Casey Stoner has once again topped the timesheet during the final session of free practice for the MotoGP class, the Australian posting a searing lap of 1'33.567 early on. That lap was good enough to secure top spot, and at just two tenths slower than Stoner's pole record - set on super-sticky qualifying tires back in 2008 - promises to see the times get very close to the 1'32 bracket during this afternoon's qualifying.
Dani Pedrosa set the 2nd fastest time, getting dangerously close to matching his Repsol Honda teammate's time. Yesterday's fastest man Jorge Lorenzo could only improve his time by a fraction, ending in 3rd and a third of a second behind Stoner, and ahead of his Yamaha teammate Ben Spies. Yesterday's press conference announcement by Colin Edwards that he would be riding a CRT bike with Forward Racing for 2012 appears to have galvanized the Texan, Edwards posting a time a full second faster than his time from Friday, ending the session in 5th just ahead of the third Repsol Honda of Andrea Dovizioso.
Marco Simoncelli ended the session in 6th, the San Carlo Gresini Honda rider not having the weekend he had hoped for at his home round, while Hector Barbera is once again the first Ducati, the Mapfre Aspar rider ending 8th. Cal Crutchlow made a similar improvement to his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate, leaping up the timesheets to finish 9th, ahead of the first factory Ducati of Nicky Hayden, who found half a second from Friday, but had the misfortune that everyone else also found half a second.
Valentino Rossi's problems continue, the nine-time World Champion ending FP3 in 12th, 1.366 seconds behind Stoner. As is traditional at his home rounds, Rossi debuted a special helmet design, this one featuring cartoon speech bubbles containing the kind of comic representation of swearing found in cartoons. He has at least retained his sense of humor.
|13||14||Randy DE PUNIET||DUCATI||1'35.063||1.496||0.130|