MotoGP Round 1 at Qatar – Honda Dominates Free Practice

International Losail Circuit in Qatar played host to the first MotoGP race of 2011, and Repsol Honda Team dominates all three practice session on Thursday and Friday. They achieved a 1-2 position in those session with new signing Casey Stoner setting the pace ahead of Spaniard Dani Pedrosa. The team 3rd rider Andrea Dovizioso came in 3rd place in the last practice outing.

After topping the chart in the first session, Stoner and Pedrosa were the only riders to break into the 1’55′s in the second free practice. By the time the third session was done, their dominant form was joined by Dovizioso as the three of them achieved times in the 1’55′s with Stoner clocked 1’55.035s – breaking his own circuit record of 1’55.153s.

Pedrosa was a mere sixteen hundredths behind with a lap time of 1’55.193 and Dovizioso found his quickest time on his final lap with a 1’55.740s.

Team Yamaha Factory Racing were not far behind with World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and American Ben Spies consistenly lap themselves in the top 5.

Lorenzo struggles a little with tyre choices before improving his lap times while Spies made a brief run using last year’s setup before posting his best times of the weekend using 2011 chassis.

7-time World Champion Valentino Rossi marked his debut in the red and white Ducati Marlboro Team with mixed results after finising the free practice with 5th fastest on the first session but dropped to 9th in the second before slightly improve his position to 8th on the final session. He failed to break into 1’55′s which is the benchmark if he wants to get a good results on race day. Rossi teammate Nicky Hayden struggles to find a good rhythm during his practice outing and finished with a disappointing 14th fastest time.

The surprise of the weekend so far was the lap times set by Hector Barbera of the satellite Ducati team Mapfre Aspar. Following on his third position in FP1, he finished in sixth place overall in FP3 on Friday evening. For the second day in succession, Barbera had the privilege of being the fastest Ducati rider on track and set the outright top speed at 327.7km/h.

Meanwhile Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista suffered a broken left femur from a fast crash in the closing stages of the third practice session, which ended his participation in this weekend’s 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.

Free Practice One Results:

1. Casey Stoner AUS Repsol Honda Team 1m 55.752s
2. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team 1m 56.362s
3. Hector Barbera ESP Mapfre Aspar Team 1m 56.421s
4. Marco Simoncelli ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1m 56.441s
5. Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 56.479s
6. Ben Spies USA Yamaha Factory Racing 1m 56.493s
7. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing 1m 56.586s
8. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda Team 1m 56.592s
9. Randy de Puniet FRA Pramac Racing Team 1m 56.790s
10. Colin Edwards USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1m 56.879s
11. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 56.910s
12. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 1m 56.987s
13. Loris Capirossi ITA Pramac Racing Team 1m 57.366s
14. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1m 57.429s
15. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1m 57.821s
16. Alvaro Bautista ESP Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 58.528s
17. Toni Elias ESP LCR Honda MotoGP 1m 59.087s

Free Practice 2 Results:

1. Casey Stoner AUS Repsol Honda Team 1m 55.457s
2. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team 1m 55.854s
3. Ben Spies USA Yamaha Factory Racing 1m 56.116s
4. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda Team 1m 56.172s
5. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing 1m 56.220s
6. Colin Edwards USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1m 56.259s
7. Marco Simoncelli ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1m 56.378s
8. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1m 56.518s
9. Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 56.532s
10. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 56.626s
11. Randy de Puniet FRA Pramac Racing Team 1m 56.688s
12. Hector Barbera ESP Mapfre Aspar Team 1m 56.735s
13. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 1m 56.790s
14. Alvaro Bautista ESP Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 56.833s
15. Loris Capirossi ITA Pramac Racing Team 1m 57.304s
16. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1m 57.683s
17. Toni Elias ESP LCR Honda MotoGP 1m 58.801s

Free Practice 3 Results:

1. Casey Stoner AUS Repsol Honda Team 1m 55.035s
2. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team 1m 55.193s
3. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda Team 1m 55.740s
4. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing 1m 55.814s
5. Ben Spies USA Yamaha Factory Racing 1m 56.003s
6. Hector Barbera ESP Mapfre Aspar Team 1m 56.266s
7. Colin Edwards USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1m 56.302s
8. Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 56.306s
9. Randy de Puniet FRA Pramac Racing Team 1m 56.362s
10. Loris Capirossi ITA Pramac Racing Team 1m 56.434s
11. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1m 56.437s
12. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 1m 56.517s
13. Marco Simoncelli ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1m 56.540s
14. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Marlboro Team 1m 56.586s
15. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing 1m 57.275s
16. Alvaro Bautista ESP Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1m 57.601s
17. Toni Elias ESP LCR Honda MotoGP 1m 58.123s

MotoGP rider line-up for first group photo session of the year.

MotoGP will be in race action on Sunday 20th March, when the season kicks off with the first round of the year under the impressive floodlights at the International Losail Circuit for the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar.

Photo : Team Yamaha Factory Racing / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / Honda Racing / MotoGP
Editorial : Nazim Idris

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