MotoGP Race And Practice Results

2007 Shanghai Free Practice - Day 1 Results And Report

Before the Sinopec Great Wall Lubricants Grand Prix of China, most commentators, including this one, predicting total domination by Ducati. Fortunately, the racing gods decided that such hubris could not go unpunished, and decided to mix things up a bit. Although the Ducatis are clearly significantly faster down the back straight, the other manufacturers have all closed the gap, managing to stay in touch despite the top speed deficit, then following, and even leading, through the ridiculously slow sections of the track.

It soon became clear that it wasn't just the commentators who were concentrating on the Ducatis: the scene in the turns before the long back straight were more reminiscent of 125 qualifying than MotoGP, with groups of riders waiting around for a Ducati to pass, hoping to slipstream them. This proved to be a successful strategy. Where in Qatar, the Ducatis walked away from the other bikes, in Shanghai, the others could follow, losing ground only very slowly.

The day's practice sessions also showed that the two companies that have been suffering the most, Michelin at Istanbul and Honda just about everywhere, have found some answers. Michelin is no longer dominating like they have previously, but the top of the timesheet is a fair mix of Bridgestone and Michelin runners, unlike in Turkey. And Honda have found something for some of their riders, reigning world champion topping the timesheets for a brief period for the first time since last season, to finish a very respectable 4th.

Friday's big winner was John Hopkins. The Rizla Suzuki man was constantly near the top of the timesheets, taking the fastest lap time with several minutes to go. Behind Hopkins, Marco Melandri nicked 2nd, on his later laps, with the Repsol Honda pair of Dani Pedrosa and a very relieved Nicky Hayden in 3rd and 4th respectively. Loris Capirossi is the first of the Ducatis in 5th, ahead of the Fiat Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards, and Capirex' team mate Casey Stoner in 8th. The running order is almost arbitrary, however, with the first 8 covered by just a quarter of a second. Pramac d'Antin Ducati man Alex Hofmann is in 9th, while LCR Honda's Carlos Checa rounds out the top 10.

The times are incredibly close, with the top 15 covered by just over a second, and the first 8 within a quarter of that. Fortunately the session was dry, despite a thick haze of mist and pollution, allowing riders to find a tire and setup, but tomorrow's qualifying practice could be an entirely different affair, with rain forecast.

The qualifying session saw one casualty, Kawasaki's Olivier Jacque falling in the final turn, and opening a gash in his arm which severely damaged the muscles in his lower arm. The injury is likely to keep him out of racing for at least several weeks, continuing OJ's ill-fated 2007 season.

Best times of the day, all set during Free Practice Session 2.

Pos. Rider Bike Time Diff. Top Speed
1. John Hopkins Suzuki 2:01.204 314.0
2. Marco Melandri Honda 2:01.303 + 0.099 323.4
3. Dani Pedrosa Honda 2:01.333 + 0.129 322.3
4. Nicky Hayden Honda 2:01.346 + 0.142 318.3
5. Loris Capirossi Ducati 2:01.365 + 0.161 323.8
6. Valentino Rossi Yamaha 2:01.390 + 0.186 315.7
7. Colin Edwards Yamaha 2:01.409 + 0.205 312.5
8. Casey Stoner Ducati 2:01.460 + 0.256 326.4
9. Alex Hofmann Ducati 2:01.771 + 0.567 326.4
10. Carlos Checa Honda 2:01.881 + 0.677 314.4
11. Randy de Puniet Kawasaki 2:01.896 + 0.692 319.1
12. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 2:01.991 + 0.787 314.7
13. Alex Barros Ducati 2:02.051 + 0.847 329.0
14. Toni Elias Honda 2:02.114 + 0.910 313.2
15. Makoto Tamada Yamaha 2:02.242 + 1.038 311.8
16. Kenny Roberts Jr KR 2:02.564 + 1.360 311.6
17. Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha 2:02.768 + 1.564 317.0
18. Olivier Jacque Kawasaki 2:02.818 + 1.614 318.0
19. Shinya Nakano Honda 2:02.977 + 1.773 310.2
Fastest Lap: John Hopkins 2'01.204 156.856 Km/h
Circuit Record Lap: 2006 Dani Pedrosa 1'59.318 159.335 Km/h
Circuit Best Lap: 2006 Dani Pedrosa 1'59.009 159.749 Km/h
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2007 Istanbul Race Result

01 27 C.STONER DUCATI 42'02.850
02 24 T.ELIAS HONDA 42'09.057 6.207
03 65 L.CAPIROSSI DUCATI 42'10.952 8.102
04 4 A.BARROS DUCATI 42'10.985 8.135
05 33 M.MELANDRI HONDA 42'11.139 8.289
06 21 J.HOPKINS SUZUKI 42'13.036 10.186
07 1 N.HAYDEN HONDA 42'13.089 10.239
08 14 R.DE PUNIET KAWASAKI 42'17.584 14.734
09 66 A.HOFMANN DUCATI 42'18.892 16.042
10 46 V.ROSSI YAMAHA 42'21.849 18.999
11 71 C.VERMEULEN SUZUKI 42'29.099 26.249
12 7 C.CHECA HONDA 42'32.396 29.546
13 56 S.NAKANO HONDA 42'39.772 36.922
14 6 M.TAMADA YAMAHA 42'41.390 38.540
15 50 S.GUINTOLI YAMAHA 42'42.187 39.337
16 10 K.ROBERTS JR KR212V 43'12.186 1'09.336
Not finished first lap
19 O. JACQUE KAWASAKI
26 D. PEDROSA HONDA
5 C. EDWARDS YAMAHA

Report to follow.

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2007 Istanbul FP3 Qualifying Times - Day 2

If anyone was in any doubt that Casey Stoner means business in Istanbul, then he put them straight this morning. Stoner topped the timesheets again, taking over 1/10th of a second off his time from this afternoon. But what was far more impressive was the long run he put in the middle of the session, posting 10 fast laps, mostly in the mid 1'54s on his Marlboro Ducati. That looks like being Stoner's race pace, and it looks like being unbeatable.

That won't stop others from trying of course, and chief among the challengers will be Valentino Rossi, who took his Fiat Yamaha to 2nd spot this morning. But The Doctor cannot afford to be complacent, as he only dipped into the 1'54s on his final run of the session. That could mean that the Yamaha team have chosen a tire that works in the warmth of the afternoon sessions, rather than the cooler morning sessions, but they still have work to do.

Where the Hondas had a disastrous session yesterday, hope dawned with this morning's session. Both Hannspree Gresini man Toni Elias and Repsol rider Dani Pedrosa are in the top 4, with Pedrosa being a constant feature at the top of the timesheets. Pedrosa is said to be using last year's forks, as was Marco Melandri, and even Nicky Hayden, and they seem to have given some improvement, at least for the young Spaniard. What is remarkable is that the two smallest Honda men seem to be the only riders who can make the RC212V go.

Colin Edwards took 5th spot, and also managed a decent run of mid 1'54s on his Fiat Yamaha. Edwards was followed by the two Rizla Suzuki men, with Chris Vermeulen's 6th spot reflecting his more consistent times over John Hopkins, who's longer runs were a little slower.

Stoner's Marlboro Ducati team mate Loris Capirossi showed his inconsistency, finishing the session in 8th spot, his times well behind the Australian's. And behind Capirossi, the two Kawasakis edged into the top 10, Olivier Jacque finishing ahead of his younger team mate Randy de Puniet, both running consistent 1'55s. That won't be enough to challenge for the lead, but should keep them in contention for top 10 places.

Some big surprises further down the order, both good and bad. The positive surprise is Makoto Tamada up in 12th spot on the Dunlop-shod Tech 3 Yamaha. But the bad news is for the Hondas: World Champion Nicky Hayden could only manage a 17th time on the other factory Honda, ahead of Shinya Nakano and the Honda-powered KR212V of Kenny Roberts Jr in 19th and last place. In fact, 4 of the slowest 6 bikes were Hondas, starting with Marco Melandri in 14th position, and 5 of the 6 use the Honda powerplant, counting Roberts' KR212V. Something is very, very wrong at the richest, most powerful and most resourceful manufacturer.

The last item of note regards the tires. Only 3 Michelins in the top 10. It looks like Bridgestone have done their homework for the Istanbul Park track, alright. Qualifying practice this afternoon will reveal more.

01 27 C.STONER DUCATI 1'54.085
02 46 V.ROSSI YAMAHA 1'54.334 0.249
03 24 T.ELIAS HONDA 1'54.496 0.411
04 26 D.PEDROSA HONDA 1'54.558 0.473
05 5 C.EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'54.561 0.476
06 71 C.VERMEULEN SUZUKI 1'54.576 0.491
07 21 J.HOPKINS SUZUKI 1'54.644 0.559
08 65 L.CAPIROSSI DUCATI 1'54.850 0.765
09 19 O.JACQUE KAWASAKI 1'54.876 0.791
10 14 R.DE PUNIET KAWASAKI 1'54.921 0.836
11 4 A.BARROS DUCATI 1'55.034 0.949
12 6 M.TAMADA YAMAHA 1'55.081 0.996
13 66 A.HOFMANN DUCATI 1'55.177 1.092
14 33 M.MELANDRI HONDA 1'55.241 1.156
15 50 S.GUINTOLI YAMAHA 1'55.482 1.397
16 7 C.CHECA HONDA 1'55.570 1.485
17 1 N.HAYDEN HONDA 1'55.587 1.502
18 56 S.NAKANO HONDA 1'55.711 1.626
19 10 K.ROBERTS JR KR212V 1'56.207 2.122
Circuit Record Lap: 2006 Toni ELIAS 1'52.877 170.309 Km/h
Circuit Best Lap: 2005 Sete GIBERNAU 1'52.334 171.132 Km/h
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Total votes: 18

2007 Istanbul FP1 Qualifying Times - Day 1

As expected, the day dawned cool and bright at Istanbul, making for a session that saw little action until the end. Because of the cold conditions, most of the riders chose to run relatively few laps, hoping to conserve tires for a bigger choice on Sunday, and because there was little they could learn from the cold morning session. Colin Edwards' fastest time was nearly 5 seconds slower than Toni Elias' record lap set during the race last year.

With so few laps set this morning, this afternoon's session, when conditions are expected to be much closer to the race conditions on Sunday, should be very busy indeed, with the teams frantically searching for a good setup and a tire which will work on race day.

1 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'57.422 8 8 286.5
2 71 Chris VERMEULEN SUZUKI 1'57.794 14 14 0.372 0.372 288.8
3 21 John HOPKINS SUZUKI 1'58.554 9 10 1.132 0.760 286.4
4 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 1'58.597 17 17 1.175 0.043 290.6
5 66 Alex HOFMANN DUCATI 1'58.800 17 17 1.378 0.203 289.8
6 33 Marco MELANDRI HONDA 1'58.802 14 16 1.380 0.002 283.9
7 19 Olivier JACQUE KAWASAKI 1'58.821 19 19 1.399 0.019 285.9
8 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 1'58.857 7 7 1.435 0.036 290.2
9 56 Shinya NAKANO HONDA 1'59.016 20 20 1.594 0.159 282.9
10 50 Sylvain GUINTOLI YAMAHA 1'59.078 20 21 1.656 0.062 288.0
11 1 Nicky HAYDEN HONDA 1'59.209 17 17 1.787 0.131 281.3
12 4 Alex BARROS DUCATI 1'59.371 6 9 1.949 0.162 288.4
13 27 Casey STONER DUCATI 1'59.426 5 6 2.004 0.055 291.4
14 7 Carlos CHECA HONDA 1'59.921 10 10 2.499 0.495 279.6
15 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 2'00.362 5 5 2.940 0.441 281.3
16 6 Makoto TAMADA YAMAHA 2'00.467 20 20 3.045 0.105 281.0
17 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 2'00.539 7 10 3.117 0.072 280.9
18 14 Randy DE PUNIET KAWASAKI 2'00.941 7 7 3.519 0.402 283.8
19 10 Kenny ROBERTS JR KR212V 2'03.333 7 12 5.911 2.392 276.1
Circuit Record Lap: 2006 Toni ELIAS 1'52.877 170.309 Km/h
Circuit Best Lap: 2005 Sete GIBERNAU 1'52.334 171.132 Km/h
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Post Jerez Test Day 2 Times

Testing continued in much improved conditions today, the rain having disappeared, though the wind continued to cause a few problems. The field was rather depleted, with several teams and riders electing to skip the days testing, and head off home for a rest before the next race at Istanbul in 3 weeks time.

The Gresini Honda boys were fastest, both putting in fantastic times, ahead of Randy de Puniet, who found a problem to his rear traction problems, and Carlos Checa. Both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden set much slower times, but spent the day focusing on finding a decent setup, rather than the pursuit of a single fast lap. What effect the tests will have will become apparent at the next round in Turkey.

1 Marco Melandri Honda Gresini 1'39.484
2 Toni Elias Honda Gresini 1'39.675
3 Randy de Puniet Kawasaki Racing 1'40.225
4 Carlos Checa Honda LCR 1'40.356
5 Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha 1'41.755
6 Olivier Jacque Kawasaki Racing 1'41.908
7 Makoto Tamada Dunlop Yamaha Tech3 1'42.091
8 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha 1'42.348
9 Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda 1'42.562
10 Sylvain Guintoli Dunlop Yamaha Tech3 1'42.736
11 Vittoriano Guareschi Ducati Marlboro 1'44.780
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Post Jerez Test Day 1 Times

The teams and riders stayed on for testing at Jerez after the race weekend. Unfortunately, the weather gods were not prepared to play ball, and so the test took place in poor conditions, with wind and rain making times fairly meaningless. It did allow the teams to find some wet weather settings though, and considering weather conditions at both Istanbul and Shanghai last year, that information could well prove to be invaluable.

1 Olivier Jacque Kawasaki 1'51.422 52 laps
2 Randy de Puniet Kawasaki 1'51.502 59
3 Chris Vermeulen Suzuki 1'51.536 27
4 Kenny Roberts Jr KR-Honda 1'51.567 30
5 Casey Stoner Ducati 1'51.736 21
6 Carlos Checa Honda 1'51.827 44
7 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 1'51.899 41
8 Alex Barros Ducati 1'52.129 36
9 Toni Elias Honda 1'52.198 56
10 Shinya Nakano Honda 1'52.212 53
11 Nicky Hayden Honda 1'52.637 67
12 Marco Melandri Honda 1'52.842 45
13 Alex Hofmann Ducati 1'52.904 55
14 Colin Edwards Yamaha 1'53.104 36
15 Dani Pedrosa Honda 1'53.240 51
16 Silvain Guintoli Yamaha 1'55.992 44
17 Makoto Tamada Yamaha 1'57.917 38
18 Akiyoshi Kousuke Suzuki 1'58.635 36
19 Vittoriano Guareschi Ducati 2'00.291 33
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2007 Jerez MotoGP Race Results

1 46 Valentino ROSSI Fiat Yamaha Team 45'53.340 156.143
2 26 Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 45'54.586 156.072 1.246
3 5 Colin EDWARDS Fiat Yamaha Team 45'56.041 155.990 2.701
4 24 Toni ELIAS Honda Gresini 45'57.691 155.896 4.351
5 27 Casey STONER Ducati Marlboro 45'58.333 155.860 4.993
6 7 Carlos CHECA Team Honda LCR 46'03.340 155.578 10.000
7 1 Nicky HAYDEN Repsol Honda Team 46'07.486 155.345 14.146
8 33 Marco MELANDRI Honda Gresini 46'13.309 155.019 19.969
9 71 Chris VERMEULEN Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 46'18.126 154.750 24.786
10 56 Shinya NAKANO Konica Minolta Honda 46'18.295 154.740 24.955
11 4 Alex BARROS Pramac d'Antin 46'18.348 154.737 25.008
12 65 Loris CAPIROSSI Ducati Marlboro Team 46'19.192 154.690 25.852
13 14 Randy DE PUNIET Kawasaki Racing Team 46'19.785 154.657 26.445
14 6 Makoto TAMADA Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 46'29.993 154.091 36.653
15 50 Sylvain GUINTOLI Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 46'30.084 154.086 36.744
16 10 Kenny ROBERTS JR Team Roberts 46'42.251 153.417 48.911
17 64 Kousuke AKIYOSHI Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 46'44.124 153.315 50.784
18 19 Olivier JACQUE Kawasaki Racing Team 46'54.241 152.764 1'00.901
19 21 John HOPKINS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 46'56.711 152.630 1'03.371

Excluded, for illegally changing machines in the pit lane:

66 Alex HOFMANN Pramac d'Antin
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2007 Jerez Combined Times From FP 1, FP2 and FP3

Fastest times in bold:

Pos. # Rider Team FP 1 FP 2 FP 3 Diff 1st Diff Prev.
1 7 C.CHECA Honda LCR 1'42.205 1'40.851 1'40.659
2 4 A.BARROS Pramac d'Antin 1'42.383 1'41.362 1'40.841 0.18 0.18
3 26 D.PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 1'41.959 1'40.906 1'41.070 0.25 0.07
4 24 T.ELIAS Honda Gresini 1'41.613 1'40.972 1'41.179 0.31 0.07
5 33 M.MELANDRI Honda Gresini 1'41.418 1'41.477 1'41.122 0.46 0.15
6 27 C.STONER Ducati Marlboro Team 1'41.450 1'41.171 1'41.394 0.51 0.05
7 21 J.HOPKINS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'41.860 1'41.245 1'41.175 0.52 0
8 10 K.ROBERTS JR Team Roberts 1'41.182 1'41.201 1'41.966 0.52 0.01
9 46 V.ROSSI Fiat Yamaha Team 1'42.057 1'41.198 1'42.129 0.54 0.02
10 5 C.EDWARDS Fiat Yamaha Team 1'42.078 1'41.339 1'41.301 0.64 0.1
11 71 C.VERMEULEN Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'42.269 1'41.305 1'41.872 0.65 0
12 1 N.HAYDEN Repsol Honda Team 1'41.566 1'41.536 1'41.366 0.71 0.06
13 6 M.TAMADA Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 1'43.309 1'42.097 1'41.406 0.75 0.04
14 65 L.CAPIROSSI Ducati Marlboro Team 1'42.427 1'41.409 1'41.482 0.75 0
15 56 S.NAKANO Konica Minolta Honda 1'42.199 1'42.424 1'41.416 0.76 0.01
16 14 R.DE PUNIET Kawasaki Racing Team 1'42.892 1'41.666 1'41.802 1.01 0.25
17 50 S.GUINTOLI Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 1'43.161 1'42.311 1'41.674 1.02 0.01
18 66 A.HOFMANN Pramac d'Antin 1'42.515 1'41.835 1'41.886 1.18 0.16
19 19 O.JACQUE Kawasaki Racing Team 1'42.997 1'42.402 1'42.560 1.74 0.57
20 64 K.AKIYOSHI Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'44.168 1'42.549 1'42.464 1.81 0.06

Existing Circuit Records:

Circuit Record Lap: 2006 Valentino ROSSI 1'40.596 158.284 Km/h
Circuit Best Lap: 2006 Loris CAPIROSSI 1'39.064 160.732 Km/h

Fastest lap from IRTA Test 2007:

Valentino ROSSI 1'38.394
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Total votes: 12

2007 Jerez FP 3 Times

The day started cold again at Jerez, and the weather difference between the morning and afternoon sessions is starting to play havoc with the new tire regulations, limiting the number of tires riders can use. In an instant, it became clear who had selected cold weather tires, and who hadn't, and who was suffering from the cold and who wasn't. Valentino Rossi was complaining that because of the temperature differential, the morning sessions are near useless in terms of finding a race setup, as the race is expected to take place in much warmer conditions than the mornings have generated so far.

It certainly looks like some people have found a race setup, though, as Carlos Checa tops the time sheets yet again, and more importantly, put in a couple of very solid runs of laps. Behind Checa, Alex Barros found a much improved setup for the Pramac d'Antin Ducati to take the second spot, ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Marco Melandri on Hondas. Melandri improved his time over yesterday, but Pedrosa was 1/10th shy of yesterday's time.

John Hopkins is still in good form, as is Toni Elias, and Colin Edwards. Nicky Hayden found a couple of tenths, but Casey Stoner couldn't find the speed he had in earlier sessions. Two of the biggest surprises are in the Yamaha camp. Makoto Tamada made a huge jump in the standings, taking over half a second of his fastest time, and five times world champion is a way, way down in 18th spot, nearly a full second slower this morning than he was yesterday afternoon.

The grid will be settled this afternoon, during the Qualifying Practice session, but that too could cause quite a few problems. There are still several riders, including Rossi, who will want to do a lot of work on their race setup, before trying to set a fast time on soft qualifying tires. We will find out how it turned out soon enough.

1 Carlos Checa Honda RC212V 1’40.659
2 Alex Barros Ducati GP07 1’40.841
3 Dani Pedrosa Honda RC212V 1’41.070
4 Marco Melandri Honda RC212V 1’41.122
5 John Hopkins Suzuki GSV-R 1’41.175
6 Toni Elias Honda RC212V 1’41.179
7 Colin Edwards Yamaha M1 1’41.301
8 Nick Hayden Honda RC212V 1’41.366
9 Casey Stoner Ducati GP07 1’41.394
10 Makoto Tamada Yamaha M1 1’41.406
11 Shinya Nakano Honda RC212V 1’41.416
12 Loris Capirossi Ducati GP07 1’41.482
13 Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha M1 1’41.674
14 Randy de Puniet Kawasaki ZXRR 1’41.802
15 Chris Vermeulen Suzuki GSV-R 1’41.872
16 Alex Hofmann Ducati GP07 1’41.886
17 Kenny Roberts Jr KR212V 1’41.966
18 Valentino Rossi Yamaha M1 1’42.129
19 Kousuke Akiyoshi Suzuki GSV-R 1’42.464
20 Olivier Jacque Kawasaki ZXRR 1’42.560

Existing Circuit Records:

Circuit Record Lap: 2006 Valentino ROSSI 1'40.596 158.284 Km/h
Circuit Best Lap: 2006 Loris CAPIROSSI 1'39.064 160.732 Km/h

Fastest lap from IRTA Test 2007:

Valentino ROSSI 1'38.394
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Total votes: 18

2007 Jerez FP 2 Times

This afternoon's practice session at Jerez was a much balmier affair, temperatures some 20 degrees fahrenheit warmer than this morning, and the timesheet reflected it, the running order being shaken up with respect to this morning.

Early in the session, Casey Stoner was the first to set a competitive time, taking 1/100th of a second off the time Kenny Roberts Jr set this morning. Stoner's time lasted until halfway through the session, until local hero Dani Pedrosa dipped under the 1'41 barrier. Pedrosa's time stood for another quarter of an hour, until Carlos Checa took first a few thousandths, and then 5/100ths of a second off Pedrosa's time, with 15 minutes left in the session. Checa's time was fast enough not to be beaten for the rest of the day.

The two Spanish Honda riders had 1/10th of a second buffer over Hannspree Honda rider Toni Elias, who had another 0.2 seconds gap on 4th place Ducati man Casey Stoner. Kenny Roberts Jr failed to improve on his time from this morning, but that was still good enough for 5th, ahead of Valentino Rossi, who had moved up since this morning.

The Rizla Suzukis of John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen set the 7th and 8th fastest time, Hopkins still visibly in pain from the wrist injury he suffered at Qatar over a month ago. Behind Vermeulen, Colin Edwards took 9th on the Fiat Yamaha ahead of Pramac Ducati's Alex Barros.

Not too much stock should be set by the running order, as the times are all incredibly close past the top 3. Less than half a second covers 4th place Casey Stoner and 14th place Randy de Puniet, and the top 15 times are all within 1 second of each other.

The most impressive rider of the afternoon session was without doubt Carlos Checa. Checa was consistently fast throughout, setting strings of laps in the low 1'41 and high 1'40 bracket. Checa looked totally at home on the RC212V, which is unusual, as Checa is one of the larger riders in the paddock, and had been complaining of a lack of space on board the new Honda 800, along with Nicky Hayden. Over the off-season, Checa had set about losing several pounds to minimize his weight disadvantage on the smaller bike, leaving the Spaniard looking painfully thin. But his perseverance definitely looks like it has paid off at Jerez so far, as if Checa can run the same times on Sunday that he ran today, he could well be a candidate for the podium.

Looking at the full lap sheets (available from the MotoGP.com site as "analysis") throws up some interesting surprises. Dani Pedrosa's 2nd fastest time is impressive, but he failed to put together sequences of fast laps, his long runs containing mostly laps of around 1'41.8 and 1'41.9. This bodes less well for race day.

So who was putting in the sequences of fast laps? Apart from Carlos Checa, Casey Stoner was running mid 1'41s, and Valentino Rossi was running low to mid 1'41s. Behind Stoner and Rossi, there are a bunch of people running consistently in the 1'41.6 to 1'41.9 range, including Dani Pedrosa, Toni Elias, Kenny Roberts Jr, John Hopkins, Chris Vermeulen and Colin Edwards.

So far, Sunday's race is shaping up to be another showdown between Stoner and Rossi, with Carlos Checa complicating matters, and a big bunch of riders chasing the leaders to the end. But before the race, we have one more free practice session, and the small matter of qualifying to go.

Pos. # Rider Team FP 1 FP 2 Diff 1st Diff Prev.
1 7 C.CHECA Honda LCR 1'42.205 1'40.851
2 26 D.PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 1'41.959 1'40.906 0.055 0.055
3 24 T.ELIAS Honda Gresini 1'41.613 1'40.972 0.121 0.066
4 27 C.STONER Ducati Marlboro Team 1'41.450 1'41.171 0.320 0.199
5 10 K.ROBERTS JR Team Roberts 1'41.182 1'41.201 0.331 0.011
6 46 V.ROSSI Fiat Yamaha Team 1'42.057 1'41.198 0.347 0.016
7 21 J.HOPKINS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'41.860 1'41.245 0.394 0.047
8 71 C.VERMEULEN Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'42.269 1'41.305 0.454 0.060
9 5 C.EDWARDS Fiat Yamaha Team 1'42.078 1'41.339 0.488 0.034
10 4 A.BARROS Pramac d'Antin 1'42.383 1'41.362 0.511 0.023
11 65 L.CAPIROSSI Ducati Marlboro Team 1'42.427 1'41.409 0.558 0.047
12 33 M.MELANDRI Honda Gresini 1'41.418 1'41.477 0.567 0.009
13 1 N.HAYDEN Repsol Honda Team 1'41.566 1'41.536 0.685 0.118
14 14 R.DE PUNIET Kawasaki Racing Team 1'42.892 1'41.666 0.815 0.130
15 66 A.HOFMANN Pramac d'Antin 1'42.515 1'41.835 0.984 0.169
16 6 M.TAMADA Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 1'43.309 1'42.097 1.246 0.262
17 56 S.NAKANO Konica Minolta Honda 1'42.199 1'42.424 1.348 0.102
18 50 S.GUINTOLI Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 1'43.161 1'42.311 1.460 0.112
19 19 O.JACQUE Kawasaki Racing Team 1'42.997 1'42.402 1.551 0.091
20 64 K.AKIYOSHI Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 1'44.168 1'42.549 1.698 0.147

Existing Circuit Records:

Fastest Lap: Lap 25 Kenny ROBERTS JR 1'41.182 157.367 Km/h
Circuit Record Lap: 2006 Valentino ROSSI 1'40.596 158.284 Km/h
Circuit Best Lap: 2006 Loris CAPIROSSI 1'39.064 160.732 Km/h

Fastest lap from IRTA Test 2007:

Valentino ROSSI 1'38.394
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