2006 Istanbul Warmup

The grid was out in force this morning, to get some track time on a drying track. The damp spots which were still present early in the session had dried up by the end, and times dropped fairly dramatically. Interestingly, even though the track was dry, the top of the timesheet is still heavily populated with Bridgestone riders. Both the Ducatis looked very fast, with Gibernau looking very impressive. Vermeulen, who dominated yesterday's qualifying, was anonymous today, finishing 16th behind James Ellison; fortunately for Suzuki team mate Hopkins took over the reins, leading the times for much of the session, to finish 4th. The only Michelin rider in the top 3 was Stoner, who was good yesterday and looks good today.

Yesterday's losers made good a lot of the ground they had given up, with Pedrosa 5th, Melandri 6th, and Rossi 7th. Edwards is said to be suffering from a painful shoulder after a fall yesterday morning, but still managed a respectable 11th. Two minor surprises are Kenny Roberts Jr, who seems to be consolidating his grip on 9th, and Makoto Tamada's fine 8th. Whether Tamada can maintain this form into the race remains to be seen. Of the Kawasaki riders, Randy de Puniet put in another good performance, to finish 10th, but team mate Nakano was a little off the pace in 14th.

Another big winner yesterday was way down the sheets today: Nicky Hayden didn't look convincing all session, and finished in lowly 13th spot, behind Elias.

With the skies looking overcast, and spots of rains appearing sporadically on camera lenses, this afternoon's race looks like being a gamble. There is a very strong possibility that we could see the first spectacle of riders coming in to change bikes, under the red and white flag rule. The riders will be in a quandary as to which bike to start on, the wet or the dry. We shall see.

Times (Source, motogp.com)


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