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Briton Crutchlow leads last test

Third on the final day was LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl, who finished fifth overall just behind Pedrosa, while fellow RC213V rider Álvaro Bautista also missed the last day due to hand and knee injuries. Pedrosa's rookie team-mate Marc Marquez clocked the fifth best Monday time and sixth overall (+0.619s).

While Marquez may have hoped for better after sweeping all three days at the private Honda/Yamaha Austin test, Ducati received some welcome encouragement by filling places sixth to tenth on Monday.

Fastest of the closely matched Desmosedici riders was rookie Andrea Iannone (+0.820s), followed by factory team-mates Nicky Hayden (+0.859s) and Andrea Dovizioso (+1.005s), then test rider Michele Pirro (+1.370s).

The absent Bautista was tenth overall for Go&Fun Honda Gresini, just ahead of Pirro, with Randy de Puniet the leading CRT rider in twelfth (+1.460s) for Aspar Aprilia.

Crutchlow's rookie team-mate Bradley Smith, who had hoped for much needed dry track time, finished the test in 13th overall (+1.6s), just ahead of de Puniet's team-mate Aleix Esaprgaro.

Héctor Barberá led the Avintia Blusens charge from 15th spot, but it was a rather frustrating test as new FTR parts arrived at the circuit late due to the ongoing snow-caused travel chaos in the United Kingdom.

16th was NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Claudio Corti from Came IodaRacing Project's Danilo Petrucci, evaluating his 2013 chassis for the first time. Ben Spies - still recovering from shoulder injuries in last year's Malaysian Grand Prix - joined Pedrosa and Bautista in skipping the final day and finished 18th overall.

Avintia's Hiroshi Aoyama racked up plenty of wet weather running (his first on the FTR) en route to 19th position, ahead of Czech rookie Lukáš Pešek's Ioda and Cardion AB Motoracing's Karel Abraham, who has converted from a prototype to a CRT chassis for the 2013 season.

This week's 25-bike field was completed by PBM's Yonny Hernández, Gresini's Bryan Staring, Forward's Colin Edwards – who today focused on electronics work – and Michael Laverty. The former British Superbike rider continued to dial in the brand new PBM bike, but on Monday saw his agenda briefly interrupted by having to pull over with a locked up rear brake.

At the end of this year's pre-season period the pack is separated by 2.9 seconds, one second closer than last year's margin. The top ten also bunched up, with the 2012 gap of 1.3s reduced to 1.1s.

Opening practice for the Qatar Grand Prix takes place at the Losail Circuit on the evening of Thursday April 4.



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Nick636

March 26, 2013 1:53 PM

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