Repsol Hondas 1-2-3 In Qatar

Henny Ray Abrams | March 18, 2011

LOSAIL, QATAR, MARCH 18 – The Repsol Honda team steamrolled the competition on the second day of the season, with the top three spots taken by the orange and blue bikes.Casey Stoner put his name atop the leaderboard late in the second Friday free practice, knocking teammate Dani Pedrosa from the top, Andrea Dovizioso slotted into third late to give the factory Honda team a sweep of the top three at the end of the second day of practice at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.Pedrosa had dominated the session and was securely in front late in the session before Stoner made his move. But after a late skull session with his crew chief, Stoner got down to business and closed the gap on Pedrosa to .133 sec. as a prelude to what would come next. Stoner’s next lap was quicker through the first three splits and the time held up to the end. The lap of 1:55.035 mins. finished .158 sec. up on Pedrosa, giving the Australian the top time in all three free practice sessions over the first two days of the opening MotoGP weekend. Stoner’s final lap was only .011 sec. slower than his best and more than enough to show his consistency.Pedrosa’s best lap came on the sixth of 18. The time of 1:55.193 mins. was out of reach for much of the session before Stoner made his run. The two fastest Hondas were well clear of the third RC212V or Dovizioso, whose last lap put him .547 sec. behind Pedrosa.The factory Yamahas were next with the order reversed from earlier in the day. This evening Jorge Lorenzo was .189 sec. in front of teammate Ben Spies, the fifth fastest rider on the day.

The factory parade ended there.Spaniard Hector Barbera was sixth fastest on the Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati GP11. Barbera often seems to have the fastest bike and today was no different. Barbera’s time was a scan .036 in front of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards, who had only .004 sec. on his former Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi.Rossi was hoping for more after finishing fifth on Thursday. But he struggled in both of today’s sessions and finished eighth fastest on the strength of his 18th and final lap of the day.Teammate Nicky Hayden had an even worse day. The Kentuckian was down in 14th and 1.551 secs. off Stoner’s pace. The times were surprising given Hayden’s slight improvement in the morning session.Suzuki won’t represented in Sunday’s season-opening race after Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista crashed late in the session, breaking his left femur. The lone Suzuki rider, who’d also crashed in Monday’s test, fell in a fast left hander, sliding to a stop while his GSV-R800 cartwheeled through the run-off. Immediately there was speculation that John Hopkins, the British Superbike rider who’d ridden the Suzuki on Monday, might return, but that notion was quickly dismissed.


1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1:55.046

2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1:55.193

3. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) 1:55.740

4 Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1:55.814

5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1:56.003

6. Hector Barbera (Ducati) 1:56.266

7. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) 1:56.302

8. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) 1:56.306

9. Randy de Puniet (Ducati) 1:56.362

10. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) 1:56.434

14. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) 1:56.586


Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.