Qatar MotoGP: Stoner Quickest in FP1

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2012 Qatar MotoGP Free Practice 1 Results

Not surprising, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner was the quickest of 21 riders following the first official practice of 2012 MotoGP at Losail International Circuit Thursday.

The Australian, who dominated all three pre-season MotoGP tests, posted a quickest lap of 1:56.474 under the Qatar floodlights aboard the new 1000cc RC213V.

But it wasn’t the outright-quick performance Stoner showed throughout the pre-season tests; he swapped the lead with a few riders before nailing the top time after 13 laps in Free Practice 1 (FP1).

Stoner did experience some chatter issues on the RC213V, but was able to still keep the pace ahead of his rival, Yamaha Factory Racing Jorge Lorenzo, who trailed by 0.174 of a second after the 45-minute practice session

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “The track tonight wasn’t so bad, I expected the conditions to be much worse but in general it was ok. We started this evening with huge chatter issues and I was a little afraid we couldn’t fix this but after a few more exits we managed to reduce it to a more comfortable level.

“This is a positive point for the weekend but with such a short session and then nothing until tomorrow it’s slightly strange. It was an OK start tonight, we finished quickest which is good but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow for some real track time and with the conditions a little better and see where we are.”

The 2010 MotoGP Champion Lorenzo showed some quick times aboard the YZR-M1 earlier in the session, but it wasn’t until the last minutes that he posted his best of 1:56.648.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “A quite good start, the track seems pretty dirty though, we are very far from the lap times of last year but that’s the same for everybody. I feel good, we are in the top close to Casey and we have improvements to come tomorrow from the bike, the track and myself. At the end we made a small change to gain some rear grip on all the corners which helped drop the lap time.”

Making for three different bikes up front was Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden. The American and his teammate Valentino Rossi worked on the setup of the Desmo GP12, but Hayden would end up the quicker rider, posting 1:56.924; his teammate Rossi was 10th quickest.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP12 MotoGP) says: “The first session went well. This track is a lot different than what we experienced in Jerez, more open and a lot wider. It was quite dirty and not very grippy, which helped us a bit. We started off on the hard tire and then switched to the soft for the last exit, and I was able to do a nice lap.

“In general we were pretty fast and consistent, and I’ve certainly had worse sessions here, but we’ll just stay calm, keep trying to improve and try to get a good grid spot on Saturday night. It’s just one session, and there’s a long way to go. Sunday night is what counts, and it would be nice to get this team a result it deserves.”

Following Hayden 0.058 of a second behind was his fellow American, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies, who was the final rider to post under the 1:57 mark on Thursday.

Fifth-fastest Thursday was Stoner’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, followed by Cal Crutchlow aboard the first of the satellite bikes, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1. Crutchlow posted a 1:57.395, and was the final rider to post within a second of Stoner.

Completing the top 10 were San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista (1:57.512), Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso (1:57.547), Pramac Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera (1:57.912) and Rossi (1:57.914).

MotoGP says the rookie Stefan Bradl, the 2011 Moto2 World Champion, finished his first MotoGP session in 12th place as he began setting up his LCR Honda RC213V machine for Sunday’s race, and the debut of the CRTs witnessed Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar) lead the pack as he timed in 13th quickest with a lap of 1:59.985 on his Aprilia.

Colin Edwards was just 0.059 of a second off the Frenchman on the Suter-BMW machine of the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team, with Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Aleix Espargara (Power Electronics Aspar) close on De Puniet’s trail as the new CRT machines laid down their first World Championship practice session laps, MotoGP says.

The 21-rider MotoGP grid will return to Qatar Friday evening for the second and third practice sessions under the floodlights ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race.

2012 Qatar MotoGP: Free Practice 1 Results:

Pos.Num.RiderNationTeamBikeKm/hTimeGap 1st/Prev.
1.1Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda334.51’56.474
2.99Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha329.91’56.6480.174 / 0.174
3.69Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati334.21’56.9240.450 / 0.276
4.11Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha326.71’56.9820.508 / 0.058
5.26Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda332.91’57.1300.656 / 0.148
6.35Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha329.21’57.3950.921 / 0.265
7.19Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda336.81’57.5121.038 / 0.117
8.4Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha330.01’57.5471.073 / 0.035
9.8Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati337.21’57.9121.438 / 0.365
10.46Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati334.31’57.9141.440 / 0.002
11.17Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati336.11’57.9391.465 / 0.025
12.6Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda330.91’58.9342.460 / 0.995
13.14Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART314.01’59.9853.511 / 1.051
14.5Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter315.12’00.0443.570 / 0.059
15.51Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR309.52’00.3223.848 / 0.278
16.41Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART311.82’00.7204.246 / 0.398
17.22Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR-FTR304.72’01.1384.664 / 0.418
18.54Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART307.62’01.2614.787 / 0.123
19.68Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR-FTR303.72’01.2764.802 / 0.015
20.9Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda288.52’01.3524.878 / 0.076
21.77James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART302.42’03.4216.947 / 2.069