News 19 Mar 2010

MotoGP: Rossi fastest, Spies impresses in Qatar testing

The opening session of the final pre-season test at the Losail Circuit in Qatar ended with Valentino Rossi at the top of the timesheets as he has been throughout pre-season, the Fiat Yamaha world champion followed by Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rookie Ben Spies.

Continuing his pre-season form, Rossi was the fastest rider of the first day at Losail as the current world champion set a best time of 1:55.402 on his factory M1. Setting his hot lap inside the final 10 minutes of the session, which ended at midnight local time, Rossi completed 64 turns and pushed Stoner down to second position on the timesheet.

The Australian’s affinity with the track at which he has won the last three Grands Prix led him to within just over three-tenths of a second of Rossi, as the Ducati Marlboro rider maintained the same set-up on his Desmosedici GP10 that he used last time out at Sepang.

The fine progress that Spies is making in the lead-up to his first full season shows no sign of slowing down, and at just over two-tenths off Stoner the American of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team was third fastest. A crash at turn two suffered inside the final hour failed to take the shine off what was an impressive display, as he timed a fast lap of 1:55.954, the last under the 1:56 mark.

Spies’ teammate Colin Edwards made it three Yamahas inside the top four times with a 1:56.540, and the Monster Tech 3 man will continue to test some new parts for the factory on Friday. He was just over half a second off Spies’ time, and both are set to ride a race simulation on Friday.

Randy De Puniet’s RC212V was the highest placed Honda and the LCR rider was pleased with his results. He also plans a race simulation for day two, depending on his physical condition as he has been feeling slightly ill.

Andrea Dovizioso of the Repsol Honda team rode 65 laps on his factory prototype as he aims to smooth out any lingering problems before the start of the season, and the Italian was sixth fastest with a time of 1:56.811.

Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo struggled with his injured right hand and was forced to stop regularly. Despite his severe discomfort and a trip to the Clinica Mobile for treatment the Spaniard did manage to complete 45 laps, with a best time of 1:56.838 placing him a respectable seventh on the timesheet – under 1.5 seconds off his team-mate and rival Rossi.

Ducati rider Nicky Hayden and Mika Kallio of Pramac Racing were eighth and ninth fastest respectively, and Dani Pedrosa’s pre-season continues to run a none too smooth course. The Repsol Honda rider was 10th quickest of the session after his 60 laps produced a best time that was over 1.6 seconds off Rossi’s marker.

Testing will resume tonight.

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