Casey Stoner stamped his authority on the first session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Qatar, putting six tenths of a second on the rest of the field, and continuing the dominance he displayed in testing. The Australian was the only man to finish inside the 1'55 bracket, with his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa. The surprise of the session was the Mapfre Aspar Ducati of Hector Barbera, the Spaniard blitzing to 3rd just a few hundredths behind Pedrosa.
Another couple of hundredths behind Barbera is San Carlo Gresini's Marco Simoncelli, another rider who had shown strongly in testing, whilst Valentino Rossi put in a strong last couple of laps to end the day in 5th, though still nearly three quarters of a second off the man who left Marlboro Ducati to go to Honda. Rossi will be pleased to have finished ahead of the factory Yamahas, Ben Spies beating 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo by nearly a tenth of a second. Lorenzo appears to have carried his mediocre form from Monday night's test over to the first day of testing.
|9||14||Randy DE PUNIET||DUCATI||1'56.790||1.038||0.198|