Nicky Hayden led a quiet opening night at the Qatar test, which saw only 11 riders record a 'fast' lap time due to rain at the Losail International Circuit.

Less than an hour after the 6pm start a shower soaked the already dusty desert circuit and, with no sun to dry the moisture, wet patches remained on parts of the track until the end of the test at 12 midnight.

As a result, reigning world champion Valentino Rossi and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo were credited with only only one slow lap - while Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Loris Capirossi never left the pits. Only eight riders completed more than ten laps.

Of those that did ride, new Ducati Marlboro signing Hayden was fastest with a 2min 0.717sec, set towards the end of his 31 laps when track conditions were more favourable - but the 2006 world champion was still five seconds off Stoner's best race lap from the 2008 season-opener on March 9.

0.150sec behind the American was his factory Desmosedici predecessor Marco Melandri, making his debut for the new 'Hayate Racing Team' - the name change a result of Kawasaki's unofficial one rider presence in the 2009 championship.

Eager to get his first taste of the 2009 Kawasaki ZX-RR, Melandri was the first person on track tonight and went on to complete 35 laps - more than any other rider.

Third fastest was MotoGP rookie Mika Kallio, who took his Pramac Ducati to within 0.303sec of Hayden, while Alex de Angelis (Honda Gresini) and Niccolo Canepa completed a top five covered by 0.6sec.

Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen had been fastest at the time of the rain interruption, but only completed one more quick lap - for a total of six circulations - and dropped to sixth place as a result.

Yuki Takahashi (Team Scot), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), James Toseland (Tech 3) and Randy de Puniet (Honda LCR) completed the top ten.

Colin Edwards was eleventh on the second satellite Yamaha, and the last rider to clock a 'fast' lap, with Toni Elias twelfth despite lapping nearly eight seconds off the pace during three cautious laps.

"We decided not to test because the track was dirty, so we decided to spare the tyres for tomorrow," explained Elias. "We hope tomorrow it will be fine and we can use the whole session at its best."

Guinea Ecuatorial Team's Sete Gibernau is absent due to a shoulder injury.

Testing continues on Monday night with the opening round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship also at Qatar, on the evening of April 12.



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