Into The Night: Stoner Leads

Cycle News Staff | March 3, 2009

Marlboro Ducati’s Casey Stoner ended up the fastest in last night’s MotoGP test session at the Doha Circuit in Qatar, the Australian continuing his recovery from wrist surgery with solid lap times during testing.In addition to putting his wrist through the rigors of riding again, Stoner also tested a new swingarm and electronics on the Desmosedici GP9. His best lap was a 1:57.139 – .608 of a second faster than Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, the Italian ending the night with the second quickest time.Track conditions were far from perfect because of high winds – as evidenced by the fact that Stoner’s times were two seconds slower than his best from the 2008 Grand Prix.”We have worked well and we’ve made progress with the set-up of the GP9 so it has been a positive day despite the difficult track conditions,” Stoner said in a Ducati release. “Pretty much the same goes for the wrist – it’s obviously still not 100 percent yet, but it is better than Malaysia and better than I was expecting for this test – so it’s looking hopeful from that point of view too. In general I am satisfied.”Stoner still limited his laps to 37 with only Niccolo Canapa and Dani Pedrosa, who crashed and suffered injuries, doing less laps.Stoner’s teammate Nicky Hayden ended last night’s test ninth fastest after finishing as the fastest rider on the rain-struck first night.”The way the day started out I didn’t even expect to be riding tonight. The wind was so strong, but luckily it turned and we were able to start working seriously on the set-up, adapting the bike to this circuit because the conditions were so strange yesterday that we didn’t gather any useful data. Things are going better than Malaysia, my feeling is improved but there is obviously still a lot of work to do.”Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards was impressive in setting the third fastest time .070 of as second off Rossi’s best.

Lap Times:

1. Casey Stoner         Ducati MotoGP Team 1:57.139 (37 laps)

2. Valentino Rossi    Fiat Yamaha Team 1:57.747 (51)

3. Colin Edwards     Tech3 Yamaha 1:57.817 (41)

4. Andrea Dovizioso            Repsol Honda 1:57.879 (60)

5. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki MotoGP 1:58.018 (24)

6. Loris Capirossi     Suzuki MotoGP 1:58.264 (42)

7. Jorge Lorenzo       Fiat Yamaha Team 1:58.400 (63)

8. Alex De Angelis   San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:58.441 (53)

9. Nicky Hayden      Ducati Marlboro Team 1:58.577 (54)

10. Dani Pedrosa      Repsol Honda 1:58.619 (28)

11. Randy De Puniet            LCR Honda MotoGP 1:58.936 (55)

12. Toni Elias            San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:59.036 (56)

13. Yuki Takahashi  Scot Racing Team 2:00.153 (65)

14. Marco Melandri             Hayate Racing Team 1:59.195 (63)

15. Niccolo Canepa Pramac Racing 1:59.266 (36)

16. Mika Kallio         Pramac Racing 1:59.764 (48)

17. James Toseland Tech3 Yamaha 2:00.234 (51)