On the second and final day, or rather, night of testing at Qatar, two rookies ended up at the top of the heap. After James Toseland had held the top spot for much of the session, it was Jorge Lorenzo who finished with the fastest time, nearly half a second faster than the current pole record, held by Valentino Rossi.
What was surprising was that Yamaha dominated the top of the timesheet, with Colin Edwards in 4th making it 3 out of 4, and only Randy de Puniet on the LCR Honda between the Texan and the Brit. Yesterday's leader, Casey Stoner, could only manage a 5th fastest time, although Stoner was the fastest man on race tires.
The men expected to be Stoner's rivals for the 2008 crown did not fare particularly well. Valentino Rossi only managed the 10th fastest time, nearly 3/4 of a second slower than Stoner, while Dani Pedrosa was down in 13th, well over a second slower.
As ever, Stoner is the only Ducati to get his Italian steed to fly: the remainder of his colleagues, including his poor team mate Marco Melandri, are to be found at the very bottom of the table, with only Kawasaki's Ant West behind them.
In general, the riders are fairly positive about the lighting, with the exception of Dani Pedrosa, who was complaining that he found it quite tiring on his eyes, but the test did raise an entirely different problem. Riding at night means that the air temperature is fairly cool, around some 15 degrees centigrade. During a day race, that would not necessarily be that much of a problem, as a bit of sun would soon warm the tarmac, but the night race means there is no sun. And so the track temperature is around the same as the air temperature, and a little too cool to go racing on. Grip looks likely to be a problem at next Sunday's race.
|Pos.||Rider||Bike||Time||Fast Lap||Total Laps|
|3||Randy De Puniet||Honda||1'54.973||69||72|
|9||Alex De Angelis||Honda||1'56.249||45||47|