Casey Stoner Sets the Pace in Qatar

casey_stoner_qatar_2011The first round of the 2011 MotoGP season has begun. The MotoGP riders took to the Losail International Circuit today for their first competitive session in months, and there was no surprise at the top. The Repsol Honda duo of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa continued the stellar performance they displayed during the preseason, to set the two quickest laps at the Qatar track.

Stoner set the quickest lap with a 1’55.752 time. Stoner was the only rider to finish under the 1’56 mark. His closest competitor, teammate Pedrosa, finished more than a half second behind.

Surprisingly, the third place rider came in on a Ducati, and even more surprising, it wasn’t Valentino Rossi. Hector Barbera claimed the third quickest time of the day behind Stoner and Pedrosa.

Rossi, who has struggled through the preseason with an injured shoulder, put in an encouraging effort today, finishing in fifth behind Marco Simoncelli.

Rossi was followed by the Fiat Yamaha duo of Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo.

Andrea Dovizioso was the final rider to finish within a second of the pace setter.

Casey Stoner Repsol Honda 1’55.752
Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 1’56.362
Hector Barbera Mapfre Aspar Team 1’56.421
Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini 1’56.441
Valentino Rossi Ducati Team 1’56.479
Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 1’56.586
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 1’56.586
Andrea Dovizioso Repsol honda 1’56.592
Randy De Puniet Pramac Racing Team 1’56.790
Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 1’56.879

The MotoGP riders will have two free practice sessions tomorrow, before the qualifying round on Saturday.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

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