Casey Stoner was the fastest man on track during this afternoon's session, returning to familiar form. But his lead was small, and he had Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa snapping at his heels. The lead swapped several times during the session, but the Australian World Champion eventually came out on top.
Further down the field, several riders made remarkable improvements. Biggest surprise so far was Shinya Nakano's 4th fastest time, the Japanese rider really starting to find his feet on the Bridgestone-shod Gresini Honda. Some of the Ducatis showed an improvement as well, with Marco Melandri finding a couple of seconds and getting closer to contention. But it is Toni Elias who has made the biggest jump. At previous races, Elias had been running round at the very back of the grid, but the improvements the Spaniard found in testing at Estoril is starting to pay off, with Elias setting an 11th fastest time. James Toseland also made a big step forward, taking him up from 16th to 13th.
Practice continues tomorrow morning.
Provisional results, results and times in full to follow.
|Pos.||No.||Rider||Manufacturer||Fast Lap||Diff||Diff Previous|
|7||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||2'00.931||0.768||0.324|
|17||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||2'02.407||2.244||0.059|
|Fastest Lap:||Lap 7||Casey STONER||2'00.163||158.215 Km/h|
|Circuit Record Lap:||2006||Dani PEDROSA||1'59.318||159.335 Km/h|
|Circuit Best Lap:||2007||Valentino ROSSI||1'58.424||160.538 Km/h|