Marco Melandri       Ducati Marlboro Team     1:57.137  + 1.267   21
12.  Loris Capirossi      Rizla Suzuki MotoGP      1:57.287  + 1.417   21
13.  Alex De Angelis      San Carlo Honda Gresini  1:57.561  + 1.691   22
14.  Shinya Nakano        San Carlo Honda Gresini  1:57.588  + 1.718   23
15.  Chris Vermeulen      Rizla Suzuki MotoGP      1:57.639  + 1.769   20
16.  Toni Elias           Alice Team               1:58.130  + 2.260   17
17.  Anthony West         Kawasaki Racing Team     1:58.912  + 3.042   21
18.  Sylvain Guintoli     Alice Team               1:59.006  + 3.136   16
  
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Stoner remains on top in practice 2

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