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Stoner fastest in Japan.

Casey Stoner indicated that he won't surrender his MotoGP World Championship to Valentino Rossi on Sunday without a fight, by being fastest of all during Friday practice at Motegi in Japan.

Due to wet weather this morning, all the fastest lap times were set in the dry afternoon session, during which the Ducati star demoted Honda's Dani Pedrosa from the head of the timesheets heading into the final 15 minutes - then held on by just 0.073secs over the Spaniard.

But Valentino Rossi, who needs to finish third or better to wrap up the 2008 world championship even if Stoner wins on Sunday, remained on target with a close third position - the Fiat Yamaha star lapping 0.316secs from Pedrosa and 0.260secs in front of rookie Andrea Dovizioso.

Dovizioso, expected to be officially announced as a 2009 Repsol Honda rider this weekend, was the top Michelin rider at Bridgestone's home circuit, with Loris Capirossi providing Suzuki with a welcome boost by claiming fifth position – just 0.009secs behind his fellow Italian.

Sylvain Guintoli, who looks to be starting his final four races as a MotoGP rider, was a fraction slower in seventh for Alice Ducati while Nicky Hayden, fastest in the wet morning session at the start of his final Japanese Grand Prix weekend for Honda, was a mere 0.006secs slower in seventh.

Stoner's team-mate Marco Melandri enjoyed a promising first day with eighth position, while Toni Elias - who will also switch to Japanese machinery next season - was ninth on the second satellite Desmosedici.

LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet, riding with an injured wrist, completed a close top ten covered by just over one second.

Shinya Nakano was the top home rider in eleventh on his factory-spec Gresini Honda, with John Hopkins placing his Kawasaki ZX-RR twelfth.

Whilst Rossi was at the sharp end, the three Michelin-shod M1s struggled - Colin Edwards (Tech 3), James Toseland (Tech 3) and Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat) sitting just 13th, 14th and 15th.

Chris Vermeulen was unable to replicate Capirossi's pace and finished day one in 16th position, ahead of only Anthony West (Kawasaki), Alex de Angelis (Gresini) and Suzuki wild-card Kousuke Akiyoshi.

Akiyoshi, competing in his first grand prix of the season, was 0.7secs slower than de Angelis and 2.738secs behind Stoner.

Friday practice (2):

1. Stoner
2. Pedrosa
3. Rossi
4. Dovizioso
5. Capirossi
6. Guintoli
7. Hayden
8. Melandri
9. Elias
10. de Puniet
11. Nakano
12. Hopkins
13. Edwards
14. Toseland
15. Lorenzo
16. Vermeulen
17. West
18. de Angelis
19. Akiyoshi

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Stoner, Indianapolis MotoGP 2008
Stoner, Crutchlow, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Dovizioso, Stoner, Crutchlow, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Stoner, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Dall`Igna, Stoner, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Casey Stoner, Valencia MotoGP tests, November 2016
Dall’Igna and Stoner
Stoner, Valencia MotoGP 2016
Twin Ring Motegi, Japanese MotoGP, 2016
Twin Ring Motegi, Japanese MotoGP, 2016
Twin Ring Motegi, Japanese MotoGP, 2016
Marquez, Japan MotoGP 2016
Stoner, Austrian MotoGP Race 2016
Stoner, Austrian MotoGP Race 2016
Stoner, Austrian MotoGP Race 2016
Dovizioso, Stoner, Austrian MotoGP 2016
Casey Stoner at Austria test (pic: Ducati)
Stoner, Nakamoto, Italian MotoGP 2016

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belly - Unregistered

September 26, 2008 8:30 AM

I would like to see Stoner change his qualifying tactics a bit from time to time. It seems to me that he wrings the neck of the Duke at every session. This shows every other team where they stand, what time they need to chase and how sharp the set up needs to be. It also gives the other teams a chance to plan strategies as they can see what sectors he is fast in. It cannot be a coincidence that Rossi doesn't show all till the race starts. There is an old navy saying about "keeping your powder dry" - which means don't show everybody what you have. Any comments on that thought??

Grumpy_Doctor - Unregistered

September 26, 2008 11:02 AM

Stoner (The Apprentice) Rossi (The Master) If Rossi wins this weekend, Stoner has been truly humbled by the master, and should apologise for his arrogance and disrespect. I honestly feel unless Stoner continues to have a technology advantage (Ducati's are unique in power delivery and TC technology) - then in 2009 Stoner will be fighting hard just to maintain 3rd place during races. It will possibly break him, and Lorenzo/Dovi will replace him as the new up and coming apprentices keen to show their skills. There's something special about Rossi. His constant happiness, 'fun' persona and sportsmanship really rubs off. Some could say Stoner's demise - is bad Karma payback?

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