Third practice for the Catalunya MotoGP round saw a third different rider on top of the timesheets in the form of local star Dani Pedrosa.

As on Friday afternoon, the session saw a distinct contrast in tyre tactics.

Andrea Dovizioso set the first sub-1m 42s lap of the weekend with a soft tyre early in the 45-minute session, keeping the Yamaha Tech 3 star on top until the final ten minutes.

At that point, reigning double world champion Casey Stoner moved from fifth to first - on the hard tyre - and set another 1m 41s lap shortly after.

Repsol Honda team-mate Pedrosa, who like Stoner had stuck with the hard tyre on Friday afternoon, then hit the front with the softer tyre in the final minutes. The Spaniard subsequently improved his time to finish the session 0.320s ahead of Stoner.

The big question that remains is if the softer option can be made to last a race distance.

While Pedrosa seems undecided on which to race, and Stoner's focus has been firmly on the harder tyre, third place Dovizioso remained on the softer tyre for much of the session - indicating that he intends to use it in the grand prix.

The soft also appears to be a realistic race option for fellow Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo, Cal Crutchlow and Ben Spies - although the trio were only sixth, eighth and eleventh this morning.

Championship leader Lorenzo had been fastest on Friday afternoon, with title rival Stoner quickest in FP1.

Between Dovizioso and Lorenzo were Ducati riders Hector Barbera (Pramac) and Nicky Hayden (Factory), with LCR Honda rookie Stefan Bradl squeezing between Lorenzo and Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow, who is running a brake upgrade this weekend.

Hayden's team-mate Valentino Rossi - just twelfth fastest on Friday, albeit having stuck with the harder tyre in the afternoon (along with Stoner and Pedrosa) - clocked the ninth fastest lap time (+1.477s).

The Italian had used the new aluminium swing-arm in addition to revised electronics on day one, but reverted back to the carbon fibre design for this morning's session. Hayden is also running the electronics, but didn't try the aluminium swing-arm after suffering chatter at the Mugello test.

Tenth place went to San Carlo Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista, who had been a surprise second on the soft tyre yesterday afternoon, which he hopes to race with.

Twelfth and just 0.442sec behind Spies was the top CRT machine of local star Aleix Espargaro (Aspar). The Spaniard edged out team-mate Randy de Puniet by a tenth of a second as both outpaced the satellite Ducati of Karel Abraham.

Colin Edwards, making his MotoGP return after missing Le Mans with a broken collarbone, was 16th on his Forward Racing Suter-BMW.

James Ellison, whose eleventh place finish in the wet French Grand Prix is the best result so far for a CRT rider, looks set to share his PBM Aprilia with former MotoGP rider and present BSB title contender Shane Byrne during Monday's test.

Ellison, who has struggled with chatter in the dry at most rounds, was 18th in final practice.

Saturday practice:

1. Dani Pedrosa
2. Casey Stoner
3. Andrea Dovizioso
4. Hector Barbera
5. Nicky Hayden
6. Jorge Lorenzo
7. Stefan Bradl
8. Cal Crutchlow
9. Valentino Rossi
10. Alvaro Bautista
11. Ben Spies
12. Aleix Espargaro
13. Randy De Puniet
14. Karel Abraham
15. Mattia Pasini
16. Colin Edwards
17. Michele Pirro
18. James Ellison
19. Yonny Hernandez
20. Danilo Petrucci
21. Ivan Silva


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment