Casey Stoner continued to top the timesheets at Qatar on Saturday, but his domination started to look less complete. Although the Australian increased his lead to over 0.7 seconds over the man in second spot, Valentino Rossi, on multiple occasions, Rossi kept coming back to within a couple of tenths. By the time the flag dropped for the end of the session, Rossi had been joined by a brace of other riders within half a second of Stoner.
In the end, Rossi finished just 0.096 behind the 2007 World Champion, with Loris Capirossi and Jorge Lorenzo around 3/10ths off. Biggest surprise of the evening was the man in fifth: Marco Melandri beat out all of the Hondas, a factory Suzuki and a factory Ducati to finish just 0.8 off of Stoner. Dani Pedrosa seems to be finding riding a little easier, closing the big gap he had yesterday, ending up in twelfth, up from dead last yesterday. Nicky Hayden's struggle with the Ducati has got worse, finishing the session way down in 15th. His only consolation will be that he has at least one more Ducati behind him, in the shape of Niccolo Canepa.
|9||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||1'57.971||1.661||0.257|
|11||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||1'58.152||1.842||0.027|