1 Casey Stoner 1’55.035 AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Dani Pedrosa 1’55.193 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Andrea Dovizioso 1’55.740 ITA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Jorge Lorenzo 1’55.814 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
5 Ben Spies 1’56.003 USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
6 Hector Barbera 1’56.266 SPA DUCATI Paginas Amarillas Aspar
7 Colin Edwards 1’56.302 USA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8 Valentino Rossi 1’56.306 ITA DUCATI Ducati Marlboro Team
9 Randy De Puniet 1’56.362 FRA DUCATI Pramac Racing
10 Loris Capirossi 1’56.434 ITA DUCATI Pramac Racing
11 Cal Crutchlow 1’56.437 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
12 Hiroshi Aoyama 1’56.517 JPN HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
13 Marco Simoncelli 1’56.540 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
14 Nicky Hayden 1’56.586 USA DUCATI Ducati Marlboro Team
15 Karel Abraham 1’57.275 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
16 Alvaro Bautista 1’57.601 SPA SUZUKI Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
17 Toni Eias 1’58.123 SPA HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
Stoner completes Qatar practice clean sweep
Casey Stoner topped the third and final practice session at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar on Friday, continuing his dominance of the weekend to date having led both previous sessions. The Australian was fastest on Thursday and again in the earlier Friday session, rounding off the later 45-minute run with the best lap time of the weekend so far, an effort of 1’55.035.
It was an all-Repsol Honda top three on the timesheet, with Dani Pedrosa second and Italian Andrea Dovizioso third. The Spaniard was 0.158 off Stoner’s quickest lap, whilst Dovizioso was fractionally over seven-tenths off top position.
There was an improvement for the current World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) as he got the edge over his team-mate Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) and took fourth, with the top Ducati rider being Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar Team) in sixth. Ducati Team rider Valentino Rossi was eighth quickest, 1.271s off top spot and with Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) ahead of him in the timings. Pramac Racing pair Randy de Puniet and Loris Capirossi completed the top ten.
Álvaro Bautista crashed inside the final ten minutes of the practice, and the Rizla Suzuki rider was stretchered off. A broken left femur was later confirmed, ruling the Spaniard out of the season-opener and with a decision on whether he will be operated on in Qatar or flown back to Spain still to be made.
In the Moto2 class Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) was the fastest rider with a best lap of 2’00.882, leaving the German a sizeable 0.872s ahead of second-placed Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol), with Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) third in the session and the only other rider to get within a second of top spot.
Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing), Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing) completed the top six in the session, with Takahashi and Redding remaining in the top three across the combined times from all sessions thanks to their times from FP2. Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing), Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project) and Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) completed the FP3 top ten.
Nico Terol was fastest in the third and final 125 practice session as he improved his lap time once more to time in with a 2’06.957 and beat Efrén Vázquez (Avant AirAsia Ajo) to top spot by a clear 0.931s. German Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Germany) completed the top three, with Sergio Gadea (PEV-Blusens-SMX Paris Hilton) and Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) both inside the top five.
Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica), Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar), Luis Salom (RW Racing GP), Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) and Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) set top-ten times in the final session before Saturday’s qualifying practice. The third day of the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar gets underway at 6pm local time on Saturday with the 125 qualifying practice, followed by the Moto2 and MotoGP classes.
– HRC Report
Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa maintained the top two spots of the timing sheets in both Free Practice sessions today in Qatar.
They were the only riders to break into the 1’55’s in Free Practice 2, completing 17 and 19 laps respectively, followed closely by Andrea Dovizioso in 4th place with a time of 1’56.116. In Free Practice 3, all three Repsol Honda riders achieved times in the 1’55’s and occupied the top positions on the time sheets. Stoner ran his fastest time on lap 15 of 16 with a 1’55.035 – breaking his own circuit record of 1’55.153, Pedrosa was a mere sixteen hundredths behind with a lap time of 1’55.193 and 3rd place Dovizioso found his quickest time on his final lap of 18 with a 1’55.740.
Stoner used both sessions tonight to better understand his bikes’ performance with used tyres and finished the session confident that he is able to achieve what he expects from both front and rear Bridgestones. Pedrosa also spent a lot of time working on tyres for qualifying and Sunday’s race. Dovizioso rectified the issue he had yesterday with vibration in the front of the bike and worked on set-up in preparation for qualifying.
CASEY STONER – 1st – 1’55.035
“We spent most of the second session tonight on used tyres to get a better understanding of where we are with them, we did a quick lap on race distance with these tyres so we’re really happy with this – in addition we completed around thirty laps on the front tyre which also worked well. We played around with the tyre pressure a little, but in general they seem to be very consistent from start to end. Today we had a few more things to try, in the first session today we didn’t make many improvements from yesterday and then in the second session we made a big step forward. I’m really happy at the pace we’re running, the way I’m riding and how we have the bike set-up”.
DANI PEDROSA – 2nd – 1’55.193
“We did a good job today, especially in the third session. We concentrated on doing a good lap at the beginning and then we were focused on the pace. I’m happy about how is everything going – even if there are still some places where we know we can do better and improve some tenths, so let’s keep concentrated to do that tomorrow. For the qualifying session our target is to be on the front row; here my best position on the grid has been a sixth place and I would really like to be on front row tomorrow. This afternoon we tried both tyres, hard and medium, and both worked well; my feeling is that the hard compound is better for the race distance even if the race is one hour later than practice today, and the softer compound is the best option for the qualifying session”.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 3rd – 1’55.740
“I’m happy with the work done during today’s two practices and of course of the third position though it’s not enough because Casey and Dani are faster so we will keep working hard to gain some tenths. Today the team did a great job to solve the vibration in the middle of the corner that we had yesterday. First we changed the front rim without any change in the set up and the vibration decreased. Then we also modified the set up of the fork, a middle step between 2010 and 2011. Doing this I had a better feeling but we also lost the good points of the 2011 fork, such as the stability in braking and corner entry. Tomorrow we will continue working on the fork set up and the target is to do a good qualifying session for a good position on the grid. The race will be a bit different, long and hard for the body. I’m confident that we can improve”.
– Ducati Report
The final two MotoGP free-practice sessions for the Qatar Grand Prix took place this evening at Losail International Circuit, with qualifying scheduled to happen tomorrow night ahead of the opening race of the season on March 20. Ducati Marlboro Team riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden both bettered their lap times from last night, but they haven’t improved their pace and positions as much as they’d hoped.
Nonetheless, the Italian rider chose the direction to work in to refine his GP11’s setup for Sunday’s race, and tomorrow he’ll try to make another step forward. Hayden started the evening’s second session relatively well, only to find progress difficult, but both riders and their crews will look for solutions tomorrow morning.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 8th, 1:56.306
“Today was a bit difficult, because we had hoped to make a bigger improvement, but in the end we didn’t’ lower our time enough. First of all, my shoulder bothered me a little. I wasn’t as strong as I was yesterday, and in the end of the session, I could feel it. Also, we still don’t know this bike perfectly and, as happened to us in the test, we get to a point where it’s difficult to make a step forward with the setup. It’s partly a matter of experience. We’re trying to work with the weight distribution, especially on the rear, but we still haven’t found the right balance. We’re missing half a second with our pace to be in the group where we hope to be Sunday. Anyway, today we tried two setup solutions that were quite different, and we chose one that we’ll try to refine tomorrow.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 14th, 1:56.586
“Things didn’t really go a lot better today. My position is worse than yesterday, and my lap time is hardly any better. I’m still having trouble with the bike in the long corners, but honestly, a rider should be able to find a bit more time than I have. After two days of testing and the practice sessions, my time isn’t that much better than it was in the test. It’s a bit frustrating to be so far back for the first race, but the team and I will try to figure it out. My guys are working hard and everybody’s pitching in. Qualifying could be difficult because the soft tyre doesn’t really seem to help my lap time a lot. Hopefully we can find a setup change or something that will help.”
– Yamaha Report
The second night of free practice under the floodlights of the Losail International circuit was split into two 45 minute sessions ahead of tomorrow’s first qualifying heat of the 2011 MotoGP Championship. The two heats formed the last opportunity for riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies to fine tune their YZR-M1 set ups before the fight for pole position gets underway in qualifying tomorrow night.
Lorenzo continued to make steps forward with set up, the young Mallorcan World Champion finding his form and improving on yesterday’s final free practice lap time of 1’56.586 by 0.366 seconds in the first of today’s heats. The second session saw improvements again, the refined set up allowing Lorenzo to show a glimpse of his talent for fast consistent laps, splitting his final session into a shorter and a longer run and bringing his time down to be just one of four riders breaking into the 1.55s.
Spies was again on flying form in both of the two practice sessions, the Texan moving swiftly up to the top three and holding there to complete the first session in third just 0.262 seconds from second. The second session saw the new Factory rider again laying down lap after lap of consistent fast race pace, wrapping up the final free practice in fifth behind his team mate, just .003 seconds from breaking into the 1.55 second group.
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing Rider, FP2 – 5th, 1’56.220 (18 laps) FP3 – 4th, 1’55.814 (21 laps)
“Today went pretty well; I’m happy with the progress we’ve made during the last sessions. I like the bike a lot more and we’ve improved a lot from the test. We are struggling to fight with some of our competitors but we won’t give up, we will continue to work on it and see if we can find another half a second tomorrow. I will try to make a good qualifying session to start on the front row. It will be a long race and we have a good race pace so I think we have a chance to finish on the podium.”
Ben Spies, Yamaha Factory Racing Rider, FP2 – 3rd, 1’56.116 (18 laps) FP3 – 5th, 1’56.003 (21 laps)
“We didn’t do anything crazy today but we were consistent and close to the front, it looks good for tomorrow and I think we can have a good qualifying session. We’ve made some good changes and we’re confident with the bike set up, maybe not for winning the race but definitely good enough for top five and maybe a podium. We know we need a little work but we’ll keep on at it and see where we can get to.”
Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Yesterday in my quote I said I had the feeling that we would move forward, we found a way and today we improved so Jorge is getting better and better. The bike is delivering better handling so the lap times are improving. Both riders are very close again, we still have a little step to do but so far we are pleased with what we have achieved today.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Both Jorge and Ben are quite satisfied with their bike set ups, we tried to run the soft tyre with both of them to see how many laps we could do so now we know which tyre will be better for the race. I think we are ready for the time attack tomorrow, let’s see what we can do.”a
– Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Extra Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard
After another two free practice sessions on the second day of running in Qatar, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner was again the pacesetter, lapping under the existing lap record on the harder option front and rear Bridgestone slicks.
The Repsol Honda Team also claimed second and third spots with Dani Pedrosa fastest for much of the session and Andrea Dovizioso in third, just ahead of World Champion Jorge Lorenzo of the Factory Yamaha team. The circuit was faster today as it has become cleaner and more rubber has been laid down by the other classes competing at this Grand Prix.
Both practice sessions were run in cool weather, and although the day started windy, the conditions calmed which helped with track cleaning as less sand was blown onto the circuit. The situation in Qatar is a tricky one for tyres and riders as normally with low temperatures and a slippery circuit, softer compounds are favoured for the extra grip they afford, but here the softer option rear is susceptible to graining and the harder option is performing very well, as Stoner demonstrated yesterday and today, despite the cold.
MotoGP action will resume for an hour of qualifying tomorrow at 1955hrs local time.
Hirohide Hamashima – Director, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development
“The track conditions improved quite a lot today as the circuit has become cleaner with the wind dropping and many more laps of running, but it was still quite slippery. Nevertheless I am happy with tyre performance, especially of the harder option rear, because the laptimes are fast and consistency and durability are good. With the softer rear, again some riders experienced some graining, but this was not a concern with the harder option. The overall grip of the softer rear is higher, but because of the sand and the graining, some riders couldn’t get a good laptime on this tyre. Almost every rider set their best lap on the harder option front too as it is more stable under braking. Conditions here are still tricky and tyre evaluation is difficult because of the problems caused by the sand, but this is a situation we see every year here at this circuit so comes as no surprise to me.”
– Suzuki Report
Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista suffered a broken left femur from a fast crash in the closing stages of today’s third practice session in Qatar, which immediately ended his participation in this weekend’s first race.
Bautista landed heavily after high-siding at turn 15 and immediately looked in some serious discomfort. He was instantly taken to the circuit’s superb medical facilities and examined by members of the Clinica Mobile. After a thorough examination, and some x-rays, he was diagnosed with a break to his left femur which will need to be pinned.
Bautista was immediately taken to the Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha for further tests, before a decision will be taken whether to operate in Qatar or for him to return to Spain.
Further information on Bautista’s condition will be updated as soon as more information is available.