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Dovizioso fastest in wet Valencia warm-up
11 November 2012
Andrea Dovizioso began his final day as a Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider by leading a wet warm-up session for the Valencia MotoGP season finale.
As feared, rain returned to Valencia on race day morning, leading to a cold and wet warm-up. Given the slow drying nature of the new asphalt - even if the rain stops - there will almost certainly be a wet final grand prix of 2012 this afternoon.
At least tyre choice was clear. The soaking surface meant wet rubber and track action from the start of the 20-minutes, as riders - many of whom had done only limited running in the wet/damp free practice sessions - sought a set-up.
Dovizioso moved to the top of the timesheets by 0.122s over rookie Stefan Bradl on his final lap of the session, but the wet weather played most into the hands of Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi.
Rossi made the greatest gains this morning, moving from eleventh in dry qualifying to third place (+0.357s) having been one of a number of riders to lead in the closings minutes.
Could the seven time MotoGP champion pull off a shock in his final Ducati race? Rossi is moving back to Yamaha after today's race, with Dovizioso taking over his Ducati ride.
Hayden is also poised to threaten in the wet, having led for most of the warm-up on his way to fourth, +0.359s. Hayden had been fastest in Friday's wet session, then seventh and top Desmosedici in qualifying.
The American is looking to avoid his first grand prix season without a podium, at a circuit where he won the 2006 title.
By while the rain helped some to shine, front row qualifiers Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner were only seventh, tenth and eleventh respectively this morning.
Yamaha's newly crowned double world champion Lorenzo was 0.845s from Dovizioso, but Repsol Honda riders Pedrosa - who set a record pole pace on Saturday - and Stoner were 1.4s and 1.8s adrift.
Stoner, who will start his final grand prix before retirement from third on the grid, had confessed that he wouldn't be taking huge risks in the wet - given his healing ankle.
But the double world champion isn't backing off before the chequered flag and was seen in intense discussions with his team over how to improve the set-up of his RCV at the end of warm-up.
Between Hayden and Lorenzo this morning were Alvaro Bautista (Gresini Honda) and Cal Crutchlow (Tech 3 Yamaha), who both led the session on their way to fifth and sixth. Bautista, Rossi and Crutchlow are covered by 14 points in the fight for fifth in the final standings.
Top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro continues to torment the slower manufacturer prototypes, this time claiming eighth on his Power Electronics Aspar Aprilia.
1. Andrea Dovizioso
2. Stefan Bradl
3. Valentino Rossi
4. Nicky Hayden
5. Alvaro Bautista
6. Cal Crutchlow
7. Jorge Lorenzo
8. Aleix Espargaro
9. Karel Abraham
10. Dani Pedrosa
11. Casey Stoner
12. James Ellison
13. Katsuyuki Nakasuga
14. Randy De Puniet
15. Ivan Silva
16. Danilo Petrucci
17. Colin Edwards
18. Michele Pirro
19. Hector Barbera
20. Claudio Corti
21. Roberto Rolfo
22. Hiroshi Aoyama
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