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Stoner takes night test lead.

Having been one of a number of riders to sit out Sunday's rain-interrupted opening night of testing in Qatar, Casey Stoner was back with a vengeance on Monday - leading the way by over 0.6sec from reigning MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi.

But the main news with that Dani Pedrosa, third in the 2008 title chase behind Rossi and Stoner, was stretchered away from the track after a heavy fall which left him with injuries to his hand and leg (see separate story).

MotoGP rookie Mika Kallio also brought out the red flags after a "hard hit" on the cold and dusty track, but escaped injury and - unlike Pedrosa - will be able to rejoin the action during Tuesday's third and final night.

Due to the conditions, Stoner's best lap time, a 1min 57.139sec, was two seconds slower than he had managed on his way to victory in the season-opening 2008 grand prix. Significantly, the Ducati Marlboro star also seemed happier with the condition of his healing left wrist than he had been at last month's Sepang test.

Rossi, who finished fifth on his Bridgestone race debut in last year's inaugural night race, felt his Fiat Yamaha was “a lot better” around the Losail circuit than it had been one year ago - despite the 'slow' lap times - while Colin Edwards delivered another impressive performance with third place, just 0.07sec from Rossi, for Tech 3 Yamaha.

Andrea Dovizioso was a “happy” fourth fastest on the lone remaining Repsol Honda, with Suzuki riders Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi fifth and sixth, around one second from Stoner.

2008 MotoGP rookie of the year Jorge Lorenzo was seventh on the second Fiat Yamaha, while Alex de Angelis led the satellite Honda challenge with eighth for Gresini.

Stoner's new team-mate Nicky Hayden, the fastest rider during a depleted day one line-up, was 1.438sec slower than the #27 in ninth position - but still the second best Desmosedici - while Pedrosa completed the top ten.

Randy de Puniet clocked eleventh for LCR Honda, with factory-backed Toni Elias currently unable to repeat his Sepang heroics, with twelfth. Rookie Yuki Takahashi was an encouraging 13th for Team Scot Honda, with Marco Melandri 14th fastest for the newly-named Hayate Racing Team.



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Stoner, Qatar MotoGP Test 2009
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dave cash

March 03, 2009 12:41 AM

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