The change in weather also meant a drastic change in fortune for Kawasaki’s West, the Australian going from first yesterday to dead last today.
The session was entertaining initially with Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden thrilling the crowd with lurid slides on his rain tires-shod Honda on the drying track. Hayden led the going early before the times started to drop dramatically, but he was also there at the end, ending up third in the session with a 1:43.826 – just .118 of a second off Elias.
Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi slotted himself between the Ducati of Elias and the Honda of Hayden, the multi-time World Champion just .072 of a second behind the Spaniard.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and his new Bridgestones were fourth best and the last man to circulate in the 1:43s.
Andrea Dovizioso put the JiR Scot team Honda into fifth with San Carlo Honda’s Alex de Angelis sixth. Then came the first of the Suzukis – ridden by Texan Ben Spies. Elias’ teammate Sylvain Guintoli ended up eighth with Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen and JiR Scot Honda’s Randy de Puniet rounded out the top 10.
Americans Colin Edwards and John Hopkins ended the session 13th and 18th, respectively.
1. Toni Elias (Ducati) 1:43.708
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 1:43.780
3. Nicky Hayden (Honda) 1:43.826
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:43.893
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:44.171
6. Alex de Angelis (Honda) 1:44.210
7. Ben Spies (Suzuki) 1:44.211
8. Sylvain Guintoli (Ducati) 1:44.459
9. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) 1:44.499
10. Randy de Puniet (Honda) 1:45.087
11. Shinya Nakano (Honda) 1:45.147
12. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) 1:45.158
13. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:45.172
14. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:45.318
15. Marco Melandri (Ducati) 1:45.466
16. James Toseland (Yamaha) 1:45.579
17. Casey Stoner (Ducati) 1:45.706
18. John Hopkins (Kawasaki) 1:45.894
19. Anthony West (Kawasaki) 1:46.945