The first night of the final preseason MotoGP test at Qatar is in the books, and Hondas once again crowded the top spots…although not as dominant as the Sepang tests. Repsol Honda riders took the top two spots, with Dani Pedrosa sneaking past his rival teammate Casey Stoner with a late flying lap of 1:56:271, 0.143 seconds quicker than the Australian’s fastest lap set midway through the three-hour nighttime session. The third Honda was a surprising Hiroshi Aoyama on the San Carlo Honda Gresini satellite RC212V, following only 0.030 seconds behind Stoner.
A trio of Yamahas grabbed the next three spots, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies continuing his strong form from the Sepang tests by going fourth quickest, having shot to the top of the leaderboard briefly in the second hour. Spies’ teammate Jorge Lorenzo is surely not happy at once again being upstaged by the American, with the Majorcan coming fifth quickest 0.119 seconds behind. The third Yamaha was none other than a resurgent Colin Edwards on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha satellite machine, who is very happy with the upgrades to the new satellite M1 (stay tuned for our revealing interview with the always outspoken Texan), coming in 0.060 seconds behind the reigning World Champion.
Valentino Rossi put himself atop the Ducati-mounted field, but they are still lagging behind the Hondas and Yamahas, with Rossi only able to go eighth quickest. A sign of the Desmosedici’s struggles is the fact that Rossi was only 0.099 seconds quicker than teammate Nicky Hayden in ninth, and 0.105 seconds quicker than 10th-quickest Randy de Puniet on the satellite GP11.
2011 MotoGP Qatar Sunday test results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 1:56.271
2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Honda 1:56.414
3. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Honda 1:56.444
4. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha 1:56.563
5. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 1:56.682
6. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha 1:56.742
7. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Honda 1:56.780
8. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Ducati 1:57.038
9. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati 1:57.137
10. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Ducati 1:57.143
11. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) Honda 1:57.226
12. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Suzuki 1:57.302
13. Hector Barbera (SPA) Ducati 1:57.325
14. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati 1:57.437
15. Karel Abraham (CZE) Ducati 1:57.499
16. Cal Crutchlow (UK) Yamaha 1:57.737
17. Toni Elias (SPA) Honda 1:58.250