Former MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo led a Yamaha one-two during final practice for the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.

The Spaniard put an end to reigning champion Casey Stoner's perfect run after being one of many riders to fit a soft tyre near the end of the 45-minute session.

Lorenzo, who will be seeking his first Qatar MotoGP victory on Sunday, finished 0.154sec ahead of satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow, who also fitted a soft slick to simulate conditions for Saturday's qualifying session.

Repsol Honda star Stoner, leading the way before the soft tyre intervention, returned to defend his position at the end of the session, but backed off after being held up by Alvaro Bautista (who received the Stoner head-shake) and remained 0.374sec from the top.

Stoner was once again the only RC213V rider in the top four, with Crutchlow's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso ahead of Repsol's Dani Pedrosa.

Pedrosa became the first faller of the 2012 season in the earlier Friday session, with Ben Spies then falling early in the second session.

The Texan was left with a sore neck after the unseen incident through the fast right-handers at the end of the lap. Although he returned to the track, the 2011 Assen winner packed up early after technical problems with his spare bike and was left in eleventh place from eight laps.

The top Ducati was again satellite Pramac rider Hector Barbera, who put his 'Valencia spec' GP12 into sixth place, 0.861sec from Lorenzo. Factory Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi followed, with LCR Honda rookie Stefan Bradl and new Gresini Honda rider Bautista completing the top ten.

Cardion AB Ducati's Karel Abraham was the final manufacturer rider in twelfth place, 1.9sec from Lorenzo.

Randy de Puniet moved back ahead of Colin Edwards despite a late crash from his Aspar ART machine to be the leading CRT entry. The Frenchman was 2.9sec from Lorenzo, 1sec from Abraham and just 0.049sec ahead of the Suter-BMW of Edwards.

Next best of the CRTs were Michele Pirro on the new-born Gresini FTR-Honda and Avintia FTR-Kawasaki rider Yonny Hernandez, who both surprisingly got the better of de Puniet's team-mate Aleix Espargaro.

Friday practice (2):

1. Lorenzo
2. Crutchlow
3. Stoner
4. Dovizioso
5. Pedrosa
6. Barbera
7. Hayden
8. Rossi
9. Bradl
10. Bautista
11. Spies
12. Abraham
13. De Puniet
14. Edwards
15. Pirro
16. Hernandez
17. Espargaro
18. Petrucci
19. Silva
20. Pasini
21. Ellison

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment