There was a Repsol-orange glow in Qatar on Friday night as Honda team-mates Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso claimed a perfect 1-2-3 in final free practice for round one of the 2011 MotoGP season.

Stoner toppled Pedrosa from the top by 0.158sec on the penultimate of his 16 laps, his best of 1min 55.035sec also breaking his own official race lap record by just over a tenth.

Stoner, preparing to start his first race for Honda after four seasons with Ducati, used both Friday sessions to better understand his performance with used tyres.

"Everything has gone very well for us," he said. "We tried a few different things tonight and seemed to make a big step forward.

"We've be struggling to get edge grip on this bike after a lot of laps on the tyres, but we raised the bike a little bit and everything seemed to work really well.

"So we're happy. We need to wait for qualifying and the race, but for now we've definitely done the best job we can."

Pedrosa also spent a lot of time working on tyres for qualifying and Sunday's race.

"We did a good job today, especially in the third session," declared Dani. "We concentrated on doing a good lap at the beginning and then we were focused on the pace. I'm happy about how is everything going - even if there are still some places where we know we can do better and improve some tenths, so let's keep concentrated to do that tomorrow.

"For the qualifying session our target is to be on the front row; here my best position on the grid has been a sixth place and I would really like to be on front row tomorrow. This afternoon we tried both tyres, hard and medium, and both worked well; my feeling is that the hard compound is better for the race distance even if the race is one hour later than practice today, and the softer compound is the best option for the qualifying session."

Stoner and 2010 title runner-up Pedrosa have been first and second in all three practice sessions so far this weekend.

Dovizioso meanwhile moved up to third after curing a vibration in the front of his RCV and working on set-up in preparation for qualifying. The Italian was 0.7sec behind Stoner.

"I'm happy with the work done during today's two practices and of course of the third position, though it's not enough because Casey and Dani are faster so we will keep working hard to gain some tenths," he said.

"Today the team did a great job to solve the vibration in the middle of the corner that we had yesterday. First we changed the front rim without any change in the set up and the vibration decreased.

"Then we also modified the set up of the fork, a middle step between 2010 and 2011. Doing this I had a better feeling but we also lost the good points of the 2011 fork, such as the stability in braking and corner entry.

"Tomorrow we will continue working on the fork set up and the target is to do a good qualifying session for a good position on the grid. The race will be a bit different, long and hard for the body. I'm confident that we can improve."

Fourth place and top non-Honda was reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo, who - like team-mate Ben Spies - may not threaten the Stoner and Pedrosa in qualifying, but looks very consistent in terms of race pace.

The stretched four-night Qatar schedule means that the only MotoGP action on Saturday will be the one-hour of qualifying.



Loading Comments...