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Pedrosa leads at start of Qatar night test

Dani Pedrosa leads team-mate Casey Stoner on first night of the Qatar MotoGP test - Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo consistently under 1min 57sec.
Honda's domination of 2011 pre-season MotoGP testing continued at Qatar on Sunday, when Dani Pedrosa led an RCV one-two-three on the opening night.

The Qatar test follows on from two previous daytime outings at Sepang. Honda riders were fastest on all six days in Malaysia, with new factory signing Casey Stoner unbeaten at the second test.

Stoner was once again on front-running form this evening in Qatar, leading for most of the five hours of track time (6pm to 11pm) - until being displaced by Pedrosa with just over an hour to go.

Pedrosa's best lap time, of 1min 56.271sec, was 0.143sec quicker than Stoner - although some way off the 1min 55.537sec official lap record, set by the Australian just before falling from the lead of last year's race.

"It was a positive first day of practice," said Dani. "We didn't test anything in special, because our priority today was checking that the bike was also working well here in Qatar, a very different circuit than Sepang, where we did the main winter testing.

"We basically worked on the set-up of the bike, to adapt it for this layout and conditions, and tomorrow we will continue working on mappings and a front fork.

"It seems like the laptimes are closer here than in Sepang, and I'm sure that the times will improve for all because at this track the surface is quite dirty at the beginning, so we will see tomorrow and I hope to make another step forward and close the winter test in a good shape.

"I'd also like to say I'm very sorry about what happened in Japan. My Japanese mechanics and engineers were explaining the situation there and it's very moving."

Although Stoner lost out on the top spot, he did far more 1min 56sec laps than Pedrosa: Stoner set 12 laps under 1min 57sec, compared with only 2 laps for Pedrosa.




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