Testing continued in Qatar today, and the Camel Yamaha team continued to dominate. Colin Edwards was fastest once again, taking nearly half a second off yesterday's time, a second under the lap record. Team mate Valentino Rossi was 2nd fastest, a quarter of a second slower. Dani Pedrosa was the fastest Honda, setting the 3rd time, 2/10ths behind The Doctor.
Carlos Checa took the 4th time on the satellite LCR Honda, just ahead of Casey Stoner, who vacated his ride at the end of the season. Checa's place is remarkable, as it is generally assumed that the taller riders, such as Checa, will struggle with the tiny RC212V. Behind Stoner on the Ducati, John Hopkins continued to progress, keeping with spitting distance of the leaders.
The bigger surprises were to be found further towards the rear of the timesheets: World Champion Nicky Hayden set a lowly 11th time today, 0.7 seconds slower than yesterday. But he is in good company, as Loris Capirossi lost time and places as well, back in 12th, and Alex Barros went over a second slower, finishing a lowly 15th fastest. But times are harder to judge today, as a lot of teams spent time doing race simulations, and not everyone went out for shorter series of fast laps.
Down in the injury bay, two names were missing from today's timesheet: Olivier Jacque had decided to sit out Wednesday's action after losing consciousness in a crash on Tuesday, and he was joined by Jeremy McWilliams, who had also suffered a crash on Tuesday. Initially, McWilliams had thought he'd re-broken the leg he broke at Jerez, but upon examination, the injury turned out to be minor. Common sense prevailed, and the Irish veteran sat out today's session. Both Jacque and McWilliams expect to ride tomorrow.
And we can expect the times to be spectacular tomorrow. The last day of testing is traditionally the day that everyone goes on on qualifying tires, making the conditions and the times much more comparable. Tomorrow will give us a slightly better hint of what is to come when the season actually kicks off.
|1||Colin Edwards||Yamaha Factory||1â€™56.296|
|2||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha Factory||1â€™56.537|
|3||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||1â€™56.712|
|4||Carlos Checa||LCR Honda||1â€™56. 874|
|5||Casey Stoner||Ducati Marlboro||1â€™57.040|
|6||John Hopkins||Rizla Suzuki||1â€™57.065|
|7||Shinya Nakano||Konica Minolta Honda||1â€™57.274|
|8||Randy de Puniet||Kawasaki Racing||1â€™57.288|
|9||Kenny Roberts Jr||Team Roberts||1â€™57.504|
|10||Marco Melandri||Gresini Honda||1â€™57.591|
|11||Nicky Hayden||Repsol Honda||1â€™57.629|
|12||Loris Capirossi||Ducati Marlboro||1â€™57.698|
|13||Chris Vermeulen||Rizla Suzuki||1â€™57.770|
|14||Alex Hofmann||Pramac dâ€™Antin Ducati||1â€™57.999|
|15||Alex Barros||Pramac dâ€™Antin Ducati||1â€™58.513|
|16||Makoto Tamada||Yamaha Tech 3||1â€™58.610|
|17||Toni Elias||Gresini Honda||1â€™58.990|
|18||Sylvain Guintoli||Yamaha Tech 3||1â€™59.138|
|19||Shinichi Ito||Ducati TTT||1â€™59.617|
|20||Andrew Pitt||Ilmor GP||2â€™02.453|